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iPad Will Beat Netbooks With "Magic" 1010

entirely_fluffy writes "In a talk intended to woo investors, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said the iPad will win over potential netbook buyers, but not because of specs or features. No, Cook said, the iPad's magical properties will seal the deal. 'The netbook is not an experience people are going to continue wanting to have,' Cook said, according to Macworld. 'When they play with the iPad and experience the magic of using it ... I have a hard time believing they're going to go for a netbook.'" Another thing that would help would be a camera and a $100 discount, but hey Magic is cool too, provided they have enough mana.
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iPad Will Beat Netbooks With "Magic"

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  • Err... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AlexiaDeath ( 1616055 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @12:40PM (#31273320)
    To a regular netbook person the magic is price... They are barking up a wrong tree, if the intend to compete with netbooks without competitive price.
  • by nweaver ( 113078 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @12:44PM (#31273406) Homepage

    "Magic" is really a good description for trying to create the maximum user experience.

    As a happy owner of the iPad Nano (aka iPod Touch) for over a year now, Apple has real potential here in the scaled-up version, and this really is a good description of why the iPad may sell and the iPhone has sold: a cohesive user experience.

    And here's one of the big uses: VNC. Have the iPad be the remote desktop to your "real" computer.

  • by Gothic_Walrus ( 692125 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @12:47PM (#31273430) Journal

    What's wrong with netbooks?

    I got one for $300 a few months ago, and it does pretty much everything I'd ask it to. Office applications, internet, chat (and it does have a webcam and microphone, something I believe the iPad doesn't), and it even does (some of) the games on my Steam account. Not to beat a dead horse, but it doesn't hurt that the netbook has a faster processor, four times the storage of the biggest iPad, Flash, and USB support, either.

    I'm not going to deny that the iPad can do things my netbook can't and that it's a much sexier piece of hardware, but I don't think there's anything intrinsically wrong with "the netbook experience."

  • by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @12:53PM (#31273528)

    You're making the same mistake as the rest of the industry, in supposing that the features you list actually matter to the majority of the consumer base.

    1. If Apple can replicate it closely enough with an onscreen keyboard, then most people won't care. It won't suffice for many (which is why my phone has a physical keyboard) but it may for most.

    2. Someone who would reasonably debate an iPad vs a netbook would likely not make this a consideration.
    3. Same as 2.
    4. Considering that nearly every netbook is the same, often with varying (and low) build quality, yes they can be had for cheap.
    5. Apple's selling that slipcover thingy, I suspect they'll have huge sellthrough on it. I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't also a pile of 3rd party covers available on release day too.

    As I stated in a previous post it likely won't catch on among more technical audiences, but it has a fair chance (especially considering Apple puts thought into the UI unlike every netbook vendor) among the "I just want it to work" audience, which is far, far larger.

  • Re:$100 discount? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jDeepbeep ( 913892 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @12:54PM (#31273550)

    In reality, you can get significantly more functionality for less if you compare it to any other company that exists.

    This one [] looks promising imho.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:01PM (#31273682)

    But Apple sure wants you to think so. As for me, I simply want a mini-laptop, which looks and acts like a regular laptop, only smaller (at the cost of performance if necessary). That's exactly what a netbook is.

    In contrast, the ipad is definitely NOT a mini-laptop as I just described. Not only does it look and act differently, but you can't install your choice of open source OS like you can with any old laptop. That's an absolute show stopper for me.

  • by Bigjeff5 ( 1143585 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:06PM (#31273756)

    A couple points:

    First, touchscreen technology has come a long way in recent years (largely thanks to the iPhone showing what's possible in a consumer device), so provided the screen is just large enough to fit both hands on it I could see touch typing working out fine - my little HTC Hero picks up my keypresses amazingly well, and I have fat sausage fingers. Lack of actual keys will be a bit unfamiliar, perhaps, but consumers will get over any initial difficulty with the "coolness" factor.

    Second, keeping the first point in mind, touchscreen PC's have been around for years and have always been a niche device precisely because of its form factor. They just aren't that useful except in certain circumstances. For example, they are easier to use while standing, but much more awkward while sitting at a table, and quite frankly a bit absurd while resting it in your lap. They are great for hand writing notes and drawing, but no matter how well they do an on-screen keyboard typing will never be as good on a tablet as on a laptop or even a netbook, for the simple fact that the screen will be in a much more awkward position.

    That's not to say it won't do well, I'd just be very surprised if an iPad style touchscreen class of devices became anywhere near as popular as the netbook has been.

    Now, if they were really good they'd ship it with a stand and a built-in projector keyboard. That wouldn't fix the lap-issue, but it would do a lot to make it a more versatile device like the netbooks are, and it would have massive coolness factor.

  • Magic definition (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Azureflare ( 645778 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:06PM (#31273760)
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke, "Profiles of The Future", 1961 (Clarke's third law)

    My guess is that Apple is betting that they can advance tablet technology far enough to make it indistinguishable from magic. I don't think I'm alone when I say that I feel extremely skeptical of this claim. We'll see when it's released how "magic" it seems.

    Personally, I think a magic tablet would be one that is holographic AND can do everything my computer can, plus everything I would like it to do.

    A tall order, but that's what you get when you start making claims about magic.
  • Re:Hunters.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dc29A ( 636871 ) * on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:16PM (#31273950)

    I assembled a PC for my mom a year ago, have the iPad been out I'd have gotten that instead with keyboard dock. All she does is email, browse the web and chat with Skype. All that is available on iPad and as a bonus, I wouldn't have to worry to constantly patch it, update it, secure it and whatnot. Her next upgrade is definitely an iPad or a similar locked down appliance.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:17PM (#31273970)

    Me and my business partner have been running a small coffee shop near a college for a couple of years now. I used to be a programmer, and he used to be a DBA, in our past lives. So we're familiar with technology.

    Anyway, due to our location and business we get a lot of the so-called "hipster" crowd at our establishment. Don't get me wrong, they're great for business. There's little better than selling a specialty coffee at an 800% markup to these fools. But it's hilarious to hear them discuss Apple products.

    When the iPad was first announced, you wouldn't believe the excitement these hipsters harbored. Some of them were literally crying when Jobs first showed it. My and my partner thought it was sort of fucked up how our customers were reacting to a pretty dismal product announcement. To these freaks, it's a religion.

  • by w3woody ( 44457 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:43PM (#31274434) Homepage

    Of course most of the people here don't get it. To most geeks, who suffer a minor form of stockholm syndrome when it comes to using computers (if you don't suffer, you're not a true power user), a user interface is a handful of UI buttons which postpend the correct command-line switches to the underlying command-line application.

    Actually using a usability designer is foreign to most developers. And creating an environment which my mother can grok without a Ph.D. in Computer Science? Magic. Black fsckin' magic.

    The sad part is that most developers I know don't have any interest in learning this form of magic, despite direct evidence (in Apple's growing coffers) that connecting to your users (and not calling them 'lusers' behind their backs) causes your users to want to throw gobs of money at you.

  • Re:Hunters.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <> on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:46PM (#31274500) Journal

    Oh, geeks do want an Internet tablet. But they don't want a crappy, over-priced one. I though almost every OS could handle multitasking after DOS age, and most did before that too (yeah yeah, it can multi-task, but doesn't allow you to - still the same thing for me in usability point of view). I also don't want to buy everything from their store, where everything costs and is controlled. How do you think open source software would work on this thing?

    I would love to have a nice internet tablet while I'm on sofa. But iPad isn't such. Personally I'm waiting to see how Courier [] turns out to be. Maybe it is such, maybe not, but iPad definitely isn't.

  • Re:Hunters.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by koiransuklaa ( 1502579 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:47PM (#31274542)

    So... she'd run similar software on both devices. How does the pad not need patching, updating, securing and whatnot?

    I mean, the device sounds quite good for what you planned it for but the reasoning doesn't make sense to me... To keep other things things similar, let's compare to a Mac. Why is the ipad less maintenance-heavy than a Macbook with same exact usage model?

  • by bennomatic ( 691188 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:51PM (#31274634) Homepage
    +1 Totally Agree

    The venom with which many geeks respond to the iPad astounds me. It's a tool, that's all. Don't like it? Don't buy it. But when you ridicule someone for being interested, you sound like a moron. I had a neighbor once who was actually disgusted that I bought a Kia Sportage. He told me all about what his car could do with it's hemi and modified suspension, wide tires and upgraded exhaust system. He said he'd challenge me to a race, any time, any day.

    I told him I'd accept, as long as it was on a curvy, snowy mountain road in Lake Tahoe.

    Don't get me wrong. I love fast cars. I love being able to hit the gas and have the tires squirrel out a little as I go from 60 to 100 in a few seconds. But I love skiing even more, so I bought the car that was right for the job.

    For so many people, a simple interface without a lot of flexibility is all they need. It's "good enough". Your experience with the iPod Touch is almost exactly parallel to mine (although I like it fine for listening to music if and when I can put on headphones and block out the world), and I think the iPad is a great idea. I'm thinking of going for the low-end one with the 3g option. I'll probably wait a couple of revisions, not only to see if there are problems, but also to see if any competitor comes up with something better. If Dell makes a better tablet, then fine. I'll buy a Dell.

    And I have to say, I totally agree with the Apple stance on netbooks. I've used a few, and they're fine and flexible and all, but if I'm doing something that needs a full keyboard, then I'm interested in a full sized laptop. I know there are people out there who are price sensitive, but that's not really who buys and uses netbooks. The netbook market is geeks who like to max out whatever hardware they're using. If they want to buy a $200 system that can run Windows or Linux and play their favorite Win-based game, more power to them. Based on my experience, I'm not going to buy anything like that, except maybe for my kid when he gets old enough to learn how to code.

    Apple is a consumer electronics company, and they are building products that maybe a significant portion of SlashDot doesn't care about or won't use for philosophical reasons. Does that mean it's a bad product? I don't know. To draw a parallel based on the common joke about the product, I'm a man and have never, ever had a need for a maxi pad. But to say that it's worthless because it won't do anything for a man is ridiculous. It ignores the three billion people in the world who might indeed need to buy thousands of them over each of their lifetimes.
  • Re:Magic = usability (Score:2, Interesting)

    by toastliscio ( 1729734 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @01:58PM (#31274786)
    My mother is 56 and not so technology-friendly. When 10 years ago she first bought a cell phone, it took some time for her to understand how to send text messages. 3 months ago she had her first personal computer, a 300€ Toshiba netbook, with Windows 7 starter. It's just a little netbook like another, nothing special, but a few days ago she was watching "Who wants to be a millionaire?" and was able to google the correct answer in a few seconds, while the contestant used the phone-a-friend option and the friend couldn't find the answer despite of the 30 seconds available. My mother was laughing at the situation: I mean... it's nothing special, but why do you people say netbooks aren't usable? That's not true...
  • by Bauguss ( 62171 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @02:01PM (#31274838)

    this type of comment comes up every single article on slashdot. Enough already.

    I just read 2 books recently on my ipod touch. Its an experience I will repeat. I have absolutely no problems with lcd screens. I read them all damn day as I code. I get absolutely no eye strain whatsoever. I can lie in bed comfortably with the lights off and have a nicely lit book that isn't too bright to read from.

    This comes down to vision I think. Some people will get eye strain from LCD, others will be fine. Just because you can't tolerate looking at an LCD for too long, doesn't mean its a bad device.

    So it IS an eReader and a damn fine one. For some people. You go buy your kindle, I'll go buy my iPad. To each his own.

  • by mblase ( 200735 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @02:16PM (#31275082)

    You missed the most important thing: a netbook will run any application I want it to run.

    No, it will run any application designed for that operating system and hardware configuration. Good luck installing iPhoto on one.

  • Re:Hunters.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Thursday February 25, 2010 @02:41PM (#31275446) Homepage

    The problem with the cost of the iPad is more than the hardware cost, it's the fact that you'll need to buy a bunch of little apps to do stuff with it. The elegance of the netbook is that, despite being a tiny crap machine, it is usually bundled with a software suite that's tailored to the small screen and expected usage patterns. You don't need to buy special software to run on your netbook, you just fire up your favorite package manager and load whatever you need for free, or if it's windows you can install the same apps you use on your full-sized laptop or desktop computer.

    With the iPad, not only will we need to buy all these stupid little 5 dollar apps, but it will still be tethered to a regular computer running iTunes.

  • Re:Magic = usability (Score:3, Interesting)

    by farble1670 ( 803356 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @04:04PM (#31276744)

    My grandmother won't get a netbook. She will get an iPad.

    grandmothers are not their target demo. grandmothers aren't going out and buying trendy unproven devices that cost $600. they are on fixed incomes and come from a time period where spending that type of money on a "toy" is unthinkable. yes, she thinks of it as a toy not a necessity. she grew up without a cell phone or computer and did just fine. her mindset is different. she doesn't care about being trendy.

    the target demo is the 20-40 year old crowd. they are working. they have money. being trendy is important. and here's where you should pay attention: they grew up with computers. they are comfortable with them, unlike your grandma. they expect multitasking and use keyboards to type. my wife fits that demo. on scale of 1-10 she's about a 2.5 in terms of computer savviness. here are some of her questions about the ipad:

    * there's no keyboard how do i type an email?
    * but it looks just like the iphone (she has one of those)
    * does it run excel?

    all valid, and typical questions.

  • Re:Hunters.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by node 3 ( 115640 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @04:53PM (#31277482)

    No, they are both OS X. They both use all the same frameworks all the way up to, but stopping at Cocoa. Mac OS X uses Cocoa, iPhone OS uses Cocoa Touch. And aside from differences that relate to using multitouch vs a mouse, they are exceptionally similar. The main differences that aren't directly related to a multitouch interface are that Cocoa Touch mandates some of the newer features of Objective C while Cocoa doesn't (for what I hope would be obvious reasons).

    You're right, however, that they aren't the same OS. But that should be fairly obvious when I mentioned one is iPhone OS and the other is Mac OS X. But are *both* variants of OS X.

  • Re:Hunters.. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @05:40PM (#31278114) Homepage

    No. We mock Apple users because Apple sells them trailing edge technology at a high premium and the fanboys try to portray that as the computing equivalent of a BMW.

    You don't just drink the kool-aid, you swim around in it.

  • by Skuld-Chan ( 302449 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @06:11PM (#31278628)

    One of the reasons Flash video took off so well over Real Player, Quicktime, and Windows media player is the players themselves were far lower footprint, worked, and seem to stream more seamlessly than any of their competitors - the user experience was better plain and simple (something most Apple people should recognize).

    Every one of us has probably had the displeasure of a Real movie that just buffered and didn't play, windows media player that only works in IE, or Quicktime plugin that didn't quite buffer right and would play, then stop and then play and then stop constantly.

    The reason Flash won was because it did none of these things, scaled to the speed of the client better, support a lot of different codecs, and worked on all a ton of platforms and devices (Flashlite has been supported for example on Windows Mobile, S60, Android, PSP, PS3, Maemo etc etc) - many of all these devices don't even support HTML5.

    HTML5 - while it works, just doesn't offer the same user experience yet (at least in Firefox where I've tested it) - controls are clumsy for instance. And I've had several cases where the video never did come up.

    I think content providers will continue to use what works and Flash still works better.

  • Re:Hunters.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @07:14PM (#31279364) Journal

    Indeed. It's also interesting that one of the common defences of Apple products is "But look, Apple are making a profit", as if being ripped off is supposedly a good thing for the user...

When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers. -- The Wall Street Journal