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iPad Launches, FCC Teardown Leaked 617

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-full-of-magic-elves dept.
Apple's much-awaited iPad officially launched today, and iFixit has gotten their hands on photos from the FCC teardown. They've done an analysis of the internals and provided directions on doing it yourself, if you're so inclined. Predictably, it's a hot topic in the media. Cory Doctorow wrote about why he won't be getting an iPad, complaining about the closed, hacker-unfriendly design and what he calls the "Wal-martization of the software channel." Daring Fireball's John Gruber disagrees, pointing out that enthusiasts — even kids exercising their curiosity — are still quite capable of playing around with the iPad through app creation, and with much more of a chance to compete with big companies than in the Apple ][ days. Similarly, others are referring to it as the "bedtime computer" — technology that has a reasonable shot at expanding into completely new areas of use, like bedtime reading for kids. Such a device was predicted in 1972 by Alan Kay, the PARC scientist credited with the epigram "The best way to predict the future is to invent it." His hypothetical DynaBook bears striking similarity to what Apple finally came up with. So, those of you who have picked up or received an iPad already: how do you like it?
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iPad Launches, FCC Teardown Leaked

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  • by suso (153703) * on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:31PM (#31716424) Homepage Journal

    People, snap out of it. Its just a tablet computer. They have been around for over 10 years and they have never been all that special. Apple has you in some sort of hypnosis that is causing you to go gaga over closed up commercial productions that you think you need to own.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:34PM (#31716448)

    Welding the hood shut annoys hackers, but we're such a tiny part of the market that we don't matter. The trend over the past decades is clear: less and less consumer control over their devices, and more and more corporate control.

    That might even be OK if you consider Apple a "benevolent dictator", as many people do.

    I won't be buying one either due to the locked down closed nature. But this really doesn't matter *at all* to most people.

  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:36PM (#31716462) Homepage Journal

    People, snap out of it. Its just a tablet computer. They have been around for over 10 years and they have never been all that special. Apple has you in some sort of hypnosis

    There were MP3 players before the iPod. They sucked, Apple made one that did not suck, and from that they made billions.

    This is not just a tablet computer, this is a big-ass iPod, and they're likely to make big-ass billions from it.

  • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:36PM (#31716464) Journal
    Prediction: all the usual suspects
    • Those who insist on using 'fanboi', (or other variants of the word) to describe normal people who are satisfied with what they bought
    • Those who are envious and/or jealous of Apple's success
    • Those who are too blinkered in their outlook, who define themselves by adherence to some purist "everything must be open" credo
    • Those who can't afford the device, and are jealous of those who can
    • Those with buyers remorse for having paid good money down out on something else
    • The infants (at least of mind) who like to characterise anyone who buys Apple as gay
    • Those who, for whatever reason, just dislike Apple as a company, and can safely be categorised as 'haters'

    will be out in force in this thread.

    There are faults with any device. It's not perfect, and it won't be for everyone. What irks me is the "I don't like/want it therefore it's crap" attitude; the inability to look beyond what *you* find wrong with it, and see that this might just be golden for someone else. My parents, for example [grin].

    But what bugs me above all is the anti-apple crowd these days. Apparently if you express even the slightest appreciation for something well-conceived and well-designed, you're a "fanboi" who's taken in by "the shiny" (whatever *that* is!). Sure there are fanboys (and girls, presumably), but not everyone (not even vaguely close - not in the same universe, let alone ballpark) who likes Apple kit should be labelled such.

    I swear the anti-Apple crowd are far and away worse than the real fanboys. Even in the worst-possible scenario, with everyone who likes Apple kit being a fan (ahem, including both genders, here) , at least the fans have something they like, appreciate, and enjoy using. The haters just hate. And that's pitiably sad.

    Simon

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:38PM (#31716480)

    1. Buy a new Windows box (for less than the iPad).
    2. Get a 3G USB dongle (total cost still less than the iPad).
    3. Buy a monthly data plan (which will inevitably cost less than the iPad data plan).

    You, like most Apple enthusiasts, display a stunning lack of imagination.

  • by dokebi (624663) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:38PM (#31716482)

    As hackers, we should recognize that there is a right tool for the job. Ipad is just another tool. It does less than a laptop because it's meant to be a simpler tool than a laptop.

    Eventually the market will decide if a tablet is a niche or mainstream product. But for me at least, I couldn't be happier.

  • by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:38PM (#31716486)

    They've been around for 10 years and yet they all failed in the consumer market. I wonder if there's some reason for that.....

  • Seriously (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sonicmerlin (1505111) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:40PM (#31716506)

    The national news media has gone utterly insane over this tablet. I know it's a flashy, "cool" product that will sell well, but it's just not worth the crazy amount of attention it's getting.

    I think the best example of the lunacy was illustrated on the Colbert Report. The iPad was given a full front-cover picture (free advertisement), while Amazon paid for a full back-cover advertisement of their Kindle on the same magazine.

  • by mirix (1649853) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:42PM (#31716516)

    What irks me is the "I don't like/want it therefore it's crap" attitude

    Quite the opposite for myself. It's crap, therefore I don't like/want it.

  • by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@nOSpAm.gmail.com> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:43PM (#31716522)

    This is not just a tablet computer, this is a big-ass iPod

    This is also exactly why so many slashdotters hate the thing. It's nothing more than an ipod so big I can't even fit it in my pocket. Why in the world would I want that?

  • by FuckingNickName (1362625) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:45PM (#31716542) Journal

    Actually, ignoring the blatant trolls (who seem to have been quite successful on you), most of the people not showering praise on the iPad are simply commenting that it's not for them / explaining its problems / offering alternative solutions. The idea that people don't buy Apple because they "can't afford the device, and are jealous of those who can" is far more a reflection of your approach to life than anything.

    It's just a tool, and it has no place in my toolkit. Just as the iMac I've recently sold wasn't good enough for me. It wasn't awful, but it didn't offer any advantage over the more powerful, cheap, configurable and supported Windows 7 box + Linux VM I've replaced it with. Thus passes the glory of the screwdriver.

  • by linumax (910946) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:46PM (#31716546)

    I think Slashdotters are for the most part woefully ignorant of how the rest of humanity actually uses computers, and would do well to understand these types of use cases. They will sell millions.

    Firstly, Slashdot is not a single uniform entity. There are many different opinions which in case of iPad there are slashdotters all over the love-hate spectrum. You're not the exception here.

    Secondly, in your rush to blame Slashdot, you came up with an example which not only doesn't support "sell millions" argument but also goes against it. iPad's market is much more mainstream than niche semi-disabled 95 year olds. Everyone with an interest in reading eBooks, watching movies on the go, reading news, doing lite creative work, using some productivity tools, students reading textbooks, etc. is the target market.

    All of this however doesn't change the fact that Apple has declared war on tinkering and as more and more consumers adopt the "appliance computing" model that Apple spearheads, the future of computing looks less and less bright. Hopefully all alternatives will not perish.

  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:47PM (#31716556) Journal

    While iPod sure was better than the most MP3 players, I disagree that iPod was something revolutionary. Walkman players were damn good too, and they weren't as large as iPod - a really important aspect if you want to take some music with you while jogging (so that the player doesn't weight in your pocket, and so that it doesn't either pull your earplugs out of year head). One of the Walkmans that was maybe 1cm wide and 3cm long and ultra light was perfect for this.

    Another aspect to think about iPod vs Walkman or other MP3 players was that iPod had no physical feedback on controls. Only flat buttons in front of it. The other players had song scrolls that were out of the player and you could feel them - another important point when you're just putting your hand in pocket and want to change a song.

  • by sandertje (1748324) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:49PM (#31716576)
    I don't think these were marketed in the huge way Apple does with the iPad. Consumer products never grow big unless they are marketed. The iPad --- and the clones it will undoubtedly spur --- might not be new in the technical sense of the word, but for 99.9% of the world population, it will. Perhaps the world wasn't ready for tablet PCs 10 years ago, as the netbook also has only been vastly popular for the last few years. Ten years ago, people were just getting used to mobile phones equipped with camera's, they couldn't see any need for tablet computers. These days, that's changed. E-book manufacturers make ever greater profits, our mobile phones are basically wearable desktop computers, its only logical that tablet computers are the next big thing. Apple comes with this iPad at precisely the right moment, AND it's got the right sense of marketing. ;-)
  • by sessamoid (165542) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:49PM (#31716578)
    As he said, you're blind to how the rest of the world uses computers. A 95 year old man who grew up during the Great War cannot just jump from one version of Windows to another without a lot of unlearning and relearning. Hell, my programmer father who grew up in the second WW still doesn't intuitively know what needs to be double-clicked vs. single-clicked in Windows.
  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@@@gmail...com> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:53PM (#31716598)

    You may not, but I wager that many people will.

    I don't want a Corvette, but for some reason, they keep making them. I don't really know why.

  • by jez9999 (618189) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:54PM (#31716606) Homepage Journal

    Those who insist on using 'fanboi', (or other variants of the word) to describe normal people who are satisfied with what they bought

    No; there are normal people who are satisfied with what they bought, and then there are people who will queue up for hours in New York to be greeted for a few minuted by some noisy Apple employees in a nightclub-like atmosphere to get there hands on a thing. I think the term 'fanboi' is quite a useful one in this instance.

  • by v1 (525388) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:55PM (#31716622) Homepage Journal

    I think the Kindle is going to have to make some serious changes. For 2x the price you get 5x the features with the iPad. Kindle's been out awhile and prices have already worked their way down as features and size have crept up. The iPad is just hitting the market and is already a better value for the money. When the early adopters are done paying their tax and prices on the iPad drop, Kindle has a very serious problem on their hands. I wonder what they intend to do?

    Same thing has already happened with the palm pilot, but against a flurry of devices. (ipods and smartphones) Who in their right mind would buy a palm pilot today? Kindle is headed down the same road. I bought a PP 4 yrs ago not because I liked it, but because it was the only product anywhere near the price for what it did. People bought the Kindle for the same reason. And they're both going to find their way to the garage sale.

  • by wampus (1932) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:56PM (#31716628)

    And then they lose their mojo and start making the same device but bigger. That's what makes people hate the fucking iPad.

  • by zappepcs (820751) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:59PM (#31716654) Journal

    Whoa there Nelly. Once you remove the coolness factor from it, It's not just an MP3 player, it's a proprietary lock-in MP3 player that costs way more than it needs to. The iPad will be the same. The cool factor is nothing short of sales magic. The first time I saw an iPhone, I thought to myself that it's clever and works fairly well. Then I tried to make a phone call. Ooops. Then I looked at the music capabilities... another ooops. Every time the device added lock-in or required that I jump through hoops to use it with Linux, it's coolness factor dropped by at least half. In the end it doesn't do enough to make it worth the extra cost.

    The iPad will be the same, or at least has started out with all the same flashing lights and bragging. Maybe in 6 months when normal people get a look at one they will see it as the same 'magical' do-nothing-special device that the iPod and iPhone turned out to be. If there is any lock-in or I'm required to jump through hoops to use one with my home network, then Apple can keep them. All of them. I'm not likely to buy a hammer that requires I buy special gloves from the same company to use it, or restricts which nails I can use it to hit. You can go gaga all you want about how cool it is but if you do I'm taking you off the Christmas party invite list.

  • by ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:04PM (#31716708)

    iPad : Computer :: Disney's Epcot Center : Real Town

    And strangely, thousands of people pay big money every day to spend just one day at Epcot, when they could walk around their hometown for nothing.

    Sounds like Apple's going to reap big bucks on this.

  • by zieroh (307208) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:07PM (#31716736)

    Apple has you in some sort of hypnosis that is causing you to go gaga over closed up commercial productions that you think you need to own.

    Would you like to explain the technical process by which they managed to cause everyone to go gaga? I think a more likely explanation is that some people like it. The fact that you don't has no bearing on that.

  • by Obyron (615547) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:14PM (#31716776)
    It does less than a similarly equipped laptop, and for only twice the price! As a bonus for your money, you get no USB expansion ports, and can even only run one app at a time! Apple's innovation is staggering.
  • by future assassin (639396) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:16PM (#31716804) Homepage

    >However, the iPad is SO easy to use there's really nothing to learn

    So you already own the iPad and he has used it?

  • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:32PM (#31716926)

    I'd argue that it's not a tablet computer - or at least, not in the style that we've been accustomed to in the past 10 years. Apple might have something very different here (time will tell). Yeah, sure... at it's heart, the iPad is a computer. But the interface and intended use are a different take on how we use such a device. And that difference might be just enough, implementing in just the right way, to finally alter people's perceptions about how to use and interact with data.

    Think of it in Star Trek terms. There were different interfaces that worked particularly well for different tasks. They had direct access to the ship's computer through voice commands. They had terminals that also linked to the ship's computer. And then they were running around with diagnostics and signing duty rosters, etc. with these small pad devices.

    The iPad strikes me as being that pad device; the right interface for a particular subset of computing. And, frankly, a type of computing that just hasn't been fully realized using the hardware and interfaces that have existed in the last 10 years.

    Sure - the hype is almost palpable. The territory just isn't that ground-breaking. And I seriously doubt I'll ever purchase an iPad (I'm more interested in Android variations). But it is possible that the iPad will get people to see things differently; in ways that they're not yet understanding because they don't "get" what the iPad is. Yet.

  • CD-ROM 2.0 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hey (83763) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:33PM (#31716928) Journal

    I agree with Cory. It reminds me of CD-ROMs also.
    That nifty Elements App (from Wolfram) is exactly like that. It just seems weird not to be able to hyperlink to content outside the CD-ROM -er- I mean iPad App. (Of course, you can launch a browser, but but App would do that because its job to to get you to view the content you just bought.)

    The UI of CD-ROM (and maybe iPad Apps) was terrible also. Everyone CD-ROM title decided they needed a different GUI. Getting he back/next buttons, address bar in the browser was a such a big step forward.

  • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:34PM (#31716938) Homepage

    I don't think that's really true. Whilst I'm not generally a fan of Gruber and his rampant Apple fanboyism, he's not stupid and I think the argument he makes is sound. I wrote programs for the BBC Micro back in the 80s - and it sucked. I knew, even as a child, that what I was doing wasn't "real" programming. I didn't even know what "real" programming was as I had never heard of nor did I understand the concept of assembly language back then. Maybe some kids were smart enough to teach themselves assembly language and then hack the OS itself. I just couldn't do that, I didn't have access to the materials and for an 8 year old even BASIC can be tough. I actually didn't do any OS-level hacking until I was 18 (on Linux) and I don't think it did me any harm.

    I happen to think the iPhone and iPad are remarkably poor environments for children to learn programming on, mostly because the amount of crap you have to learn in order to make something fun in languages like Objective-C is enormous. JavaScript or even Java is a much better choice. However, Gruber links to some 13 year old who has written an app and published it on the app store. That's awesome and something I could only have dreamed of when I was 13.

    And it's not just kids. I was reading an interview the other day with a guy who published "I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES" on Xbox Live. He did it with the XNA toolkit, in other words it was written in C#. In the interview he said he was glad XNA existed because he wasn't a very experienced programmer and C++ was too difficult for him. But XNA was easy. His game costs a dollar, took a few weeks to make and is wildly profitable. It consistently sits at the top of the indie games charts - because it's excellent. In other words, even though the Xbox is the most closed platform you can imagine, it's still possible for amateurs to compete with the big boys by producing fun games. That's the sort of motivation kids in the 70s and 80s just never had and frankly, I think it more than makes up for having some signature checks here and there.

  • by 0123456 (636235) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:36PM (#31716958)

    Yeah, because a company that got and maintained its riches only because of its half-baked operating system and word processor is so much like a company that goes out on a limb (over and over again) to invent a new category of consumer device.

    Wow! Apple invented the MP3 player, the cell phone and the tablet PC! You learn something new every day here on Slashdot!

    Back in the real world, Apple produce moderately unsucky versions of consumer devices that have been in the market for years, and throw vast amounts of advertising at selling them. Right now they're actually managing to make Microsoft look only moderately evil.... at least Microsoft lets you run arbitrary software on Windows.

    Of course there's nothing wrong with their business model so long as they're not holding a gun to your head and forcing you to buy one, but let's cut out the 'Apple is so innovative' crap which merely makes you look like another cultist.

  • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:37PM (#31716970)

    It does less than a similarly equipped laptop, and for only twice the price! As a bonus for your money, you get no USB expansion ports, and can even only run one app at a time! Apple's innovation is staggering.

    Which is a scathing review of the device if the iPad is, in fact, a laptop. But don't think that's what it is supposed to be [slashdot.org] at all.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:37PM (#31716972)

    Not sure i'll trust figures from a place called "flashmagazine.com" I'm sure they are super non-biased.

  • by obarthelemy (160321) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:42PM (#31717022)

    the issue is not how many sites use flash, but haw many can't work without it, or suffer significantly. Using statistics can make you look intelligent and informed, misusing statistics reveals you as an idiot.

  • by node 3 (115640) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:43PM (#31717024)

    They've been around for 10 years and yet they all failed in the consumer market. I wonder if there's some reason for that.....

    And as long as the geeks who keep making them are the same types of geeks who go on about how much the iPad sucks and other tablets are so much better, they will remain a losing product.

    Here's the clue: nobody, outside of an extremely small niche of geeks, want the type of tablet that slashdotters seem to want. Why companies like HP and ASUS continue down the same failing path again and again baffles me.

  • by guidryp (702488) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:43PM (#31717030)

    I don't get the pissing and moaning from my fellow techies on this one.

    Sure It has limitations and software is controlled by Apple (unless you jailbreak).

    But this is more like an appliance than a full fledged computer and it isn't really meant to replace your laptop or desktop, but co-exist with them.

    From the hands on videos, it is clear the engineering on this one is very tight. HW/SW integration produces an extremely responsive package in a small lightweight package that can go all day.

    As an appliance platform, it appears to be impeccable.

    Not every device has to be totally open. I don't need or even want to spend hours similar to what I spend tweaking my PC also tweaking a tablet appliance.

    I don't own anything Apple and I am not sure I will buy an iPad, but it doesn't look like it delivers a fine coffee table appliance and I would certainly like to try it.

    I really can't get anyone who considers themselves a tech enthusiast being too close minded to try one for themselves.

  • alternatives (Score:4, Insightful)

    by celle (906675) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:47PM (#31717058)

    You know there's something that's out there already called the "droid". It works great and does everything and more than the Ipad and actually fits in your pocket.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:48PM (#31717070)

    I have seen this becoming a huge problem over the last few years. As we move into a world where everybody has a capable, connected browsing machine in their pocket, Apple is having a hugely harmful effect on competition and the open web.

    The last decade has all been about getting rid of platform-specific bullshit on the web. The number of sites that only work on IE has gone down. The existence of Firefox, Chrome, and yes even Safari helps to keep web developers honest. Apple now wants to erase all these benefits in the MID space.

    And it's working. Ask someone on the street what they should do if they need a mobile app. "Write an iPhone app!" No. Do me a favor, people, and when you hear someone say that, scold them. This is the wrong direction. We don't need a corporate gatekeeper towards the mobile Internet; we don't need it to be synonymous with one corporation. We don't need to give this much power to a single entity to set the prices and the terms, to add restrictions on the code we run, to lock us into their world view, and yes, prevent us from something as simple as changing a battery.

    We need a variety of mobile platforms to keep folks like Apple honest. We need competition. We need the world's information to be accessible even if we go for something from Google, Nokia, Palm, RIM, even Microsoft, or whatever startup doesn't even exist yet.

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:57PM (#31717154) Journal

    I don't need or even want to spend hours similar to what I spend tweaking my PC also tweaking a tablet appliance.

    Not every totally open device requires that. See: Android, Maemo (or now MeeGo)...

    I really can't get anyone who considers themselves a tech enthusiast being too close minded to try one for themselves.

    I'll be open-minded when they have open development. Short of that, if someone hands me one, sure, I'll play with it, but there's no way I'm buying one.

  • Re:1337 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:07PM (#31717282)

    The wifi version's model number is A1337 [wikipedia.org], how cool is that?

    Not very.

  • by perpenso (1613749) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:09PM (#31717314)

    It does less than a similarly equipped laptop, and for only twice the price! As a bonus for your money, you get no USB expansion ports, and can even only run one app at a time! Apple's innovation is staggering.

    You are in luck. If you prefer a laptop Apple sells those too. Their laptops have USB, multitasking, a unix-based OS that is pretty good at running FOSS, ... ;-)

    --
    Perpenso Calc [perpenso.com] for iPhone and iPod touch, scientific and bill/tip calculator, fractions, complex numbers, RPN

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:18PM (#31717382) Homepage

    Most of the people here are missing the point. The iPad is all about paying for content. And the content isn't cheap. The Wall Street Journal costs more on the iPad than on paper. $5 a month seems to be a typical price for online magazines. The iPad creates a direct connection between content providers and your wallet.

    And there's no ad-blocking. You will will watch the ads. The "app" concept means that the program, not the user, has control. If the program wants you to look at the ad for 10 seconds, you will look at the ad for 10 seconds.

  • by causality (777677) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:31PM (#31717516)

    Apple has you in some sort of hypnosis that is causing you to go gaga over closed up commercial productions that you think you need to own.

    Would you like to explain the technical process by which they managed to cause everyone to go gaga? I think a more likely explanation is that some people like it. The fact that you don't has no bearing on that.

    Obviously some people like it. They demonstrate that by giving up some of their money in order to obtain it. If some people didn't like it, it would have been a failed, discontinued product and we wouldn't be having this discussion. So, this statement may help you attempt to belittle the GP but it contributes nothing.

    A more meaningful consideration is why people like it. Do they like Apple's products because of inherent, demonstrable superiority, like more functionality, better battery life, higher quality, or openness/ability to mod? Things that you can objectively examine such that any neutral, disinterested person can see for himself that it's superior to the competition? Many of us are taking a look at Apple's products and deciding that this cannot be the case. If so, then the phenomenon requires another explanation. When the man running the company personally inspired the term "reality distortion field" because of his salesmanship, it's easy to come up with an alternative explanation.

    I think Apple understands one thing well: most people are incredibly lazy, not in the sense that they won't work for something but in the sense that they are passive and completely lack initiative. When it comes to purchasing decisions, they are spectators of the marketers and are not self-directed decision-makers. The results of this are mediocre at best, but they like it because it doesn't require them to take initiative. It's a difficult thing for me to understand because not taking the backseat of your own life is a joy.

    I would feel like little more than livestock if I lived the way they do, and indeed they are often described as "bovine" or "sheeple". Yet apparently it suits them. I suspect that's because they are unable to consider this and view it as a choice, making it a self-reinforcing condition. Examples of this mentality are everywhere. If you pay attention, it is not difficult whatsoever to observe people and confirm this for yourself.

    It's the same reason why literate adults cry for help with simple computer questions requiring no expertise to understand that could be answered in seconds with Google. I refer to the difference between instantly demanding assistance versus making even a token effort to find their own answers and asking for help only when this fails. Most people will do the latter and not the former. Many of them are intelligent and otherwise more than capable of not only solving the problem, but understanding how it happened so that it doesn't have to occur again. They will take the passive route even when they must wait significantly longer for assistance than their own problem-solving would possibly take. It's not the same thing as stupidity but it is a type of dullness.

    This mentality demands gratification and convenience above all else. It usually doesn't mind paying a premium for those things, if only because it's generally unwilling to look for better deals. That's the appeal of the vendor lock-in and the one-stop-shop. I think Apple's marketers understand this very well and are smart enough not to directly say so. They're not alone in this, of course. If this mentality completely disappeared, I believe that much of marketing and advertising would disappear along with it. At any rate, an awareness and appreciation of this otherwise pathological tendency is why Apple's products went from the occasional (pre-OSX) Macintosh that you might find in an office somewhere to everyday devices that you frequently notice people using. With that statement I describe not just Apple, but all successful marketing.

  • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:36PM (#31717558) Homepage

    Whilst I'm not arguing for having ridiculous app review processes or bootloader locks (I think Apples decisions here are retarded), I must note that you can read the source code of the compiler used on the iPad/iPhone (gcc) , and the standard library (darwin). You can also read the source of the browser rendering engine and various other parts.

    Whilst that's not as good as the Nexus One where you can read darn near everything, and reflash to your hearts content, the iPad situation is not quite as dire as you make out.

    And again, I think people like you are highly unusual. The idea that 10 year olds are going to be compiling their own OS builds is a fantasy for Linux geeks (of which I am one). Just writing a fully functioning, interesting program is challenge enough. Operating systems are basically boring pieces of software - given a choice between making a spinning 3D cube or tweaking the kernel scheduler, I'm pretty sure most kids would rather make a spinning 3D cube. The scheduler hacks can come after they have some years of experience and can get their kicks from solving highly abstract problems. By which point they will certainly be capable of playing with Linux.

    Now I'd like to repeat that one can simultaneously believe the direction Apple is going is bad, and that the iPad does not harm the next generation of child tinkerers. These beliefs are not mutually exclusive.

  • by centuren (106470) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @03:00PM (#31717792) Homepage Journal

    It seems as though you are not so upset at the size of the iPad, but the size of your pockets.

    Will the iPad fit in a lab coat pocket? Or more generally in the pocket of clinical clothing for doctors and nurses? I think those pockets would be far more interesting than those in jeans.

    Do the clipboards and manilla folders that doctors and nurses use now fit in their pockets? I don't really think those are professions that use pockets to do their jobs. Doctors will probably be more interested in whether or not they can scribble notes into documents.

    What I found interesting was not the size, but the weight. About 1.5 lbs IIRC. I was even more interested to find that the Kindle DX is over 2 lbs, about a kilogram. These devices both boast superior form factor over options like laptops and cellphones when it comes to reading, especially the Kindle. I never read ebooks on my laptop, because I want to lie in different positions, often holding the book above me. I've found this to be really quite nice with my Android phone, but a kilogram isn't light, and when I think about it, neither is 1.5 lbs. What good is a tablet if you have to, over a long length of use, rest it on your lap or a table anyway?

    Maybe the weight isn't an issue, I've never tried a Kindle DX, much less an iPad. At the same time, if I'm using something I have to hold (laptops may be heavier, but I'm not expected to carry it to use it), I don't want it to be heavier than whatever it's replacing. Books are really light, so are television remotes, keyboards and mouses (as one reclines with feet up next to desktop monitor), and even laptops resting on laps aren't so bad. If the iPad is supposed to mobilise content into your hands, it'd better not be the single heaviest thing in my bag.

  • Too late for me... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @03:20PM (#31717952)
    These devices both boast superior form factor over options like laptops and cellphones when it comes to reading, especially the Kindle.

    I could have made use of a *good* e-reader if any decent options had become available even last year, while I was still engaged with studies in molecular biology and biochemistry. It would have been great to be able to carry around the content of my huge (and seriously fucking expensive) textbooks for those fields on a convenient device, but the display needs to be in colour and have to have good resolution to be useful. None of the devices I've seen come close.

    From my point of view, the case is closed. I'm not planning on going back to formal studies again any time soon, so my (mostly recreational) reading material can remain on paper, which has a much more congenial feel and smell.
  • by Frequency Domain (601421) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @03:29PM (#31718038)

    A more meaningful consideration is why people like it. Do they like Apple's products because of inherent, demonstrable superiority, like more functionality, better battery life, higher quality, or openness/ability to mod? Things that you can objectively examine such that any neutral, disinterested person can see for himself that it's superior to the competition? Many of us are taking a look at Apple's products and deciding that this cannot be the case.

    ...based on your view of what's important or provides utility. The place where you're falling on your face is in not acknowledging that other people have entirely different utility functions than you do.

    Most people have never opened the case of their equipment, have no clue about the difference between memory and storage, and couldn't identify the CPU if you put a gun to their head and told them their life depended on it. They've never replaced a component, applied a patch, or compiled a program. Why would openness/ability to mod have any presence in their decision making process? They want something that works reliably and is easy to use.

    As for the other categories of "objective" assessment you listed, most people are aware of tradeoffs in several categories of usability. You don't have to be best in any single category to be best overall. People want a music device which is affordable, rugged, reliable, easy to use, holds "enough" music, and has "enough" battery life. Folks who obsess about any one of those criteria won't want an iPod, but a huge number of people who are balancing several or all of them have concluded that the iPod is a reasonable choice.

    I like programming, I like customizing stuff, I like doing admin stuff on my BSD boxes, but I know that most of the people I work with and hang around with want nothing to do with such things. I also don't want to hassle with such things when I'm at work and I'm supposed to be preparing classes or writing papers. A mac is a great tool for me, because day-to-day crap is trivial to do on it, and I can always drop to the command line for full-blown unixy goodness or fire up a VM for full-blown Windowsy evil.

    Bottom line - people can have different values than you about what's easy/hard, comfortable/uncomfortable, or useful/useless, and it doesn't make them irrational, idiots, fanbois, or weak-minded victims of marketing.

  • by macs4all (973270) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @03:47PM (#31718186)

    But we shouldn't overlook the fact that Apple has been successful because they market locked-in solutions to largely technology-ignorant consumers. Very intelligent (but less computer-savvy) people buy iPods and iPhones because they don't know anything else exists.

    ORLY?

    I have been a professional (that is, paid to do it) embedded systems developer (hardware & software) for thirty years. I don't think most people would classify me as "technology-ignorant", or "less computer-savvy", or that I "don't know anything else exists" (the fact that I am posting on /. should belie that).

    BUT, when not absolutely forced to use other platforms (which I sometimes am, for my development work), I choose Apple products. In all cases, they represent the epitome of good design (which is a LOT different from just putting every conceivable connector on a device).

    After a hot day slogging over a coding/debugging session, the absolute LAST thing I want is to come home and mess with MORE shit, just to make my computer do the things that my Macs do without fuss and muss. It's not that I don't know how to do it; I just have much better things to do with my time than the shit that Windows and Linux people put up with from devices that should, by this time, be at the "appliance reliability" stage.

    It has been THIRTY SIX YEARS since the Altair 8800 appeared on the cover of Popular Electronics, and yet, there are people who STILL think it is acceptable to have to mess with their home/work computers (for non-"development" tasks) on an hourly/daily/weekly basis.

    All I can say to those people is: You will never get those hours back. Why waste them on what is, at this point, about as exciting as having to rebuild your TV set, just to watch Caprica (no flames, I just picked a random show)?

    Grow up. The personal computer "revolution" was a lot of fun, THIRTY YEARS AGO. Sorry you missed it; but now, what passes for "computer geekery", case mods, overclocking, buying the biggest, baddest nitrogen-cooled video card (that someone ELSE designed) is a far, far cry from wire-wrapping your own A/D card and writing drivers for it from scratch (assuming you are not developing a "product"). That stuff, for the most part, is simply impractical for nearly everyone, and has been for about the past 15-20 years. At this point, it is FAR more INTELLIGENT to spend 4 hours researching and purchasing that A/D card than it is to spend 120 hours building same.

    Or is your time REALLY worth nothing to you?

    So, to bring this around to the original point, you have completely neglected (in that oh-so-predictable myopic, Linux-fanboi way) the fact that their just MIGHT be people who CHOOSE Apple products, not because they can't, but because they can appreciate when someone DOES do it right. Which Apple seems to do much more consistently than ANY other company developing and selling successful, reliable, hassle-resistant "computing devices". To deny that is to deny reality.

    Which is, unfortuately, another all-too-predictable trait seen in the species Linus Fanboiius (don't flame my fake Latin. It's been too many years).

    BTW, everything has some amount of "lock-in". Windows has lock-in (I think everyone would agree). LINUX has lock-in. Afterall, you can't run OS X apps or Windows apps under Linux (directly, and WINE runs about 10% of Windows apps), so Linus and RMS must be in an evil conspiracy to keep Linux from running that gigantic (much larger than Linux's) software base. I can't stick a ISA card into a PCI slot; so it must be an evil conspiracy by the motherboard manfacturers to LOCK-IN the peripheral card market, JUST to make people buy all their peripherals again!

    Of course, if I DO want to "do something" development-wise with my Macs or iPhone or iPad, there are ample tools and opportunities available to do so. XCode for Mac development is FREE (as in beer). And there are other alternatives, too. Yes, iPhone/iPod Touch/iP

  • by scout-247 (1127737) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @03:50PM (#31718210)
    I kind of think of believe that Apple has created a streamlined computing device; it is more of a portable window to the information age that you control with your hands directly than anything else.
  • by kevingolding2001 (590321) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @03:57PM (#31718258)
    That's six times you have used the words "lock-in", and now you also mentioned DRM!

    What exactly is it that you are talking about?

    It has always been possible to put your own MP3's on an iPod and it would play them just fine.
    The iTunes Music Store used to put DRM in downloaded songs, but they stopped doing that ages ago.

    Are you referring to the fact that you have to use iTunes to get stuff onto an iPod? Well cry me a river. Every iPod comes with a copy of iTunes for either OS X or Windows. Granted that this leaves Linux users such as yourself out in the cold, but Linux has what, 2% market share. I hardly think catering for 98% of computer users could really be described as "lock-in".

    This is an honest question. What do you mean when you keep going on about lock-in?
  • by toriver (11308) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @04:27PM (#31718446)

    ... because noone makes a decent alternative to it so they will also end up buying one anyway.The JooJoo? A $500 web browser which runs Flash for a short while. The 50 rumored Android tablets? Only a fraction will reach market, and they will divide their fraction so much none of them will make money. Microsoft Courier? The name has previously been assigned to two other canceled projects in Redmond, not a good sign.

    People who have actually used the iPad are claiming the increased surface area means more gestures are possible, and the increased size means more complex apps are possible (like the ported iWork apps). The "garden" is exactly what Microsoft is proposing for Windows Mobile 7 and what phone companies with Android are trying to enforce unless you root your phone.

    (What you are doing is sort of like complaining that a 1080p HD TV is just an enlarged "normal" TV, and that the jokes in "Two and a Half Men" are not going to be funnier on the bigger screen...)

  • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @05:17PM (#31718790)

    Why would you need USB for a keyboard? Do you like the wires? It does support the bluetooth profile for such. If you had taken 2 minutes to actually read about the product before blindly slamming it, you would make a better argument.

    "Wireless
    With built-in 802.11n, iPad takes advantage of the fastest Wi-Fi networks. It automatically locates available Wi-Fi networks, which you can join with a few taps. iPad also comes with Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, letting you connect to devices like wireless headphones or the Apple Wireless Keyboard."

    http://www.apple.com/ipad/design/ [apple.com]

  • by toriver (11308) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @05:27PM (#31718868)

    So do you have any alternatives that does not enforce this control? Even Android phones are lock-in at the phone companies' behest until you root the device. Windows Phone 7 is moving in that direction as well.

    Also: You can always make a HTML 5 webapp, complete with client storage and Apple will have no complaints and no need to go through the store. That remains an option and was, before the release of the SDK, Apple's suggested way of writing apps for the iPhone/iPod Touch.

  • by Wovel (964431) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @05:32PM (#31718912) Homepage

    If you were as tech savy as you say,you might have pointed out the plethora of dock connected and bluetooth keyboards that exist.

  • by Wovel (964431) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @05:35PM (#31718932) Homepage

    It is really funny, I handed it to my Son who was 10 at the time and never used one before and he was able to go from locked to dialing in under 5 seconds with no help from me.

    People who think making calls on the iphone is difficult should not own a phone.

    Of course now all you do is hold down the mic button for a couple seconds and say call home.

  • by Wovel (964431) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @05:43PM (#31718972) Homepage

    The fact that you think people who have a different opinion about a product must be ignorant sheep tells us a lot about you and very little about the product.

  • by perpenso (1613749) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @06:12PM (#31719122)

    The trouble is, the iPad (for all its slick design) is pretty much an enlarged (even embiggened) iPod Touch ...

    Perhaps I wasn't clear but a bigger iPod touch is exactly what many have asked for.

    ... It will appeal to those who are content to live in Apple's little garden of approved applications (so long as we use them one at a time),

    Actually its a rather large garden that offers nearly anything most people go looking for. As for one app at a time that is a pretty normal usage pattern, people tend to run an app for a couple of minutes and are done with it. Its not like a computer where one sits there working with something for hours. The one thing that needs to multitask and preempt, the phone, does. Also push notifications make many traditional background tasks unnecessary. While some complaints are valid, some are somewhat bogus attempts to apply old desktop methodologies rather than adopt newer methodologies that may be better suited for mobile devices. Like some users who stick to MS Office because that is all they know, some programmers like to stick to daemons and other background tasks because that is all they know. As someone who has ported applications and utilities between various desktop and server platforms I am sympathetic towards wanting to reuse legacy code but there is also a time to try something new.

    ... but those of us who really want a functional and versatile mobile computer with a small form-factor will remain frustrated.

    Perhaps, but that wasn't what it was designed to be. However I'd wait a while before passing judgement. A year from now it will be far clearer as to how well the iPad suits people's needs. Today, where no one has any experience with it and there is a bias towards wanting the familiar (more of the same) opinions are premature.

    --
    Perpenso Calc [perpenso.com] for iPhone and iPod touch, scientific and bill/tip calculator, fractions, complex numbers, RPN

  • by Shag (3737) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @06:38PM (#31719308) Homepage

    Apple is having a hugely harmful effect on competition and the open web.

    ...by pushing Acid/Acid2/Acid3 and other standards compliance, open-sourcing WebKit, open-sourcing GrandCentralDispatch, supporting HTML5, and... huh?

  • by Americano (920576) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @08:51PM (#31720134)
    Here's the thing. Most people do not buy Toyotas because they perform an exhaustive review and industry-wide comparison of engine torque, zero-to-60 acceleration, 60-to-0 braking distance, side-impact crash test performance, compression ratios, and detailed chemical analysis of the exhaust fumes. Most people buy a Toyota because they test drive it, and they like how it handles, they like the looks of the car, it has good gas mileage, and a bunch of people they know have one, and love it.

    I think the answer to your exhaustive question on "why" have apple products become more popular in recent years runs along the same lines:
    1) I know a bunch of people who have one of these;
    2) Those people love theirs;
    3) At a minimum, it does what I need it to.
    I don't know a single person who has said, "I have absolutely zero need for a portable music player, but I bought an iPod anyway, because it's so well marketed, and I want to be hip!" If you can point out a study that shows this is happening, I'd gladly take a look, I know I've never seen one.
  • by Americano (920576) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @09:15PM (#31720288)
    And this kid who wrote the iPad app learned... how? Did he go to the Apple iPad Programming Educational Institute? Obviously he must have learned to hack and tinker on a PDP-8 at the age of 13?

    What he has is actual useful knowledge (of a programming language, of programming for a device, and of how to write a functional application that might actually make the kid some money) as a result of his tinkering. What you have is a lot of warm memories of (by your own admission) useless software that you dicked around with a lot. How is your experience tinkering with writing programs in BASIC any different from his experience tinkering with writing programs in ObjC? I'd argue that some of that makes him a much more successful tinkerer than most of us.
  • by shilly (142940) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @04:01AM (#31722270)

    Ooh ooh, I've got something! How about: I'd like to shut the lid of my bogstandard, highpowered work Lenovo laptop running Win7 and have it go to sleep quickly and reliably. And then wake up instantly and reliably when I open the lid. It's the fact that my MacBook can do that, and my Lenovo can't that causes endless irritation. And telling me that the answer is that I'm an idiot is not going to win you any friends. It's not my *job* to sort this out -- it's not what I'm paid to do. Incidentally, neither first- nor second-line support can sort it out either. Whatta waste of fucking time to have to try to. So when you twat around trying to claim that the machines are equal, you demonstrate a complete ignorance of how most users interact with their machines most of the time.

  • by gordo3000 (785698) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @09:43AM (#31723644)

    wow, it's funny, I am scared to just shut the lid on my mac book because sometimes it doesn't do things in a sane manner. instead I have to hold it's hand and wait for confirmation it's done what I expect.

    my favorite:
    click shutdown, say yes, then close lid. When I open the lid 4 hours later, it wakes up and continues shutting down. now I'm not sure what good design is all the time, but I'm sure that isn't. It's pretty damn trivial to check of something like shutting down is in process when the lid is closed and just let that process finish. I call it lazy fucking programming and I'm not even a system's developer.

    beyond 1 q/a session with the maker, I don't care to keep on with fixing a shitty interface. I'm guessing you feel quite similar though you seem to have followed up quite a bit.

    on the other hand, I've never had any issues with sleep, shutdown, or other actions with my windows 7 machine. so uh, I guess your last line right back at you?

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