The Obvious Genius of iPad

Thank goodness Apple can’t patent what it got right…Post’s Permalink

…because now the entire world “gets it” and we’re off to the races. In plenty of time for Christmas 2010, Apple’s iPad will only be one among many successful tablet devices.

Why? Because although no one else saw what to do beforehand, everyone can see what to do now. Now it’s obvious. Apple deserves genius-level credit for showing the way, but has no means for preventing everyone else from following. And follow they will. As many as 40 me-too pads are already in the works. They won’t all acquire critical mass, but many will. And many will dramatically undercut the cost of Apple’s higher-end iPads while offering significant additional features.

Pads, “i” or otherwise, can obviously succeed merely by up-sizing a touch-based smartphone OS — just as Apple did. Today we have Google’s already successful Android OS with deployment in smartphones now exceeding that of the iPhone. And we have the might of Hewlett-Packard to bring Palm’s WebOS to market. Both alternatives are ready-to-scale touch-based operating platforms capable of driving any non-Apple pad. And that’s precisely what they’re going to do.

Apple’s biggest problem is that the iPad was only incredible until the first moment of its existence. This explains why the world was instantly split in its opinion of the device. Yes, it’s spectacular, and also … No, it’s not.

Do I love my two iPads? Absolutely — more than any other gadget I can remember. But that’s only because, today, the iPad is the only pad available. A year from now I may well be more in love with an Android- or WebOS-based pad — because it’s the “Padness” that’s the point. And the likelihood of my disaffection from the iPad is increased dramatically by Apple’s self-defeating decisions, such as its obvious war with Adobe creating serious product deficiencies. Steve Jobs exaggerated when he said the iPad gives us the whole Internet. Without Flash, parts of the Internet everyone else has are offline and out of reach. And, of course, Apple’s famously horrible single-carrier (U.S.) choice of AT&T demonstrates just how much pain, and how high a price, the world is willing to pay to have Apple’s goodness. But that undeniable hubris only succeeds in the absence of alternatives.

There can be no denying that Apple does may things right. But in return for delivering world-class fit and finish Apple extracts a steep price from the consumer. And it’s not just the one-time cost of the device at retail, but the ongoing cost of having an important piece of highly used technology locked up behind the wall of iTunes. This operational model made sense when iTunes only provided DRM (digital rights management, i.e. copy-protection) for iPod music. And it still mostly worked after the iPhone and the App store were added. But for a device that is trying so hard to be a computer, locking up the iPad behind iTunes really starts to chafe.

So for the record, to help all of the me-too pads also get it right, exactly what did Apple get right?

• More than any other single thing, what Apple got right about the iPad is its more than twelve-hour battery life. People feeling the heft of the iPad for the first time are often a bit surprised by its weight. It weighs what it does because the iPad is best described as “a large flat battery with a screen.” If you’ve seen photos of the iPad’s innards you’ll have noticed that the entire interior, except for a small processor board, is filled by two batteries. That all-day-sucker battery life, coupled with cellular connectivity, dramatically increases the device’s value and utility.

• Long-term standby or “Instant On” [I added this 6/1/2010 since I forgot it initially!]
Just the thought of waiting to boot a Windows laptop is enough to squelch quick and casual connection to the Internet. So the importance of the iPad’s “instant on” always-ready-to-go availability cannot be overstated.

• The stunning In-Plane Switching (IPS) LCD display is another of those subtle things that Apple’s engineers got right. The color-faithful wide viewing angle of the iPad’s display lends a great deal to the feeling that this isn’t like other screens.

• And the “central committee” design of the iPad’s user interface delivers a uniquely coherent, highly usable, largely discoverable, and infrequently frustrating user experience. This is very important, and it is where the me-too wanna be pads are most likely to suffer: Android based pads, being inherently open and highly ad-hoc, are likely to be, like the Android phones, sort of a mess.

Regardless, non-Apple pads will be here very soon. They will be much less expensive, much less restrictive, loaded with many more features, and could arguably be called the pads for the rest of us. Until then, I’ll be using and loving my Apple iPads, not because they are from Apple, but because Apple was absolutely right about the previously unappreciated need for a large-screen, long battery life, touch-based Internet-connected appliance. That’s all the iPad is; nothing more, nothing less. Not magic, but a touch of obvious genius that everyone else now sees.

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89 Responses to The Obvious Genius of iPad

  1. Dick says:

    Does the tie to iTunes preclude someone from using an iPad if they have no other computer?

    • Randy says:

      iTunes on a computer is only necessary to initialize your iPad. Before you leave the Apple store, have them plug it into a Mac, setup an iTunes account and do all the initial setups. From then on, you can download all the apps and such via WiFi or 3G from iTunes. Could get costly over 3G with the new AT&T data plans. You may have to go back to the store to get OS updates; though.

  2. tommy says:

    Spot on insight Steve!
    It is easy to understand why Steve Jobs wants to control the entire ipad “eco-system”.

  3. Sai says:

    Nice post Steve. Just a quick point:

    The iPad isn’t exclusive to AT&T. AT&T are the only carrier in the states that distribute micro sim cards. Here in the UK, we are able to use the iPad on all four major networks.


  4. @Dick Yes… sort of. You have to connect it to a computer running iTunes when you first un-box it. Likewise if you wipe it, it’ll need to be connected. If you have infrequent computer access it might be workable for you. If you have zero computer access it’s not a viable option.

  5. Umair says:

    When I discovered OneNote a few years back as a student, I searched for tablet / touchscreen type laptops and was so disappointed that no manufacturer was bothering to make something half good and affordable. It didn’t make any sense that these big manufacturers couldn’t see the obvious.

    This is also why my mind cannot process how Paul Thurrott could be so critical of the iPad when he loved the iPhone (iPhone was a joke as a smartphone when it came out in 2007 because my 2005 Nokia could do a lot more). Right now iPad is the best tablet / pad in the world. Anxiously waiting for Android tablet but I am not very hopeful that the competition would come up with a similar combination of battery life and snappy performance.

    • Steve Gibson says:

      …but that’s also the sheer beauty of the iPad’s existence today: It has set the bar very high and literally shown the way. And, unlike years ago when the iPhone first appeared and there weren’t useful alternative touch-based operating platforms… now there are! Battery life and screen and “feel” will need to be similar for other devices to compete. I’m betting they’re going to be able to. 🙂

  6. Penguintopia says:

    Petty much spot-on, but I have to say, I don’t want flash. I block in on my laptop. If Apple succeeds in getting rid of the crash-inducing, battery killing flash, that will make me happy.

    I too, might well go with an Android pad in the future to replace this iPad, but I better be able to turn flash off!

    • Steve Gibson says:

      I, also, have flash disabled by default on my main machines. But I click-to-enable on demand as needed. And after having the iPad from day-one, I have hit a number of sites where I was stopped cold. Anyone who listens to my weekly Internet security podcast with Leo knows how I feel about Adobe, but without Flash today (tomorrow, who knows) we really don’t have the “full Internet” as Jobs famously stated.

      • Penguintopia says:

        I guess I don’t have the same experience, since I’ve made it a practice to avoid Flash sites like the plague. I do listen to Secirity Now (from episode 1), so yes, I know. I just disagree. The market will tell us who is right. 🙂

        Keep up the great work!

  7. raven says:

    Typo in the second to last paragraph, “…it is where the me-too wanna be pads are most likely to subtle:…” I assume you meant, “suffer”?

  8. Sparky says:

    Very good coments and spot on. One thing you did miss is speed. Not just that the iPad is very snappy but the fact that it can be off and at press of a button it is up and running. A tap on the Safari icon and you are on the internet. 5 seconds – if that. Jumping in and out of applications is fast too, unless the app is one with a lot of assets to load, so you can check email, check Twitter and back to the web very quickly. This and it’s long battery lift is what make the iPad so useful.

    I’m no Apple fan boy, indeed this is the first Apple device that I have owned and I had to weight up the cons of putting iTunes on a PC and buying into the Apple lockdown against the pros of all the use cases that I could see for the device. You can see which side one.

    • Steve Gibson says:

      You’re right Sparky. I forgot that one my own biggest raves about the iPad is its instant on feature. It’s SO NICE — completely usage changing — not to be waiting to boot all the time.

    • Si Brindley says:

      If tou think it’s snappy now just wait for iPhone OS 4 to reach the iPad later this year – the improvements it makes to application switching will make the catch-up game harder for the competition. I really feel that what’s coming up for the OS is another genius Apple design that they are getting exactly right, even though it’s far from obvious to the critics…for now.

  9. Thomas Fors says:

    I’d like to comment on two of your points.

    1. I find it somewhat hypocritical of you to chastise Apple for delivering less than the whole internet by excluding flash when you, yourself, not so long ago, recommended people browse the web with javascript turned off.

    2. Most of the complaints I hear of how horrible AT&T is are from SF or NY. My understanding is they’ve improved the SF capacity, but I could be wrong. I’m from just outside Chicago and I’ve been an iPhone/AT&T customer for 3 years. Prior to that, I was a Verizon customer. Verizon was not measurably better than AT&T in any way to me. I’ve had no issues with AT&T. I don’t travel often, but I’ve been to at least Atlanta, D.C., and SF in the last year without any AT&T related issues. In fact, I’ve been camping in the very remote Saline Valley and had AT&T signal! On a recent train trip across the country, my Verizon MiFi was useless for much of the ride because of 1xRTT connections even in the red areas of their coverage map. The iPhone’s edge connection was far more usable. I think the stories of how bad AT&T is are largely subjective.

    I do agree that more carriers would be better for the iPhone and iPad. But when I think back to life before the iPhone, Verizon wanted to charge me a $30 fee just to transfer my contacts from old phone to new. They also locked out the ability to download photos from my phone to a computer, requiring me to send a picture message and pay their fees to access the photos. My understanding is Apple went to Verizon first with the iPhone and Verizon rejected them. I have no sympathy for Verizon. From a business perspective, I think Apple made the right choice with AT&T. Having a single GSM design allowed them to quickly release it world-wide. I suspect the world-wide iPhone market is far greater than the Verizon U.S. market. Entering into an exclusive contract with AT&T, I figure, is just the price they had to pay to radically shake-up the cellphone industry as they did. In time, the iPhone and iPad will be available on other carriers.

    I hope my tone doesn’t come across as harsh. I’ve listened to Security Now since the beginning, and I’m a huge fan. I have a great deal of respect for you. I just hear the same criticisms over and over again on the internet of Apple and AT&T and it just doesn’t reflect my experience or opinion. Your blog is the first I’ve felt compelled to comment on. I think that’s because I feel a great sense of community here among the SN listeners.

    Just another point of view I guess.

    Best Regards,

    • Steve Gibson says:


      I very much appreciate your comments. Just to clarify my position about JavaScript, Flash, and any other add-ons or plug-ins: Using NoScript under Firefox, I have BOTH disabled by default, but also both AVAILABLE as needed. Several times while using the iPad out “on the road” I have encountered a web site — that I REALLY needed to access and assumed I could — but I was completely unable to, ONLY because I was using the iPad. ANY of my other (many) machines could have allowed that access. But nothing I could do with the iPad would. That’s just dumb.

      And as regards AT&T, my complaint is that in the US Apple has formed a conspicuous single-carrier alliance with AT&T. I have no idea why, I don’t know what’s going on behind the scene, nor does anyone else. And certainly it’s Apple’s right to do whatever they choose. But my point was that this comes at a significant convenience cost to consumers who might really want more choice.

      Thanks again for your feedback. That’s what it’s all about! 🙂

      • Thomas Fors says:

        Hi Steve,

        Yes, I do agree that having flash/javascript available to switch on as needed is a better user experience than not being supported. I browse with flash disabled as well on my desktop computer and turn it on as needed.

        I think the single-carrier alliance is nothing new in the cellular industry. It was common for certain phone models to be exclusive to a single carrier before, but I think it has gotten much more attention lately because of the popularity of the iPhone. Agreed, that it seems conspicuous, but I also think there are many legitimate explanations for it as well.

        To show there are no hard feelings, I sent you a promo code for an iPad app that’s a clone of one of your favorite calculators using the security now feedback form (I had to scroll waaay down 🙂 to get to it.)


    • John Neyer says:

      I agree with you Tom. It seems like ever since the launch of the device we’ve heard the chants of “Google will save us”. At least Steve gave a nod to Apple for providing the model for everyone else to copy. Google may likely get market share due to sheer volume but Android still seems to have rough edges that Google historically is slow to finish off.

      I’d love to stand behind Google, but I need something that works well and renders nicely. The pairing of OS to hardware configuration within the Apple ecosystem has so far been outstanding. And the inconveniences the I’ve run into (flash, printing) are things I’ve been able to get around or find solutions to. I’ve found the opposite about flash. If a site has content locked behind a flash-wall I generally go somewhere else…gladly.

      Also, I think its unfair to blame Apple for “locking up” content in iTunes. The DRM I encounter is on all media not just iTunes media. iBooks adds DRM just like Kindle and B&N. iTunes actually makes it easier to get to these files rather than an OTA library.

      Love your stuff and value your opinion, Steve. But I’m sorry to see you join the me-too Apple critics so eager to take down the only tablet game in town.

      * typing this up sitting out by the pool on my iPad

      • Steve Gibson says:


        You finished with: “Love your stuff and value your opinion, Steve. But I’m sorry to see you join the me-too Apple critics so eager to take down the only tablet game in town.”

        What I love about what Apple did … was to ignore all of the naysayers who kept talking about how “tablets” had failed over and over, implying that they always would. Sure, because those tablets were all wrong. (Remember how long it took before we finally started getting laptops that worked well enough?) But Apple did it right. They were first. I absolutely get that and give them that. But the Apple fan-boy crowd, in my opinion, makes a much bigger deal about this than anything warrants. They’re all breathless and ga-ga.

        Now, admittedly, we won’t know for sure until we see what the me-too wannabe’s are able to produce. But there’s nothing whatsoever amazing and shocking about what Apple did. They just did it right — and I, for one, plan to be eternally grateful! 🙂

        • John Neyer says:

          Sorry, Steve. I realized after I hit the post the “me too” comment was unfairly over the top. You’re complaints are fair based on your use case.

          I’m anxious to see where the platform is headed too. It would be outstanding to see a competitor with an Apple-like design focus nail an Android tablet. (not an Apple fan boy just an admirer of their design ability).

          Like your laptop analogy I feel as though I wanted a tablet ever since we started using laptops for every day use. The fact that it finally arrived makes me appreciate it all the more. But it’s only round 1 and we’ve already seen Apple play their hand with the iPhone. I expect the race will be closer this time. Looking forward to it 🙂

        • Thomas Fors says:

          There is a certain beauty in how Apple does what it does. Even when the iPhone first came out, it was very limited, there were key things missing, notably cut & paste. They took lots of criticism for it, but it was still very usable and incredibly powerful. With each new update, it got better and better, and they eventually added cut & paste. They didn’t rush it out in the next update under pressure from the criticism but released it when they felt it was ready.

          I used to develop apps on Windows (back in the MFC days, before .NET). I’ve since switched to the Apple platform after buying a MacBook Pro on a whim. I had to learn XCode and Objective-C and their Foundation framework from the ground up, but I see a clarity of vision in their frameworks that I felt was lacking from the MFC. I enjoy writing objective-c like no other language and if I had my way, that’s all I would develop for.

          I’ve also been an iPhone developer since before Apple permitted it 🙂 Apple gets a lot of criticism for rejecting apps using private frameworks. I’ve seen the iPhone API evolve over time and often the reason a framework hasn’t been made public is because they’re refactoring it. Once they’re happy with it, it appears in a new version of the SDK and everyone moves on and finds something else to complain about.

          I’m not saying they’re always innocent, but I think the tendency is to jump to a conspiracy theory conclusion when there are other valid explanations. This is compounded by the fact that, historically, they’ve been very tight-lipped about their decisions and strategy.

    • Patrik Morelli says:

      AT&T still falls way short when it comes to capacity. At a concert or a sporting event my iPhone becomes a brick despite 5 bars and 3G. Others around me are texting and tweeting to their heart’s content while that little wheel on my iPhone just twirls endlessly.

      I cannot fault Apple’s decision to build a world phone by focusing on GSM. We will all be better off here in the US when Apple releases a phone that creates some competition among carriers.

  10. Marc says:

    Just out of interest Steve, what made you get two?

    • Steve Gibson says:

      I thought I was “being clever” by not giving Apple more money than necessary, and also because I wanted it from day-one (with the 3G iPad not shipping until later). So my first iPad was the cheapest 16GB WiFi only device.

      I have a Verizon “MiFi” mobile (cellular) hotspot device, so I figured I could simply use that whenever I was away from a WiFi connection. But after using the WiFi-only iPad for a few hours I knew that my life had been changed… so I got online (before any order backlog could build-up) and ordered the MOST expensive one — the 64GB WiFi+3G iPad.

      So now I have a 100% acceptable solution (except that the stubborn lack of Flash really is an inconvenience) to use until something better comes along. 🙂

  11. Dennis Field says:

    Regarding Flash, I see this in a similar light as when the world started to see the light and get away from dependence on IE and ActiveX. There were growing pains associated with sticking with a browser that was unencumbered by Microsoft’s modified standards and ActiveX controls. There’s actually still growing pains from that battle today — I have to use IE as a part of my job because the timesheet form is dumbfoundingly written with an ActiveX control and the site will not proceed without it. The world, in time, will also move away from sites encumbered by Flash. Although I have come across one or two sites which are missing a video or something similar, I haven’t yet found one for which there is yet to be an alternative.

    As far as Apple and iTunes’ closed system goes, that is just one of many examples of a closed system providing value and convenience to its members. A membership at Sam’s Club gives you value. You can go shopping at other places but there are some deals you can’t get anywhere else or in as much abundance. Likewise, if you desire the convenience of such a wide variety as gas, bread, milk, gloves, and a lottery ticket from the same stop, you do pay a considerable premium to the providers of those goods, whether it be 7-11, Speedway, etc. It’s a world of choice and the way Apple provides their members with value is by hosting the whole enchilada — content, apps, OS, hardware, support all at one place. Sometimes it’s about the great deals for content, sometimes it’s just about the convenience. That’s not going to be an easy experience for Google and Palm to replicate, but hopefully they will innovate enough in other ways to keep Apple on their toes.

  12. Michael Surran says:

    A bullet point I’d personally add is the instant responsiveness of the iPad. Instant on / off (granted, “off” is actually sleep, but few people even know that), and pretty much instant access to the apps is something that, once you get used to it, is hard to live without. I thought booting a Windows Vista laptop was slow before using the iPad, but now it’s unbearable! The spinning hour glass while waiting for the browser or some other program to load – how quaint 🙂

    Being able to just tap and go with no wait sets a standard that other pads will need to achieve in order to successfully compete with the iPad.

  13. isteve says:

    I know that Google is pushing the open model. But I do think that Google should somehow be certifying developers or apps that can run on Android. I know it sounds great that anyone can write apps and distribute them without any vetting from Google but can’t this lead to security problems.

    I love my iPad and am sure apple is hard at work at what comes next for this platform. They seem to always pull another rabbit out of their hat just when you least expect it.

    And I know the Android Pad will be great but I really would like to see a HPalm Pad.

  14. Roger The Alien says:

    Great post Steve, well written.

    What I’m surprised by is the fact that it took Apple to “show us the way”. Growing up there were countless movies and SiFi books that depicted the use of such devices. I know tablets were tried a few years ago and failed due to numerous problems such as the interface, battery life and the sheer bulk of the device. But surely with advances in battery life/size and the increased use of touch devices didn’t anyone else think, “oh hey, let’s redo the tablet for the 21st century”?!?

    Admittedly the OS is one of the iPads real strengths, and whether it was by design or not, releasing into a mature application market has only bolstered it’s success.

    Anyway, keep up the good work, on both Security Now! and your blog/twitter posting.


  15. Ali Alsawaf says:

    I have been trying (and miserably failing) to explain your very point on a PC forum ( Having got my iPad on uk release, like you, I realised that apple had well and truly opened the doors to a very promising and exciting future. Both from a hardware perspective, but also software – have a look at Wired’s first ipad edition (if you haven’t already) and you’ll see a window into a publishing world that is just fantastic.

    Thank you for putting my thoughts in to much better words. I’ve linked the forumites to your blog post, and hopefully your words will go much further than mine.

  16. Suzanne says:

    Exactly. I would *love* to have an iPad. As soon as it was announced (and I was pretty sure it would basically be a big iPod touch plus) I immediately started to think of tons of uses I could put it to. But I’m waiting because I know it won’t be too long ’til there will be something out there that I’ll love even more. Something that will let me do what I want without the annoyances I find in a lot of the Apple products. I can’t wait and I’m eternally grateful to Apple for kicking it off.

  17. Disclaimer: I don’t have iPad.
    I’d like to have iPad-like tablet with Android OS and Pixel Qi screen. Because lower-back pain currently prevents me from prolonged sitting besides my beautiful 26″ NEC monitor. And because I’d like to be able to read some books while outside of my home.
    To me it’s clear that these tablet-format devices are mainly for consuming information on Internet and occasional reading of emails, twitts, and buzzes, not for work or creative activities. That’s obvious – they lack keyboard, mouse, power, applications, screen estate, and convenience of my real computer.
    Still, I’m convinced that for comfortable reading books a tablet must have either Pixel Qi screen or, in the near future, something like Mirasol screen. iPad’s and other tablets LCD with active screen is not suitable. That’s why I’m for Notion Ink’s Adam tablet.

  18. I agree that battery life is critically important. I wish my Nexus One on which I’m writing these comments was two times heavier and lived twice as long without charging.
    But Steve, did you read this article? ‘Had it crashed? Or was it being sarcastic?’ Charlie Brooker on the iPad

    • Penguintopia says:

      That article is about as useful as the ones by Apple fanbois. Seriously, the snide anti-Apple comments make one question his impartiality.

  19. Steve Goncalo says:

    I am still surprised that Apple is not pushing security as one of the major features of the iPad. While antivirus programs on most PCs have to rely on pattern matching and behavioral heuristics to detect malware, the iPad/iPhone/touch OS can directly and reliably check application signatures and only allow signed apps from a trusted source. Apple’s developer program let’s people provision their iThing to accept code signed with a given developer’s certificate. Apple tightly controls the chain of trust. My iPad will run commercial software Apple has signed, or developmental software which I have signed. The approval of the Hong Kong Post Office is not sufficient.

    I know full well that this architecture was driven more to protect Apple’s business concerns than to protect the user. That does not alter the fact that it affords a level of protection not seen in any other widely deployed OS. There will be exploitable bugs in any complex set of code, but I think Apple’s mobile OS has started out working from a much more defendable position than either Android or Windows

    • Mike B says:

      Because to say it is secure is to prove it. They may be checking on apps but how much checking is there? If they miss one, are they liable? Is Safari safe from drive by malware? It hasn’t even had enough time in the market to be attacked. I think Steve mentioned in his podcast something about not calling anything secure until it has proven itself to be secure.

      • Steve Goncalo says:

        Security is always a matter of degree. Code signing and application sandboxing makes the os more resistant to Trojans and worms. Lack of browser plugins reduces the attack surface for web based attacks. The iPad is not going to be immune to security problems, but code bugs are easier to fix than problems with the underlying design philosophy. I think the iPad approach makes it highly securable and security should increase over time. Windows whack-a-mole approach to handling malware is barely holding ground, because security was not part of the original design philosophy.

  20. Patrik says:

    What Apple got right is spot on. BUT what makes anyone think others can follow up effectively. The iPod continues to dominate because the likes of Zune are the best the competition can offer. The iPhone prospers in site of AT&T. It is not what IT can do, it is what the phone’s users can make it do.

    All those Pad wanna bees first have to discover what Apple has in its DNA – it’s the user interface, stupid!

    • Penguintopia says:

      My Android phone is pretty amazing. Chose it over an iPhone, despite being a mac owner. Still prefer it to my kids iPhones. And Android is outselling iPhone. Clearly, someone else can do it. Andoid on a tablet might just be the trick.

      • Pat says:

        This is the reason Android apparently “outsold” iPhone.

        “As in the past, carrier distribution and promotion have played a crucial role in determining smartphone market share,” said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD. “In order to compete with the iPhone, Verizon Wireless has expanded its buy-one-get-one offer beyond RIM devices to now include all of their smartphones.”

    • Steve Gibson says:

      Patrik’s comment about what makes us think that others can follow up effectively reminded me of a conversation I recently had with a friend while we were driving somewhere: We were passed by a stunning Ferrari — just beautifully designed, a true work of automotive art — and I commented: Why can’t/don’t other cars look like that? It’s just some curved metal. It’s not some magic. The technology is available to everyone. Why can’t/don’t other car manufacturers hire really good designers???

      Still, that said, even in Southern California, the Ferrari-on-the-road is the exception while we were surrounded by non-Ferrari’s that sold many many (many) more.

      • APS says:

        Most cars are not Ferraris and most computers/phones/pads are not made by Apple.

        Like Ferrari Apple spends a lot more time designing and considering its products where other companies innervations are based on being able to mass produce products and integrate the latest processors or screen technologies quickly into their products.

        I do still think there is plenty of room for other companies than Apple to produce the highend Ferrari like devices, just as in the car world we have Aston Martin, Lamborghini etc

        Another point that just came to mind. Stretching car analogy a bit further shows that people clearly like choice. Not just in make but in type of car. Thats why the world isn’t full of just SUVs or just 2 seater sports car.

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  22. Scott Royall says:

    I’m noticing a disturbing trend in new gadgetry.There are supposedly 20 million disabled people in the U.S., and new devices seem to be less and less accessible to them. Clearly, a visually-impaired person would have real problems using an iPad, but what about people like me with limited dexterity? I cannot reliably type with my fingertips; I must close my hand and use a knuckle. That w0rks, but not on capacitive touch-screens. I certainly can’t do the all-important “pinch motion.” With crusty old Windows, there are a dozen ways of triggering a given action. Not in Steve Jobs’ universe. Is Jobs saying disabled people aren’t cool enough for his products?

    • Dennis Field says:


      Actually I feel like touchscreens have a few advantages when it comes to accessibility. For one thing, you can make the control targets bigger and thus easier to touch. You can’t make keyboard keys bigger (without buying a new one). The iPhone OS actually has a few goodies for blind and visually impaired users – they can drag their finger across the screen to have it speak the item under their finger, then tap twice or tap with another finger while the first finger is already on to select the item it just spoke. They can also enable universal zooming or invert the screen colors to make it higher contrast. Also, knuckles are perfectly fine on a capacitive screen. Unless you’re wearing gloves, of course. Unless those gloves are thin or made compatible with capacitive touch screens.

  23. Ericdsa says:

    I love my 3G iPad, but I think it will get much better with the OS 4 update. Add an iPod connector camera, let Steve finish killing off Adobe or (buy it), and you have the near perfect tablet.

    Also, I have nothing against Andriod phones, and will gladly consider one when the time comes. But no Android phone is outselling the iPhone. There are how many flavors of Android phones, running how many different versions of the OS?

  24. Ozzy says:

    Thx I could not have state my feelings better.

  25. @Dennis Field, I think you brought a good analogy between ActiveX controls and Flash. ActiveX was horrific. But it was especially bad because of it non-standard proprietary IE-only nature. Flash, on the other hand, is widely used and supported.
    @Michael Surran, you can put laptop into a sleep mode instead of turning it off; it would be as instant up, as iPad, wouldn’t it? What is really instantly up, is Chrome OS. I have tried some early alpha of it booting from USB stick on my slow Acer netbook.

    • Dennis Field says:

      True, but it is still controlled by only one company, and that company appears to be just as behind the times as Microsoft was back then. Adobe has brought us great stuff over the years, but they are not as nimble as is required to provide value in the mobile space. These touch screens weren’t designed to provide mouse equivalent input such as is needed in most Flash apps. These processors weren’t designed to be able to run interpreted/intermediate languages like ActionScript, which is why JavaScript is still so slow despite vast improvements over the few years mobile web browsers have come into the spotlight. I hear Android 2.2 makes some great strides in that department, but that’s only JavaScript. ActionScript is infinitely more complex, and there’s only one company that can make it run better as opposed to JavaScript which anyone can iterate upon and make it faster. Check out how fast the original iPhone was on the original OS, compared to an iPad now, or even an original iPhone simply updated to 3.1.3… Flash’s performance has yet to see such great strides.

  26. Omri Drory says:

    Hi Steve – I’m so happy you started blogging! keep it up it so fun to read such a well thought off article.

  27. @isteve, as Android user for last two years or so, I can assure you, that “quality control” of users usage volume and voting work pretty well on Android market. You can be sure about app quality by reading comments, usage numbers and score. That’s much better than Jobs’ cerbers.
    @Ali Alsawaf, accessing web media through proprietary apps running on iPad or Android devices is not a way to go, but rather a dead-end temporary branch which will hopefully die soon with spreading standard HTML 5 solutions, like one showed on Google IO. You’d better listen for latest TWIGs, but basically such media apps (especially when they are the only way to read information) break linked nature of WWW, are isolated, not searchable, hard to discover.
    @Ericdsa, the number of different versions of Android OS on a market shows mainly *how fast Android evolves* – much faster than iPhone OS. Google already found a great way to reduce fragmentation by decoupling mayor OS functions from UI and by developing in truly modular fashion. Starting from Android 2.2, OS and UI upgrades would be partially delivered as independent pieces of code through Android market, making it much easier for OEMs to incorporate latest OS.

    Great new devices are coming, not only Android and HP WebOS, but based on Win7 as well,

  28. Mark snape says:

    i enjoyed reading your post on my iPad.
    I’ve just had it for two days since the uk launch and as well as the long battery life, the instant on, the super wide viewing angle, I also appreciate the ‘stroke-ability’ of the capacitive screen.
    Ps found your post from your Twitter feed..thanks for adopting these new techniques – I fear for your free time though!!!!

  29. btcomp says:

    Okay, I take it then something like listening to a video on will be impossible because it’s Flash? Or in the case of a client that I have to do a navigation in Flash for, will fail on the IPad. That is a huge problem. I would hope that Apple would change this!

    As you say, Steve there will several to choose form later this year and cheaper. I will wait!

    • isteve says:

      Going to on a iPad is the same as using any browser on any OS. The video plays.

      A few months ago when Jobs said there would be no Flash on the iPad I thought “well this thing will go nowhere without Flash”. Hmmm, over 2 million and growing…

      • Marc says:

        Now try going to BBC iPlayer… or any other TV on demand service… and you’ll need flash.
        As far as I know, Flash and Silverlight are the only ways to get DRM-protected content to play in a browser.
        Until HTML 5 supports DRM, Flash is going nowhere.
        The only reason Steve Jobs doesn’t want flash is because it interferes with his business model. Anyone naive enough to think otherwise should look back at past episodes, i.e. Microsoft and Java. Apple is going the same way, only they don’t have a monopoly. The iPad, for all its greatness, represents a dark and closed future of computing, that hopefully Google and Microsoft will fight.

        • Penguintopia says:

          Thinking that any company, Google included, has your best interest at heart is to misunderstand the situation. Companies are in business to extract money from you, and will act in a way that best allows them to do so. MS already has a history of lock-in. Nothing prevents Google from doing the same in the future. Right now, ‘open’ is a selling point. It might not be forever.

          • Mike B says:

            When a giant is flexing its muscles, all we can hope for is another giant(s) to keep the other in check.

            • Penguintopia says:

              That’s about right. Google, HP, MS and Apple fighting for tablet space (in various ways) is good for the industry. Each presents a different world-view and each presents a different business model. Which one ‘wins’ is certainly up for grabs. Best would be all four being strong in this area and competing on features.

        • isteve says:

          BBCs iPlayer is coming to the iPad along with many other services. ABC, Netflix, youtube and many other have video players on iphone/ipad.

          I also think media companies don’t like HTML5 because of the lack of DRM. But do like the app model. Apps like MLB and soon Hulu will provide great way to consume media and be a great revenue stream.

          A lot of the time Apple marches to a beat of a different drummer. They take huge chances and many times upset their users and partners yet it somehow works out for them. Time will tell if the no-flash-pad was the right move.

  30. Bob G says:

    Thanks Steve, for getting more “social” and doing a blog 🙂 I’m a big fan of SN, and have been from the beginning. I’ve had the iPod Touch for over a year now, and while the iPad looks interesting, I am still satisfied with the functinality and portability of the Touch. It does everything I need it for, including editing this comment to you. Word Press views well in the mobile version too, so I think I’ll follow in your earlier philosophy of hangning onto the older technology on this one…

    Bob G

  31. A crucial reason for the success of both the iPhone and the iPad is the App Store. Having basically any conceivable application available to you makes the device exponentially more desired.

    Apple created the Gold Boom mentality for the developers. Stories spread out far and wide of developers being able to quit their desk jobs for a self sustaining life as an App Store Developer.

    Apple appears to be alienating developers lately by excluding 3rd Party development tools and maintaining draconian over the API . If they manage to push them away this will be the fall of the iPhone/iPad device rather than something else coming out with a new ‘wizz bang’ feature.

  32. Pingback: Pads ARE Next | Steve (GRC) Gibson's Blog

  33. aps says:

    Don’t really think Apple should get all the credit here. Devices like the tc1100 were awesome at the time and most of all the nokia internet tablets from a couple of years back really invented this device space. Full credit to Apple though in one area… they made non geeks want a tablet!

  34. Monamiga says:

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for sharing your many great ideas, especially those in your SN netcast @twit. I’ve been listening since I got my broadband connection in May 2007. I’m from the Philippines.

    Many Thanks

  35. Pingback: Pads ARE Next | Dragons Files

  36. I don’t remember if it was you or someone else talking to Leo about caps on the iPhone and iPad keyboards, but someone relized if you press the shift key then swipe your finger to a letter it capitalizes it but caps lock is still missing. Well I dropped my phone onto my bed just a bit ago and the shift key’s background became blue. It turns out when I dropped it I hit the shift key twice (double tap) and turned on the caps lock. Playing with it as I type this now I can tell you that double tapping either shift key, or hitting them both at once, turns on caps lock one tap on the shift key then turns it off? It also turns off if you switch to the number and punctuation keyboard.

    Written on the iPad by the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis

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