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History Repeats Itself — Mac & the iPad 514

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the it's-all-just-a-matter-of-history-repeating dept.
Keith found an interesting story telling a bit about how Steve Jobs operates. It involves small teams of young engineers willing to work 90-hour weeks in total secrecy, and a complete willingness to throw away bad ideas without flowery language. The iPad is surprisingly similar to the Mac."
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History Repeats Itself — Mac & the iPad

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  • by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @09:37AM (#31909114) Homepage Journal

    I think Grossman gets it right in the last paragraph of his Time article [time.com].

  • by arcite (661011) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @09:41AM (#31909162)
    That the state of consumer technology has caught up to Steve's ambition. Could it be that we are on now finally able to realize the 'magical' devices that Steve has had knocking around in his head these past few decades? Perhaps. Or maybe Steve is just a really lucky guy. ---or he is just a genius.
  • Re:First Post? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bsDaemon (87307) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @09:45AM (#31909210)

    I, too, was kind of disappointed with what it turned out to be. Its definitely cooler than any of the e-readers on the market right now, but it enough to make me want to buy one. What I've seen/heard of the features to be expected in the MS Courier device, that looks to be more like what I was hoping the iPad would be like -- something more akin to a digital notebook rather than a giant iPod Touch. Hopefully I won't get disappointed a second time, but I'm not holding my breath.

  • by TheKidWho (705796) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @09:52AM (#31909306)

    Is Apple supposed to make it easy for you to do anything you want with the device?

    If you really want to run any program, just "jailbreak" it or sign up as a developer and you can install whatever app you please.

  • by WillAdams (45638) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @09:57AM (#31909374) Homepage

    For content creation:

      - an ePub authoring program (given Pages.app v1's execrable html export I'd like to see someone other than Apple create this)

      - AppleScript Studio --- let's take HyperCard to the next level and let's use computers as more than glorified memory typewriters

      - both of the above could be merged into a tool to create iTunes LP format files for eBooks w/ interactivity

      - ArtRage / Autodesk Sketchbook / Corel Painter (and a stylus)

      - FutureWave SmartSketch (the program now known as Flash was originally a vector drawing program written for Go Corporation's PenPoint) or some other vector drawing program suited for use w/ just a stylus

      - Infty Reader or some other sort of handwriting recognition software which encompasses not just multiple languages but also mathematical equations (naturally this too needs a stylus)

      - a free-form database / spreadsheet which can be queried in a graphical fashion and have formulas calculated from it, where they formulas are natural expressions --- something like Lotus Improv plus sBook5

    But above all, the option of a stylus --- we're no longer Pythagoras reduced to drawing figures in the sand w/ our fingers --- people are the tool using animal, let's provide the most natural possible tool for drawing, writing and calculating.

    William

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @10:08AM (#31909566)

    I dunno about the burnout part. You're assuming (at least I think you are) that the 90 hour weeks continue on in perpetuity. At my current job, we moved locations. Built everything and I do mean everything from the ground up. (I'm a network/security/voip guy by trade) Our data center had nothing in it. ACs, UPS, all the racks, the frigging floor needed paint, everything was done by 3 of us. Towards the end of the move, we worked in excess of 200 hours over the final 2 week period, and for several months leading up to that point we were averaging 12-14 hours days 6 days a week. After the move was completed and everything was running ok, we rotated off the clock for some well earned rest (paid comp time) for several weeks, and a very nice maxed out MacBook Pro for our efforts.

    A death march? Nah. Just the type of thing you do when you work for a small company and enjoy what you're doing.

    So I would take the other stance, but that's because I'm naive, as I'm sure someone will point out. During the cycle for this product, they work a butt-ton (not quite a metric ass-ton) of hours, but then receive some sort of compensation be it monetary or time off for their efforts. If they don't, then they have every right to sue the company since they're more than likely in Cupertino and California tends to frown on things like that.

  • iPad has it's niche (Score:4, Interesting)

    by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @10:20AM (#31909756) Journal

    You can knock it all you want, but there's a niche for the iPad. It's ideal for people like my wife. She likes knitting in her recliner while watching TV. Every once in a while, she will need to look up a certain stitch that she's not familiar with. So she has to put up knitting out of reach of the dogs (they like yarn too), leave the room and look it up on the computer. That means if I'm using the computer, I need to get up so she can poke around for a few minutes trying to find a good illustration or video demonstrating the stitch. In most instances not a big deal since I can usually stop what I'm working on, be it coding, editing video or paying bills & balancing the checkbook. Every once in a while it will be when I'm playing WoW and I'll be in a group, so it can be a pain in the neck because it inconveniences more than just me.

    In our situation, the iPad would be perfect for her. If she needs to look up a stitch, she could just set her yarn & needles in her lap and look the stitch up on the iPad. If there's something on the news and she wants to look it up, check the weather, check her mail, check her Facebook, etc., she doesn't need to go through the whole rigamarole of stowing her knitting and then switching user accounts on the computer, etc. It's not that she can't do these things on the computer in the other room, but it would be so much more convenient for her to be able to check it from where she's sitting.

  • by Bakkster (1529253) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `nam.retskkaB'> on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @10:25AM (#31909806)

    Which was exactly my point, and which is immoral on the part of Apple.

    Immoral, really? It makes it no longer a PC, that's all. Your alarm clock has a microcontroller on it as well, is it immoral for them to tell you how you can use it? Is it immoral that my microwave oven's warranty is voided if I replace the firmware?

    Its uses are intentionally limited for the sake of people who aren't geeks. If unrestricted access is a necessity for you, then just don't buy the damn thing! Or, you jailbreak it and accept the consequences of the voided warranty.

    There is nothing 'immoral' about building a device without general-purpose software access. Just because you think it is, or want it to be a PC, that doesn't make it wrong for Apple not to make it one.

  • Re:First Post? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Moryath (553296) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @10:25AM (#31909810)

    and a complete willingness to throw away bad ideas without flowery language.

    Uhm.. they didn't throw away the bad ideas. The phoneless iphone for people with congenital gigantism in their hands got sent to market.

  • by bsandersen (835481) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @10:58AM (#31910298) Homepage
    "You mean like a cult?" No. Like a start-up. There are engineers who thirst to make a very cool thing, something they can look back upon with pride and the knowledge that "I did that." It isn't about the money (though thinking about the potentially big payday helps keep you going when things get tough or weird); it is about the chance for that sense of accomplishment. I never had an opportunity to work on something as cool as the iPad. I wish I had. Most of us will work 40+ years and never have the sense of triumph that the iPad team now enjoys.
  • by StuartHankins (1020819) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @11:33AM (#31910956)
    To have success requires failure at some point -- you must have that experience or your success isn't complete. As a company, Apple picked themselves up and regrouped from failures, eventually releasing some stellar hits such as OS X, the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, and now the iPad. Don't forget along the way they picked up and helped a lot of other projects including CUPS.

    In many of these cases -- the Newton for example -- Apple was simply too far ahead of its time. It took decades for customers to understand why these products were needed and to be sophisticated enough to want them.

    There are other companies whose stock has been in doldrums for years, who haven't yet figured out that their business model can't continue forever and rely on upgrades instead of innovation for the majority of their income. Those other companies will be in for a rude surprise by the time the dust settles because they DON'T realize they're in trouble -- they believe they're succeeding so they can't fix the problem.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @03:08PM (#31914162)

    But it is not a simple device: it requires a desktop or laptop for maintenance and synchronization

    Actually not really. If you wanted, you could use the device without connecting to a computer (except for the initial connection to iTunes which is required).

    After all, you can buy books and apps and music on the device. Although you'd probably want to connect it to a computer some times to back up data, even that is not absolutely necessary, especially for someone without a lot of generated data.

    For instance, I can easily imagine giving one to a parent, and coming over with a laptop to do a backup once a month (or more).

    aspects of the machine are infuriatingly complex.

    Like what? Or are you thinking of something highly technical that no average user would want to do anyway.

    It's also pretty pricey

    $500 is not that pricey for a whole computer you don't have to maintain.

    The thing people really don't think to factor in is screen quality - they say they don't want to read books on LCD's, but a lot of that is because they try reading on super crappy netbook screens where viewing angle is crucial and where images look washed out or slightly oddly colored. If it's really going to be your main device don't skimp on screen resolution or quality in a small form factor!

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