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The iPad Questions Apple Won't Answer 671

snydeq writes "Apple's reticence to reveal details prior to a product's launch is legendary. But when Apple extends this silence beyond a product's unveiling, historically this has meant that the product cannot deliver the functionality that analysts and journalists are asking about. InfoWorld's Galen Gruman lists eight key questions for the iPad, about all of which Apple has kept silent. Can you save and transfer documents to the iPad? Does the iPad support Microsoft Exchange email? Does the iPad support VPN? Configuration management? 'I have no doubt the iPad will be compelling to some users. But I now have major concerns that it will fulfill the potential beyond being an iTunes delivery screen that I and other industry observers saw,' Gruman writes."
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The iPad Questions Apple Won't Answer

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  • Answers (Score:1, Insightful)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <> on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @06:24AM (#31070054) Journal

    Can you save and transfer documents to the iPad?

    Most likely.

    Does the iPad support Microsoft Exchange email?

    Not likely.

    Does the iPad support VPN and configuration management?

    Not likely.

    Can you use media services other than iTunes on the iPad?

    Uhm.. New to Apple's stuff? The answer is big NO!

    Can the iPad be used for videoconferencing?

    There is no camera.

    Will the iPad's internal storage be upgradable?

    There's different storage versions for a reason. Need more space? Buy the larger version (again, in case you have bought the smaller one)

    Will the iPad allow multiple apps to run simultaneously?


    Will Apple allow the use of Flash on the iPad?


    Seriously, Apple is worse than Microsoft in locking down things. The whole iPad is completely locked.

  • Re:Answers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @06:33AM (#31070092)

    Can you use media services other than iTunes on the iPad?

    Uhm.. New to Apple's stuff? The answer is big NO!

    Seriously, the answer to that question is so obvious it really didn't need to be asked. There are two reasons for the tight integration between iTunes and the iPod/iPhone, and "end-user convenience" isn't the most important one for Apple.

    Will Apple make it even easier for people to buy their music from a service other than iTMS? Why on Earth would that want to do that?

  • Re:Answers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by teslar ( 706653 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @06:37AM (#31070114)

    Does the iPad support VPN and configuration management?

    Not likely.

    Microsoft Exchange is supported on the iPad Nano (formerly known as iPod Touch), so I don't see why it shouldn't be supported on the big brother.

  • seat (Score:4, Insightful)

    by StripedCow ( 776465 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @06:41AM (#31070132)

    Sigh, when do people get it.

    With the iphone, ipod and ipad, you do not buy a full fledged computational platform... you only rent a seat in a theatre.

  • Re:Answers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @06:49AM (#31070176)

    Why on Earth would that want to do that?

    To sell more Ihardware.

  • Re:Just pollin' (Score:5, Insightful)

    by that this is not und ( 1026860 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @06:55AM (#31070204)

    It is to serve as a locked-down platform for sales of books, magazines, videos. Entertainment content.

    Apple used to be a company that was all about content creation. Now, with the Adobe customers, etc. having mostly migrated to Windows, Apple is rapidly becoming a company that produces only content delivery hardware.

    You know. Shiney plastic stuff.

  • Re:Answers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by yivi ( 236776 ) <yivi@muta[ ].me ['ted' in gap]> on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @06:56AM (#31070214) Homepage

    Can you save and transfer documents to the iPad?

    Most likely.

    More than "most likely". It's been said that the iPad has a "partition" that will be visible as removable storage from the computer, and accessible to all iPad applications.

    Does the iPad support Microsoft Exchange email?

    Not likely.

    Why no? iPhone/iPod Touch support it, and this is still iPhone OS.

    Does the iPad support VPN and configuration management?

    Not likely.

    Same as the last one.

    Can the iPad be used for videoconferencing?

    There is no camera.

    Has the people making these questions read/heard anything at all about the iPad? I mean, there are unanswered questions, but most of the questions of the list only made sense a couple weeks ago... before the keynote.


  • by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @06:57AM (#31070222) Homepage Journal
    Purpose of the ipad:
    • Play video files on a comfortable screen while I'm doing cardio at the gym.
    • Browse web in non-sitting positions.
    • Read digital books.
    • Play casual games on comfortable-sized touch screen.

    The people like me who will buy the iPad are not looking for a device that is a computer. They're looking for a media access device that doesn't carry the drawbacks of a computer. If you still can't comprehend the iPad, you need to look at the Kindle DX and complain about how little that does and it's just ten bucks less than an iPad.


  • Re:Just pollin' (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BlackCreek ( 1004083 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @07:02AM (#31070244)

    I have a e-reader (Hanlin v3) which I use and like a lot.

    I won't go into the merits of e-books and e-readers, they are not for everyone. But as a recent research shows there is a target market that loves it []. Many e-readers I've read reviews about are great but all are still seriously lacking (as reading devices). So most users I know of would like to have something even better to use for **reading**.

    But the ipad thing has this LCD screen of sorts, I don't doubt many Steve Jobs fans will buy into the hype, and try to replace e-readers with the ipad, but I do doubt that this ipad can be used as comfortably for actual reading. What I do hope for, is that this will get other companies to produce better dedicated e-ink readers. I know I can use one.

  • Re:Just pollin' (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @07:03AM (#31070252)

    Irrelevant questions.

    Here's how it works: spend fortune on marketing, develop cliché being for hip people, develop massive hype, make customers forget they don't need your products.

    It's all about marketing and not about products, features and usefulness. Their marketing is so successful they turned a brand into a religion. You don't question faith, you invest in it.

  • strawman article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @07:03AM (#31070256) Homepage Journal
    Can the iPad display 8 questions in HTML without having to spread them across 6 pages festooned with advertisements? Perhaps the object of the author's criticism is a more efficient content delivery platform than his employer's website.

  • Re:Real Answers (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <> on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @07:08AM (#31070270) Journal

    Uhm.. New to Apple's stuff? The answer is big NO!

    How do you get that? There are plenty of media services/apps (Rhapsody, Pandora, etc.) you can use on the iPhone OS that are not connected to Apple. The author of the article complains there's no Netflix app - but how is that Apple's fault? Netflix is free to make such an app if they choose. The only issue is the inability to play in the background - something that primarily affects music apps.

    How it has been before is that Apple has disallowed software that "duplicates features of existing software". I would see any competitor to iTunes being one.

  • Re:Just pollin' (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @07:17AM (#31070306)

    Not a lot of people currently own e-book readers, but it's a rapidly growing market, so that can be considered one of the existing markets the iPad is entering. I think that was actually true with the iPod too: there was an existing portable MP3-player market, but it was much smaller. Stuff like the Creative NOMAD never really caught on among the non-techie public the way the iPod did.

    In a lot of ways I think Apple is hoping to basically repeat the iPod's success, by getting in to a market that is almost on the cusp of being established but still a bit immature, and pushing it to mainstream success, in the process getting themselves into a dominant market position. We'll see, I suppose.

  • Re:seat (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jeffehobbs ( 419930 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @07:19AM (#31070322) Homepage

    That is ok-- choice is good, and it's not a zero-sum game. Put another way: Some people do not want to install the projector, screen, soundsystem and seats of a home theater. Some people just want to watch a freakin' movie.

  • Re:Answers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @07:23AM (#31070336)

    If you were paying attention value wise the ipad is economically sound. it is about half of what other vendors where thinking about. Asus was planning on something similar and to under cut the "ipad" prices right up until the announced $499 price. which was half of what they expected.

    all that said I wait for version 2 of apple products, and I need more configuration in the pad I am looking for. However apple has the only mutli-touch gesture interface at the moment. No other OS uses such an interface so completely. It is why windows 7 devices will fail at attracting customers. windows 7 will be touch enabled, but not designed for touch interface. (scrolling menus is bad MSFT). and ChromeOS, like andriod will probably only offer limited support for multi-touch leading to an inconsistent interface.

  • Re:seat (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <{richardprice} {at} {}> on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @07:30AM (#31070360)
    What makes you think that the 'people' haven't already 'got it' and simply don't care? You do realise that to a lot of people, having ultimate control over something isn't an issue - I myself own an iPhone, and I have lots of apps on it. I am a software developer by trade, and have several publicly available private projects - but the perceived lack of 'openness' of the iPhone doesn't bother me in the slightest as its a tool that functions as well as I need it to. I made a choice when I bought into it.
  • Re:Just pollin' (Score:4, Insightful)

    by immaterial ( 1520413 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @07:33AM (#31070368)

    Apple is rapidly becoming a company that produces only content delivery hardware.

    Shit! They cancelled their "Macintosh" products?
    Oh wait, I just checked their website and they all still seem to be there. It appears that Apple added some media-consumption devices to their lineup in the past decade or so, but their full-fledged-computer business also still seems to be going strong - and 90% of that product line is made of metal, not plastic. You had me worried there for a second!

  • Re:Just pollin' (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vertigoCiel ( 1070374 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @07:33AM (#31070372)

    It's not for you. It's for your Mom.

    No filesystem, locked down OS, sandboxed apps = impossible for the average user to screw up.

    The touch UI is stupid simple. My Mom still struggles with computers since she has trouble remembering UI conventions. I don't see that being a big problem with this device.

    People need to stop comparing this to netbooks & other computers. It's a web appliance for people who don't want computers.

  • by aclarke ( 307017 ) <spam&clarke,ca> on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @07:39AM (#31070402) Homepage
    It sounds to me a bit like the author of that article is a little miffed that he's been disintermediated. He mentioned several times about how Apple PR hasn't gotten back to him on this or that, therefore these features must be absent. He also mentions how Apple views the press as an extension of their marketing arm.

    It all smells a little like sour grapes to me. Boo hoo Apple won't tell *ME*, a member of the PRESS, things that I want to know! Therefore they must be absent! Yeah, that'll shame Apple into talking to you. Way to push them around.

    My own take, which is just about as informed as the writer's, is that the iPad will include the same Microsoft Exchange, VPN, multitasking, document saving & transferring, etc. etc. capabilities as the iPhone or iPod Touch. And why not? It's the same OS? The only place they're likely to differ is if the iPad doesn't include a camera.

    I can't understand why Apple would REMOVE VPN functionality from the iPad when it's there already. I suppose they might ship without Exchange support as it's a new mail client, but if that is the case I'll expect it in a forthcoming new version, just like what happened with the original iPhone.
  • Re:seat (Score:3, Insightful)

    by _4rp4n3t ( 1617415 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @07:41AM (#31070408)
    Sure, the problem being that you are renting a seat but paying enough to buy the cinema outright!
  • Re:Answers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DiamondGeezer ( 872237 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @07:46AM (#31070436) Homepage
    Never question the commitment of Apple fanbois to do whatever Steve Jobs tells them to do.
  • by nicknamenotavailable ( 1730990 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @07:46AM (#31070442)

    Apple excels at creating beauty, in both hardware and software (BTW, I'm using an Imac right now). This iPad is no exception.
    My only question is: Will I be able to put my own Operating System on it?

    The old G3,G4,G5 macs were open enough so that I could load my own OS on them (sometimes BSD, sometimes Linux).
    The same goes with the current Intel macs.
    While I sometimes marvel at the beauty of OS X and how Apple has created a user friendly UNIX, I want more freedom.

    Unless Apple is open enough to let us (the minority) play and tinker with the internals so that we can install an OS that
    might be visually inferior(to most) but is philosophically superior, unless Apple can allow us to do this - I will never buy one.

    I will patiently wait until the other players create a tablet that will run x86.

    All the other stuff in the article is not much use to me, all I need is make; make install.

  • Re:Answers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dimeglio ( 456244 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @07:56AM (#31070490)

    Apple seems to have unleashed a product without a specific market in mind - at least not entirely revealed - otherwise those questions would not apply. No more than asking if my dishwasher has Wi-Fi. Apple believes a new market will suddenly appear for this product and magically make its company more valuable. So far this is not proving to be the case but we should not better the extent of the failure/success once the launch occurs.

  • Re:Real Answers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xest ( 935314 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @07:59AM (#31070498)

    "You're right about this one. Why was this even a question to begin with?"

    Because 64gb isn't enough for everybody.

    Particularly on a device which I'd imagine many people would want to use for watching movies.

    The disk space is really quite a severe limitation of the device for many people.

  • by MrHanky ( 141717 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @08:06AM (#31070540) Homepage Journal

    Wrong. The Ipad isn't built for Apple's customers, it's built for Apple.

    When you say it "doesn't carry the drawbacks of a computer", you're simply being dishonest: it would cost nothing in user experience to allow multitasking or free installation of software. A full OS X with the iPhone GUI would be fantastic, and relatively easily accomplishable. It would come with no extra draw-backs for the user whatsoever. And you know this perfectly well.

    But this would cost Apple a lot, in that a user with choice wouldn't be tied to iTunes. The question is: why are you being dishonest? Apple probably doesn't pay you a cent for your work as a freelance advertising agent. And why is this bullshit so prevalent among Apple fanboys? There's a reason why you guys are called a cult: you are one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @08:35AM (#31070706)



  • Re:Real Answers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 10Ghz ( 453478 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @08:36AM (#31070710)

    "You're right about this one. Why was this even a question to begin with?"

    Because 64gb isn't enough for everybody.

    Particularly on a device which I'd imagine many people would want to use for watching movies.

    You can store quite a lot of movies in 64GB. If one movie takes about 2GB, you can have about 30 movies with you. Or is this the case that the user needs to have every single movie he owns with him all the time? We had this same discussion when Apple started moving from HD-based iPods to flash-based iPods, and capacities went down. And some people whined because their entire library could no longer fit the device. Well, it doesn't seem that the move to smaller capacities has harmed Apple much. People complained, but they adapted and life went on. And people have grown accusotmed to carrying handful of movies with them on their iPhones/touches, so it's not like the iPad is going to be a step back when it comes to capacity (unlike how it was with iPod touch vs. iPod classic).

  • by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @08:49AM (#31070782) Homepage

    This is an appliance, not a full-blown computer (Apple does sell those too, you know). Nor is it half as incapable of things as you claimed.

    There's 2 way to handle an appliance :
    "It's an appliance. It's simply designed so you take it on your lap while laying on the couch for some web browsing and music listening... "

    Way 1: Everyone else's way : "...thus we have optimised the device and the software for these uses. Well, if you really want, feel free to hack the device, but don't expect much out of it. Now if you really want, here's your copy of the Android/WebOS/etc. SDK. Oh, and if you want to hack the device, put it into admin mode. For that, just type the konami code on any out-of-the-box device".

    Way 2: Apple's way : "...thus we decide exactly what has a right to go on this device and what doesn't. We're going through great lengths just to be sure that you'll never be able to do or get 3rd party apps or hardware which do anything which wasn't Apple-approved. We have a special DRM in the device just to be sure that only Apple-approved stuff goes into it (and beware, you might be violating DCMA when trying to circumvent it). If your ready to register and pay, there's something which might look like an SDK -but beware, half of the functionality is intentionally missing. And if your product doesn't please His Majesty Steve Jobs, it will be removed on whim from the App Store, then single point from which users are allowed to get their stuff. Now love us : Our gadgets are shinier, prettier and cooler as the competition".

  • Re:Just pollin' (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 10Ghz ( 453478 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:05AM (#31070892)

    That's what I've been asking. What is it for? Seems like a simple enough question, but I see no answers.

    You obviously haven't been looking hard. It's for

    - websurfing
    - email
    - movies
    - photos
    - gaming
    - music
    - all those zillion apps that will be written for it

    Now you are probably going to say "I can do those on a laptop/iPod touch, how exactly is iPad different?"... And that's a fair question which I'll try to answer now:

    iPad is obviously quite different from a laptop. The UI is totally different and a lot more direct. It's smaller, has longer battery-life and is a lot simpler to use. What would it been like if Stepehen Colbert had whipped out a netbook as opposed to an iPad at the Grammys? Could you see someone using a netbook (or any other netbook) for something like that? Me neither. It would be awkward and clumsy.

    And I bet that iPad is better at many key things than a laptop is. Things like watching movies or surfing the web. iPod touch is already my websurfer of choice, and iPad would be even better.

    And the thing iPad has that a laptop does not have is simplicity. You can't hide one app-window behind another app-window. You do not have to worry about which app has focus when you try using keyboard-shortcuts. YOu do not have to worry which app is slowing the system down. You just have one app right in front of you. It's easy and it's simple. Some might find that too simple and too limiting, but fact remains that iPad offers simplicity and ease of use that does not exist in a laptop running traditional OS. And there are lots of people who will find that appealing. People want to do things with their computers, they shouldn't have to worry about cleaning up the filesystem or other crap like that.

    Well, what about iPod touch/iPhone? It should be quite obvious that iPad offers possibilities that simply do not exist on those devices. Like iWork. Running an app like that is simply impossible on an iPhone. You could view a document, but editing a document would be very hard indeed. On the iPad it's perfectly doable. And that's just one example. The level of sophistication in the apps is simply a lot better on the iPad-apps than what is possible on the iPhone-apps. The big screen really changes things.

    I bet that the device Apple introduced is just the tip of the iceberg. The key is the software. When we start getting news of iPad-apps that would simply not be possible on the iPhone, it will start making more and more sense. I mean stuff like this: []

    We can't simply think that "I can do XXXX on my laptop, wo why would I want an iPad?", we need to think more about HOW we do those things. In theory I could surf the web with my Nokia-phone, so someone could say that iPhone has no advantage over Nokia when it comes to mobile websurfing. But anyone with any experience with websurfing on the two would say that Nokia is next to useless for web-browsing, whereas iPhone is perfectly capable websurfer.

    With the iPad we are still stuck at the point where we stare at paper-specs and use them to determine the value and use of the device.

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:37AM (#31071158) Homepage Journal

    Nearly all Apple gear can be classified as "optional" in life and more often it is simply extravagant. PCs and (I can't believe I am saying this) and Windows is "necessary" in contrast.

    I'll bite (and whoever modded this troll up should get his head checked).

    What, pray tell, is the difference between one set of Intel CPU, Nvidia graphics card, some hard disk, display, etc. and the other set of practically the same things, with a different logo on top?

    A PC is no more "necessary" in any sense of the word supported by a dictionary than a Mac is. Depending on your likes and environment, one or the other may be preferable for the tasks at hand, but "necessary" vs. "optional"? That's a strange world you are living in.

    Apple is built around some pretty interesting ideas and concepts, but the moment they place limits on things, they immediately stop their growth and development.

    Those "pretty interesting ideas" have turned Apple into one of the largest technology companies on the continent. I wonder who you are to pass judgement on that, do you even have 1% of the same success?

    Not likely, because you are so far off the mark, you've probably hit the target of some other shooting range. See, Apple isn't built around "pretty interesting ideas". It is built around one concept - "design for the user". Almost all of those "limits" you and I and all the other geeks and nerds spot are most welcome by almost all non-techie customers. There is a tyranny in too much choice and options and configurability. And there are huge advantages in consistency and limitations in design. Ever asked yourself why no car manufacturer gives you the option to choose betwen 20 different steering wheel designs, 5 ways the doors could open and 200 different layouts of the console?

    I wish Apple would change its ways before the larger consuming public sees Apple for what it is. It's not "exclusive" any more -- it's just limited.

    Apple is extremely exclusive. And will remain as long as windos and Linux put the desires of the developers before those of the users (each in their own ways) and Nokia et al purchase the user-interface design of their phones at firesales.

  • Re:Real Answers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by delinear ( 991444 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:45AM (#31071256)

    iPod touch is very succesfull product, and iPad is order of magnitude more capable than the touch is.

    The mistake people are doing is staring at the hardware-specs, and proclaiming the iPad as "nothing but oversized iPod touch", when the key thing is the software. You can do things on the Ipad that would simply not be possible on the iPod touch.

    You keep repeating this claim, but aside from having a larger screen real estate (which is hardware rather than software anyway), can you tell us just exactly what you can do with the iPad that you can't do on an iPod that justifies the claim "order of magnitude more capable"? As far as I can see, there's very little difference beyond the hardware. WikiAnswers [] claims the difference is that you can "browse the web and read ebooks" - I haven't used an iPod but I assumed you could already do those things, my GF can certainly do both on her iPhone and I read that the iPad uses the same OS and will likely run all the same apps.

    It's also a massive strawman to say the iPod was successful and to extrapolate from that that because the iPad is a more "capable" version of the iPod that it will also be successful. Their key purpose is largely different. The iPod is a portable music player primarily and is priced much cheaper than the iPad. Making a bigger, more expensive version of it doesn't guarantee success as you lose all of the advantages of the small form factor, nobody's going to be at the gymn jogging with their iPad, or carrying it on the bus. That doesn't mean it won't be successful within its own market, I just think that market will be a very niche one, you can't even begin to compare it to the iPod in terms of potential customers.

    It's no surprise that the people who complain about the iPad are people who haven't used one. The ones that have used one, seem to have an opposite opinion. And that's because you can complain about the specs even if you just saw them listed on a piece of paper, but in order to have an opinion regarding the software and actual use of the device, you have to actually USE the device, as opposed to stare at a bunch of specs in a website.

    You may be right here, I can't say having not used one but I can say two things. Firstly there are as many people singing the praises of the iPad as there are people complaining, and the vast majority of both sections haven't had a chance to use one, the way you word it you make it sound like everyone's a non-believer until the second they put their hands on the device and go through a conversion of faith. Secondly, call me cynical but I'll wait until there are more of these in the wild before I listen to opinion - I have no way of knowing if the devices have been sent to reviewers more likely to give favourable reviews, or if other incentives have been offered to ensure favourable reviews, and for that reason I'll wait until I see the opinions of real end-users rather than trusting to these very early overviews (and the fact is, nobody's yet had a chance to spend any time living with the device, it's only after using it for a few weeks that you'll get a real view of what it's like).

    If it's a lot more than an oversized iPod Touch, then it's also a lot less, because you lose functionality as well as gain by the form factor switch.

  • Re:Real Answers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheGreek ( 2403 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @09:54AM (#31071336)

    As for the Exchange support you claim that Nano has, it requires that Exchange is reconfigured with web support unless it already is, and alternative authentication to NTLM -- good luck convincing your Fortune 500 company to do that because your iPad doesn't work.

    Maybe your Exchange administrators have a good reason for not allowing OMA (e.g., corporate security policy). Maybe they don't (e.g., fear of the unknown). Regardless, your beef should be with your Exchange administrators and not with Apple. Microsoft's Exchange team wants MAPI to go away, but the Outlook team is (understandably) scared of what that might mean for them.

  • by Theovon ( 109752 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:01AM (#31071412)

    Plenty of good arguments have been made about Apple wanting to keep tight control over their walled garden, those being the reasons for some missing features.

    But keep in mind that this is also the first-generation of this product line. Trying to cram too many features in all at once is a recipe for disaster. It's important for engineers to set reasonable goals to strive for. Incremental development is easier to develop and most importantly easier to debug.

    If Apple had tried to pack in the 10000 additional features people are demanding, the iPad would not have been out for a few more years. Instead, Apple has gotten a product to market. And plenty of people will buy it. Revenue can be reinvested into developing the second and third generation products. Just as recent flash-based iPods are more sophisticated and powerful than the very first ones based on mechanical hard drives, later generations of the iPad will be more capable and more elegant.

    Perhaps in 5 or 10 years a later generation iPad will be appealing to more of us geeks. Perhaps not. I think MY next Apple purchase will be a 17" MacBook Pro. Because what I need is more like a desktop system I can carry around. YMMV.

  • by LihTox ( 754597 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:04AM (#31071444)

    Wow, talk about having a stick up one's butt.

  • by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:04AM (#31071448) Journal

    This is an appliance, not a full-blown computer

    Ah yes, this card again. It's been commonly used since the hype about the ipad started circulating. It's brilliant - all of a sudden Apple get to be exempt from all the criticisms people make of other companies. By that logic, can we exempt Microsoft by saying Windows is just meant for "appliances"?

    Yes, you're right then, it's an appliance. That's why we're criticising it. When we're criticising it for not being open etc, it's the same thing as criticising it for being a mere "appliance". Changing the words doesn't defend the criticisms.

    Now sure yes, we don't criticise appliances like microwaves or fridge freezers. But last time I looked, we didn't cover those on Slashdot.

    Is this News for Nerds, or Appliance Rumours For Random Consumer?

    If multitasking ever comes about

    Feel free to join us in 1985 anytime soon...

  • by nscheffey ( 1158691 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:12AM (#31071566)

    A full OS X with the iPhone GUI would be fantastic, and relatively easily accomplishable.

    You've never designed any software have you?

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:13AM (#31071572) Homepage

    Dragging and dropping files onto a fileshare is actually a whole lot easier to mess with than iTunes.

    The iPad is still a "tethered device". So in it's current condition, it will never be independently useful. You will always need a Windows PC running iTunes in order to deal with it. Mark my words. An ipad that's crippled and needs a copy of iTunes will nearly always be shadowed by a cheaper Windows machine that does more.

    THAT is the value of the thing running a full copy of MacOS.

    This isn't about "Apple gear". This is about a crippled appliance.

  • by andydread ( 758754 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:24AM (#31071684)
    Simple way to fix this problem? Give the user a choice when they turn the bloody thing on. Here is how i envision it would work. When u boot up, OS-X starts up then loads the IPhoneOS as an app or virtualized automatically. When you want to go to FULL OS mode you simple close the IPhoneOS app. Then you're back at a full OS-X desktop. I am sure Apple can do this in an elegant way. Or just use some kind of bootcamp technology to faciltate both OSes on the thing They can even sell this as an option to power users. That way grandma/grandpa doesn't need OS-X so they get the plain IPhoneOS version and I can get the OSX+IPhoneOS version at an additional cost. This is not that hard for a company like Apple. They really dropped the ball here.
  • Gah, my ears. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by _4rp4n3t ( 1617415 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:30AM (#31071750)
    There's been a lot of good discussion here about the device, (it's capabilities, it's pricing), the pros and cons of open versus closed hardware at a given price point, market need, etc etc. I'd guess a good majority of /. readers are well enough informed about the iPad to be able (to a greater or lesser degree) to make a fairly informed choice about whether the product is suitable for them or not.

    The thing that gets my goat though, is that due to the Jobs effect, and the massive marketing might of Apple, a vast number of poor schmos will end up owning one of these devices without really knowing why.

    'So what', I hear you cry; 'caveat emptor'!

    The problem is, that I'm gonna have to listen to these clueless boguns banging on about their shitty iPads for years...

  • the only question (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mastril ( 703650 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:43AM (#31071868)
    the only question for me is: why would anyone develop a need to have this thing. it does nothing other, cheaper tools won't do better. it is a fancy overhyped gadget for the distinguished gentleman who already has everything ... but common sense.
  • Re:Just pollin' (Score:3, Insightful)

    by teh kurisu ( 701097 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @10:48AM (#31071928) Homepage

    If my parents hadn't already bought my grandparents a Vista laptop a while back, I would be recommending one of these to them. It does everything that they do with said laptop, it's simple to use, and there's nothing that can really go wrong.

    Apple have released a toaster and everyone (myself included) is complaining that it's not a pressure cooker.

  • Re:Answers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by goose-incarnated ( 1145029 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @11:01AM (#31072070) Journal

    Can you save and transfer documents to the iPad?

    Most likely.

    Does the iPad support Microsoft Exchange email?

    Not likely.

    The iPhone supports Microsoft Exchange mail, it would be strange for Apple to remove this feature when it is already present and works well for me.

    Does the iPad support VPN and configuration management?

    Not likely.

    It is running very similar software to the iPhone, which provides this capability. Configuration management may need more tweaks to support iWork but not much more. VPN is already present in the iPhone OS, there is no reason not to carry this across.

    Can the iPad be used for videoconferencing?

    There is no camera.

    There is a space for a camera that fits the camera in the MacBook Pro - this has been shown in the spares delivered to repair shops. This will probably arrive in version 2, something new to buy for all the early adopters. (Disclaimer, I bought the iPhone 2G and then the 3G and was thinking about the 3GS until the iPad arrived ;-)

    It's not there right now but you can't prove it won't be there eventually
    Dunno - perhaps I'll wait and see if my HTC eventually gets released with a larger touchscreen and tablet software instead of waiting to see if the iPad gets released with all the features I want.
    Boils down to the same thing in either case :-)

  • by nscheffey ( 1158691 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @11:12AM (#31072212)
    What you are missing is that the hardest part is redesigning the interface of the OS for touch based input. This is what Microsoft never did and it's why Windows tablet PCs have always sucked.
  • Re:Answers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <> on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @11:23AM (#31072362)

    I didn't pay a fee. I just tethered it to my laptop and connected.

    Oh sorry, you meant on AT&T. Whose fault is that again? Apple's?

  • Re:seat (Score:3, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @11:23AM (#31072368)

    Sure, the problem being that you are renting a seat but paying enough to buy the cinema outright!

    Are we trying to imply that the iPad is expensive? If we are, I think you'll have a hard time convincing anyone who's paying attention, given that other manufacturers are scrambling to deal with the fact that the iPad price was about half what everyone expected it to be...

  • Re:Just pollin' (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wfolta ( 603698 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @11:57AM (#31072862)

    The short answer is that there are two markets for the iPad.

    First, there are folks like my parents. They have never really gotten into computers, and simply want to accomplish a few simple tasks in much the same way they would use a VCR, a microwave oven, or a car. Put an iPad dock in their living room and the iPad can sit there displaying photos like one of those electronic frames. Dad can grab it and take it into the Den to browse the web and read his newspaper. Mom could grab it and take it into the dining room and plunk it on a keyboard dock and can check email, etc. It just works. There are no CD's to install, no registration codes to remember, no visible OS to maintain.

    Second, folks like me. I have a laptop and it's great: I have a dozen programming languages on it, email, multiple web browsers, even multiple OS's (via Virtualbox). But I have to interface with it in the classical computer posture: sitting in front of a screen, using a keyboard and fine-grained pointer, with a desktop OS and desktop GUI, with the machine held in the standard position (keyboard at bottom, screen in landscape orientation). But there are times when I want to interface with the machine more like a calendar, book, magazine, or piece of note paper, and the iPad allows this.

    I also have an iPhone and like it a lot, but the screen is so small that I can only ever interact with bits and pieces of my data. I can't even see an entire day's activities at once. The iPad will let me see all of my data at once. The iPad will let me share information with someone else, much as I do in the physical world. Using a laptop/netbook is a lot like sharing a pair of binoculars, not like sharing photos or drawing on a piece of paper. The iPad can be used at any orientation, and consequently it is viewable from any orientation, and hence can be shared naturally.

    When you say that a netbook is "much more capable", you have to consider "for what?". How you interface with it? No, you interface with it as a desktop, hands on a keyboard, screen oriented properly, not really shareable with anyone else -- especially with the cheaper, low-viewing-angle screens on netbooks. Writing a Python program or a thesis for school? Yep, netbook's better. Browsing through a boatload of research documents (say, using the unbelievable Papers app)? The iPad will win on that one. Sharing photos with a friend, watching a movie while relaxing, reading a magazine? The netbook can certainly do it, but only as a tiny desktop rather than as something like a photo or magazine.


  • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @12:18PM (#31073186) Journal

    Way 1: My computer is broken again, got another virus. Can you fix it for me or should I buy another one?

    Way 2: It just works.

    I realize that you're not gonna get this concept, but most people want stuff to just work, and not have to fiddle with it to keep it running right.

    And while you and I are both Geeks, and like to play with stuff, and do whatever the heck we want to something, people like my wife just want the damn thing to play music or do whatever it supposed to do.

    I have email, gTalk, gVoice, Facebook, Web, GPS etc etc on my Blackberry. My wife thinks that it is stupid. She has a basic, plain as vanilla cell. She uses it to make calls, and doesn't want it to do anything else.

    Most people are like that. Some want more, some want less. It is called choice, and just because someone chooses something you wouldn't doesn't mean it is a wrong choice, just different.

  • Re:Real Answers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dfghjk ( 711126 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @12:28PM (#31073334)

    "iPad is order of magnitude more capable than the touch is."

    You mean for every capability of the iPod touch, the iPad has ten?

    "The mistake people are doing is staring at the hardware-specs, and proclaiming the iPad as "nothing but oversized iPod touch", when the key thing is the software."

    Which, for the most part, is the same.

    "It's no surprise that the people who complain about the iPad are people who haven't used one."

    The ones who praise it haven't used one either. The ones who've used one are Apple employees and paid shills.

    I've used an iPhone, I know what an iPad will be like.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @12:31PM (#31073400)

    Will the iPad comfortably fit up my ass, like my iPhone and iPod


    This may be an insurmountable problem for many Apple customers.

    Frankly, I see this being far more a problem for those doubting the usefulness and success of the iPad, what with their head already occupying the space in question.

    You'd think they would have withdrawn after the success of the iPod, followed by the success of the iPhone...

  • Re:seat (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MrMickS ( 568778 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @01:01PM (#31073960) Homepage Journal

    Sigh, when do people get it.

    That's the only relevant part of your post. However we are talking about different things. What you, and the majority of people posting here, don't get is that people want a simple interface. They want fewer choices. They want to be able to make simple decisions of what to do.

    I have a TV. It has HDMI, it has component, it has VGA, it has SCART. I have cable STB which can output three of these. Now I know to use HDMI, but that's because I'm into technology. Not everyone knows, they have all of these different connectors, which is the best to use?

    I have a PC laptop. It has serial, a mouse connector, and USB. What type of mouse should I buy to connect to it? More complicated questions for anyone that doesn't have a good grasp on technology.

    What the geeks here don't get is that choice can be confusing. A vast array of different choices is a barrier to a lot of people. It challenges them to pick the right one when they don't have the requisite knowledge to make an informed choice. You can argue that they should get that knowledge but that's both elitist and unnecessary. As technologists it should be our aim to make technology more accessible not less. Apple get this, slashdot by and large doesn't.

  • Re:Just pollin' (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Raffaello ( 230287 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @01:09PM (#31074092)

    she remembers those tricks much better than where her files magically hide on her netbook.

    This bit is key, and it's the paradigm shift few are seeing here.

    The shift is from document centric computing to task centric computing.
    Document centric computing got its start on command line interface machines as "files."
    It was copied over unthinkingly to the first WIMP machines via the desktop and GUI folder concept.
    Task centric computing has users do tasks via apps, each of which stores its associated data
    however the app developer sees fit. The user is blissfully unaware of where or how the data is stored.

    This is the part that surprises most /. readers:

    For the overwhelming majority of users,
    not knowing or having to know where data is stored is a huge improvement.

    This is why old timers and tech geeks will be late to the party. Apple have already moved on.
    For the vast majority of users, the future is a task-centric, cloud computing world,
    and it will make their computing lives much simpler and easier.

  • Re:Real Answers (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @01:12PM (#31074130)

    There are things you can do on an iPod Touch, if you really try hard, that are hard. On
    a larger iPad with its virtual keyboard, they will presumably not be so hard.

    For example, you can browse the web on your iPod. But the results are a bit hard to read,
    because you can't see the entire page at once, just a corner or a bit at a time. You have
    to scroll down and sideways to read the entire front page of the New York Times. On the
    iPad, that's not the case. You see the entire page at one go.

    And take typing in a url. On the iPod, you certainly can do so, but it's a bit of a struggle
    to get it just right, because you have to touch the letters one at a time, and if there is
    a number in there too, you have to change to the alternate characters and then back again, and
    capitals are extra effort, and it's doable.

    But with the iPad's almost regular sized keyboard, albeit virtual, it's a more normal
    experience. So if you own an iPod, you see the iPad and think, wow, that solves all my
    little issues. And you know it without even trying it out, that the concept is perfect.

  • Re:Real Answers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ivan256 ( 17499 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @01:16PM (#31074202)

    I'm struggling to see why the iPad has any potential to be a popular product if its going to be so limited.

    Go look at the Kindle DX. It's been flying off the "shelves" at Amazon.

    It's bigger, the same thickness, the same price, the same weight, has less storage, is similarly non-expandable, and can't play video. Sure... it has e-Ink for a display... But really, why would you buy a Kindle DX when you can have an iPad for the same price? (The "free" wireless isn't a good reason. It's not really free when you dig in. Free wireless only if you're accessing paid content, essentially. I'd rather have the WiFi, personally.)

    Now, I'm not sure why anybody would want a Kindle... But people have been buying them. And those type of people will be buying the iPad instead.

  • Re:Answers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by toadlife ( 301863 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @01:19PM (#31074254) Journal

    What is it supposed to be?

    A giant iPod touch with an E-Reader platform built in.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @01:20PM (#31074264)

    When you say it "doesn't carry the drawbacks of a computer," you're simply being dishonest: it would cost nothing in user experience to allow multitasking or free installation of software.

    Gee, I guess that why Windows and Linux are both so user friendly and require so little tech support compared to the iPhone and iPod Touch.

    You people amaze me. Three years the iPhone has been out there and you still don't get why Apple doesn't allow free installation of software. It's not merely about profit, it's about security. Apple has set itself up as a software install bottleneck because the iPhone is running a near-full version of MacOS X, which means that moron 14-year old's could write malware for it. If one virus got loose on the iPhone ecosystem and disabled all of those phones, what do you think would happen to Apple's iPhone sales? Nobody is going to buy and use a smartphone that is routinely riddled with viruses, worms, and every other form of malware. That's why Apple requires developer to submit their code for review before it goes live on the App Store; that's why Apple doesn't allow apps that permit users to write their own executable code; and that's why Apple put a kill switch in the iPhone OS--so Steve Jobs could nuke a virus across the entire iPhone ecosystem if one ever did manage to through all of those other security layers.

    And given that I might need to use an iPhone to call 911 someday, I'm glad that Steve Jobs has all that security in place and didn't bend to the whims of loudmouthed Stallman disciples who insist they should be able to hack their iPhone software any which way they please. Because when the moment comes that I dial 911, the last thing I want to see is a screen pop up that says "U bin pwned noob!" I bet that Haitian earthquake victim who was able to use his iPhone to lead rescuers to his position is mighty glad that it "just worked" when he desperately needed it to. So suck it up and deal with the fact that vastly more people consider their iPhone an indispensable tool that needs to work 99.999% of the time than as a geek toy best used for cobbling together handheld Beowulf clusters to earn bragging rights on Slashdot.

    A full OS X with the iPhone GUI would be fantastic and relatively easily accomplishable. It would come with no extra drawbacks for the user whatsoever.

    First, the current iPhone OS is a near-full MacOS X with an iPhone GUI. The missing OS chunks are those that aren't useful for a handheld device with a 3" screen. Second, we know exactly jack about how Apple might be planning to fork the iPhone OS for the iPad to allow for additional features useful on a device with a 10" screen and a more powerful CPU. Third, the device won't even hit the market for another six weeks and it's entirely possible that they might add a few nifty features to it in that time that Jobs didn't demo last month. Fourth, all of these criticisms are stemming from that one 90-minute demo that Steve Jobs & co. gave of iPad beta version .095, wherein they showed off only the features most likely to appeal to the widest audience.

    Not one person in this thread slamming the iPad has laid hands on one. What say all of you wait until March, then go to an Apple Store and actually play with an iPad before you deign to tell us how Apple should reengineer the device according to your own personal specs? Or better yet, if you know so well what it takes to build a tablet computer that will the masses would just die for (noting that Microsoft and many other companies have failed over the last decade despite multiple attempts) why don't you build one yourself and put it out there for the rest of us to tear apart?

  • Re:Real Answers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DinDaddy ( 1168147 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @01:32PM (#31074432)

    So these iPad dwarving devices are selling like gangbusters I suppose?

    No? Let me guess. That's because they don't have Apple's slick marketing. That must mean slick marketing is the only way to sell a product, good or bad then, right? Then that must mean most of the public are a fools who will only buy what they are told?

    Because the alternative conclusion is just too ridiculous, that Apple makes products millions of people find usable and enjoyable BECAUSE they are limited to basic well thought out feature sets, and you and the rest of the technogadget crowd are pissed that the exact product you want isn't made because there's no demand for/profit in it.

  • Re:Answers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by prockcore ( 543967 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @01:38PM (#31074516)

    If you were paying attention value wise the ipad is economically sound. it is about half of what other vendors where thinking about.

    You mean it's half of what Apple told the WSJ it would be. Apple played you like a fiddle. They told the WSJ it would be $1000, and then when they officially announce that it's $500, everyone acts like that's an amazing deal.

  • Re:Just pollin' (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Graff ( 532189 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @01:49PM (#31074684)

    Look up the EEE-PC T91. It has a touchscreen, and the keyboard can fold under the screen so that the whole thing operates just like an iPad.
    By the way, assuming the rumored price is correct, the T91 costs the same as an iPad. I've been practicing my smugly superior laugh just so that I can use it on everyone who buys one of these "toys."

    Of course the T91 is twice as thick, 1.4 times as heavy, has a smaller display with both lower resolution and larger pixels, has half the battery life, and doesn't come with a built-in compass, GPS, or 3G wireless connectivity. Then there's the ease-of-use of an "appliance UI" like an iPad when compared to something running a full-fledged operating system UI.

    There's trade-offs on both sides. If the T91 is your thing then go for it but don't assume that your choice is better than someone else's. It may be better for YOU but other people have just as valid reasons for choosing an iPad over a T91. To say that you are "smugly superior" because you got a T91 just makes you a stupid git.

  • by nacturation ( 646836 ) * <> on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @02:21PM (#31075244) Journal

    Or would that be circletimessquare's corollary to Godwin's law. You could always just call it Goatwin's law.

  • Re:Just pollin' (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @02:51PM (#31075788) Homepage

    If the only thing it ever does is become the way college students use textbooks it will be a huge success. I would kill to have my copy of Warren (Organic Chem) on an iPad. It may be 10" across, but it doesn't weigh 3kg, and is a lot thinner.

    Not to mention being able to avoid page-flipping and use search instead.

    For the price of 5 textbooks, I could get the cheapest one, and the price is only going to come down.

    Here I disagree... you'll still have to buy your textbooks, but you'll be getting a digital download... and what makes you think they'll be any cheaper? The iPad launch has already successfully allowed MacMillan [] and other publishers to negotiate prices increases on Amazon.

  • Re:Real Answers (Score:2, Insightful)

    by irote ( 834216 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @03:24PM (#31076370)

    But really, why would you buy a Kindle DX when you can have an iPad for the same price?

    Because the screen on a Kindle looks like a book. The old kind, the kind which would hold you engrossed from first page to last, leaving you feeling refreshed and full of new ideas at the end, rather than bleary eyed from staring at the flickering, overcoloured backlit screen in front of you until 4 in the morning, after an evening browsing, browsing, browsing, unable to concentrate on the ebook you've just bought, partly because of the eye-strain, and partly because it's too tempting to flick listlessly from your ebook to wikipedia, following link after link, task-switching to read your emails, your facebook, your blog comments. The Kindle doesn't invite you to check out a news story in another tab, or google up some trivia about the C64 or Cicero or the architect of the Taj Mahal. It offers you just one, rich world, that you can devote yourself to.

    What's Jobs's vision? You sit there passively on a sofa, consuming idly, listlessly seeking out entertainment put together by somebody, somewhere out there on the web, as your back begins to ache from your awful, inert posture and you get a crink in your neck from staring down at the tesselating brightly coloured lights shining from the fetish object on your lap.

    You can't even create on it, because he's taken away the sodding keyboard.

    Jobs says the iPad offers a "much more intimate" way of browsing. Well, fuck that. Browsing is disjointed - a link, a new tab, a new blogger, a long list of blog comments, a compulsive e-mail check, a 'surf' over to a news portal. That's not intimacy, which is something you build up through sustained, dedicated involvement, be that with a person or with Crime and Punishment or The Da Vinci Code or the Philosophical Investigations. The web is about diversions and fleeting contact and entertainment. It's useful, it's even fun - but it's no more intimate than Disneyland.

    If Jobs really believes its an 'intimate' experience then he's fallen into a black hole of his own making, and the iPad is just another clever device designed to paper over the rapidly expanding gaps in lives devoted to monk-like passivity. The spiritual successor to the TV remote.

  • Re:RIC, not FUD (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SoupIsGoodFood_42 ( 521389 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @06:46PM (#31079386)

    Using a modified version of the iPhone OS is exactly what Jobs has done right. Putting a full desktop OS into a tablet is where everyone has been going wrong.

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe