in Geeklife, Opinions

iPad, iPass

Beautiful device, beautiful looking software but way too expensive for the minimum storage capabilities that a multimedia/gaming device should have.

If you’re giving me a great screen for video, powerful graphic processing capabilities and only WiFI connectivity you must think I will want to have a few movies, pictures and music stored in the device for offline use. WiFI is everywhere right? Wrong, most networks out there are password protected by the owners, so the only places where you’ll have WiFI access for free will be at home, at the office, maybe at your friends or a library. In most of those cases you will have a real laptop with you, or you won’t really be there to use the device.

Given the lack of real connectivity to the “cloud” when you’re on WiFI outside, when you’re “mobile”… you will want to have your entertainment on disk, with so little space you’ll be constantly adding and deleting stuff to it.

Now if you will get the 3G version, don’t even dream of HD streaming over that slow ass unreliable 3G AT&T connection, you will need the storage.

Pricing Pissed me Off

The pricing scheme really got me pissed, the lower end version costs $500 and it only gives you 16Gb; my phone has 32Gb!!!.

So you gotta be crazy to pay so much for the lower end, which is what they know, and they charge $100 for additional 16Gb, and $200 for additional 48Gb putting the 64gb model at $700 bucks.

You would think, “shit, it’s a tablet, multitouch, beautiful, for under $700”, but remember, it’s ONLY 64Gb. My humble mp3 collection alone takes 45Gb!!!.

I can’t even remember when was the last time I bought a 64Gb HDD. It all seems that they couldn’t wait more for SSD drives to finally drop their prices; There’s a big market in Netbooks and many companies are already there so they had to come out with something now, even if the storage will suck balls.

Other important flaws

Then you have to remember other big flaws, it runs the iPhone OS, which still does not allow for multitasking, iPhone users know that this is a bitch when they see Android users switching from GMail, to browser, to maps, to twitter and back all instantly, no need to close your apps and you keep your states.

Another great flaw comes because of Apple’s desire to destroy Adobe Flash. Steve Job has some motherfucking balls calling this device a better device to browse the web, even in his demo we could see a “missing plugin” on the New York Times. Every website out there embedding videos will have a flash player in it. Every social game in Facebook that attracts millions of players a month happens to be made with Flash (Farmville, Typing Maniac, Bejeweled, Biggest Brain, etc), but it’s the damn need to control what we do with our own computers that will make Apple force the stupid restrictions of the iPhone to this new device.

Thanks but no.

Netbooks aren’t that bad
Steve Jobs said that Netbooks aren’t better at anything, he’s right on that, but his new device sucks at storage and it’s not that great at web browsing either, no Flash support, no multitasking. Netbooks are not better, but they’re just as good as lots of high priced laptops a few years back, so I guess they’re better at doing the same job for a lot less money.

iPad’s limited storage capabilities for this first generation are a deal breaker for many of us that will wait for round two to see what they come up with.

Most of the things that the iPad does can be done with Netbooks, and Netbooks can do a lot of things that the iPad can’t, like multitasking for example.

Next version will probably include a web cam (would’ve been a great feature to use it with Skype), it’s an old trick of apple to not release stupid features at once so they can have you buying the whole thing again just for a few changes here and there next year.

What’s up with the CPU?
Did Intel get stabbed in the back? or it’s just an Apple branded / custom designed Intel CPU?

We’ll probably be hearing more about once it’s released.

$130 more for a 3G chip
This is probably Broadcom’s fault, but I refuse to believe that a 3G chip is that costly, they have to bank on that extra microchip and integration I suppose.

In the meantime I’ll keep using my lovely Asus EEE pc 1005HA, with 160Gb HDD (slower than SDD but hey, I’m not running mission critical apps here), multitasking, freedom of choice in free software, and a webcam.

Do yourself a favor, go to the Apple Store, test it, then think all the stuff you can’t have stored in it, and other things you could buy with those $700+taxes (2 netbooks, a ps3 with a bunch of games, $300 more and you could get an actual macbook, a kindle reader and shitload of books)

iPad, iPass

Update: Now read Andrew Fischler’s Point of View on each of my issues.

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  1. I like it but it’s a rich kid’s toy and does not offer any more usefulness (and some less) than a good netbook. I’ll wait until the inevitable versions 2 and 3 come out this year (at a lower price with more stuff) and pick up a slightly used one on craigslist for $150.

  2. Mac’s new product will eventually gain some steam after the first over-hype time during it’s launch. The A4 chip and Apple’s potential to fix some problems will begin to make the product a success story in time.

    • I think for now the A4 chip is probably not even done, they just had to mention it for the preview. It seemed like a rushed product, good enough to have something to say for the event, to keep the rumor mill turning. In reality apple didn’t deliver anything new, nobody can even try the device, it’s just a prototype, a big iphone.

      This is why we can’t find anything regarding the specs of that chip. Creating a new CPU is no easy task, that’s why there aren’t hundreds of Intel like companies, this is hard core technology, shrinking millions of transistors in such efficient ways, I suppose apple just bought a chip maker, but this is not their thing, whatever they built or that they will build, will somehow either be compatible with intel, or will have to map intel instructions one way or another… or they’re gonna have to port all the compilers… just nasty stuff, seems BS to me.

  3. I’ve tried to counter some of your points here as objectively as I could. For the record, I’m a happy Apple user, but consider myself to be open minded to all platforms.

    Price
    An unsubsidized iPhone is $599/$699 depending on the memory size. This thing is twice the size — physically and in available memory. That’s not that bad considering some sources were saying $999 as a possible price point, though I never believed that myself.

    The A4
    The chip is a BIG deal. The A4 is actually an ARM processor, just like the chips used to power all iPhones, so no platform switching here. Even so, the OS is platform independent, and they’ve shown they can manage that kind of switch easily enough if they ever want to do so.

    PA Semi — the company Apple bought to make these chip designs — have a history with high performance, low power chips. Even the Military loved their stuff. The A4 is clocked at 1ghz — twice the speed jump from the iPhone 3GS than it took from the 3G, and Apple is still willing to claim super-human battery life. Even at a more realistic 5-hours max, that’s a lot of horsepower for a mobile device (though not for a full-sized laptop). Every hands-on account I read points to screaming fast responsiveness, but I reserve final judgement until I have that same privilege.

    Connectivity
    The fact they will sell a WiFi only model and you’re not interested is missing the point. Some will want the always on connectivity option, but what if you were happy just to play games, watch movies and read books while out and surf the net at home or a hotspot?

    Plus, there’s the added cost of the 3G service. Considering my phone already lets me get to the net, I have a harder time justifying the added payments to AT&T. I could really see myself using the WiFi only version — that’s the same way I enjoy my laptop when I’m out and about. ^_^

    3G Tax
    $130 for the chips and radio equipment for 3G is bullshit, but I can’t say this is unexpected. Just like they get you on the price of memory with the built-to-order, there’s usually one spot where they hit you cause they can.

    Storage Size
    I would consider myself to be both a power user and a music connoisseur. My iPhone (16GB 3G) has 11 pages of apps and web shortcuts, and my music library is 30,000 tracks strong. I could never get that whole library into my phone, but I couldn’t get the whole thing on a laptop comfortably, either. I keep about 1,800 tracks and rotate albums in and out every few weeks. It’s worked for well over a year and a half.

    Now answer this question: If a netbook was your only computer, would you have a music librabry as large as you do now? The large part of us who get a netbook or an iPad aren’t going to use it as their only computer, so I don’t think you should treat it like one in your example.

    Flash Support
    A whole ‘nother kettle of fish. I will admit that the day Flash is used more for content production and less for content distribution, the happier I will be. HTML5 is being built to supplant a lot of the jobs Flash does, and I think we’re starting to get to the tipping point. Apple and Google both use WebKit at the core of all their browsers — computer or mobile — which means you have two very ambitious companies with huge clout and their own good reasons for making WebKit be the best engine it can be, which is helping to accelerate standards support elsewhere.

    In short — unless Adobe opens the source code for Flash like Apple did with WebKit, they will never put Flash on the iPhone OS. Web Devs will find a way around this, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Adobe be the one on the short end.

    Netbooks aren’t that bad
    Steve Jobs, as with any CEO, needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

    Netbooks as a platform will remain, and they will still have their advocates. But I’ll bet it’s less than 18 months before someone gets an Android or Chrome-powered touch tablet to market — more hackable and working to compete on merit with the iPad. I’ll also bet Google forms a team to do that ala the Nexus, along with licensing to 3rd parties.

    OS Choice
    The iPhone OS is a scaled down version of OS X specifically with touch devices and low power consumption in mind. I really don’t see how you could have thought they’d use anything other than that in their tablet.


    stevenf has a GREAT piece about “Old World v. New World” computing
    , which talks a lot about how the device is perceived by those who are used to their computers doing everything vs. those who are used to it doing one thing at a time well. They may be computers at heart, but they are built and designed as consumer electronics, which have higher expectation levels and less tolerances to things not working like they should.

    That said, this relatively young branch of the OS X and more will need to be done to flesh out the platform. Moore’s law will help the hardware eventually handle most (but not all) of what one of today’s laptops can do. We know the OS can multitask because the iPod software runs in the background. You can dislike their decisions, but you can’t fault the reasoning: they want stability first, performance second, and multiple background apps put strains on both.

    At some point Apple will ease the restrictions and let dev have multitasking apps. But not today.

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