Unhappiness over the new iPad 4
October 25th, 2012 by ravi

John Gruber quotes Fraser Speirs on the iPad 4, which came in a mere six months after the “new iPad” (iPad3):

As for the iPad 4, I’m not at all upset that Apple ‘obsoleted’ my 6-month-old iPad 3. You’re asking me would I rather the pace of innovation slowed down just so I could feel like the king of the hill for a bit longer? That’s crazy. If there’s one thing you’ll never hear me ask for, it would be that Apple slow down the rate at which iPads get better.

This is disingenuous.

Consider this scenario: Apple releases a new iPad on day X and Speirs buys it three days later. On day X+7 later Apple releases a newer version at the same price with a much faster processor… twice as fast, they claim. What would Speirs say? Viva rapid innovation? Or: “man, that’s unfair!”. I am guessing the latter.

The question that Speirs raises is not the one being asked. It’s puzzling why Speirs and Gruber cannot understand the real question without constructing a hypothetical. What is being asked is: why could Apple not have combined the two into a single product that went on sale sometime this year?

The reason why a “new iPad” buyer might ask that question should also be obvious. Someone who bought an iPhone 4 or earlier knows that Siri is not an option for them. Nor are flyover maps. The truth is that Apple does not offer some new iOS features for older models. A user can expect that his model will start falling behind the feature curve once it gets two model behind. That used to mean 2 years. Now it means a year and half or less. That’s a fair reason for dissatisfaction.

iPad Creationism
June 26th, 2012 by ravi

Every now and then someone makes a claim that the iPad is great and all but really not intended for “creation”. Within the hour a host of Apple aficionados respond with incredulity, pointing to various acts of creativity achieved on the iPad. Here is an example from John Gruber in response to Nick Bilton of the New York Times (edited for relevance):

Nick Bilton:

The iPad, for all its glory, suffers from one very distinct flaw: It’s very difficult to use for creation. The keyboard on the screen, although pretty to look at, is abysmal for typing anything over 140 characters. There isn’t a built-in pen for note-taking, either. Of course all of this is intentional by Apple. Although there are hundreds of third party products available, Apple doesn’t seem to want the iPad to be a creator, but more of a consumer.

Bilton is smarter than this. I really thought we’d retired the whole “iPad is only for consumption” thing.

The idea that a dedicated hardware keyboard or a stylus is necessary for creation is ludicrous. […] I’ve seen people who type faster on an iPad than I type on a hardware keyboard. Watch a teenager type on an iPad.

Arguing that the iPad is only for consumption today is like arguing that the Macintosh was a toy back in the ’80s.

In the above, Gruber links to a post by Dan Frommer titled “10 Ways People Are Using The iPad to Create Content, Not Just Consume it”. He then follows up with a post pointing to Patrick Rhone who has written an “entire draft manuscript” of a book using software on the iPad.

So, who is right?

Read the rest of this entry »

App-Chasing: Fast Times on an Apple Fanboy High
October 2nd, 2010 by ravi

The fanboys have moved on. As they always do.

Just this last 2005 you bought one of the most expensive laptops in the world, a MacBook. For a year or two it was glorious. You read all the top Apple blogs, Daring Fireball, TUAW… you were part of the in crowd and with them you basked in the luxury of gorgeous hand-crafted Mac apps (like Delicious Library and Cha-Ching). It didn’t matter that you had already spent dirty dollars on grungy old Windows tools. Microsoft Office, Norton thingummy, all that icky stuff. Apple was worth it.

Then 2007 came and the iPhone happened. The fanboys moved on. The desktop became so 2006. Mobile was the future and you were the past. Lack of multi-window multi-tasking or a real screen with enough space for application content or toolbars — these were features. Revolutionary new features. Magical. Darwinian logic stepped in: app developers either adapted by sacrificing their Mac app on the $99 Developer license App Store electric chair (see: Tweetie for Mac)… or they died.

In a freakishly serendipitous development in late 2007, your trusty Blackberry device had lost all of its sexiness… as if you had gone to sleep watching A Streetcar Named Desire and woken up to Godfather. That brutish hard keyboard! That barbarous user interface! It was time, you were certain, to move on; and time as we know is money, and money… it was time to spend it on an iPhone. Promising your left kidney to AT&T you followed the fanboys to the new paradise. Oh was it joy to spin the wheel on Where To? to find a place to destress with your hipster friends. Or stay informed on worldly matters framed in consumable bits within the sweet Tweetie for iPhone (the same one you had been jilted by, on the now dreary old MacBook). And guiding you on this giddy ride was the reassuring arm of the golden fanboys.

You weathered the turbulence of the 3GS when video and HD left you motionless. You lived through the rumours of the iPhone 4. But there is but one God and that God spoke decisively in April 2010. The iPad had arrived and the followers did what they do best. They followed. “What?”, they scoffed smiling sweetly, as only an Apple fanboy can, “NetNewsWire? Tweetie? What are these primitive things you speak of so endearingly?”. A world where beings trod the ground unaware of the splendour of Flipboard on an iPad was one they found quaint and charmingly implausible. The fanboys, you see, had moved. Are you coming?

This, at length, is the new normal. The new Kierkegaardian rotation method, sans the need to rotate your pleasures. One, Infinite Loop, delivers a new pleasure every three years. The app universe and blogosphere shifts in lockstep. And all you need to keep up is a deep pocket and a quick leap of faith.

The iPad and the Free world
September 12th, 2010 by ravi

A clever play on Apple’s exaggerated description of the iPad, from a remarkable NYRB article (with an anti-climactic poor ending):

Whether all this adds up to a game-changer able to revive magazine and print journalism will depend, not surprisingly, and as usual, on whether it’s innovative enough to lure consumers and advertisers into paying real money for content. At the moment, most of the news sites are both free and largely ad-free: while neither “revolutionary” nor “game-changing,” this is indeed “magical.”

Apple, innovation and the iPad
February 9th, 2010 by ravi

Despite the heresy of it, I want to consider the question of what part innovation plays in Apple’s recent success(es).

Three things can be credited with returning Apple to glory: Mac OS X (to a lesser extent), iTunes/iPod and finally the iPhone. Mac OS X, rather than being an innovation, is a bit of a throwback (if I may), abandoning Mac OS “Classic” for the tried and tested Unix’ish base of FreeBSD and Mach. Lest you consider that quibbling or even misleading, let me suggest that by the turn of the millennium, the fan base for Apple computers/laptops was growing most significantly not among the graphic designers and hipsters who had previous embraced the brand, but among geeks and übergeeks, the very types who could appreciate and take advantage of a Unix back-end and all that that implies. They don’t make up much of the population; one reason for the low market share of Mac OS X.

Read the rest of this entry »

»  Substance: WordPress  »  Style: Ahren Ahimsa