Sunday, January 31, 2010

iPad = Meh: The Other Side of the Story

As with any new product (Apple, or otherwise), it didn't take long for the "Top Ten Reasons why the iPad Sucks"-esque lists to surface. In fact, just minutes after the liveblog on Gizmodo had covered the keynote, this article made its way to their home page. And while some claims are valid, most are just people hating on the fact that the iPad doesn't have the same capabilities that the average netbook would.

Newsflash: The Apple iPad is NOT a netbook! It's not trying to BE a netbook. If you want a netbook go down to your nearest PC World and buy yourself an Asus N10, otherwise stuff it.
I mean logically, it almost immediately follows that a tablet device would be used more for entertainment purposes, rather than communications purposes, and while the iPad can cater to both of those things, it's probably more of a threat to e-readers like Amazon's Kindle than it is to any Netbook manufacturer.

Now to address some of the more legitimate downfalls of the iPad:

1. No Cameras
Many critics seem to think that the iPad's lack of a front-facing camera and/or one on the back is a terrible thing. Now as a design student, I sort of agree in the sense that the iPad seems to be more about media consumption than it is creation, and pre-release, there was much speculation about how an Apple tablet could greatly contribute to the creative industry. But that being said, it is what it is. Sure the absence of a camera is disappointing to a lot of people, but it's also part of Apple's Marketing Department's Master Plan (AMDMP), which is: "Hey! Let's release a version that's absolute crap so that we can release another one in 6 months time with only a fraction more of the originally intended awesome features so we can do it all over again and make billions of dollars!"
Planned obsolescence people, there's a reason Apple are number 1; they're not stupid.

2. No Multitasking
Yeah, it's a deal-breaker. But again, this is mostly based on the fact that no netbook would lack something as vital as multitasking. And as we've already covered, the iPad is not a netbook.
Also, this is another possible result of AMDMP. Who knows, the iPad 2.0 might let you take pictures with two cameras while you update your account via your Twitter App and read your latest iBook. :)

3. No Widescreen, HDMI Output, and lots of adapters:
Having to use adapters to connect even a USB to the iPad is undoubtedly annoying. As is the fact that widescreen movies do not fare well on the 4:3 screen.
Even more frustrating is the inability to watch any media downloaded on the iPad anywhere else (ie. your HD tv).
And to all of that, I say one thing: AMDMP.

Now to get to the REAL shortcomings of the device:

4. No Flash Support, Again
Now this is a somewhat sensetive issue, especially to the iPhone community who have been whining about this since the dawn of time.
It's essentially rooted in some sort of a childish feud between Steve Jobs and ex Adobe CEO and co-founder, John Warnock. The sad thing is that they've collaborated together countless times over the years and have basically made OSX what it is today through said collaborations. But according to this interview, Warnock is hesitant to approach Jobs about restarting the partnership again, because he thinks Jobs won't agree to incorporating anything Adobe related, unless he owns it:
He has never been great at hitting that middle ground [between] openness and proprietary [products]. He has always seemed to lean to the proprietary side, to want to own everything. I think this is one case where he probably would do better if he didn’t do that.
Makes sense, right? Here's what our good friend Mr. Jobs had to say about the matter:
About Adobe: They are lazy, Jobs says. They have all this potential to do interesting things but they just refuse to do it. They don’t do anything with the approaches that Apple is taking, like Carbon. Apple does not support Flash because it is so buggy, he says. Whenever a Mac crashes more often than not it’s because of Flash. No one will be using Flash, he says. The world is moving to HTML5. 
Um, Steve? Hate to break it to you but the world hasn't moved on to HTML5 just quite yet, and there are still a countless number of websites using Flash.
So, as an employee of The Flash Blog put it: Get used to the blue legos.

5. DRM
This to me, is hands down the worst thing about the iPad. For those of you who are unsure on what exactly DRM, or Digital Restriction Management, is, it basically means that any and all content that can be made available on the iPad, will be exclusive to Apple's platform. Apple have already exercised the on all media on the iTunes store (with the exception of music) which basically takes away your right to share. Additionally, all applications must be approved by Apple to run, which also means that they can push updates to said applications over the iPad's wireless connection, meaning they can add or remove capabilities at any given time.
Why is this such a bad thing? Revisionism.
For one thing, if every publisher needs permission from Apple, they can basically manipulate the distribution of news media. If a story published in the New York Times paints them in a bad light, they can delete it. Even after it's been published.
By making a computer where every application is under total, centralized control, Apple is endangering freedom to increase profits.source
Apple says they won't abuse this privellege, but if that's the case why have it there in the first place? Plus they've been known to reject and remove competitor applications off the App Store for absolutely no reason whatsoever in the past,so who's to say they won't do it again?

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