As is customary amongst our people, I am going to tell you what it is I think about stuff that’s been going on.
On Wednesday, Apple announced, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, that they were going to release a new tablet computer, monikered the iPad.
Gallons of ink and… what the fuck is the collective noun for pixels? I mean, you have a murder of crows, a parliament of rooks, a school of fish, a clutch of eggs… regardless, a lot of pixels have gone into describing every nook and cranny of the thing, so there’s no need to re-hash it; I always find that Engadget does a good job of coverage.
The real question is: is the iPad a Good Thing, or a Bad Thing?
I must confess that my initial thought process was, “Oh, it’s a giant iPod Touch. Who cares?” The iPhone OS is limited in a whole bunch of ways that are annoying if you’re used to desktop computers: there’s no filesystem, no multitasking, you have to get all your applications through the App Store, etc. and I felt that was just too limiting for a device that size. I also had ergonomic concerns, is it good for typing, for instance?
Then I sat down and watched the keynote video, watched the thing in action.
And I just can’t be cynical. I’ve wanted a device like this for probably more than a decade. And it’s better than the dream could ever be.
The iWork apps on there were, oddly, what finally convinced me. If you pair it with a USB keyboard, this becomes a practical work machine. It’s not a toy, it’s not a joke, it’s a perfectly-crafted touch device in a way you could never get by retrofitting multitouch into an existing OS, because every aspect of the experience is geared towards interacting with it with your hands. It’s utterly marvellous.
People say that it’s just a bigger iPod Touch. And it is, they’re not wrong. But then a Blu-Ray is just a DVD with more pixels. A Core 2 Quad is just a Duo with 2 extra cores. Heck, it’s really just a faster 486! The step up in experience that the simple doubling of the dimensions provides for is just going to be an order-of-magnitude better. Saying it’s “just” a bigger iPod Touch is like saying a Microsoft Surface table is just a bigger iPod Touch. The very nature of the form-factor makes it different.
So yeh, I’m very excited to head down to the Apple Store in 2 months and have a go at holding one in my hands. I might even go crazy and buy one, like a big sucker buying a 1st gen product.
There are niggles; it should be able to run at least one app in the background. Honestly, that’s all I need, or want. One background app for something like Spotify, and one foreground app to actually work in. The second thing is, they need to loosen App Store approval guidelines. There’s only one route to get software onto it, so it needs to not suck.
As far as Flash goes, I really don’t care. HTML5 Video and Canvas are going to wash it away, and the lack of support for Flash in the iPhone ecosystem is going to hurt Flash, not anybody else. Adobe looks pretty scared.
Still probably not ever going to get a Mac, though.