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.
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 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.
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. ^_^
$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.
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.
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.
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.