There has been a fair amount of iPad bashing going on with the lack of multitasking, limited ability to create content (or at least as flexibly as when using a mouse-driven computer) and the constraints put on developers by Apple.
Man….does this ever bring up memories and an analogy that you might find interesting!
When Apple introduced the Macintosh in 1984, they simultaneously published Apple Human Interface Guidelines which specifically outlined how to build an application that leveraged the supplied interface “toolkit” in ROM so that there would be a consistent user experience across applications (e.g., people would always know where “Quit” was under the “File” menu). There were howls of protests from developers over “the constraints Apple is imposing on us” and “command-line driven applications are so much more flexible than ones that have to fit in to the “File>Edit” metaphor” as well as “who does Apple think they are telling us how to build and deliver great applications?“
Sound familiar to today’s whining about the iPad? Look at the original Microsoft MS-DOS driven personal computers and the graphical user interface (GUI) on the Macintosh (and its predecessor, the Lisa). Which would you rather use?
Yes, all of us have become pretty adept at the GUI and all the applications we use today are optimized for that human interface paradigm. Will a transition to any other form of human interface be painful? Absolutely, especially since we’ve all been using GUIs since the mid-1980s! You know that it’s easy to look back and see that a GUI-driven computer world was a much better one to live in than a command-line one, but it’s more difficult to look in to the future to see what a touch-driven computing world will look like.
Apple has published iPad Human Interface Guidelines and it’s pretty clear that the time has come for the computer to take the next leap. Many are discussing it and this post by Keith Kleiner at the Singularity Hub is a good overview of some of the thought leading technologies being explored with this next generation touch paradigm.
The iPad is the first mass market product to embrace this paradigm and make it palatable to everyone, with the possible exception of the whining developers, tech geeks and others who see it as too limiting, closed or different. Is the iPad without warts? Nope and it’s certain to improve and competition will abound. But every time I look at the landscape of human-created products, services, religions or any other endeavor, absolute perfection seems to be missing so get over it.
The accelerating category of tablet computers — targeted directly at the always-0n, always-connected mobile masses involved in cloud computing, social media and seeking devices to make life easier and more efficient — isn’t limited to the Apple iPad. Though I knew a bit about the Lenovo IdeaPad U1 from CES coverage, poking around this morning I uncovered this video by Jim Louderback, CEO of Revision3, from the CES show that gives the best overview of this device that I’ve seen yet (and no, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s boooooring tablet/slate presentation at CES didn’t do much more than one could see by looking at pretty pictures).
This lack of my awareness (since I pay close attention to this stuff) is perhaps as telling as any other marketing analysis I’ve read recently, about the impact Steve Jobs made on introducing the iPad. I am surprised I didn’t see this video earlier since I’m a huge Revision3 fanboi and watch a lot of their shows and coverage. In any event, this is worth the couple of minutes to watch:
Couldn’t agree more with Jay Yarow at Silicon Alley Insider that The Real iPad Revolution is the A4 Chip That’s Running It. That is where the “magic” is and will set Apple apart for a very, very long time.
Many people seemed to wonder about Apple’s 2008 acquisition of PASemi, a small chip designer for $278M. Ever since I devoured former Apple CEO, John Sculley’s book “Odyssey: Pepsi to Apple : A Journey of Adventure, Ideas, and the Future“, where Sculley outlined the future of computers (in 1987, I might add) where chip designers would shrink functionality on to custom chips cranked out by fabrication plants for those designers, I’ve been a believer in this concept and wondered what has taken so long for a company to jump on this and do it.
Though it’s highly unlikely that Jobs would even acknowledge this vision from the guy that got him ousted from Apple and took the helm to the company’s detriment, it’s nice to see Apple driving forward on this concept that will give it competitive advantage no other company will be able to match.
Watching the keynote video I can only imagine what an A4, or its derivative, will mean for the nextgen iPhone certain to ship this summer!
I own an Apple Newton (with the 2.0 software) and occasionally get it out to play with it. The Newton OS 2.0 software finally got the handwriting recognition down so that glaring and funny errors weren’t there for the press to ridicule (Apple’s Newton Reborn: Will it Still the Critics? by John Markoff for the New York Times, from 1994).
For a loooong time I’ve believed that Apple was just moments away from a tablet. I’ve wanted one ever since the Newton was murdered discontinued and have been convinced we’re right around the corner. Fortunately I’m not the only one who missed predicting the introduction of just such a device.
I don’t care much anymore. My hope is that Apple will do it eventually and it will be a lusted after, must-have device just like an iPhone, but my Macbook Pro, iPhone and a netbook suffice just fine for now.
Here are three posts where I was convinced such a device was nearly here, but clearly was way off:
- November 2006: Apple Tablet: Why it could happen…
- March 2008: Apple iPad: Would you buy a tablet-sized iPhone?
- October 2008: Apple’s Netbook: The Kindle Killer?
Now the rumors are all over the ‘net that “It’s coming! It’s coming!” from flash memory purchases to rumored production starting up to Verizon being the chosen one for a new, cheap iPhone and a netbook-like device.
I’ll wait until Apple announces something and in the meantime, sit back, relax and enjoy this Welcome to Newton video from 1993…