Tag Archives: ipad

Verizon Selling Samsung Galaxy Android Tablet for $599: Lame

Some people have been poo-pooing the iPad ever since it debuted, claiming that better, cheaper tablets running Google’s Android operating system were coming real soon now, and, last I heard, the Samsung Galaxy Tablet was going to be the one that finally delivered.

I don’t know what those people are claiming now, but now that the Galaxy is here, I’m not real impressed. Verizon is selling it for $599, only $30 less than what they are selling the iPad and a bundled MeFi mobile WiFi hot spot for.

I’m not surprised by the weak showing. Android phones have done as well as they have because mobile carriers and handset makers were terrified at the prospect of Apple getting all the goodies. It helped that their true price was hidden by the carrier hardware subsidy, and paid back over the life of a two year contract. The iPad is sold without a subsidy and so far at least Samsung is following suit. The result though is that the prices seem much more comparable, and so the deficiencies of Android, which Google themselves don’t think is ready for tablets, and the hardware are much harder to look past.

Apple stiffs iPad owners on RAM

New details of the iPhone 4 have me pretty pissed at Apple.

I’ve dismissed most of the criticisms leveled against the Apple iPad as clueless.  The few I’ve been sympathetic to are things that can and likely will be fixed with a software update.  There is, however, one thing that’s been bothering me, the iPad only has 256MB of RAM, like the iPhone 3 Gs.

Until I got my own iPad, the 256MB RAM limit was just an academic annoyance, but it quickly became clear that it was a chintzy move on Apple’s part. Mobile Safari on the iPad only lets you open 8 different “tabs” at once, but it often struggles to keep even a fraction of that number loaded.  Often if I switch between tabs, it ends up having to reload the pages, which is slow.  It’s even worse if I switch to another app and then back, then it often has to reload all the pages.

I put some of this down to the fact that it was the first release of iOS for the iPad, and assumed it would be improved any day by a software update (which has yet to materialize).  A software update could only go so far though, since the larger screen size on the iPad would likely drive up memory requirements.  And, of course, the eagerly awaited update of iOS 4 for the iPad would bring multitasking for third party apps, which would drive up memory requirements even more.

Well, now I learn that the iPhone 4 is confirmed to have 512MB of RAM, twice whats in the iPad (even though it has a smaller screen resolution).  This comes less than three months after shipping the first iPad, and less than two months after shipping the iPad WiFi-3G model I have.   I know that things move pretty fast in the tech industry, which is why I didn’t get bent out of shape when apple cut the price of the original iPhone by $200 only a few months after launch, but this really pisses me off.

The poor experience “multitasking” with Apple’s own apps on the iPad is the really my only big complaint with the device, and now its pretty clear that it’s likely that annoyance is going to extend to 3rd party apps when iOS 4 makes it to the iPad this fall.

Listen to Streaming Audio On Your iPad and do Something Else at the Same Time

Probably everyone who cares already know that you can’t listen to Pandora in the background while you browse the web, or do anything else on your iPad — that kind of multitasking won’t show up until iPhoneOS version 4 makes it to the iPad sometime in the fall. But did you know, you can listen to some kinds of streaming audio at the same time you browse and use other appsiu? I didn’t, until I decided to try.

For it to work, your streaming source needs to support streaming of MP3 or AAC audio over http like our local NPR station, KUOW. Then you just click the link to start the stream, which starts a player in a browser tab, then you just go ahead and open a new tab and continue with your browsing, or switch to another app. This isn’t an earthshaking feature, but it should come in handy.

The iPad, and Why the Original Mac Didn’t Have Arrow Keys

Bruce Tognazzini, one of the main user interface guys on the Mac recently blogged about parallels between Steve Jobs’s approach to creating the Macintosh, and the iPad.

It’s all interesting, but I wanted to call particular attention to this passage:

Few will remember, but, when the Mac debuted in 1984, there were no arrow keys on the keyboard. That was a big deal. Almost every application then in existence depended on the arrow keys (then called cursor keys) for navigation. With that one stroke, Steve reduced the number of apps that could be easily ported to the Mac from tens of thousands to zero, ensuring that this new computer would have a long and painful childhood.

Steve’s button mania, which grew from his earlier parts-count mania, was already in full flower, and many have ascribed this crippling omission to some sort of self-destructive obsession. It was not. It was one of several strategies specifically designed to ensure that existing software would not run on this new machine because existing software, in Steve’s eyes, sucked (an opinion I share). The absence of those four keys ensured that any developer who wanted to have software appear on the Mac was going to have to start over and write software that conformed to the Mac interface, not the keyboard-oriented precursors to MS-DOS.

via Mac & the iPad.

He goes on to compare this to Jobs’s stance on Adobe Flash on the iPad.  It also goes to one of the key points I made in an earlier post about why people who thought the iPad should run standard Macintosh apps were “crazy”:

There are no apps for the Mac designed for the type of [multitouch] interaction the iPad supports.

I Told You So (or meant to): Netflix on the iPad

Not long ago, it seemed like worthless tech bloggers and journalists were all chattering about how Apple was keeping Adobe Flash off the iPhone and iPad so that they could monopolize digital content distribution and shut out anyone who tried to compete with the iTunes store.  I meant to make another installment in my series on puncturing anti-iPad hype on why there was ample evidence that this line of argument was just plane wrong, but sue me, I’m lazy sometimes.

So, it comes as absolutely no surprise to me to learn that new of a Netflix streaming app for the iPad isn’t yet another annoying April Fools joke.  Yes as TechCrunch has noticed, it’s the real deal, you can check for yourself in the App Store.

For those of you who weren’t following at home, various dumbasses were trying to convince us that that only option for rich media on the iPad was Flash, or nothing.  For this to be true, you have to ignore all those apps in the iTunes store, including apps from companies that would seem to compete with Apple in the digital media distribution business, like Amazon Kindle and Stanza app for eBooks; Pandora, LastFM, and more for music, Joost, TV.com, and others for video.

Well, now we have another example.  Netflix, which competes with Apple’s iTunes movie rental business by offering unlimited streaming for less than $10/month, whereas Apple’s rentals are something like $4/play.

“Real” OS X Apps on the iPad, Are You Crazy ?!?!?

I’m posting this from my iPhone, so I can’t be bothered to name names, but trust me when I tell you, there are a lot of people criticising Apple for basing the iPad off the iPhone OS, rather than making it capable of running Macintosh applications by using a touch-enabled version of the version of OS X that runs on Mac desktops and laptops. I understand the impulse, but these people are either crazy, or they just aren’t thinking things through.

Let’s get one thing out of the way right up front. There is just no damn way to profitably sell a device that matches the price, performance and portability of the iPad that also runs existing Mac apps. This will change in the future, but it’s just not something that can happen this year.

There are many reasons for this, but it really starts with the fact that modern Macs use Intel CPUs and Intel CPUs just aren’t as power efficient for a given level of performance as the ARM CPU in the iPad, iPhone and other mobile devices. So, an iPad that runs existing Mac apps would have to have an Intel CPU, and so would have shorter battery-life, which hurts portability. This could be compensated for with a larger battery, but a larger battery would be heavier, which hurts portability and add expense which would already be higher, because intel CPUs cost more than ARM CPUs.

So on the hardware side, price and weight are two strikes against an iPad that runs Mac apps, but that is only half the problem. The bigger problem is software. Mac apps are built to be run on fairly powerful computers that are capable of multitasking and which people use a mouse and keyboard to interact with. There are a few implications of this.

First, there is a good chance that existing OS X apps, designed to run on powerful hardware, would be both slow and power hungry on an iPad becuase acceptable performance and efficiency on a iMac or MacBook could be completely unacceptable on an iPad. This is on top of the inherent power-efficiency disadvantages of compatible hardware.

An even biggher problem is that the user interface would be ill-suited to the iPad. There are no apps for the Mac designed for the type of interaction the iPad supports. On the otherhand, there are hundreds of thousands of iPhone apps that will run on the iPad. They were designed for touch interaction, so their UIs are more likely to translate to the iPad, which is in many ways an iPhone with a larger screen, than UIs designed for mouse and keyboard interaction. Perhaps less obvious, but at least as important, developers of iPhone apps are likely to be futher down the learning curve for multitouch UIs than developers of “desktop” Mac applications, so they will likely be able to release versions of their apps that take advantage of the possibilies of the larger screen on the iPad than Mac developers.

Further, all of those apps were designed for a device that is even more constrained interms of power consumtion and performance than the iPad. If anything they should run better on the iPad the the iPhone.

I understand why people would like the iPad to run OS X apps. People conflate running Mac OS X applications with “openness” that we don’t get when iPhone and iPad apps all have to go through the iTunes App Store approval process. But let’s face it, an iPad than ran Mac apps would come into this world some combination of slower, more expensive, less portable (in terms of both weight and battery life) and with far fewer good quality multitouch apps.  I don’t think anyone really wants that, so rather than asking for it, lets focus narrowly on the real issue because while it may be unlikely that Apple opens the iPad to apps distributed through channels other than the App Store, at least it possible.  An iPad that ships in 60 days runs Mac apps and doesn’t suck is pretty much impossible.