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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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  • ipad is for humans! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by seanadams.com (463190) * on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:31PM (#31716426) Homepage
    I have a 95 yr old neighbor who uses an old Windows machine and AOL dialup. He's still able to do the things he has always done with it, but he wants a faster connection and a newer computer but doesn't want to have to learn a new OS. Neither cable nor DSL is available, and he doesn't have line of sight to be able to use directional microwave technology which is what some people use around here.

    However, the iPad is SO easy to use there's really nothing to learn. I have shown him how to use my iPhone to take pictures, browse pictures and read the news, and it's just so intuitive and easy.

    And he DOES have 3g coverage. So he can get one device with no cables or router that does everything he needs and is easy to learn.

    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.

  • by nullhero (2983) * on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:47PM (#31716552) Journal
    Everyone is clamoring over the iPad calling it a Kindle-Killer but the device is more than an eReader. It's not a replacement of the notebook either. I think it is Apples Netbook, an expensive one in comparison, but a netbook just the same. It has limited functionality but allows the user to access their documents via iWork (Apple is expanding iWork to the cloud, currently in beta) as well as create their own. It gives a user access to their email and then all those iPhone/iPod Touch apps. But what it really does is kind of free the user from the computer, from sitting at a desk and working at their computer, it is easier for her to go to coffee shop and just read the web. She'll then decide to go grocery shopping or do other things neatly tucking the iPad a way. If she has some ideas during the day she can take out her iPad and write up the ideas. As thin and mobile notebook computers are they still are chore to lug around everywhere. I'm not saying carrying a 1.5 pound is easier, but it sure beats having to grab the power cords, put everything in a bag. With the iPad, you just have to unplug it and go. I can't wait to get mine.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:48PM (#31716568)

    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.

    Let them hate - that leaves less competition for the Objective-C developer jobs that have been popping up on dice.com. Sometimes it *literally* pays to keep an open mind. :-)

  • by macwhizkid (864124) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:52PM (#31716590)

    The thing I find so interesting is just how much negativity is out there over the iPad. While I respect Doctorow's well-written analysis, most of it (not just on Slashdot) is far less intelligent and coherent. David Pogue's initial review (which was pretty thoughtful and balanced) got slammed with comments on everything from "I already have a laptop and now I'm supposed to buy an iPad?" to "how am I supposed to do anything without USB" to "how many kids could you help in Haiti instead of buying your stupid toy".

    Honestly, you'd think people are being forced to buy an iPad. The only thing I can think of is that a certain segment of the population just rebels against anything that's mainstream.

    The funniest comments (to me) are where Apple is compared to being the "new Microsoft". 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. And then the commentators are somehow surprised when that pays off.

  • by Ultimate Heretic (1058480) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:14PM (#31716778)
    Lacking in the early iPad reviews has been any screen shots or actual information on how a two-column small text PDF appears, typical in my scientific arena's journal articles. My use for an iPad would be to provide a convenient means to carry around and read at home (not parked in front of my computer!) my current list of journal articles. As an older person with ever increasily bad eyesight, I can really use the larger screen. So have any slashdot user + iPad adopters had a chance to use it in this context? Another contender is the Skiff reader, but it is stil vaporware and their latest press release seems to suggest they are moving to provide an OS and marketing scheme and moving away from the hardware reader. Pity, as it is just the right size for my needs. I know that one can "Kindle-ize" PDF's, but a) I am lazy and b) I bet they don't come out quite right, so that is not a solution I would want to use. Also, I see that Papers has been released for iPad just today, so maybe it is worth a trip to the Apple Store to have a look myself.
  • by stastuffis (632932) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:15PM (#31716788)

    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.

    Oh really? I find them both equally irritating.

    I had a friend requesting advice for a laptop that may be used for video editing. His budget was $500 and he was thinking about a Mac since Windows XP was giving him issues on an older desktop. Out of the woodwork, the discussion was filled with rabid Mac fans pushing him to buy without regard to the price point, many recommending outdated models and offering their old ones. My contribution was that he had options, especially for his needs, his budget and the relative decency which is Windows 7. There was no option for these other people.

    Yet he impulsively bought one not soon after. Funny thing. He went on craigslist and accidentally bought a stolen one. He has been subpoenaed to testify against the thief. His blog post here [wordpress.com] (no ads, it's just his story).

  • by Richy_T (111409) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:26PM (#31716884) Homepage

    Call me when the ipad has an e-ink screen, incredible battery life and free internet.

    And Palm really dropped the ball. The Ipod Touch is what the Palm TX II should have been. Instead they went monkeying with smartphones, going up against Microsoft and Rim. I still use my TX a fair bit.

  • by fermion (181285) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:30PM (#31716910) Homepage Journal
    I don't think the original MP3 players sucked. I think they suffered from what many other consumer devices did. Buttons that break, headphone jacks that were only held together by solder, with no stress relief. Apple did with media player what Sony did with cassette player. The built to a quality specification and not a price point.

    I have owned and used several phones. The iphone is easier to use in many ways that any other phone that I have owned or used. Sure, to make a call does require four touches for stored numbers(slightly more if the phone is locked), but is is much easier to dial or look up new numbers. Again, it is build like a tank.

    At the end of the day, Apple products tend to include features that are useful to people, rather than features that are useful to advertisers. This, above all, is why there is not Flash.

    I don't really know why people are saying this is just a big ass ipod. After all, an SUV is just a big assed compact car, and although I don't understand why people who are not obese need such a vehicle, I don't confuse and Toyota Land Cruiser with a Toyota Corolla.

  • by presidenteloco (659168) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:56PM (#31717134)

    For the "consumer" (defined in this case as the 99% of the population who are not competent programmers),
    an information/entertainment appliance that:
    1. "just works",
    2. has a single, simple way to obtain good apps or good content (e.g. movies), and has
    3. Has well-designed, human-factors-centric user interface, ergonomics and design affordances

    will trump a gadget/network with openness of programming architecture any time.

    If the open world wants to compete in this space, it needs to somehow achieve 1.,2., and 3. above
    while also being open in some meaningful sense.

    I put this out there as a challenge. Can the Android world, for example, improve to that level?

    Remember, Freedom's just another word for this thing doesn't work!

  • by perpenso (1613749) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:56PM (#31717136)

    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?

    Back in the earliest days of the iPhone I bought an iPod touch. I configured it for the wifi at home, work and school and saw little need for an iPhone. I had a laptop but when in class or lying on the couch I found the iPad touch much more convenient for giving email or the web a quick check. After a week or so I recall thinking that I wish the screen resolution was doubled in both dimensions, it would be a much more practical browser. I don't think this was a very original thought, I've encountered many iPhone/iPod touch users who would have liked one that had a larger screen. There has always been a market for a device that was nothing more than a larger iPod touch, Apple has finally met and exceeded this customer want.

    Fitting the device in my pocket was a non-issue, I carried my iPod touch in my backpack. Had something like the iPad been available there were many days where I would have tossed it in my backpack and have left the laptop at home. Had the iPad been introduced at the same time as the original iPod touch I would have probably purchased the iPad.

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

  • by jfengel (409917) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:02PM (#31717226) Homepage Journal

    Everyone is clamoring over the iPad calling it a Kindle-Killer but the device is more than an eReader.

    Precisely. And the question is, does the world have much call for a single-purpose device like the Kindle?

    Single-purpose devices can be optimized wonderfully. The Kindle is lighter, uses less power, and is easier to read outside. It does one thing, and does it reasonably well. Not perfectly well, and it's possible that the Kindle could fail now and resurface in a decade when the screen technology takes another leap. Like the PDA, which failed as a Newton, rose again with Palm, and then sank again as the functionality was bundled into the phone.

    The iPad itself is more limited than a notebook or even a netbook. But is it just the right kind of limited? We'll find out.

  • by julesh (229690) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:07PM (#31717278)

    Thus passes the glory of the screwdriver.

    I just had the strangest urge to do this:

    Sic transit gloria impellator-cochleae

  • Tinkering (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RotateLeftByte (797477) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:23PM (#31717432)

    I've been 'tinkering' with computers since 1974 when I built an A-to-D & an D-to-A interface card for an IMP-16p Microprocessor.
    I still tinker with several FOSS Projects as well as writing Unix Server software for a living, but since I've moved from PC to a MAC, I don't have to tinker with it anymore. It does what I want it to without having to fight the frigging O/S all the time. Anti-virus software does not get in the way like it did before. I know I could tinker with the MacBook that this is being written on but there is no need. no need to install ATI or Nvidia graphics drivers, constantly update the AV Software etc etc. No Windows Genuine Advantage crapware. Phew, I can get on with using the thing rather than having to manage it. All I do is connect up my external hdd once a week and run a time machine backup. Easy. Simple and OOTB!

    I won't be buying an iPad but I know quite a few people who would find it just what they want. Many of them have PC's running Windows 98 or XP and are looking for a new device to surf the web and send some emails. I think that an iPad might very well be an ideal replacement device for them. They are not tinkerers by any means.

    The Computer market is maturing. Apple have recognised this and IMHO, are right on the nail with the iPad.

  • by commodoresloat (172735) * on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:25PM (#31717454)

    Why in the world would I want that?

    It's quite possible that you don't want it. Here's a thought: don't buy one! What's the big deal?

  • by theodp (442580) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:31PM (#31717510)

    Dave Winer's 1-Tweet review: [twitter.com] 'As much as it pains me to say it -- this fcuker is pretty fcuking cool.'

  • by kevingolding2001 (590321) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:49PM (#31717674)

    It's a gigantic iPhone without the phone.

    I think it would be more accurate to say that it's a gigantic iPod Touch.

    And yes, I believe that an iPod Touch is fundamentally different from a netbook.
    I used to have a netbook. I ended up giving it to my Dad. It now sits on his shelf collecting dust.
    I have an iPod Touch. It is plugged into my stereo and in use playing music even as I type this.

    See the difference?

  • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:54PM (#31717722) Homepage

    The iPad isn't competing with netbooks through hardware. The tablet form factor is a distraction - and it may ultimately prove to be a serious weakness rather than a strength. I certainly wouldn't want to do any serious work with a soft keyboard.

    The iPad is competing through software, namely, the operating system. It's an attractive proposition for people because traditional computers are an epic failure (and MacOS X hasn't really helped matters).

    They have confusing user interfaces, that make it easy to accidentally lose windows behind other windows and expect you to understand concepts that don't appear very often in day to day life, like nested folder hierarchies. Getting software for them is difficult - search engine results can be filled with programs that don't run on your chosen platform, and your relatives/friendly local geek is always telling you not to download stuff from the internet anyway. You live in constant fear of viruses. Your computer frequently breaks or slows down for mysterious reasons and every app seems to constantly be nagging you to update. If you have a Windows box and make the mistake of phoning a company for tech support, you'll just get bounced around different suppliers in a giant finger-pointing game. Probably your computer came weighed down with crap to shave $10 off the price. The list of things regular operating systems do badly is just amazing.

    The iPad doesn't run MacOS X because MacOS X, and Windows, and Linux, are all evolutionary dead ends. Steve Jobs knows this. Think about how much progress OS X made in the last 3 years - none. It actually went backwards, Snow Leopard launched with serious regressions some of which are still not fixed. It's neglected and unloved. OS X is adrift because nobody at Apple seems to be working on it anymore. All the attention is on iPhone OS.

    Many people decry the things iPhone OS lacks, and it's true, some of the omissions are pretty stupid. Inability to multi-task is something they can get away with on a phone. On a general purpose device where you're supposed to Get Shit Done(tm) I'm not sure it can be left out. But the reason people are going to want an iPad is because the iPhone OS is a fresh start. You don't have to worry about viruses. It doesn't randomly break because of third party software. It's easy to find and buy software. There's no fear because there's a big, well known company standing behind the device and saying "you will have a great experience" and they have the muscle and control to make it happen.

    There is an alternative. ChromeOS netbooks are an alternative vision of the future of computing. ChromeOS is also in a sense "locked down", in that it only runs web apps. But these devices will (probably) share many of the same characteristics that makes the iPad appealing. ChromeOS netbooks will not break. They will not start slowly, bogged down by crapware that launches itself at startup just because it can. Users will have no fear of viruses. They won't have to try and remember where they saved their files. The UI will be simple and easy to understand. They will be cheap and have long battery life. They will be backed by the Google name, whilst it may not have the cachet of Apple in the hardware space, it's still an easily recognized and trusted brand.

    More importantly for us Slashdotters, they are open source devices and likely to come in a somewhat hackable/reflashable form if the Nexus One is any indication. The future of computing can be less wild west without compromising its freedom or openness.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:56PM (#31717748)

    Ditto. Anyone using Papers on an iPad, please respond here.

    I am still quite excited about the Que, given that extensive reading is 1000x easier with e-ink. But, now that the cheapest Que (4 GB, wifi, $649) is more expensive than the 16 GB wifi iPad ($499), the iPad is looking more interesting.

  • by centuren (106470) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @03:30PM (#31718056) Homepage 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.

    The sad, sad thing about this is the truth of it all. I have the first gen Sony Minidisc player/recorder that connected via usb and let you put MP3s onto the minidiscs (the MZ-N1 [avland.co.uk], shown there in it's dock). The form factor and design of the hardware was beautiful, the remote was fantastic to use and to show off, and the player fit in my bag while the remote clipped to my bag's strap. Watching iPod users dig out their players and hold the (seemingly) giant rectangle in front of their face for a couple minutes to pick new music seemed ridiculous at the time. The MZ-N1 didn't have the song capacity the iPod did, but I enjoyed selecting music to put on discs, and decorating them. Combined with the optical input and ease of recording (just run a line from the soundboard directly into the player and hit record during a set), I loved it.

    It's buried around the house somewhere now, and I still love it, even as I use my ridiculous giant triangle iPod instead. What sold me on the iPod was not it's hardware, but it's software. iTunes (pre-store of any kind), was a breeze to use. Sony used SonicStage, and the MZ-N1 didn't really play MP3s, it used ATRAC3. SonicStage converted MP3s to ATRAC3, then transferred the music to the device. I didn't mind this, as far as I was concerned they were both just compression formats. What made it so sad, was how terrible SonicStage really was. From just looking at it, to waiting to see if the files converted and uploaded successfully or your computer had crashed horribly in the attempt (one couldn't tell because the conversion and transfer often resembled a horrible crash until it was done), that program was always by far the worst software I'd have on my computer at any time. IIRC, there was even a limit to how many times you could transfer a song to a minidisc (thanks for that, Sony's record label branch).

    It got to the point where I began to favor the minidiscs that already had music on them, and the more I stayed away from making new playlists, the concept of an iPod started to seem more and more useful. It never seemed to be more attractive, physically, or more functional in terms of listening to music on the go. What it did have was a fair amount of storage on the device and software that really nailed the concept of keeping a digital library, and transferring songs from the library to a device. Apple ended up selling me on an iPod despite its design and implementation as an actual portable music player, simply because the really great portable music players at the time were backed with such crappy software and silly restrictions.

  • 1 review (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wrencherd (865833) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @03:48PM (#31718188)

    1st impressions of iPad:

    *looks an awful lot like the top of a 13" MacBook Pro

    *weighs a bit more than it looks like it would

    *probably should have popped for the case b/c it seems like one would want to carry it around like a book

    *typing on-screen is easier to get used to than I thought it would be (can't say about long term though)

    *"optimized" gmail works pretty well

    *software-wise I already miss the feeling that open source is available ("I was wrong to break up with you, baby; please, can't we get back together? . . . well then, how about one for the road?")

    *screen-orientation gyro ("accelerometer"?) is a bit testy out of the box

    *not a computer, that's for sure

    *also not quite Bill Atkinson's "magic slate", but almost there

    I would say I probably paid about $200 too much and bought maybe 2 gen.s too early.

    Nature of the beast, eh.

  • by cdrguru (88047) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @03:57PM (#31718254) Homepage

    seems to have a problem with the iPad not being open enough for him. Unfortunately, he seems to have missed out on a lot of recent history.

    Today anything that can accept unrestricted program code from the world at large has the possibility of getting taken over by malevalent forces. It isn't that Windows is insecure, it is that it is a computer without an administrator. Phones have been "taken over" and I assure you, they aren't running Windows somewhere deep within a Blackberry or iPhone.

    Cory wants openness and the freedom to introduce new software. Fine, but without controls the iPad becomes just another platform for stealing things from people. Just like PCs are today. The difference right now is that Apple's iPhone and iPad are rather restrictive appliances. You can't take over and trojan an appliance, use it to steal credit card and bank information or send spam with it.

    What maybe 10% of the world needs is general-purpose open programmable computing. The other 90% needs an appliance that can't have its functionality taken over or its utility subverted. How long will it be before there is a trojan/phishing application for Android? Not long, I would guess. The rewards for doing this will be considerable, even if it is discovered the first week it exists. If Apple can block 90% of the attempts at this - and I suspect they have blocked 100% of them so far - they will keep the appliance world safe.

    Cory seems to want everyone to live in some virus-laden spam-infested world and to have the kind of freedom to program that Richard Stallman values. OK, how many people can really take advantage of this? Well, I guess in that world if you have no programming skills you are a second-class citizen, unfit to do anything except delete the spam that fills your inbox.

  • by bemymonkey (1244086) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @04:09PM (#31718328)

    I went through the same transition, but by the time I'd outgrown my MZ-N1, many superior alternatives to the iPod had appeared, all with drag & drop music management, support for important file formats (lossless!) and better sound quality. In combination with Winamp and a well organized collection, well... if you know what you're doing, they're all iPod killers.

    For everyone else, there's iTunes ;)

    Oh, and now that Android is maturing, I've found that even now I'm still able to avoid Apple products... :)

  • My wife loves it. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by OldBaldGuy (734575) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @06:46PM (#31719378)
    It was a gift. She says i can look at it tomorrow, maybe...

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