The Day After the iPad BuzzFeatured, Tech — By Mike Ruest on January 28, 2010 at 2:24 am
Is Apple More Interested in Taken a Bite Out of Your Wallet?
Apple used to mean the integration of art and science. Creating products that were innovative, while providing intuitive interaction. After getting over my iPad buzz from yesterday, I am really starting to think that Apple has lost it a little and is more interested in the mighty dollar. Their last new product, the Magic Mouse also claimed revolutionary magic – yet it never held its charm. Sure, I know the iPad is beautiful and appealing. Yet, certain design choices and apparent lack of features, don’t seem to equal real innovation.
For one, consumers like myself are looking to Apple to truly revolutionize the personal computer by giving us a full-fledge experience without the weight of carrying around a full-fledge laptop. While netbooks sort of fill the gap and in many ways have features the iPad is sorely missing, netbooks are still lacking in innovation and design – they are nothing more than tiny laptops with less horsepower under the hood.
So what should Apple have done? Well, for starters, how about more memory. The pathetic starting model with 16GB is a joke – one Apple is hoping consumer won’t get. But anyone whose ever used a computer before will tell you that 16GB and even 64GB won’t take you very far. I am surprised the iPad demo Apple showed at the media event had all those pictures on it. They must have been optimized photos (not original) and I guess that’s why there weren’t that many movies on it either. Heck, if I had this thing, I’d fill it to the brim with tons of movies and shows. To me, that’s the most appealing aspect of possibly owning an iPad.
Also, hey Apple, where’s the Flash? I mean, I have Flash on my MacBook Pro when browsing the web, so are you really asking me to settle for less? I mean, if you really want me to feel like I have the Internet in my hands – then give me Flash! Of course, this like Blu-ray is probably Apple’s way of redirecting technologies to eventually bring consumers to their side only. In other words, it’s not that Apple can’t have Flash on the iPad (or iPhone for that matter), and it’s also not that Apple can’t have Blu-ray on their Macs (despite their pathetic reasons) – it’s just that Apple wants to control where you spend your money. Boy, am I getting ticked just thinking about all this, and I am an Apple fanboy to boot. Yet their recent practices are reminding me way too much of Microsoft right now, which I left after Vista.
Another bonehead design choice is with the dock-connector. As it stands (sorry for the pun) you can only dock this thing in portrait mode. Hmm…when was the last time you saw a computer monitor being used in portrait mode? I know Gateway came out with a monitor that rotated into portrait mode about four years ago, but I never found a reason to turn it that way. Seems to me, most monitors are widescreen – in other words, landscape mode. So why couldn’t Apple have included a second 30-pin connector on the side of the iPad? This would have allowed you to dock it in landscape mode, which is more practical for most programs, plus it would give us the feel of a true netbook/notebook experience.
Other than being stuck with docking the iPad in portrait mode, I also hope I am not stuck with just using iWorks. While I am grateful to have office apps, why tease me with just being able to run these programs when what I really want is Office, as in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Here’s hoping Microsoft will create “Office App 2010″ and sell it on Apple’s App Store. Man, I’d even be willing to pay more than just $9.99 for each of these programs to have them realized in a portable device of this nature.
Speaking of the nature of this portable device, shouldn’t Apple fall inline with other portable devices and give us a USB port on the iPad? I think I remember reading that European iPhones might start using a USB connector versus the 30-pin one we’re stuck with, but I’d even settle with a micro-USB port. Scratch that, no I wouldn’t. I want a normal USB port so I can plug in my flash drives and move my files on and off the iPad at will. Plus, let’s not forget about all the USB devices we could then use. But no, I don’t think Apple will let that one happen, especially since they receive licensing royalties for third parties to develop products for use with their 30-pin connector.
Okay moving on, let’s talk about the lack of a camera on the front of the iPad. Rumors said it would be there, but I guess these rumors were wrong. Perhaps Apple had the same reported issues with getting a camera into the new iTouch as they did here with the iPad – nay! There is no reasonable excuse as to why Apple left a camera out. It’s not that I wanted a camera to take pictures or videos with – this would have been awkward and impractical with this size of device. But think about all the cool fun and effects we could have had with a touch-screen version of Photo Booth. But more than that, I would think having a camera for video chatting would have justified the purchase of an iPad for many. Video chatting on the iPad would have been truly revolutionary.
What also could have been a simple revolution in product design, at least within the Apple family of portable devices, is the home button. You know, that little round button. To me the problem is that this button is only on one side. So depending on whether I was right or left-handed, I may feel compelled to orient the iPad to place the home button on a certain side. Personally, I think Apple should have eliminated the home button altogether this time around. Other than making the iPad look like a giant iPhone or iTouch, the home button is just not that revolutionary. In fact, I think it’s kind of lazy to incorporate it into the design of the iPad. Sure, if I know how to use an iPhone or iPod Touch, I can use the iPad…blah, blah, blah. But what I really wanted is a new navigation button. Heck, with the iPad’s huge bezel they could have easily implemented a button on both sides of the device and it wouldn’t even have to be round. How about a rectangular button or even a touch-sensitive button like those found on Wacom tablets? Plus, people could have flipped their book pages with just a press of a button. Apple seems intent on ridding the world of buttons, but I still say physical buttons are more intuitive in many ways. Thus the reason many have argued and complained about the lack of a physical keyboard on the iPad (and iPhone for that matter). While I am okay without a physical keyboard on the device itself, give me some button love Apple.
Another note on the product design is the fact that the iPad is not even a true widescreen device. Instead of 16:9 ratios for movies, we’re basically going to get stuck with a 4:3 aspect ratio. Please. Hey, even though I sort of realize why Apple did this to give us a more of a book-like experience, more than that, I think this was their way of cutting costs. Oh, I mean cutting down their costs, while increasing their profit margins. Just like my gripe with no second dock connector, Apple should realize everything is in widescreen now.
Finally, like Jim Carrey’s freaky rendition of the Riddler, I too have “too many questions.” And these questions are bothering me even more, now that I am thinking of all that the iPad could be. For example, will the iPad allow for tethering? Will I also be able to play games with my fellow iPad owners like Nintendo DS owners do? Can I share files, photos, videos, and music wirelessly? Since this is more like a netbook than a Smartphone, can I have iTunes on my iPad and sync my iPhone or iTouch on it? And one more obvious question is, will I be able to use an iPad like my Wacom for digital art, and I don’t just mean Apple’s paint App they showcased?
All in all, I am really starting to think Apple is full of themselves right now – riding on a wave of profits and new fans brought in via the iPod and now iPhone. But I say, “Apple give me electronic innovation and revolution or go bite yourself!” I love my Mac, I love my iPhone, but please give me a better reason to believe you’re passionate about your products other than all the hype. Bottom-line, I want your iPad to be more like my MacBook Pro.