Jan 10

Welcome, iPad

Hello, iPad — what took you so long?

Damn, I love the smell of new technology in the morning. Now the smoke has cleared, iPad is among us and the conversation can get even more intense — because we’re talking reality, not theory.

For some, the product can never live up to the hype. Personally, I love this thing. I want one now. I have no doubt it will play a huge role in defining how we interact with our technology well into the future. However, I do think Apple left vital parts of its body unshielded, and will suffer some hits for it.

I have one major disappointment.

I was really expecting Steve to be in his best revolutionary form today. Maybe a reference to the fact that the print industry hasn’t changed in principle all that much since Gutenberg; that every day we print millions of tons of paper only to see it thrown away at night; that Apple has now developed the technology to bring magazines and newspapers to vibrant life, in a way that will ignite a new era of publishing. I expected him to have the CEOs of the major publishing companies and booksellers on stage at the scene to talk about how iPad will create a revolution in print — just as iPod created a revolution in music.

Sports Illustrated has had a demo of their tablet-ized magazine on YouTube for quite a while now, and it gives us a glimpse of the new world.

We didn’t see this revolution today. The NY Times demo was almost off-handed in the scope of things. For all the rumors about Apple being in talks with the major publishing companies, we saw none of that.

So count me in for an iPad, because there’s an awful lot of fun built into it, ready to go. I’ll be here, with a full 10-hour charge, anxiously waiting for the real revolution to arrive.

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  • Andrew

    Me too Ken. The launch seemed a bit flat after so much hype. It’s a nice product but where is the much heralded revolution?

  • Well observed! Picky note: though I love “Short Circuit” as much as the next man, I’m sure you meant single-T Gutenberg; eg Johanes, not Steve.

  • ken segall

    Good catch! You get one free comment as a reward.

  • ChuckO

    Can I say I told you so?

    The whole thing felt a bit rushed. The partners that came out and everything. It’s an amazing device cramming all that functionality into a half inch device. It’ll find it’s place.

    But Ken. What about this “magical and revolutionary” business? I feel like if you have to tell people it’s “magical and revolutionary” it ain’t and this for me ain’t. I Just don’t like that.

    Powerful and evolutionary, yes. “magical and revolutionary”, nah.

  • there seems to be more than one shoe missing in the drop, ken … good first push out the door, but at $500 – $800 a pop for basically a larger screen than my iPhone? i think i’ll wait for the next round.

    the format allowance is a bit limited, no mention of applications other than the pre-built, pre-installed ones, and the storage capacity seems to be a bit thin at 64 gigs for $800 with no word of upgradeability … given the rapidity that flash drives are evolving, seems odd that i can’t go to Apple online and get a 128 or 256 gig card when available and install as needed…

    non-Apple apps for viewing and listening?
    file transfer?
    they have a rudimentary painting app, why not a drawing app like Illustrator or Photoshop Light for more demanding artists on the go?

    too many questions, not enough answers … but as i said, a solid first release …

  • ken segall

    I had the same reaction to the “magical” thing. I was planning to rag on that tomorrow :)

    I’m just agreeing with everyone today. I think there is much more to come — and I only hope it will come quickly. I’m very curious about the file management part. No Finder? I guess each app just stores its own files, period. I do think, as you say, it’s a solid 1.0 release. I think Apple’s gotten pretty good at that. They try to do a few things well, then expand from there.

  • David

    I honestly believe what Apple did today will change the course of our future forever. I believe that by 2020, kids will no longer buy heavy, expensive textbooks every school year. Instead, every student will own a tablet and that tablet will be the only thing in their backpack. They will be able to download all their books and do their homework right on their tablet. Thousands of trees will be saved and back problems for young people will be cured, too.

    I think the content that digital school books will make learning a lot more interactive and interesting. Interactive pictures and videos within the books will leave a much larger impact than static pictures and charts.

    I bet a lot of people in 2000 didn’t think they’d ever need a laptop and a lot of skeptics feel that way about tablets today but I think they will be proven wrong, once again.

  • ken segall

    Yes, yes and yes again. Again, I only wish that the product was introduced with this kind of vision.

  • ChuckO

    David, I hope your right. I think if Apple had cooperation (movie studios holding back AppleTV for instance) things would be much further along. Powerful forces (and not so powerful come to think of it) fear the future.

    Marino & Ken, I think the thing is about this category that Apple is inventing (iPhone, iPad) is that it isn’t a PC. It’s an appliance for “lifestyle productivity” (Copyright ChuckO). The old Apple was all about the designer\artists\creatives (because that’s only large group that bought Macs) the modern Apple’s not. They need much bigger audiences than that. They’ll add to it as the hardware gets more powerful but I think the kind of stuff you described will be in the App store not coming from Apple. The first thing I would see them adding is a camera for iChat.

    Apple’s real future is monetizing the App store for Apple. That thing has to start producing serious scratch for Apple hence the Quattro and Lala purchases.

  • ChuckO

    The intersection of Technology and Liberal Arts was also fascinating. The chair and table on stage as well.

    Oh yeah, I suspect they didn’t push the publishing revolution because they know at this point after movies and TV failed to go over as big as music that they can’t predict what will work out as the killer app on these devices. If you think I’m a nut or heretic just look at games on the iPhone and iPod touch everyone at Apple knows they didn’t see that coming.

  • ken segall

    I think they would have pushed the publishing revolution if they had the goods. I’m imagining that they just don’t have the partnerships settled yet.

    Remember they also didn’t see the App revolution coming — and now it’s the driving force behind everything.

  • David

    Thinking more into the future, I envision a day when all you need are your iPhone and iPad to get by.

    How long will it be before your iPhone becomes your car key? Why wouldn’t Ford or Mercedes be able to create an app that allows you to lock or start your car? I don’t think that’s too far away.

    Also, your iPhone could become your garage opener. All you need is for the garage door maker to create an app.

    And I’m sure the next iteration of iPhone will allow you to swipe it as a credit card seeing as how other countries’ phones already do that.

    And I’m sure in the near future, makers of central heating units of your homes will allow you to set your home’s temperature using either your iPhone or your iPad. All you need is for your central heating unit to be connected to a network. So when you’re at work, using your iPhone you’ll be able to turn off the a/c or heat at your house to save energy.

    And then who will be the first tv or cable maker to allow you to use your iPhone or iPad as the full-on remote control? Apple already lets you use the iPhone as a Remote for iTunes so it can’t be that long before a cable company lets you do the same.

    To summarize, I see a future where every extraneous tool in your pocket or house can be consolidated into an app and put on your iPhone or iPad making your life a lot simpler and streamlined.

  • Synthmeister

    I agree. Apple certainly has the vision for new-media publishing, the publishers don’t. But if Apple is offering the same 70/30% split, I don’t see what the publishers have to lose, especially book and magazine publishers. They can set their own pricing, and sell their wares with anyone, not just Apple, as Apple is using an open e-book standard.

  • Kesey

    I think it’s a big mistake to announce this device and not have it ready to ship today. The device is a toy, an impulse buy. While we wait for this to ship over the next 2 months, all the negativity surrounding this device is going to eat away at people and they’ll cancel orders or won’t place them at all. It better be damn impressive at hand-on.

    I think the $499 implementation of this product is the only variation that has a chance at being a hit. $599 to $829 is too much for a locked down product or casual gaming device. 16GB/1GHz/No 3G should be plenty for a device that you just keep on the couch when you want to browse the web, but don’t need your laptop…also should be plenty as an ebook/magazine reader. Why buy anything more?

  • If ‘someone’ had to come up with a revolutionary product that pushes publishing forward, I’m glad that’s Apple (+ under Steve Jobs). This is WAY more than simply a ‘solid’ effort – I’d say they are over 85% of the way there. Agreed about waiting for ’round 2′ – I didn’t get an iPod until 3rd gen ;-)

  • And I’m sure in the near future, makers of central heating units of your homes will allow you to set your home’s temperature using either your iPhone or your iPad.


  • Kesey

    BTW, Ken – no comment on the name?

    Pretty poor choice in my opinion. As other have stated elsewhere, it sounds like a feminine hygiene product.

  • KT

    I expect they didn’t have it ready to ship because it’s not ready to ship… maybe they thought they would be but then component got delayed?

    Also, app store is what will sell more… And putting the SDK in developer hands *before* the launch of product will make it more compelling upon release. I’m already mulling over the possibilities of having single app available for both iPad and iPhone, communicating over bluetooth…

    I.e. what would you do at home, say lounging before or after work, that you’d want to then shoot over to your iPhone to have available on-the-go, in more “playback” mode?

    Conversely, what would you want to be able to do “on-the-go” that you could bring back and play on your TV or manipulate in other larger ways?

    Of course you can take iPad with you, but maybe not when you’re doing errands?

  • It’s a perfect device for a home. It is the new media center and bookcase rolled into one, only you don’t need the wallspace. It can help save newpapers and the environment at the same time.

    Those of us who have laptops and iPhones won’t get it, but our significant others will and we’ll have one lying around for the kids, instead of an extra 24″ cable TV.

    We may one day look back on this as a first small step that finally changes computing that fits into our lifestyles and not the other way around.

    For all that, I can overlook the big bezel, lack of camera, VOIP only, AT&T only, no flash, etc, etc.

    I always wait for 2.0 anyway. And the hype was about what Steve & Co. see for the future. That’s a lot more exciting that what the dimwits on CNBC are thinking about today’s APL stock price.

  • Steve

    A bit disappointing . Certainly not exactly “feature rich” at this stage of the game. Hopefully, future revisions will bring it closer to the hype. And, there are no fewer than 8 other “tablets” being readied by competitors. I don’t think Apple is going to be the sole (or even dominant) revolutionary force behind a new era of publishing.
    But then again…Ken knows I’m still devoted to my PCs and Blackberry!

  • sorry, all they did with this iPad is resound the dull thud of the MacAir … ripped it in half, threw out the keyboard part and ported in a ton of lame apps, great, now i can be in a meeting and play Tetris!

    but i guess this might be the new Apple? half the functionality for half the price and it only acts as a gateway to Apples view of entertainment content?

    sounds like a page out of Microsoft’s playbook to me …

    my iPhone actually does all that already PLUS it makes phone calls and fits onto things easier …

  • ChuckO

    I don’t see watching movies and TV on the thing. It seems like it would only work for one person. I would think you’d want to use ear phones to listen unless the little thing has a fantastic speaker.

    There’s a lot of utility in there on the email, web, book line especially for $500. I will also be interesting to see what happens with the textbook aspect and as a device in various specialty work areas (Doctors and others for whom specialty apps will be developed).

    I would get a 27″ iMac as a second TV for the kids myself not this.

    I could see this being very popular with the ladies. I could see replacing my wife’s home laptop with it quite nicely. It does everything she uses her laptop for and is a great size.

  • ken segall

    I was going to blab a little bit about the name tomorrow. I still wish they’d have gone off in a non-i direction. The way naming works, in theory it won’t have any connotations beside the product within a week or two. Just a theory…

  • rd

    problem is the ppi.
    Since Apple wanted compatibility
    with existing iphone apps.
    4:3 aspect ration sucks for movies.
    for ebooks 200 ppi or higher is needed.
    may be it would be better with 7 inch screen.
    So we are stuck with this compromise and
    it will only get worse in the future.
    It would make a great first computer in India but
    then you have get rid off iTunes sync.
    Apple better tell their developers to test their apps with range of resolutions because this is a weakness.

  • @chuckO, having just finished a large project for a pharma co, putting one brand line on PC’s for reps and doctors, i can tell you the iPad is nowhere in the running for consideration in field applications.

    too expensive, closed architecture, no Flash (what is this 1999?) and very limited storage and adaptability all make for something no rep, Rx, engineer or tech will want to have around unless the client’s hand them out for free and they are way too expensive and limited for that. $300 netbooks are a much better investment there. this is like Barbie’s Dream Computer: looks cool, awesome to be seen with one, but not very useful.

    change the POV here for a second … if HP or Dell had released this, we’d all be laughing about what puny effort it is in light of what is possible for all of the above reasons: closed architecture, small storage, no upgradability, no apps other than via a monopoly outlet, so this devices future in the wild seems to be pretty dim …

  • Don’t remember any of the “revolutionary” stuff at prior product intros either: iMac, iPod, AppleTV, etc. But my memory may be slipping. Usually he tries to get the product out there and let it speak for itself. The “revolutionary” stuff usually comes after there is at least some initial evidence of success, such as with the iTunes Store. At intro, the hype-o-meter is already cranked way up. The media attention for iPad is incredible: On CNN International it is reported before the State of the Union Address.

  • ken segall

    I agree that iPad isn’t much of a draw for business as-is (which is why I wondered about the whole digression into iWork, though I understand the need to show that you can be productive on iPad if you wish). But I disagree with some of your other assessments. “If Dell or HP had released this” isn’t a great start to an argument, because that’s one of the grander issues here. Never in a million years would either of those guys create something like iPad, something with a vision beyond selling a few more boxes. Also, I don’t think you can slam it for having a “monopoly outlet” for apps when that particular outlet is the #1 draw in the entire world of mobile computing, and the thing every other platform is trying to catch up to. I think iPad’s future in the wild looks very good (just as iPhone has been adapted for tons of business and medical uses) — it’s just that the present has a ways to go.

    Each intro has happened in a different context, so it’s hard to make a blanket statement about exactly how Apple presents or seeds its revolutions. iMac was a shocker, simply by the way it looked compared to all other computers at the time. (Which is interesting, because functionally it was still just a computer, just much easier to set up.) With iPod, Apple unexpectedly went way out on a limb and created something that wasn’t a computer. I do believe it was presented as a revolution (“1,000 songs in your pocket”). iPhone, on the other hand, came with iPad-sized hype beforehand (thanks to the track record Apple had accumulated with iMac and iPod), and was presented as a huge revolution. So at this point in time, revolutions are actually expected of Apple. The buzz has a life of its own, which Apple knows and leverages. So what Steve says when he presents iPad is said in a very different context than what he said when he introduced iMac. The “revolution” pump was thoroughly primed, and it was up to Apple to meet the standard — or risk disappointing its customers and the press.

  • sorry ken, the criticism holds weight … IF any other competitor had released the same thing, we’d all be pointing fingers at it’s shriveled unmanly abilities … Zune? Storm? Android?

    the monopoly part is also quite valid as most of the money-making apps are bamboo whistles or fart noises … the medical ones, like Johnson & Johnson’s BRILLIANT diabetes app and intranet tracker for patients and doctors, is free and has been ported over to systems … just as an example, there are many others …

    where’s my Pandora applet, etc to play in the background while i SMS? why can’t i load VLC Player? or a mild drawing program? why can’t i add a memory card? why is there no ports camera input (on the go)? or any other device for that matter?

    yes, it’s wicked fast as doing the same things as my iPhone, but as for charging that much to do so little at this stage of the game with all the hype leading up to it …

    just saying the announcement surely did not match the expectations, unlike the iPhone, iPod, iMac … this was comparable to the MacAir, nice to look at but very useful yet?

  • rd


    US government has no problem with monopoly.
    It actively gives monopoly to corporations every so
    often. It is only illegal if Apple used its monopoly to keep a competitor out of a market or get another monopoly using existing monopoly.
    Just because you yell monopoly doesn’t mean you have an argument.

    Zune, It is six months since it is out. Were are the flood of apps, where are the sales figures. Where are download statistics.

    See, Apple no longer is courting super nerds and their opinions. They are not marketing this product to you.
    So go buy HP Slate or whatever. iphone is not a replacement PC. iPod is for novice people who like the iphone experience. You can bitch about multitasking or other nonsense, most of the people don’t care.

  • people have come expect a lot out of Apple and the market will decide … just because they made it doesn’t mean it’s worth buying … MacAir? Apple TV? Cube?

    nobodies ‘bitching’ about multi-tasking but if you’re watching a movie and have to answer an email or text, that’s muti-tasking and i think most people really do care about that … it’s a valid point in a content rich environment …

    i wasn’t saying that Apple’s monopoly hold on content flow through is political issue (not sure why the government got dragged into this but o.k.), the point was that the architecture was not open enough to allow a true rich user experience … and it still hasn’t taken us anywhere beyond the Touch on steroids …

    and yes, Apple is very much marketing this product to me and my ilk at $829 a pop for the 3G version …

  • sarumbear

    I wonder if you had seen this magazine concept from Bonnier R&D?


    We are in the wake of a new revolution and Stve Jobs did it again. It will take a while, but at least magazine and newspaper industry has changed for ever.

  • ken segall

    Very cool, thanks. This is the kind of thing I wish we saw on Wednesday, but we all know it’s coming. Hard to imagine until recently that the lowly magazine would ever become the hot commodity in the digital world — but I just can’t wait to get my hands on this stuff.

  • sarumbear

    @marino a gallo said: “Apple is very much marketing this product to me and my ilk at $829 a pop for the 3G version …”

    I agree with that 100%, but the fact is Apple isn’t aiming you as the type of buyer. A typical iPad user will not necessarily need 3G as Wi-Fi is almost everywhere and 16GB is ample amount of memory as proven by the iPod nono sales.

    Also, in real life one doesn’t watch a film and answer email. The Pause button is invented for a reason :-)

  • true enough, sarumbear, when you’re sitting at home … in the wild, things have a habit of being a bit more fluid and dynamic and to not have to hit the restart button when emailing, texting, reviewing a document, listening to a radio station, etc … it becomes a drag.

    the lack of mutli-tasking, as i understand it, is that you don’t put anything on pause. the iPad doesn’t have a pause button. on anything. it’s on or it’s off. you quit one app when switching to another one.

    that can get a bit tiresome quickly …

    while i might not be the buyer they intended it for, but by financial demographic, i am the buyer they’re targeting … it’s still a far cry from a Nano (which is set up as a single function device : either video or music at one time, not both) at $179 for the top end to $499 for the starter iPad (which is set up as a multi-functioning portal to entertainment and communication but doesn’t actually multi-task)…

    as i said in another post, maybe in v2 or 3? when it becomes the Max iPad?

  • sarumbear

    marino a gallo, I think you will be pleasently surprised that, like with iPhone, on iPad you can listen to music while reading a book or writing a book. That my friend is multitasking.

    As you very correctly said, v1 has limited multitasking, and v2 and v3 will have more. The functionality difference between the 1st iPhone and the 3GS is huge. I am sure the same will be the case for iPad.

    If you want a fully-baked iPad, you may want to wait a year. But, think of the fun you will have in the first year for less than $1.50 per day :-)

  • that’s actually $2.27 per day for the ‘fully baked’ one, recheck your math plus the 3G charges?

    thanks but my iPhone still has all of that covered and that cost is already been paid back by it’s ability to talk to people and take pictures of things i need quickly and it fits in my pocket …

    i’m waiting for the Archos tablet, less $$$, more features … or the Courier, both seem more usable to me …

  • sarumbear

    @marino a gallo
    If Apple cannot convince you with their magic maybe you will be convinced with some African magic: JooJoo Tablet!



  • oh, i’m pretty willing to be be convinced by magic … i’ve just been around the block enough times to be wary of the guy telling me it’s magic and it’s my fault if i can’t see it… magic is self evident and doesn’t really need a lot of fanfare: pull a rabbit out of a hat or saw a lady in half and you don’t really need to explain to anyone, the audience is not stupid …

    i was actually quite impressed on my commute this morning by this:


    some guy next to me was editing his photos while a movie was playing in a small screen of to the side and he answered an email via WiFi … being the curious sort, i asked him what it was and what it had for how much … imagine my surprise when we said around $600 for 320 gig hard drive, 4 gigs of ram and WiFi connectivity (not 3G BUT no monthly charge, but hey, i have an office and home computer to handle the heavy lifting) …

    while not being ‘magic’ and never been claimed to be an act of divine or supernatural occurrence, it did seem to be a very smart answer to the “i need something small, powerful, capable and cheap to handle something whilst out and about” question … a foldable touch activated laptop, with firepower enough to handle quite a few off-site tasks … and i’m sure with some decent hacks and mods it couyld be even better … but hey, what do i know? ; )>

    (i have a goatee, hence the additional emoticon addition)

  • ken segall

    I think this just proves what we all pretty much know already: if you’re focused on more features, low price, better specs, more customizability, cutting-edge technology, all that stuff — there are plenty of choices that look better than Apple’s. But if you’re looking to do certain things with the least hassle, you like the design and quality of Apple hardware/software, you have money and you think it’s worth the premium, you buy Apple. Apple’s smaller market share is pretty much guaranteed with their philosophy — but so is their financial well-being. The PC companies only wish they had profit margins like Apple.

  • well that wasn’t what i was going on about but alright …

    while the PC makers may wish they had Apples margins, i’m pretty sure Apple and their stock holders wish they had the PC’s market coverage and overall share …

    ‘if you’re looking to do certain things’? what does that even mean? we’re all looking for the same things pretty much: reliable surfing, affordable firepower, relative adaptability.

    i’ll jump back to my main sticking points from way earlier : if Apple had delivered reasonably well on the ‘magic’, hell yes, i’d be lining up for one! which by the way, you can’t do, no pre-orders yet (WTF????)… i guess Apple will let you know when and if they’re ready to ship the ‘magic’ your way …

  • ken segall

    Wow. This one I’ll have to jump on. Apple’s shareholders are deliriously happy and forever grateful for the return on their investment (disclaimer: I’m one of them). Sheer greed, of which I am quite capable, does make me dream of owning an iPod-sized share of market in PCs as well. But I’m realistic enough to know that that’s not going to happen, and I’m happy with the constant march of incremental gains as more people are won over by quality and great design.

    I also don’t agree that we’re all looking for the same things. In particular, I don’t think iPad customers will be giving a hoot about “affordable firepower, relative adaptability,” etc. They’ll just looking for a simple, fun way to do “certain things”: surf, read books and magazines, do email, watch videos. (As long as they’re not Flash videos :)

    About the pre-orders: I too was horrified by this. But apparently iPad has to go through FCC approvals due to its 3G-edness. I suspect they are not legally allowed to take orders for something until it gets official approval. Just a theory — because it seems out of step with normal Apple launches.

  • iCan’tkeepthisup …