Wednesday, April 7, 2010


iUnless you have been away, perhaps visiting another planet (a planet with no access to our earthy Internet or other news sources), you probably know Apple released the iPad. This had several immediate effects:

  1. Apple haters went into a tizzy about how useless it was, and why only those who have been borged by the Apple would have one, and how the inital sales were all to "fanbois", and no self respecting microsoft person would have one, and on and on.
    1. They cost too much.
    2. They had no camera (despite the fact that the form factor is downright stupid for a camera)
    3. The were too heavy
    4. They were too light
    5. They were too big
    6. They were not big enough
    7. They were closed (despite being Jailbroken in less than 24 hours)
    8. There were no apps (even though every iPhone app I have tried works on it)
    9. There weren't really netbook replacements (although I gave away my Netbooks upon getting an iPad)
    10. etc
  2. Apple Mavens went for them of course. Probably no point in even mentioning that
  3. The middle grounders stood back and watched and commented. One guy at PC World who had pre-declared dislike of them played with one and changed his mind. Even the middle grounders are all over the place:
    1. iBooks was cool
    2. iBooks had too much extra fancy stuff. Kindle was better. Or Goodreader.
    3. Kindle was great
    4. Kindle was going to die soon
    5. And one and on..

While many consider me an Apple fan... I guess because I replaced all my MS stuff with either Linux or Apple gear, I consider myself to be a middle-grounder. I like Apple stuff because it just works, and I love the design points, but I hate DRM and the closed nature of the ecosystem and the MS-like things that Apple does to keep people locked out and locked in all at the same time.

I have an iPhone. A 3GS. Jailbroken but *not* unlocked (because I like AT&T's service better than Verizon's, at least here where I live, and because the spirit of the contract with AT&T was that they paid for part of my phone in exchange for me using their service for a short while.) That being said, Apple may have screwed up with the iPad, and with me in particular.

If I have an iPad (which as mentioned I do), I do not need an iPhone nearly as much. What I need instead is a phone that lets me tether, and that is the Palm Pre + right now, or maybe the Nexus One: either of which appear worthy and which I would love to have. The Nexus more than the Pre because it does not have a chicklet keyboard. Hate those.

AT&T and Apple are on a timer now: unless the new iPhone is spectacular, my smartphone may stop being an iPhone. I previously noted here that the iPhone was a tablet PC. Now it is not the best tablet PC. iPad is.

Sidebar: Even my non-smartphone, the Blackberry Storm, can't tether, but that is because it is a work phone and they have not allowed it. Further digression: My old Sony Erricson on AT&T let me tether without issue. Slow to be sure: This was before Edge even.

There are two other smartphone players here that look like, from where I am sitting, to be willing to take better care of me. Since I have the non-3G iPad, I do not have cellular data or GPS... those two functions are still required in the smartphone. Having a Kindle app will also be a plus, since then I can read no matter where I am or which device I have with me. That is a hit against iBook: Only one platform. No Mac version even. No iPhone version. With Kindle I have it on my Mac, iPad, and iPhone, and they stay sync'ed. That may be the iPhones one smartphone-saving grace. Kindle is not on the Nexus One. As near as I can tell it is not yet on the Palm Pre either, though several forums seemed to think it might be coming because it appeared in a commercial.

So, my original Apple tablet is in danger of being replaced unless Apple and AT&T get tethering figured out soon. I pay 30 bucks a month x 5 phone on my family plan to AT&T for unlimited data on each phone. Enough is enough. I am not adding another plan for the iPad. I will go to whoever lets me tether my iPad.

The iPad is a netbook replacement, and it is largely a laptop replacement except when I am doing anything heavy duty, like editing photos. It is not a new category: it is just the Internet tablet finally done mostly right. So much more right than anything that has come before it that all previous attempts pale in comparison. I still have a Grid table with a 386-25 running Pen Windows 3.1. An HP-UX LX620. An NEC MobilePro 800. The Dell Mini-9 and the Acer Aspire One. Actually, I gave the Mini-9 to my mom, and the Acer to my son.

None of them are anything like the iPad, and all of them are replaced by it. My MacBook gets far less use as well, but is not totally sidelined. Ditto my bigger Linux laptops like the Dell D620 and the IBM T43. Still use them. Just not as much.

Not just for FanBois

I can not walk into a room right now without people wanting to touch the iPad and play with it. At one point seven grown men were passing it around, and then griping at me that I was a bad influence because now they would have to get one. None of them were / are Apple people. One did that very night, and then played with it all night, and then blamed me for his loss of sleep. His wife wants one too.

iPads are just fun, and they are hard to put down. I have been reading books on the Kindle app every night till well past midnight. Reading the news. Checking the weather just for the heck of it. I am sure all this will wear off, but for now it is quite the attention getting device. It would be easy to write books like how to pick up the opposite sex, using the iPad as the ice breaker.

Sure, the haters will maintain their distance. Some won't go near it because they do not trust themselves. Some won't go near it because they find it noble to do stuff like cut off their nose to spite their face. Either way, this thing is going to be big, but what I will be more interested in is what it does to the iPhone: the original Apple Internet tablet (not counting the Newton, which was cool, but not iPad or iPhone cool, at least where the Internet is concerned).

Tech is fun. Can't wait to see what happens next.

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