Thoughts on the IPad

So I didn’t have the blog working when the IPad was announced.

So here I go catching up.

Wow, but it’s sexy, isn’t it? I’m not entirely sure who it’s aimed at in terms of pre-defined demographic, but one of the things that Apple does so well is create NEW demographic niches, and I’m quite prepared to believe they can do it again here.

I’m a bit astounded that it’s $130 more for a 3G equipped Ipad though – why so expensive? The radio isn’t that expensive, and you are paying $30 a month extra anyway – and thats a kick in the pants to those with iphones – they are *already* paying $20 a month for data, now *another* $30 for the ipad?? Why so much?

Given that this device has bluetooth built in, I suspect that quite a lot of people will simply jailbreak their iphones and use it as a data tether, so the lower cost Ipad can use it as an internet source. Hell, I’d give it a go if I got one of these things.

The lack of flash on the web browsing experience is a bit of a stunner. I mean, I don’t use my iphone for browsing that much any more because of the lack of it – well, that and lack of screen real estate. The idea is that the Ipad will give you a more accurate browsing experience because of its size – well that’s all well and good, but if you aren’t getting flash then it’s significantly NOT the same as browsing on a Mac or Windows machine. There is just Too Much Flash out there right now. Sure, this move might get more people to adopt HTML5 instead, and it is true that lots of flash stuff is badly written and uses too much CPU, but that’t not an excuse to avoid it. What you do is get together with Adobe and WORK on it, not just throw it out of the window.

Those people who stand by apple because of their “We hate flash ads” stance are missing the point. That’s not Flash that’s the problem, that’s the ad market. You think they won’t find ways to put ads all over the place NOT using flash if the Ipad is successful? This is the same dead end argument that “everyone should be using a mac because there are less viruses for it”. Missing the point that the number of viruses is a factor of how successful the platform is. If everyone *did* run to the Mac OS because of this argument then the number of viruses for that platform will increase exponentially.

I suspect this has got more to do with the amount of flash applications that could be provided on the web that apple couldn’t charge for. The whole App Store process is predicated on it being a closed platform that you *have* to go through the app store to get content. There’s the sub argument of the fact that content has been tested and therefore won’t crash your device, which is totally relevant in terms of providing a unified choke point, but that’s really got nothing to do with the implementation of Flash or not.

All the arguments about Flash running like Garbarge have Just Enough Truth in them as to be trotted out regularly, but don’t be fooled; this is a political decision and nothing more.

Now my biggest eyebrow raise is the lack of a front facing camera. I am *most* surprised this device doesn’t have that. This device would be *perfect* to run Skype on, and since it’s mainly a WiFi device, you could get decent video throughput too. I am confused about why this is missing bearing in mind the cost of webcams these days is minimal. I know this would have made this device an instant purchase for me. As it is, I can see me waiting till the second generation when I’m sure this will roll out.

I look at the Ipad and see a device that *could* be awesome. I want to skype with people with this device. I want to be able to get on the web, use Google Apps and I want to be able to watch streamed video from my servers at home (lets face it, 16g is not enough to store lots of music and video). I want to be able to run some apps in the background (Pandora for example, while web surfing) and play some games. That’s pretty much where I see this device aimed.

There’s no technical reason why I can’t do this, only artificial restrictions put in place by Apple to stop me streaming whatever video I want – they want me to ONLY buy it via ITunes. They artificially limit background apps, although it’s there in the OS because the Ipod functionality does it, as does the phone functionality. And they deliberately disable Flash in the browsing experience, and there’s no front facing camera.

And yet, you know it’ll be sexy, the UI will rock and you’ll want one anyway.

Second Generation for me I think.

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