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Why Tablets Haven't Taken Off In Business 449

An anonymous reader writes "On PC World's blog, Keir Thomas suggests reasons why tablets have never taken off in business, and explains how Apple's iPad was able to waltz in and steal the entire market. It's all about giving users freedom to figure out how useful tablets can be, he says, rather than forcing them into narrow usage scenarios: 'There's a lot to be said for having faith in users to make best use of their computer, without pushing and pulling them in ways you think are best for them.'"
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Why Tablets Haven't Taken Off In Business

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  • does not compute (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spiritplumber ( 1944222 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @07:35PM (#34294178) Homepage
    So that's why the first tablet that doesn't let you do everything a laptop would succeeded?
  • What? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by recoiledsnake ( 879048 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @07:41PM (#34294208)

    However, there exists another key to Apple's success: its products are built around giving people freedom in the user experience. Apple lets you figure out how best to make use of their handhelds. The App Store is a beautiful demonstration of this--it's all about choosing what you want to do with your iPhone or iPad, and not being badgered into using them in a particular way.

    Err no. Apple locks down the user experience and rejects apps that change it or threaten it in any way, like widgets and alternate browsers etc.

    By way of a demonstration of how not to do it, take a look at Windows Phone 7. Everything is built-in, making for a very focused device. You want Facebook? It's built-in. You want Gmail? It's there. It feels like Windows Phone 7 is trying too hard.

    Although it might sound like built-in tools present a lot of usability, what Microsoft is actually doing is limiting the user by pushing them into particular usage scenarios. It's feels too limiting. The user has little freedom to adapt the phone to their way of working without a significant amount of tedious configuration.

    That makes no sense whatsoever. Slow news Saturday?

  • It was cost. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @07:44PM (#34294228)
    The reason the tablets we've had since the 90's never really caught on was because they didn't do enough beyond what a notebook did to justify the difference in price.
  • Re:bass ackwards? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dwightk ( 415372 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @07:45PM (#34294240) Homepage Journal

    different kind of restriction

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 20, 2010 @07:47PM (#34294252)

    So that's why the first tablet that doesn't let you do everything a laptop would succeeded?

    More like it succeeded because it was the first tablet that wasn't just a laptop with the keyboard hacked off.

  • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @07:51PM (#34294272) Homepage Journal

    You don't carry a full PC tower around with a display, a keyboard and a mouse. You buy a laptop.

    You don't walk around with a laptop in your arms while trying to use it, you buy a tablet computer.

    There's also the fact that Apple didn't try to force the desktop UI interface into the iPad, they used one that was designed as a touch interface from day one.

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Roogna ( 9643 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @07:52PM (#34294284)

    Apple may lock it down for the average user, but not for ENTERPRISE. Who within some minor boundaries (No using the enterprise program to build your own app store to sell to others, and no using it to write software that does it's best to harm the cell phone network) are free to develop and distribute within their business whatever they'd like.

  • by CarpetShark ( 865376 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @07:58PM (#34294308)

    I was more confused by the attempted assocation between Apple and freedom.

  • by NiceGeek ( 126629 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @07:59PM (#34294316)

    If you're buying an iPad or iPhone and think that you can run something that didn't come from the App store, you should have done better research. For many people what Apple produces is sufficient. For those who want features that Apple doesn't provide, there are other options. I see no point in complaining that a device doesn't do what you want if you're never going to buy one in the first place, buy something else.

  • by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @08:15PM (#34294420) Homepage Journal

    ... would be that historically, the "business" community has rarely adopted anything computer-like until it comes out with the IBM logo on it. Back in the 1980s, lots of little companies were marketing desktop computers, but they were considered toys by the business community, until IBM came out with theirs.

    Now, I can hear people saying "What about Microsoft, huh?" This is an example that supports the thesis, since Microsoft's first successes were with the machines labelled as "IBM Personal Computers". Furthermore, if you go to and look for available small computers, you'll see that all of them are advertised as running "Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Edition"(or sometimes "Vista" or "XP"). This supports the general business-world belief that Microsoft is the software-development division of IBM.

    Yes, I've asked business people about this, and I've gotten funny looks, because "everyone knows" that Microsoft is part of IBM. If you try going into an explanation of why this isn't technically true, you merely find yourself dismissed as a geek trying to confuse them with Too Much Information. They don't need to know the details of the arrangement; they just know that "computer" and "IBM machine" are and always have been synonyms, and the small ones run Microsoft software, so Microsoft is IBM's small-computer software developer. That's all they need to know; the rest is left to the hired help to discuss. And they don't order "tablet" computers because they haven't seen one sold by IBM yet.

    (Hey, is there one? I don't see it at, but that doesn't mean that they don't have one. Sorta like how yes, you can get an IBM PC running linux -- if you can find it to order it. But try digging around at to find it. It'll probably take you hours, and you should bookmark the page when you find it, otherwise it'll take you more hours to find it again the next time. Or it'll have moved and your bookmark doesn't work any more. But you can find MS Windows Pro all over the site. I's hard to find tablets there, so IBM probably doesn't sell them -- or doesn't want to. ;-)

    Anyway, it's likely that Apple has never much marketed to the business community, because like everyone else selling non-IBM-branded stuff, they know that they can't sell enough there for it to be profitable. But they can sell to individual purchasers, who might take their Apple toys along to work with them, and that's fine.

    There's an old saying that nobody ever gets fired for buying IBM. Similarly, nobody ever stays in business by trying to sell non-IBM stuff in IBM's market. That's a recipe for disaster and bankruptcy. The folks at Apple are smart enough to understand this, and don't try to sell in an arena where IBM/Microsoft will squash them.

    Of course, there may be a third and fourth theory for why Apple stays out of the business arena. Anyone want to explain the others? ;-)

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Saturday November 20, 2010 @08:16PM (#34294434) Journal

    It doesn't have Windows. Since it doesn't have Windows, it can use a lightweight ARM processor. Since it uses an ARM processor and flash memory, it doesn't need a huge thick battery. Since it uses a lightweight touch-centric OS that's not Windows on ARM it's so naturally intuitive that small children can use it, and adults want to. Because it doesn't need ridiculously expensive engineered hardware tricks to work at all, it can be priced reasonably. Because these technologies came online just prior to launch and they put them together secretly they hit a sweet spot and caught everybody by surprise at just the right moment to launch an ecosystem that peaks just in time for Christmas. Brilliant design, planning, timing and flawless execution.

    It's succeeding because it's the first tablet that doesn't completely suck.

  • Re:bass ackwards? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @08:20PM (#34294450) Homepage Journal

    Because everyone uses them. It's not choice, it's doing the same things as almost everybody else.

    And there's nothing wrong with PDF, btw. The problem is Acrobat Reader on Windows.

  • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @08:30PM (#34294520)

    well that, and in 8 yers MSFT developed ONE and only ONE tablet application.

    Every other application required a keyboard to be really useful. MSFT never ported things like office or outlook to a tablet interface. Apple redesigned their mail, web browser, etc applications. MSFT designed one Note and left it at that.

    Where was the outlook for tablet interfaces? how about excel? The problem with tablets before apple, wasn't processor or battery, but the fact that if you weren't using a keyboard or mouse the interface was a royal pain in the ass to use.

  • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @08:31PM (#34294524) Homepage

    Yeah but what "market" are we talking about here? I've walked around a lot of enterprises and I haven't seen many tablets, Windows or otherwise. My understanding has always been that except for individual enthusiasts, the markets (plural) for Windows Tablets have traditionally been verticals -- healthcare, oil and gas, things like that. These aren't Compaq tablets that you order from Tiger Direct, either; they tend to be purpose-built, ruggedized devices. I don't really see the iPad worming its way into those markets with any great speed.

    And even if iPad has "stolen the entire market" -- a statement I choose to interpret as saying that people who have bought iPads are happy with them and have no plans to switch to something else -- how big is that market really? I hear vague statements about iPad sales. I live in the City of San Francisco and I've maybe seen 2-3 iPads out in the wild. Maybe most people keep theirs at home, I don't know -- but you would think that if mobility is such a big factor in why people are buying these things, I'd see more of them around town. By comparison, I feel safe to assume that just about every single person I pass on the street has access to a laptop, or at the very least a desktop PC or Mac. The iPad's true market presence does not seem very significant by comparison.

  • by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @08:32PM (#34294532)

    And its ability to do lots of sophisticated work, today, isn't very good.

    Worse, there are no anti-malware/virus pieces (yeah, probably unnecessary but probably required anyway).

    There are no fleet management components or APIs.

    There are no policy controls to prevent data theft of give data protection at all (aside from DRM).

    There's no saction from Apple to use the iPad in business. They claim it's a consumer device, and not one for business. Ask them.

  • by jhigh ( 657789 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @08:35PM (#34294550)
    This has always been my confusion with the iPad. Why the hell would anyone buy what is essentially a giant smartphone that won't make phone calls? Is it really JUST for the bigger screen?

    I have a Motorola Droid, and I can't fathom buying an iPad or anything like it. The device would have to actually do something that I can't already do on my phone to justify me spending hundreds of dollars on it. To me, the iPad was the epitome of Apple exploiting their fanboy base and just cramming devices down their throats while they happily swipe mommy and daddy's credit cards to pay for crap they don't need.
  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @08:37PM (#34294554)
    Except that the Ipad isn't supplanting those traditional tablets. As far as I can tell, for the most part, the Ipad is entering into a market that didn't exist before the Ipad. Everyone I know who owns one bought it as an entertainment device. On the other hand every traditional tablet in end user hands that I am aware of is in a business environment.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 20, 2010 @08:39PM (#34294570)

    To be fair, numbers for iPad isn't exactly usable for anything but the most basic spreadsheets.

    And for all the apps for iPad, there isn't one that even comes remotely close to the functionality and utility of One Note. It really is a killer app, and if it's the only app I had on my tablet, it would be more useful than an iPad for my needs.

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EastCoastSurfer ( 310758 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @08:47PM (#34294618)

    Actually no one is more equal than another. An enterprise or private user can pay the fee and write all the code they want for their own device(s). Only when they want to distribute to the app store do any rules come into play. What enterprise is going to put their apps for internal use on the app store anyway?

  • by gmhowell ( 26755 ) <> on Saturday November 20, 2010 @08:49PM (#34294634) Homepage Journal

    Spoken by somebody with young eyes and fingers. Get to a certain point in life and 'just the bigger screen' is not a phrase that makes sense.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 20, 2010 @08:50PM (#34294638)

    Use one for awhile, then post.

    When you say, "I can't fathom" or "I can't understand," what you're really saying is "My mental model of reality is flawed in a way that brings it into conflict with what I see and hear around me." You can't fix this condition by complaining incredulously about it on Slashdot. You need to use an iPad for a few hours and see what you think after that.

    I don't even own or want one of their locked-down shiny objects, but I've used the iPad enough to understand why it's a good fit for the wants and needs of a lot of other people.

  • by MDillenbeck ( 1739920 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @08:50PM (#34294640)
    Timing, as others have said. People loved their iPods, then fell in love with their iPhones and iTouches - they got use to the interface. True, the iPad is more in the smartphone device category than in the netbook/laptop/tablet PC market (it doesn't even have a wacom digitizer to permit inking... what good is a notepad you can't write on naturally?) - and people have grown accustom to those with the recent emergence of powerful smartphones. If the iPad was launched 2 years ago it wouldn't have succeeded.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 20, 2010 @09:01PM (#34294696)

    Spoken by a fucking moron.

  • Re:bass ackwards? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @09:03PM (#34294710)
    There was nothing wrong with PDF, sort of like how there was nothing wrong with .DOCs either. But then some genius got the idea that it might be fun to embed a programming language in there for whatever reason and the rest is history.

    In the modern era securing PDFs shouldn't take much effort, declaring the region that it's loaded into to be non-executable ought to go a long way towards that. Although since PDFs can be essentially executed, that kind of makes that a challenge.
  • by gmhowell ( 26755 ) <> on Saturday November 20, 2010 @09:08PM (#34294734) Homepage Journal

    isnt it rather because technology finally reached a point where a device that is the size of a tablet provides acceptable resolution, processing power, battery life, thinness/lightness, and an acceptable touchscreen interface ? and apple jumped in at the right time ?

    They also jettisoned the inappropriate WIMP interface, a not inconsequential addition to what you've stated. (Yes, I know, save me the effort of point out a dozen products over the years that used a similar interface. Those devices lacked the technical merits that the post I'm replying to mentions. Good hardware with WIMP fails, bad hardware without WIMP fails. The current popularity of tablets requires not only good hardware, but non-WIMP)

  • by cheesybagel ( 670288 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @09:08PM (#34294738)
    There was another issue with tablets before. If a device is too heavy it fails in a lot of usage scenarios. Compare the weight of the iPad with the Microsoft tablet devices. The iPad still has one issue: it has low precision input compared to a regular pencil. It is a minor issue for the usage scenarios they propose, which consist of consuming content, however this still leaves content creation off the table.
  • Re:Surely he jests (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gmhowell ( 26755 ) <> on Saturday November 20, 2010 @09:09PM (#34294740) Homepage Journal

    That's one way to put it. Or one could say they make it really, incredibly easy to do 90% of the stuff people want to, while making it near impossible to shoot yourself in the foot trying to do the other 10% (by preventing it from happening).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 20, 2010 @09:20PM (#34294810)

    Apple succeeded because of marketing, not because of superiority of their product

    Keep telling yourself that. It's a harmless-enough delusion compared to many others you could have chosen.

  • by Mr2001 ( 90979 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @09:25PM (#34294842) Homepage Journal

    It makes a great portable Web-Ex client, as well as GotoMeeting and other presentation formats. It handles documents well. Using iAnnotate lets me markup and read PDF docs.

    I also found it great for reading specs rather than killing trees with paper or trying to read them off a computer screen. I can take them with me with ease.

    [...] Add on top of that the fact that I can do Voip calls and listen to my music all at the same time.

    At my office, we do all that stuff with laptops that cost about as much as an iPad, but they also run Office and various other productivity apps. Have you discovered any advantage of doing them on an iPad instead, or are you just pointing out that the iPad isn't 100% useless in an office environment?

    I also have RDP and VNC clients plus a shell terminal (no, not jailbroken) lets me SSH into other boxes and do sys admin work as well as a slew of other network tools available.

    My god, why would you torture yourself by trying to do remote desktop and SSH without a keyboard? I mean, yes, those tools exist, but the iPad itself really isn't suited for typing more than a few words at a time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 20, 2010 @09:38PM (#34294910)

    The ignorance of the youth is strong in this one.

  • Apple? Enterprise? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Chas ( 5144 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @09:45PM (#34294956) Homepage Journal

    Pffft! I didn't know it was comedy hour.

    Apple has one real niche. Multimedia production.

    Beyond that, attempting to shoehorn Apple into a "enterprise" solution is not using the product as Apple intended.

    PERIOD. I don't care if they're selling you "enterprise support" or not. Apple doesn't do that. They don't even fake doing it well. Their enterprise solution is "buy this and try it, buy that and try it, buy this other thing and try it, if none of them work, sorry, we don't do enterprise support".

    Call me when the discussion has left the reality distortion field.

  • by mellon ( 7048 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @10:02PM (#34295058) Homepage

    No, it's not. The article makes some good points, sure. But the real reason the iPad succeeds where other laptops fail is that it's the first tablet that didn't suck. Every tablet before it has had a resistive touchscreen and a swivel-hinge keyboard, with the CPU under the keyboard. The iPad has the CPU with the display, and no keyboard. If you want a keyboard, you buy an external one.

    Every tablet before the iPad had a hard drive. Hard drives are big, and draw a lot of power. That is, they suck.

    Every tablet before the iPad had an Intel CPU. Intel CPUs are big, and draw a lot of power. That is, they suck.

    Every tablet before the iPad ran Windows. Windows is designed for PCs. For tablets, it sucks.

    Every tablet before the iPad weighed in at over three pounds, because of the Intel CPU, the hard drive, the hinge, and the battery required to support all that. You couldn't hold them in your hands unsupported for ten minutes, much less an hour--you'd have to cradle them. They were designed to do too many things, so they sucked at the one thing tablets really need to do--replace a pad of paper or a book.

    Every tablet before the iPad had a battery life of maybe five or six hours, if you were really careful, and two or three, if you weren't. The iPad's battery will last through a full work day of full time use. It doesn't suck.

    That's why it's the first tablet to succeed in the market.

  • by painandgreed ( 692585 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @10:04PM (#34295072)

    I was more confused by the attempted assocation between Apple and freedom.

    Since I get most of my tech news and discussions here at /. myself, I also have weird times with hearing things like that. Thing is, they are actually pretty free for a company that has a larger market cap than MS. They contribute a lot to open source. They produce a lot of open source programming. One of my friends went to a tech seminar on phone apps. The presenter started out by talking about how Apple opened up the phone app market. Before Apple and their App Store, it was each phone on each provider. If you wanted to make phone apps, you'd be dealing with each individual phone company to do so and their terms make Apple's look wonderful. With Apple, anybody could buy a Mac, develop, and start selling for just $99 and a vetting process that was a cake walk to what people had to deal with before. It did open up the app market for phones. The same goes for many other things. Once they could, they dumped DRM on their music.

    Apple has also been big into standards. They have to. They will never have market share and they don't want it. To get market share, you have to cater to the cut throat business of cheap computing. They simply don't want to go there and leave it to others. They produce premium products with similar price and design. If you don't want their products, you're free to go buy elsewhere because they're never going to produce what you want. The only way they will ever remain significant without altering that is if they stick to standards. I'm pretty sure that they feel their products can compete on a level playing ground with everybody else.

    What pisses people off is that Apple isn't as free as they want. While their kernel is open source, their GUI is not. Their code changes to open source projects are pretty much only relevant to their own needs. They have their little walled garden around their products that they have made as easy as they can to develop for. Open source wants to eat its cake and and have it too. Open Source has their goals, plenty of drive, and as many tools, so why aren't they the leaders in innovation in such products? Why is Apple succeeding where open source is only following in the foot steps?* Does it really take a large company to come up with such advances? Where is Google? They have smart people. They have been working on Android for many years before it came out. Why didn't they produce the iPhone or something better before Apple? Where is the open source equivilent of PARC? Why aren't all these patents for computing created today met simply with "prior art, the open source PARC did it three years ago"?** Why isn't open source beating Apple the punch with a degree fo freedom they want?

    *Not to indicate that open source does not lead in areas. I'm pretty sure Linux servers can dance a jig on Apple servers without hurting their performance. We're talking consumer products like the phones and desktops here.

    **Yes, in many cases, prior art is there and software patents are laughable, but hopefully you understand what I'm saying.

  • by mellon ( 7048 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @10:07PM (#34295090) Homepage

    Bwahahahaha! You're trolling, right? I'm a huge believer in open source software as a political movement, and as a basis for a free society, but are you *seriously* proposing that it's easier to use than the App Store? *Seriously*? Have you ever *used* the App Store?

    I'd *love* to see a Linux distro that's as easy to use as the iPad. Let's fork Qt and build one!

  • by mellon ( 7048 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @10:16PM (#34295150) Homepage

    Er, they did. You have two options: the keyboard dock, and the bluetooth keyboard. Both work great for entering lots of data. The bluetooth keyboard is even portable, although I am not really in the habit of bringing it along--it turns out not to be necessary most of the time when I'm out and about, but the iPad itself is damned useful, particularly if you're in a strange city.

  • by stg ( 43177 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @10:33PM (#34295222) Homepage

    The truth about why that happened is even sillier. The head of the Office team didn't believe in tablets... []

  • Re:bass ackwards? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Metabolife ( 961249 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @11:08PM (#34295332)

    "However, there exists another key to Apple's success: its products are built around giving people freedom in the user experience. Apple lets you figure out how best to make use of their handhelds. "

    Then I stopped reading.

  • by hoskeri ( 948924 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @11:29PM (#34295408) Homepage

    So you are saying allowing people to use computers as computers makes them more useful?

    Who wudda thunk it?

  • by gmhowell ( 26755 ) <> on Saturday November 20, 2010 @11:47PM (#34295452) Homepage Journal

    Because my crippled old bones cannot take the abuse from the desktop replacement laptops. In addition, my bloodflow is so poor from years of binging on Doritos that it cannot carry away the heat put off by these computing devices.

    Christ, does anybody on Slashdot understand that there are use cases other than their own and that what suits them may not suit another person?

  • by germansausage ( 682057 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @11:57PM (#34295502)
    Young man, it will happen to you too. Sometime between your thirtieth and fortieth birthday you will start to notice it. Your hairline will be receding. Your corneas will be less flexible so maybe you'll start to need glasses. Small injuries will start taking longer to heal. Your joints will start to hurt more often and longer. You might be able to fool yourself for a while, but even with the best of exercise, care and nutrition your will not be the same at 50 as you were at 30. Age is coming for you, as it does for us all, and it will humble you too.
  • Re:What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Roogna ( 9643 ) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @12:46AM (#34295696)

    Honestly, this is no different than any company is. If you think Red Hat, or Microsoft, or Oracle, or any major tech company is going to treat the customer paying the least, exactly identically to the customer paying the most, then you're quite deluded. Hell, this extends beyond the tech industry too. You think your average run of the mill restaurant treats the customer who's there on their first, and possibly only visit the same as the customer who comes in every single day? Sure a good restaurant is going to be nice the first timer and give good service. But the regular customer is getting better treatment and perks for the money they spend there. Vegas is built off that concept practically. So yes, you too can pay the extra bit of money ($200 above and beyond the normal price of $99 and you need a company in the first place... otherwise what's your issue, pay your $99, or jailbreak your phone, and move on with life) and get the toolset for installing what you want on yours and your employees iOS devices.

    But if you think this is a Apple only thing, then I'd love to see an example of a company anywhere in the world that doesn't give perks in some fashion to it's most valuable customers.

  • by jo42 ( 227475 ) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @01:02AM (#34295758) Homepage

    What can you do with an iPad that I can't do with linux on any other tablet from 5 years ago?

    A normal everyday person can use the iPad. A slashdot reading geek is required for "linux on any other tablet from 5 years ago".

    Once you get that through your thick nerd skull, you too will grok the enlightenment.

  • by digitallife ( 805599 ) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @02:13AM (#34296048)

    You should really look at yourself in the mirror. You're clearly holding the exact position you accuse me of holding, in reverse. But hey, I'll play along and clarify.

    What can one do with an iPad that I can't do with an alternative?
    1) Pull it out of the box, and within 1 minute have almost any book on my screen and read it for 10 hours straight without a charge. On the living room couch.
    2) Setup an Apple ID, and then have any of hundreds of thousands of pieces of software on my device in one click, usually for only a couple dollars or less.
    3) Let my 2 year old daughter use it with no supervision, and her actually be able to open her apps and navigate with no issues.
    4) Give it to my father to browse the Internet or play with apps, and not have to tell him how to use it. And he won't break it.
    5) Spend 0 time setting up or maintaining it. It really just works.
    6) Have access to an enormous amount of software designed specifically for a touch screen, much of it extremely high quality.

    I could keep going, but i think i've made my point. I enjoy using it.

  • by mikestew ( 1483105 ) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @02:41AM (#34296144) Homepage

    What can you do with an iPad that I can't do with linux on any other tablet from 5 years ago?

    Not beat my head against the wall trying to find a $IMPORTANT_FUNCTIONALITY driver that actually works, not have to spend any time learning a UI, and play Angry Birds.

    Seriously, if that doesn't sum it up for you you're either being disingenuous, or you're forever going to just not get it. The latter is fine, but you should really quit torturing yourself by trying to grock it.

  • by gmhowell ( 26755 ) <> on Sunday November 21, 2010 @02:51AM (#34296172) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, you and much of the Slashdot crowd don't really understand marketing. It seems that 'marketing' is equated with 'advertising'. Not in the least. Apple is actually a very good at marketing, but not in the limited way some seem to understand it. Apple didn't 'create' the market for the iPad, they discovered it. Big difference. Once found, they created a product that would appeal to that market. Not as simple as a PDA, not as unwieldy and complex as a laptop. Then they told people about it.

  • by MemoryDragon ( 544441 ) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @03:49AM (#34296388)

    I once had a Windows tablet. The problem really was, the form factor itself would have worked, but...
    It was a pain in the arse to use thanks to Windows, it was heavy, it had fans, in other words, it went from a useful want to have it idea straight to ebay... The only thing this thing was good at was crayon physics, not even reading was decent (which I bought it for) due to its 16:9 form factor. I was so glad Apple went to a letterbox/a4 like form factor for the ipad because it makes reading more decent. This is one thing all the Asian ipad wannabees dont get right, the form factor is always 16:9 or 16:10 might be good for movies but for 99% of the rest of the applications which are more book like it is absolutely dreadful especially since they do even opt for less vertical resolution.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 21, 2010 @03:53AM (#34296408)

    I'm forced to ask if you've used a beginner-friendly distro of linux in the last few years?

    I have, and I was forced to conclude that its developers have never met any real, live computer-illiterate beginners, and haven't a clue how such people might actually relate to computers. So, they made it friendly to the beginners they imagine - people who happen to have no experience with computers, but are enthusiastic about having the opportunity to learn about them, and willing to do so in the methodical, logical way an engineer would learn a new topic.

    Nothing but pretty buttons and touch interfaces, widgets you can drag around, docks, etc.

    That, in a nutshell, is why Apple so consistently succeeds where Linux distributions fail. Apple understands that "usable" and "pretty" are entirely separate concepts, and put a significant amount of effort into both. Linux developers don't understand the difference, so Linux desktops get no consistency, no obviousness, no simplicity, in short, no usability - just "nothing but pretty."

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Sunday November 21, 2010 @04:27AM (#34296546) Journal
    You're a fossil. Exchange is an email server and we're pretty much done with it given its foibles and incompatibilities. I design hardware solutions for 10K+ user environments, and frankly the users are tired of Microsoft's weak ass shit. It's not like it's rocket science. It's email. We've been doing email since the '80s. They should have figured it out by now. If they ain't yet, they ain't gonna.
  • by grumbel ( 592662 ) <> on Sunday November 21, 2010 @05:00AM (#34296682) Homepage

    What? There were $300-500 tablets five years ago

    Please name those products.

    And there were PDAs cheaper than that, offering the same sort of form factor as the iPhone/iTouch.

    A PDA is not a tablet.

  • by Thagg ( 9904 ) <> on Sunday November 21, 2010 @12:01PM (#34298390) Journal

    Technically, your lens loses flexibility, but yah that's about right.

    The only good thing about that is that it eliminates one source of problems when watching 3D movies, young people expect to be able to focus on things close to them, and when they can't refocus on things coming out of the screen it is disturbing. Doesn't bother the over-40 crowd a bit.

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.