iPad

Why the iPad will fail to win significant market share

Portable, electronic gadgets are on fire, and while TechRepublic member dcolbert thinks Apple's iPad is a slick, sexy device, he argues that it won't be an overwhelming success. Find out why.

We've all heard countless opinions about whether Apple's new, mid-sized form factor will be a hit. There’s no doubt that the iPad is a slick, sexy device, but I don’t think it will be an overwhelming success.

Even Steve Jobs acknowledged the fact that many people might place this device in a dangerous "in between" category – not quite portable enough to replace the iPhone or robust enough to replace the notebook. However, Apple responded by aggressively promoting an inexpensive wireless data plan model that undercuts all of the major carriers. This price, over the lifetime of the device, is an incentive to pony up the Apple premium price and reap the cost savings of the discounted wireless broadband service.

Now that we have some specific details of the iPad, I think it’s worth focusing on things that were not discussed during the Apple event. Most of these are related to hardware, but some of them are Apple hardware and software philosophy issues.

1. Limited I/O. Steve Jobs took a dig at netbook computers during the presentation, saying that there was no comparison, but this is the segment where the iPad will compete.

A subsidized, broadband wireless-ready netbook will get you a pretty loaded machine for a very reasonable price. Alternately, you could opt to pay the full price for a netbook and purchase a subsidized wireless broadband USB dongle. In either case, you'll have to pay more for the monthly broadband service than you would for the iPad, but with this price, you get a tremendous amount of flexibility. For example, you can choose your carrier and the broadband device that hooks up to your netbook.

A base 16GB iPad is a locked-down, closed system. There is no ability (that was disclosed at the time of this writing) to add broadband wireless later. There are no standard USB ports. There is presumably no way to upgrade the base memory. For the entry level price of $500, this is a very limited device – and the only upgrade path is to sell the device and buy a better one.

Certainly, some people on tighter budgets who want a fruit on the back of their device will make this purchasing decision, but I think that most rational people are going to see this as a pitfall. By the time you work your way up to the 64GB device with built-in wireless broadband, you're talking about spending right around $900 – not including the monthly service charge for the wireless broadband. That kind of money would buy a very nice laptop with broadband.

The closed, locked nature of the system, proprietary connectors, proprietary software market, and non-upgradable system architecture are a lot of deal breakers, in my book. Unless a device is driverless, you're not going to be able to add it to the iPad without Apple's approval, which means that certain devices are almost certainly out of the question.

The concern isn't that these things can’t be done – it’s that you're at Apple's mercy if they will or won’t allow it. This design and deployment philosophy has plagued Apple since the earliest days of the Macintosh, and it’s one of the reasons PCs eventually emerged as more successful.

I expect to see Windows 7 and Android-based touch tablets with equal or richer feature sets and far greater expandability for a fraction of the price of the iPad in a short amount of time. Android seems to be the logical favorite to emerge in this market. In addition, wireless carriers will likely compete with comparable pricing plans for wireless broadband.

2. Application feature sets. I was surprised that the Apple event had very few minor talking-points before launching right into the iPad, and I was even more surprised about the iPad talking-points that Apple decided to highlight.

Perhaps the lengthy portion dedicated to iLife was to illustrate that the Apple iPhone OS could scale up to traditional, full-featured applications. And while Apple certainly has a good start on content distribution, I don't see that they are building on the shoulders of the Amazon Kindle as they claim.

Digital books, in this segment, are not the killer app that Steve Jobs seems to think they are. The Kindle is successful for a couple of reasons. 1) The Kindle is a purpose-built device. Lots of other devices tried to deliver eBook and ePeriodical experiences before but were not successful. Apple hasn't done anything significant in improving those models. Kindle did. 2) Kindle is a relatively small, niche market, mostly of very dedicated “used bookshop” readers. However, these insatiable readers are a declining breed. If Apple cannibalized the entire Kindle reader market, that would be a drop in the bucket compared to the number of iPhone sales to date.

I've been using this example: Do you know someone who is always carrying around a paperback, reading at lunch and on breaks? That guy is a Kindle candidate, because he’s excited about the prospect of having his entire library digitally available wherever he goes. Most of us, though, simply read in bed at night or take a book on a trip - maybe to read on the plane. We're only going to need one paperback at a time – and this is why the Kindle remains a niche. Form follows function, and traditional print remains the most ideal form for most purposes for most people in most occasions. The Kindle doesn't have enough value add for most of us, and the iPad will offer even less value.

I was impressed that Apple included the keyboard dock accessory. However, when I heard Jobs discuss how easily the iPad will interface with projectors for presentations, my first thought was that all of this will be handled through the single, proprietary Apple USB iPod interface, which to date has no "USB hub" option either. This kind of lock-in will hurt the iPad, and it could have easily been avoided – while still allowing Apple to maintain their iron-fisted grip on accessories – by simply including one or two standard USB ports. This is an oversight that Apple's competitors will certainly not make in their upcoming products.

The advantages of the iPad are its user interface and the app store, things oriented toward less technically inclined users. But this particular segment – the "mid-range" PC that dumbs down the experience and makes it super accessible to grandmothers and soccer moms – I'm not sure they're going to sign up for this device. I can't see where the iPad hits the mark with consumers who are actually willing to pay between $500-900 for the device, especially as more compelling, feature rich, less expensive, gadget-freak oriented devices arrive. After all, casual users are content with the iPhone, which already offers the same advantages of the iPad.

Broadly speaking, this segment – new portable, consumer-oriented electronic devices – is on fire right now, but Apple's model doesn't lend itself well to consumer or partner freedom. In the past, it was almost sacrilegious to speak ill of Apple, and if you did, you were branded as being unenlightened. However, I’m struck by the number of Apple users who are now voicing their opinions in forums that they can't wait to jump to Android and, more surprisingly, Windows 7 mobile, both of which look to offer very strong competition.

In the end, I think that the iPad will eventually be regarded much like Apple TV – a product that Jobs should have left on the drawing boards.

About

Donovan Colbert has over 16 years of experience in the IT Industry. He's worked in help-desk, enterprise software support, systems administration and engineering, IT management, and is a regular contributor for TechRepublic. Currently, his profession...

255 comments
Mangoni
Mangoni

I am disappointed that Apple has chosen to not include Adobe applications in their most current machines. Most people who buy Apple products do so because of their applications in audio and video, and their graphics trump card for the longest time was Adobe products ( which they've had a long standing relationship with since Photoshop's inception). I don't think that Steve Jobs' understands the gravity of a statement to disclude Adobe products from their machines. Many coputer art professionals will have no choice than to bring their business strictly to a PC market.

dallasdeckard
dallasdeckard

HAHAHA! What was that? The iPad will fail! HAHA! Wrong! Yesterday, Microsoft's Ballmer said: "Apple is doing an "interesting" job with the iPad and has "sold certainly more than I'd like them to sell." Fortune magazine's article goes on to say: As a result, Ballmer said his company's "job one urgency" is bringing Windows-based tablet computers to the market. Bwahahahahaha!!!!!!! Uh, what was that windows7news.com... the iPad will fail? HAHA! Fortune goes on to say: "With the early success of Apple's (AAPL, Fortune 500) iPad, many analysts are predicting that the tablet space will be one of the fastest-growing tech segments this decade, alongside smartphones. That makes Microsoft's urgency all the more palpable." Apple's stock is soaring because of the iPad sales, and in response to others trying to sell tablet-based devices, making it the biggest gainer among tech stocks on the S&P 500. The iPad is selling faster than hotcakes. As of July 1, the iPad has sold more than 2 million units since its April 3 launch. In fact, the sales numbers of the iPad are outperforming the iPhone, and that ain't hay. Uh, sounds like a success to me. Oops, looks like Donovan Colbert and Senior Editor, Sonja Thompson just showed why you never listen to Windoze people when it comes to tech predictions ? la Apple.

mdesbiens
mdesbiens

It may be not a best seller, but I think it could be a usefull device in business. I don't want to bring my MacBook Pro in all meetings. A more portable device would be very usefull. I'm impress with the compatibility of iWorks with MS Office, so the iPad could also be used for the presentations. I read you have a vga connector when using the dock. Before buying, I will have to be able to do it without the dock. The connectivity is my main concern with the iPad.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I pretty much disagree across the board. His whole argument is based on misrepresenting the announcement and the product. [i]"Even Steve Jobs acknowledged the fact that many people might place this device in a dangerous ?in between? category ? not quite portable enough to replace the iPhone or robust enough to replace the notebook."[/i] Wrong! Steve Jobs quite clearly planted the iPad in this category, a category that the netbook very clumsily fills. [i]"However, Apple responded by aggressively promoting an inexpensive wireless data plan model that undercuts all of the major carriers."[/i] All? Steve Jobs quite clearly stated that the wireless data plan was AT&T's own plan, not something made up by Apple. [i]"A subsidized, ... netbook will get you a pretty loaded machine for a ... reasonable price. Alternately, you could ... purchase a subsidized wireless broadband USB dongle. In either case, ... you get a tremendous amount of flexibility. For example, you can choose your carrier and the broadband device that hooks up to your netbook."[/i] And what's to keep you from choosing your carrier with the iPad? Steve Jobs clearly stated that the iPad would be compatible with multiple carriers and that, at least with AT&T, you're not locked into any long-term contracts. [i]"... By the time you work your way up to the 64GB device with built-in wireless broadband, you?re talking about spending right around $900 ? not including the monthly service charge for the wireless broadband. That kind of money would buy a very nice laptop with broadband."[/i] But this device is intended to be more mobile than a laptop and again is not locked-in to a wireless broadband service contract, which brings the costs right back down over the long term. In all honesty, the iPad stands the chance of essentially replacing most netbooks and many notebooks simply because of its mobility and lower cost. Keep in mind that with the app store and the connection to the iTunes media store, 99% of the things you need a USB port for are eliminated. [i]"The concern isn?t that these things can?t be done ? it?s that you?re at Apple?s mercy if they will or won?t allow it. This design and deployment philosophy has plagued Apple since the earliest days of the Macintosh, and [b]it?s one of the reasons PCs eventually emerged as more successful[/b]."[/i] Totally false on the last statement. Apple has always aimed for higher quality and greater reliability through tighter specifications than any of their lower-cost competitors. By no means is this the reason PCs emerged as more successful. The only real advantage PCs had from the outset was the original tie to the IBM brand name to set the 'standard' for enterprise use. Microsoft did the rest by licensing anybody and everybody to use their OS, a major mistake on IBM's part. [i]"Digital books, in this segment, are not the killer app that Steve Jobs seems to think they are."[/i] What gives you the idea that he thinks ebooks are the 'killer app'? He never made that statement. However, he did clearly state that the iPad would use the international ePub standard for ebooks and pointed out that the iPad expands on the market created by devices such as Sony's and Amazon's ebook readers. By no means did he even hint that this was the iPad's sole purpose. [i]"... when I heard Jobs discuss how easily the iPad will interface with projectors for presentations, my first thought was that all of this will be handled through the single, proprietary Apple USB iPod interface, which to date has no ?USB hub? option either."[/i] Pure conjecture. We already know that the iPad will have Bluetooth capability and that there are already a number of Bluetooth-capable projectors on the market. Add to this the fact that Keynote (part of the iWork package the author blew off earlier) can play and edit Power Point presentations, his concern seems to be absolutely baseless. [i]"The advantages of the iPad are its user interface and the app store, things oriented toward less technically inclined users."[/i] The author totally ignores all the professional applications and attachments that are aimed at the medical, legal, corporate and point-of-sale clients where such a device would much more easily fill the slot than multiple, single-purpose devices that frequently require a cart to carry them all. Hardly mobile when you have to roll around a piece of furniture to do your job. [i]"I?m struck by the number of Apple users who are now voicing their opinions in forums that they can?t wait to jump to Android and, more surprisingly, Windows 7 mobile, both of which look to offer very strong competition."[/i] ... the majority of whom are really anti-Apple zealots who cannot or will not prove their claims of being Apple users or are, at best, recent purchasers who have not bothered to familiarize themselves with what they've purchased simply so they can make the claims they do. While I do not argue that Android could offer serious competition, Microsoft's "Phone 7 Edition" or whatever they call it is going to have to fight a lot of momentum. Microsoft is starting now where Apple was 3 years ago with the first iPhone--correction, will be starting once they actually release a device using that OS. However, just as the Zune shut out all of Microsoft's "Plays for Sure" partners, Phone 7 shuts out almost if not all of WinMo's former partners and devices. Yet again, MS is being forced to play catch up to the competition, and Apple is not the only competition. Still, despite efforts by Microsoft and other manufacturers, the tablet/digital notepad form factor has been a broad failure for over 15 years. Of them all, the Newton seemed to maintain the most loyal user base. The iPad looks as though it will re-create the genre with a much more usable device than ever before.

MacWizard
MacWizard

You're right, and iPod and iPhone will also fail in the market! After all, they have limited I/O, are more expensive than some of their rivals, etc. I don't know what I think about the iPad yet, having not used one, but writing it off given the pundits' complete failure to understand the appeal of Apple's other mobile devices is just silly.

indigo196
indigo196

the iPad may find some success due to mindless sheep that purchase devices with fruit logos, but for the mentally astute user there is no niche for this device to fill. Asus sells a tablet netbook with multi-touch that blows te iPad out of the water.

travis.duffy
travis.duffy

Just like the iphone, i have no use for a device without a real keyboard. I have no desire to use and inefficient touch screen as a keyboard. They suck.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Wouldn't it be Adobe's choice to not offer Photoshop for use on Apple notebooks and desktops? I know Apple is trying to ban Adobe Flash but I didn't think that included the graphics and video applications.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I admit that I'm a strong proponent of Apple's products, but I am because Apple's products have served me better than any other competing brand I've tried--including building my own computers more than once. I may also throw the occasional "I told you so" later on in a discussion like this, but not in such a loud and annoying manner. It's no wonder so many of the anti-Apple zealots call us 'fanbois.' My only belief in reading this prattle is that you attempted (and succeeded) in egging on another small round of commentary more aimed at denigrating the Apple community than discussing the potentials and the successes of the iPad itself.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Your hindsight is 20/20 over a six-month range. How's your foresight?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Wow.. your prowess and market analytics are stunning.. hindsight 20/20 right? Did you happen to have more insight to offer back in February when this was a new article and the Ipad market performance was pure speculation?

Vatdoro
Vatdoro

I agree completely with all of Vuline's points. The ONLY thing I might amend is "Android could offer serious competition". I think Android will give Apple competition in the short term, but is destined to fail in the long term. Here are some technical reason to explain my stance. The concept of an open source phone OS is great and all, but pulling it off is actually very difficult. Here are some "complications" to the platform. 1) Android devices don't all use the same screen size or resolution. Do you know what a pain this is for developers? Yes, the iPhone OS now supports 2 different resolutions, but compare that to 20 different resolutions currently used on Android devices, a virtually unlimited number of resolutions in the future. 2) Android phones don't all use the same version of the OS. All the different phones out there were built with a specific Android version in mind. 3) The Android phone manufacturer adds their own software layer on top of the Android OS. This software layer allows the manufacturer to customize the phone a little bit, but ultimately cripples the phone. Many Android apps are not compatible with many of these different software layers. Google Earth doesn't even work on all the Android phones because of this problem, and it was WRITTEN BY GOOGLE. This software layer also limits the versions of the OS that will work on the phone. Basically, Android apps have many unnecessary complications to worry about. That's one reason there are only 30,000 Android apps, versus the 140,000 iPhone apps. There are other reasons Android can't compete over the long haul, but I'm out of time! :)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Ipod walked into a booming mobile media market where mp3 players where all just as limited in there own ways. They watched the market then walked in with large storage space and a novel input system. Iphone walked into a booming mobile phone market borrowing marketing image from the Ipod with a polished smartphone for consumers when most smartphone vendors where looking at business uses. Macbooks, Mac Mini, Imacs.. all polished products in booming markets. This things all filled an existing need. The consumer was asking "how do I ..." not "what do I use this for?" Then we have other products like the TV boxes. I'm sure it would do differently if introduced now with the full Itunes media library behind it. At the time it was introduced, it didn't answer any "how do I .." questions compared to existing set top boxes. Tivo seemed to eat it alive. Macbook Air was spun as the netbook for executives; light, sexy, fits in a manilla envelope. This one did walk into an existing market but at a price point beyond reason and with such limited hardware that well, how's that sucker moving off the shelves? Ipad may deliver a real use once it hits consumer's hands. Final judgement can't be made until after hands on review. But, based on the information so far, it's not walking into an existing market or answering some burning "how do I ..." consumer question. Combine that with the history; for years Apple freaks have been begging, pleading and dreaming about a fruity tablet. There's a viable business model in taking people's Macbooks and converting them to tablets with some hardware hacking. Not just viable but it's being done. We've been watching Apple for a full blown tablet with all the polish that Apple puts into the product. What we're getting is a hobbled slab of plastic that, so far, exudes limitation. Apple has delivered a solution that still needs to find a problem.

dcolbert
dcolbert

The iPod succeeded not by offering any really superior *hardware* advantage. If Creative had secured licensing and designed a music store like Apple *first*, we would all be using Xen Jukeboxes today. That is the value add on which Apple won the portable music player. The iPhone was hugely innovative for the domestic phone market at the time. It won on hardware. At the time Verizon was still releasing phones with crippled GPS and Bluetooth profiles and trying to get everyone to pay $19.99 for VZNavigator and to send all cam pics via SMS/MMS to get it off your phone and onto something where you could view it. Apple's partnership with Google at the time gave it a significant advantage as well. When we compare "Apples to Apples"... the iPhone didn't have limited I/O, and really wasn't more expensive than rivals, either. But the iPad doesn't compete with Nokia, Palm, HTC and Motorola products. The iPad is going to compete with Lenovo, and Dell, and ASUS, and MSI... and quite likely HTC and some others that enter this market, too. The iPhone created a market... consumer oriented smartphones, and everyone else scrambled to catch up. the iPad enters a market that already exists, "tweener PCs"... something between a notebook and a smart phone... which is already highly saturated with competitors. Whereas everyone was busy trying to catch up and match the features of the iPhone (thus the Storm, the Storm II, and countless other failed contenders), Apple is coming into a market where their competitors already have sold a lot of product. It *could* be that they've got something "magic and revolutionary" up their sleeve *other* than making the iPod Touch *bigger*. If they do, they might have something... But if the iPod touch paradigm was going to be effective in this niche, the iPod Touch itself would already be more popular than it is, IMHO. Just making the Touch *bigger* isn't a magical recipe for selling iPads with the same dominance that they sold iPhones. More or less, it is an overpriced, underpowered, under featured Netbook, or a giant iPod Touch. Where is the unique market appeal in that? If there isn't some sort of magic they're sitting on, if it is just what it appears to be... then... meh... Part of the problem is what Apple has chosen to include or omit at certain price points. Killer apps will remain geo-aware social apps. But those won't work on your base iPads. So now you're into buying one with wireless service through AT&T... which is cheap... but... not so cheap if you already have an iPhone (which you do) which you're already paying an AT&T monthly contract on. Now this inexpensive Netbook is more expensive, and additional, pretty much unnecessary monthly expense to boot. I'm sure people will fall for it. Maybe LOTS of people. Heh. Maybe they'll offer free iPhone tethering on all models of iPad. *That* would be a creative gimmick. Still wouldn't get you GPS on your iPad, and would defeat Apple's "minimalist" design approach, though. Just don't see it. Can't see the sweet spot for this product. I understand the appeal of many of their other devices, though. Just not this one.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

It seems Microsoft's flock is far, far larger than Apple's.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Has a keyboard. Not very practical to pack up and take with you or use on your lap, though, from the looks of it. I was a little surprised about that part of the design.

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

Asking Apple fanboi's their foresight must surely be rhetorical, no? ;) ;\

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Iphone's osX benefits from being a single OS from a single hardware vendor. 1. developers can work with subsets of the screen or use percentages. I dont' know the Android third party API but screen size can't be more complicated than using percentages of window size in .net apps. An adjustment to Android could also make it easy to deal with as a preferred alternative. 2. Android devices could be designed to accept the same OS updates and version. This would actually benefit the end user and vendors in the same way that Debian updates benefit all the various Debian installs. This one is fully the fault of the hardware vendors and could also be easily corrected. 3. Customizing the firmware sucks. There may be a way to allow vendors to customize the aesthetics without compromising point 2 above. I don't see this as an OS issue so much as a vendor issue. Meego seems to be targeted as a single distribution for multiple vendors and form factors. Maybe it will manage to correct Android's short coming through it's own brand. Maybe the newer Android versions will be able to unify the vendors rather than allowing them to break it so badly.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... until your last two sentences. A: Apple isn't doing plastic -- with the exception of the white MacBook. It's aluminum and glass, perhaps using plastic to uncover the Bluetooth, WiFi and Wireless antennae. B: Apple is delivering a solution to a 15-year-old problem, that of easy-to-use mobile computing. As yet, neither Windows tablets nor the modified Mac tablets have been able to even scratch the market. The PDAs tried, but their small size and complexity made them little more than a fad. In many ways, Apple's Newton outlived all the other PDAs despite being cancelled before the first Palm device hit the market. Apple's proven the technology with the iPhone; the iPad will demonstrate by just how much existing technologies have failed in that area.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Interestingly, the CEO of my firm just bought a MacBook air. Things are just peachy... it is the PERFECT machine for a business executive in a business model built on Microsoft products. I'm the happiest IT manager on planet Not! :) But, I think Apple *does* think they've walked into an existing market. The Netbook market. The problem is, the Netbook market starts at about $199 and goes to about $400. They've priced this product starting at around $400 and going to around $900. And at $900, it is delivering the kind of features that a $250 Netbook delivers. The Netbook market is a *price conscious* market. I was at Verizon and you can get a netbook on 2 year contract for $99. Sure, it isn't a full fledged PC - but for a lot of users, it is good enough. $99. Apple has acknowledged that pricing could be a problem and they're "ready to move aggressively". I predict they're going to have to. There will be a first week rush as the Apple loyalists and their money are parted like a P.T. Barnum quote. After that - I expect the sales to go almost flat as the rest of the market goes, "Are you KIDING me?!?" And then the price will plummet to the point that parents might consider it for their teenagers for Christmas and Birthday presents. I am convinced that a huge part of Apple's success is high school and college students for whom spending the money of their parents is no object compared to the benefit of being fashionable on campus. :)

dangarrett
dangarrett

i think apple has presented the iPad as different than netbooks & tablet PCs and certainly laptops. they're not trying to provide an alternative to existing products (their own or from other manufacturers). they're not selling just an iPad, they're selling an iPad that's part of a slick ecosystem. with the iPad Apple is "bundling" several services and technologies that have been around for quite a while. the iPhone & iPod, for example, don't have *any* unique characteristics if you look at the myriad of smart phones and portable music players on this planet. but apple bring things together yielding spectacular returns for investors. like the iPhone & iPod you can be sure that future iPads will include more/different features. if the debut model included a GPS, camera, 3D, expandable RAM, beverage holder, etc. you would have no reason to buy the next model!

Slayer_
Slayer_

Why Apple would do that... And I really love the iPod integration in cars... that works right up until the iPod OS is updated. Can't seem to update it in your car though. There is something appealing about my MP3 player, maybe its that I can turn down the volume quickly without even looking at it, maybe its because it uses a normal headphone jack. Maybe it's because I can charge it with any USB port or phone charger, even my GPS charger, maybe it's because I can use it to share music with friends simply by plugging it into their computer, maybe its the 20 hour battery life. I don't know what exactly is the reason I so vastly prefer it over an iPod.

travis.duffy
travis.duffy

to have a real keyboard. Sorry, i'll stick to netbooks.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

He attempts predictions instead of the retroactive celebration demonstrated by this person.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Hopefully, Google pushing it's own hardware unit now will mean a hardware unit that can continue to take future android updates along with force third party vendors to focus on supporting that same core distribution version. I actually had the same concerns with the N900. With Nokia allowing service providers to customize the firmware my thoughts where; can I replace the service provider's firmware with Nokia's clean one or can I buy the expensive clean device from Nokia directly and use it with my service provider instead? In the second case, how long before the Nokia direct pricing drops to my budget range.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

But until the vendors can consolidate, Android's splintering will make that OS's penetration into the market spotty and uneven, effectively nullifying the advances Android has already made into the smartphone market. Even now, Verizon has already cut the price of Motorola's Droid by 50% just to encourage sales. Meanwhile, the iPhone remains at the $200-$300 price range after almost 3 full years. If the same happens to Android tablets that's happening to Android smart phones, then Android doesn't stand a chance in this new market.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

You present some very good arguments and make some strong points; to paraphrase, if Apple can control the third party vendors better than Microsoft controlled theirs, then the concept could work. I have to agree. However, like anyone else who wants to get by cheaper, those same third-party vendors are very likely to try and find a way around the rules. As for Apple's former licensed clone makers, what ended up happening is that instead of increasing market penetration, the clones, at only $100 cheaper than Apple itself, cannibalized Apple's already too-slim hardware sales, costing Apple money rather than making more for them. There is a high likelihood that if Apple released OS X for the generic PC market, Apple's hardware sales would fall through the floor even if their OS sales skyrocketed to compensate. They might still sell some hardware, but probably a tiny fraction of what they sell now.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

.. and I'll assume you where not being sarcastic. I'm only human and not ranked higher than you so bowing is not required. Seriously though: My intent was to clarify the generic term not inject a cheap jab towards your preferred vendor. Hopefully Apple will continue to tollerate teh hackintosh folks. The recent actions against Iphone jailbreakers and howto hackintosh site managers isn't encouraging. But, for personal use I can't see a reason why Apple should be concerned. It's not like someone who can glue together a hackintosh is going to walk it into the Expert Bar for support questions. The potential use of DMCA against jailbreaking is a much scarier abuse of law anyhow. I agree that osX is unlikely to ever be released for unbranded hardware. I could put a machine together to replace our aging powerPC macbook and the G4 in the corner here. I do think Apple could do it though. If the biggest issue is third party written drivers; apple has the clout to demand hardware specs and write drivers into the kernel where they belong. They could also stick to industry standards so any hardware would pretty much work provided it wasn't Winmodem type crap. They could also do a certification program which would be far less variety of drivers than variety of apps they have to vett for the app store. My pick would be driver specs and kernel mods hopefully with the effect of driver specs becoming the norm across platforms. The third party hardware vendor developing third party drivers is really a Dos/Windows business strategy that harms everyone else and results in the craptacular drivers and bundled applications that always come along with hardware. More in Apple style, the could simply dictate the existing or minimally expanded interface specs and leave the hardware vendors to comply or be incompatible. I also don't think it would destroy the brand. Apple can continue to only support osX on Apple branded hardware even if then opened up to third party preinstalls. With this one though, the questions are; what was the reason for issues the last time they licensed to third parties, has the market changed in a way that negates those issues. Somehow "but it'll destroy the brand" seems the usual knee jerk reaction to any mention of osX outside of Apple hardware.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

And I believe Apple will continue to turn a blind eye to the hackintosh community as long as nobody tries to make a profit from it. However, I personally think Apple will never release OS X to the generic PC market--not that I wouldn't appreciate it myself (I'd be able to build a PC to my own specs and upgrade as I wanted.) The problem would be that third-party drivers for the cheap third-party hardware would immediately put OS X into the exact same situation that Windows has endured for the last 15 years. Apple doesn't want that and I believe it would be a mistake to even try it.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

As a generic term, your deciding to read more into it than is implied. If you like, you can say "Aluminium Wrapped Goodness" any time you read me saying "slab of plastic". This is simply a generic term referring to a mostly sealed consumer device. My N810 is a slab of plastic (mostly sealed consumer device/aluminium wrapped goodness); it's not that big a deal and really shouldn't be such a sticking point for you. It's actually along the lines of "monkeys chasing green pieces of paper and digital watches" kind of thing. Does specifying that Jane does landscaping earning 60$ an hour and uses a Casio watch really change the generic description? Now, Apple did the GUI OS first between the two biggies and it should have stomped all over Dos and early Windows. I absolutely agree. They have gone for the better hardware consistantly. In terms of the OS, Classic always felt more restrictive than what I could do with the MS offerings at the same time. I'll concede that it may have been due to my experience with each and available budget for purchasing software. I was simply going by personal experience with the product and speculation about why it could show a dip between two peaks Steve peaks. When a friend of the family retired there old Mac and handed it over, I got to have a real go at OS9 (was it nine? B/W single unit MAC anyhow; I kept the sweat carrying bag). After digging around it at liberty as the machine and OS where mine rather than borrowed; I was left with "ok.. and?". Other than being GUI only, it really wasn't doing anything beyond what I'd done on equivalent MS OS setups. Comparing it with the current machines at the time that the machine came into my possession wouldn't have been accurate; it was what I can do with this versus what I could do with that when these where both current models. Now, osX is a very nice successor to Macintosh OS. I wouldn't say that osX is a lesser OS than Win7 or Debian. It'd be in my OS collection in a heartbeat if Apple ever released it free of the hardware. It may still if Apple continues to turn a blind eye to the home hackintosh community.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Really? Your thirty years must not be the same as my thirty years. I remember the introduction of the iMac, also, the introduction of the reset button, the most frequently pressed button on an iMac. It was customary to always "Save As" in a document, because there was always a very good chance that the damn thing would just freeze while saving, corrupting your copy if you did not "Save As". I remember browsing the internet on Netscape Navigator, to then switch to Internet Explorer because IE had a quick access history list that was an absolute requirement to do any internet research on a Mac, because the damn thing would crash so often, losing your page! Getting a Mac to do work was less about knowing how to use the computer, but rather knowing how to trick it into doing work.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Unlike you, I don'l look at just one aspect of any product. If I did, I'd still be using Windows and a cheap Motorola or Nokia cell phone. Your comment about "slab of plastic" implies much more about the product than its quality, and that I disagree with. Unlike those "slabs of plastic," I've found that Apple's quality has been superior across the board, hardware and software, for over 30 years. Despite the non-Steve-Jobs era.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It's a fair opinion that the Ipad will fill a long outstanding need for you and potentially other consumers. I have no problems giving you that one though I remain unconvinced personally. But, concern about "slab of plastic" seems a bit much. I meant the term as a generic reference to the consumer device as I'd call a mobile phone a slab of plastic. Sure, it has metal components and may have a metal shell but come on.. it's just another slab of plastic consumer gadget just like the Iphone, Blackberry or six port power bar here on the desk.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Form follows function. The Crocodile and the shark have been "good enough" for a long, long, long time. Perhaps not PERFECT... but it is like resistance in a battery. That first 80% charge is the easiest. Getting that last 10% is REALLY hard, and the last 1%... nearly impossible. When good enough has gotten you 80% of the market, and the BETTER solution has had to claw from bankruptcy back to a 20% market share... Good enough sounds pretty durned good. :)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It seems they've been doing good along with MSI in the netbook market. We'll see what impact future entrants have and how the companies respond. On the up side, if the Ipad does have an impact that causes everyone to start delivering tablet formats; that will mean hardware I can put my own preferred OS on and form a vendor not bias against driver support outside of a single platform choice. (referring to general purpose hardware vendors preference for delivering Windows drivers; not referring to Apple).

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Acer is now the #2 PC manufacturer behind HP, passing Dell last month. Of course, the majority of Acer's sales are netbooks--a market that, I think, is about to fold.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If Apple has significantly less market share but maintains over half the profit share; that *is* about profit margins. The fact that people are willing or unwilling to pay the listed price only effects market share directly. Actually, for true accuracy, we would have to compare Apple to other computer vendors as Microsoft is a parts vendor that sells to to the vendors who assemble the final product and push it out the doors. (that's partially my bad for mentioning MS previously though). Anyhow, you may notice that my original point in this thread was that Apple is not (let me repeat *is not*) significantly more expensive than equivalent hardware. If you buy Apple, your looking at business grade hardware. If you buy Thinkpad, your loking at business grade hardware. Both are around the same price point for equivalent hardware. So please, focus on what I say and said not against what you'd like me to respond with. With Dell, I don't follow financials closely. The point was simply that Dell used a low quality high volume strategy versus a high quality, low volume strategy (as Apple does). As a result of Dell's "good enough" quality level, Apple will apear to be much more expensive if you ignore the difference in parts quality. This also meant to clarify the actual point that Apple prices are about average for the initial machine purchase given equivalent hardware. I don't think that Dell struggling financially changes that point since I could easily have used any other low cost high volume retailer; Acer maybe, would that be more acceptable? Are you just being contrary with your comments now?

Slayer_
Slayer_

Where MS sells software, often operating systems, often for 40 bucks each or less. Apple sells $3000+ computers made up of off the shelf parts and overpriced cellphones.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... Apple, with only 1/10th the market, has 2/3rds Microsoft's profit levels? Maybe Microsoft is keeping the money 'coming in,' but Apple seems to be doing many times better for far less product. Why? And don't throw that 'profit margin is so much higher' noise at me; obviously enough people are willing to spend that much extra. There has to be a real reason why, dollar out for dollar in, Apple is making more money than Microsoft. Your remark about Dell seems faulty as well; last I read, Dell is practically facing bankruptcy were it not for their enterprise market, where Apple barely has a toehold. The problem there is that Apple's toehold is a strong foot in the door,now. How much longer can Dell and HP hold out against Apple at that rate?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

.. there are some noticeable quality issues with the product but it's "good enough" to keep the money coming in. This was a core MS strategy infact as there good enough product and cheap pricing got them the foothold before shipping good enough but "what the market will bare" priced products. Retail is all about "good enough". It's not about producing the best possible quality for minimal margin but maximizing the profit margin by delivering what's good enough to capture consumers. Dell, "good enough" to sell in volumes that make the slim markup profitable. Now, Apple's "good enough" is noticeably higher than Dell's. But they're still a retail company and it's still about minimizing expense and maximizing price for that yummy difference between the two.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

As an author, was your writing "Good Enough" when you got out of college to earn you the job you now hold? Or did you have to work and refine until you were better than the rest? Is the netbook really "Good Enough," or is it just that it's the only player in the game and really doesn't have any competition? Is the existing concept of tablet computing really "Good Enough," or is it that it's so tightly niche that it can't break out into the general consumer market? "Good Enough" means that you stay where you are, never getting promoted--never truly succeeding. "Good Enough" doesn't make leaders--only followers.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

there will not be any future iPad discussions. :D

dcolbert
dcolbert

There will not be any future iPads?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm also sure future iPads will cost less. So what reason is there to buy THIS model?

dcolbert
dcolbert

I might buy THIS model, if it had those features... and without those features, I won't. Double edged sword, at the very least. They're counting on a lot of people jumping in for a product that doesn't have a lot of the bells and whistles... I mean, the first cars didn't have headlights, airbags, trip computers... some things are an evolution... The things Apple left out of the iPad, is like selling the first car and saying, "wheels and seats coming in Car version 2.0!!!" :)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Actually, I didn't say that one couldn't browse the app store or upgrade apps without Itunes. Compared to the Itunes cluttered interface, the Iphone local app browser is a dream to work with. Much cleaner than other platform app/repository systems in in the mobile market. My problem was that you have to initially activate it against Itunes. What other phone comes as a dead brick that you have to pair to a desktop? With what other mobile phone do I have to prove I'm a Windows or osX user before I can be privilege enough to enable? Can I activate the the Iphone in the absence of a computer with osX or Windows? It may not be an issue that effect the majority of the market but it sucks non the less. "You don't dictate your wife's technology choices--Apple doesn't dictate yours. After all, you were the one who chose to buy Apple... or some other brand." I did choose to buy a different brand and the phone was a gift. Neither of which negates having to support the phone or taking issue with some of it's design decisions. You might have a glimmer of a point to that last line of yours if I was complaining without having to have any contact with the device or consideration of it's implications for users who did choose it. I actually have no problem admitting that for what the Iphone is allowed to do, it does it very well. What it doesn't do is what places me outside of it's target customer.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

[i]"... one has to have Itunes and has to activate the device against Itunes before it's more than a 911 dialer... "[/i] once that is done, you need never dock to the computer again except to charge it, and even then you can charge it on any USB hub, even the tiny AC power brick that comes with the phone. You can use the iPod as a simple external drive of whatever capacity, if you so choose--but why? On the other hand, by docking to iTunes, you get software and performance updates and upgrades that you wouldn't get over the air. You still have the ability to control your apps over WiFi/Wireless, but it's significantly faster when you do so through the iTunes App Store on your PC. In fact, you still have the ability to refuse an update to any app, if that's your desire. Everything you say it can't do, it does. You don't dictate your wife's technology choices--Apple doesn't dictate yours. After all, you were the one who chose to buy Apple... or some other brand.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I mean in the correct term not "break in an do evil" of course. There are some replacement firmware you can push into the Ipod. If it doesn't make it usable for your friend, it may at least be a fun project to explore since the hardware isn't doing anything else at the moment. hm.. beatbox.. the big replacement firmware is something like that.

Slayer_
Slayer_

He hates it. Hates having to have iTunes installed, hates that once the song is on the player, its filename gets butchered, but its still the exact same file. Hates that the only way to turn down the audio is to spin is thumb on the metal ring. He instead mostly uses his phone.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

mp3 players with proprietary "media manager" sync apps where never as good as a player that simply mounted as a flashdrive. Copy music on and of and you can still use a media manager if you prefer. I understand why Apple does this also but with the Iphone; it sucks rocks. I can browse the app store and such directly on the mobile phone. I can enter mail addresses and connect the wifi directly on the mobile phone. The problem is that one has to have Itunes and has to activate the device against Itunes before it's more than a 911 dialer. It's uselessness previous to Itunes activation is an ugly synthetic limitation imposed on the consumer. Now, I do like that Itunes feeds the phone everything from the companion big box. The problem is making this required rather than optional. The one product purchase imposes the use of the other product. I'd be far closer to becoming an Iphone owner if that was fixed. (The lack of firewall, listening network ports and hostility toward those who truly make use of the hardware's capabilities are the other major turnoffs.. but, I don't dictate my wife's technology choices.)

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

You don't have to look at an iPod to turn down the volume, unless, maybe, you're talking about the Touch. I use generic headphones on my iPods all the time, even my iPhone, without any issue whatsoever. I also charge my iPod (and iPhone) with any USB port or wall outlet. Why do I want a dedicated 'brick' phone charger? In my case, I have a cat that just loves chewing on those things. Sharing music? As long as their computer has iTunes I can share my iPod's music with anyone... they just can't copy that music into their machine without third-party software. As for extended battery life, ok, maybe the iPod only gets 12-15 hours of continuous playtime, but then, except when I'm driving cross-country, I don't require that much battery life. Even traveling from Delaware to Tennessee I still have battery left after 650 miles without having to unplug my GPS.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I want local, secure, decent sized storage too, but cloud storage would certainly figure into this. Possibly even distributed storage. Like an IBM XIV pool. Imagine if all devices had a shared pool of secure storage. That would be a neat idea... :) Your files get distributed globally and redundantly across the storage of devices globally. Most people are using a fraction of their device, others a ton of it. Kind of the Google or SETI approach to mobile device storage.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Your evangelizing on a philosophy that the iPad is a cornerstone of. And the vision is pretty cool. And Apple has been pushing in *their* direction of that vision for a long time. And often they've gotten ahead of themselves. This is one of those times, I think. That vision you have is ambitious, and the iPad is too crippled to be that seed, and it isn't the only seed in the forest. It could do this, though... It could end up being another Newton, giving birth to a new segment that it promptly loses relevence in. There is that strong possibility unless they become *very* competitive with it.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It may very well be some kind of future socalist state as I don't know the story behyond my friend's mention of hte technology. I can't even offer the title unfortunately. The "sci fi" part give a lot of wiggle room though. - devices that can identify indaviduals with 100% accuracy through biometrics - centralized computing becoming the norm again (even if under the "cloud" branding) with increadibly good security and a trust worthy organization maintaining the server clusters. - network bandwidth that can near instantly transfer enough data to deliver saved content and software including the OS above the initial network enabled boot loader and again with near instant bootup. The idea is that everyone can modify there own device because the plastic slab is only a dumb-terminal for the software actually stored in the cluster. This may mean a uniform OS platform but it could still do user customizations and periferal addons. True, something similar could be done now with very ugly technology and the completely untrustworthy internet hosted centralized computing we're seeing now (it will evolve but it's still very immature security wise). I wouldn't be getting any chip inplant voluntarily; one could do that now with glass packed rfid but again, it doesn't monitory the limbs attachment to the original body. The the inevitable tracking information for all mobile datablock owners would be downright scary.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

The concept is not that far away. However, it does require a few things that certain groups will refuse to accept: 1: A sub-dermal identity chip that can be read by any device to identify the individual. One, by the way, that can not be cut out and used by identity thieves as the act of removing it or removing the body part it rests in would destroy the chip. To certain religious extremists, this would literally be "the Number of the Beast." 2: The phone-devices would all need to communicate with a single, master database. This database, by its own nature, would track the movements of every individual through the implanted chips. 3: While the individual devices might be personalized by appearance, they would all have to be literally identical in function, thus effectively eliminating the desire for personalizing the device in the first place. In other words, that story effectively describes an almost-perfect Socialist society. Cloud computing can be an advantage--but do you really want to put all your IP out where anyone might be able to see it? Despite the advantages of Cloud computing, everyone will still have a need, if not the desire, to keep some data private.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

That reminds me a lot of Jet Fighter and Jet Fighter to. (oh heck, a whole slew of games including the first Mec Warrior sim). hm.. wish I could find my old copy of Jet Fighter, it'd be fun to replay it.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Some of the wareable computing ideas are interesting also. With modular computing, I thought we where getting close with the PAN approach. My palm was a fantastic remote terminal for my mobile phone. All my texting was done through it's sms item then bluetoothed out through the phone. It didn't even come put of my pocket until it was ringing or my Palm had dialed. The sms client is probably the one thing I miss most about upgrading my PDA. For cloud computing, a friend is reading an interesting sci fi story. In it, everyone owns a device about the size of a cell phone. Data and software are all stored online. When the terminal device is picked up, it identifies the person holding it and delivers there own data and programs. If someone steels the device, all they get is there own information out of it as nothing from the previous owner is stored locally. It works in sci fi but there is a lot we have to fix before something similar in reality could work (outside of the blinky-light Google does no evil consumer market).

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

[i]"... but I think the iPad is a dead-end branch in the evolutionary tree that is leading us to that point."[/i] Whereas I believe that the iPad is the taproot from which a new form of computing--or rather a realized form of fictionalized computing will grow. I see it as the iPhone/iPod Touch as a seedling, bringing an evolutionary tree into the computing forest. The iPad will be the taproot and sapling, growing and spreading new branches into the light. This tree may be as beautiful as the maple tree, hard and strong--but brittle, or it may be tall and straight as the oak tree, able to take the punishment the forest deals out. But it could well become the redwood tree, green all year round and taller than any of its competitors; based on the roots of antiquity (meaning UNIX) and growing to dominate the forest despite residing in a small part of one environment to become the oldest living thing on Earth. It's all in how you look at things; I believe Apple intends its product line to become a redwood in a forest of smaller trees. It looks like they're reaching their goals, too.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Great concept, horrible execution. I've become convinced that by looking at the successful models in history (and the failures), you can fairly accurately predict the successes in the future. The challenge is in correctly defining the historical successes and failures. (Is cloud computing really the modern version of dumb-terminal/big-iron computing, or is it something else entirely?) But in my mind, *this* particular model simply needs to "get into the wild". Someone needs to come up with a design for modular portable computing that uses off-the-shelf parts and kind of dismiss it, letting it get into the wild with a bunch of clones and compatibles. Of course, everyone learned their lesson with IBM and the PC 5150, which started the fire, but didn't do IBM a *lick* of long term good. I'd love to have an LCD, keyboard and mouse on my desk, and a little block on my belt. Heck, maybe it would BE my belt. I'd have another device that was just a small LCD display that would work as the phone... maybe some glasses with embedded LCDs in them for watching movies... all these things converging in one device. The phone display would be my universal remote at home... not just for the TV, but for every device and appliance in the house. I think we're getting there, but I think the iPad is a dead-end branch in the evolutionary tree that is leading us to that point.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I didn't realize the snes cartridges had anything more than a rom chip in them. That is a fantastic option though; they can just stuff an extra processor in with the rom chip and have at it. There's a ton of space available inside the cartridge shell to play with too.

Slayer_
Slayer_

That was a brilliantly thought out system. A cartridge could have expanded memory or extra processors to expand the abilities of the console as required. To even support 3D graphics. That made the console last an extremely long time. Play a game like Treasure of the Rudras or star fox or Stunt Race FX or Chrono Trigger, and you can really see it in action.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Basically, you buy a keyboard dock for home and work with screen input doing your casual and transit use. I remember years back there was a lot of design interest in modular computers but they didn't really result in consumer products. - you have a block that is your storage/processor and may or may not include a touchscreen. - you have a desktop dock that connects the storage/processor unit into a bigger screen/keyboard/mouse for full desktop use. Maybe it includes discrete gpu and sound and such to supplement the basic processing in the block. - you have a notebook type shell to drop it into when prefered. - you have the storage/processor unit as a PDA on it's own - you have whatever other addons turn up for it. The result is having your data and computing core with you to drop into whatever shell style makes sense at the time. The macbook with pod docking station is very reminiscent of this as is the static keyboard dock station and mobile tablet. Nintendo's remotes with a long list of themed shells is also very similar also.