Tuesday, March 30, 2010

iPad...not just another feminine hygiene product.

So as a person who works in the technology industry I feel that I'm obligated to make some kind of comment on the fast approaching Apple iPad.

I feel that the comparison of the iPad to a sanitary napkin is fair and...dare I say surprisingly accurate.  I feel like iPad is to iPod Touch as sanitary napkin is to tampon.  The tampon services exactly the same purpose and it's smaller then a sanitary napkin.  The sanitary napkin may be deemed more effective then the tampon by some but, that's basically an opinion at best.  The same conclusion can be drawn when considering the iPad versus the iPod Touch.

WTF Apple?!

First of all...I want the name of the man (yes the man...for only a man could come up with this kind of idea) who came up with the design for this thing. The idea that basically making something bigger in order to make it new and better is simply ridiculous.

Imagine if you will, there was a board meeting full of men (again...yes men) that were trying to decide what other kind of "new" product the company could develop.  One man suggests that they try to make make a computer that would allow it's owner to replace and upgrade components independent of the company's support system.  Of course, this is follow with uproarious laughter and mockery.  The abashed man leaves the room mumbling something about "...and they say Microsoft tries to control the world."  Soon after, the fat guy sitting in the corner with his hands down his pants, suggests that they simple enlarge the iPod Touch and slap a new name on it.

Everything is instantly made better when it's BIGGER!! Right?!?

Unfortunately, based on the hype of the upcoming iPad, bigger is indeed better.

Yay for duplicate technology!!!

But wait a second...I thought generally speaking technology was currently striving to make things smaller and more powerful at the same time? No?  Apple must be right...after all, they are APPLE.  What could they do that's wrong?  I mean who are we as the consumer to question their censorship of their app store or the fact that their apps can only be developed on other Apple products?  We are but the blind teaming masses yearning to get our grubby little hands on the latest "new" thing.

I'm not really sure how this is supposed to be such a huge breakthrough in technology as they're simply recreating existing functionality in a larger format.  So you'd think that implementing technology that already exists on such a small scale would be pretty easy to implement on a larger scale, right?  Why wouldn't a company like Apple take this opportunity to implement some new hardware?  Maybe a camera?  Maybe some extra memory? Maybe some cool new feature that hasn't previously been thought of?

And on top of all of that...where am I going to get a pocket big enough to fit this thing in?  I fear that the far reaching influence that Apple seems to have these days will spawn some sub-trend in fashion that actually does provide pants with huge pockets but that's not all.  No, the pocket will be right in the middle of the pants.  That way we can more easily understand exactly why a man has purchased this compensatory item.  And as absurd as this sounds now, I guarantee that there will be people out there buying those crazy pants and swearing they don't know how they functioned before.

When the iPad was announced I remember seeing an "On the street" interview segment on the news.  One of the passersby related to the reporter that they'd be getting an iPad strictly because Apple products were trendy and they didn't want to be the only person without one.  Next thing you know they'll be advertising the new iPad with wings or the iPad with extra absorption power.  And after a couple years of Apple will decide that we want a smaller device again and they'll make an announcement about the new iTampon and our hearts will go all aflutter again.

Is this what our technology "needs" have come to?  I mean I'll admit that the whole touch screen, palm, personal computers are extremely cool, but are we really spending $500-$600 to stay trendy?  Have pissing contests really become that integral to our society?

I'm sticking to my Droid.  It has all the same basic functions as the iPad and besides that it's super small and fits easily into the pockets of the pants I already have.


Stubb063 said...

Let me begin by coming clean and saying that I do own both an iPhone and a MacBook Pro. I also own a rather ballsy PC running Windows 7.

I know people who own more than one Apple product are generally dismissed as Apple fanboys, but I'm a little different. I do love my MacBook. As far as quality, ease of use, and enjoyment are concerned, it's by far the best laptop I've ever owned. It's that good. I will throw out the disclaimer that I never intended to use it for any real gaming purposes.

On the flip side, I will never own a Mac desktop product. Mac OS is nice, but does have some annoyances that I'd rather not put up with in my primary computer; and it's just not as infallible as some Mac fanboys will lead you to believe. My love for my MacBook has less to do with Mac OS than it does with the amount of thought that was put into making it a great portable product. That greatness just doesn't translate to a desktop.

I don't feel that the iPad was made to have the same portability as a phone. I feel like it was meant to sit on a coffee table in your house, filling the niche once held by the morning newspaper. But instead of only being able to read on it, you can also enjoy games, surf the web, read an e-book, look through pictures, etc.

Yes, your Droid and my iPhone both do all of that. But how long can you really look at a 3.5" screen?

On the flip side, what does the iPad do that a laptop already doesn't? The answer, as far as black and white functionality is concerned, is nothing. Furthermore, it'll never be the work machine your laptop is. You won't be typing research papers, or filling out large spreadsheets on it (although you can). Its only advantage is form factor. Instead of having to cold boot a laptop, wait for it to start, then opening the application you want to use, you can pick up an iPad, tap an icon and be doing whatever you want to do in seconds instead of minutes.

And that's the area that makes Apple fans so rabid. When you strictly compare numbers, Apple routinely falls short. But they really do get a ton of things right that don't show up in the numbers.

Example: My MacBook doesn't have a single external fan, which makes it quiet as a mouse. Not only that, but it absolutely never gets hot (I'm referring to both the processor temp, and the external case temperature, which is always cool to the touch). The fans are located directly under the keypad, cooling the inner components via the gaps in the keys. Also, the case is made entirely of aluminum, allowing it to act as a huge heat sink.

That seems like such a trivial thing, until you go back to using a different laptop that burns your lap and requires ear plugs. I used a Dell Latitude for work. Were it not for the docking station, I'd have probably thrown it out of a window by now. I've also used Vaio's, Toshiba's, and other PC-based laptops that would be considered user friendly; and they all annoy the crap out of me now because they all seem to go out of their respective ways to irritate me when compared to my MacBook.

Now, does that level of convenience and novelty translate to a $500 item you don't need? For me, the answer is no. If my income was significantly higher than what it currently is, I might consider it.

The college students and the lower income people who buy it as a laptop replacement are going to end up making a very big mistake. In this respect, I feel like they could have done themselves a huge favor by using a slightly trimmed version of Mac OS X, instead of using the completely closed off iPhone OS.

But I do think Apple has a market in the more well-to-do people looking for a nice convenience item to put in their living rooms, or to take along on plane rides. What really remains to be seen is just how big that market is. I feel like Apple is really overshooting on this one, and that it'll go the way of AppleTV. But I guess we'll see.

Not So Clever As My Friends said...

Really appreciate your comment.

I freely admit that I'm not a fan of Apple products, obviously. My biggest issue with the whole thing is the way it's being marketed and an entirely new technology when its simply not. This thing is just a giant iPod. If they had marketed it that way I wouldn't have as big an issue with the whole ordeal.

My biggest issue with Apple however, is that you can only develop app's for their products on one of their products. As a software developer myself I don't like to be restricted by proprietary crap like this. I hate that the company seems to have the image of this non-corporate machine (Microsoft) when in reality they are actually contributing less to the computer culture as a whole.