Category Archives: iPad

ARM’s experience shows why Steve Jobs is right on Flash

Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...
Image via CrunchBase

Think that Steve Jobs is talking out of his behind when he says  that Apple needs full control over its platform? Perhaps ARM’s experience with Smartbooks will help you understand:

‘ARM dominates the mobile phone chip design market and has since 2008 been trying to get into the subnotebook market as well. The plan was to do so through Linux-based, ARM-powered ‘smartbooks’ that would provide an instant-on, longer-life alternative to x86-based netbooks but, according to ARM’s marketing vice president, Ian Drew, events have conspired to stall this plan.

“We thought [smartbooks] would be launched by now, but they’re not,” Drew told ZDNet UK on Tuesday. “I think one reason is to do with software maturity. We’ve seen things like Adobe slip — we’d originally scheduled for something like 2009.”‘

If you hand your developer platform over to a third party, you’re handing the whole platform over to them. You’re effectively tying your fate to theirs, and allowing them control over your future. For some, that might be acceptable. But for Apple, it’s not.

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“We can’t even make an iPad challenger”

Tony Bradley, PC World:

“Perhaps, though, that is ultimately why HP has terminated the Slate. Maybe HP realized what the HP-faithful and Windows loyalists still deny—the iPad represents a fundamental shift in mobile computing that defies direct comparison with PC’s or virtually any other platform for that matter.”

Of course, there’s also the small matter of having just bought an operating system which looks a far better bet as a competitor to iPhone OS, but leaving that to one side, Tony’s point has the ring of truth about it. Simply putting s touch veneer on top of a desktop operating system is no longer enough.

And that’s why there will never be Flash on the iPhone

The Wall Street Journal story on Steve Jobs’ statement on Flash includes some telling quotes:

Dave Wolf, vice president of strategy at Cynergy Systems Inc., a Washington, D.C., design firm, calls Apple’s no-Flash policy “a pain.” Mr. Wolf had planned to build mobile apps for clients using the new Adobe software; the apps cost upwards of $40,000 a piece, meaning that without such a tool most customers can only afford to build apps for one device. They almost always choose the iPhone, said Mr. Wolf.

“If it weren’t for the play against Creative Suite we wouldn’t have to make a choice, we could say you could make it in Flash.”

And that’s the point. You wouldn’t be making iPhone apps: you’d be making Flash apps. There’s a difference.

iPad: Are 3G supply chain issues at fault for international release delay?

Andrew J Nusca wonders out loud over Apple’s claim that a successful launch for iPad in the US is behind the delay to international shipments. Noting that anecdotally, there isn’t a shortage in US stores, he adds:

“The first issue is that it’s unclear that there truly is overwhelming demand for the iPad — enough that it exceeded Apple’s internal estimates and, by extension, tapped out its supply chain.I strongly doubt Apple gave itself too aggressive targets. What this appears to me is that it is having supply chain issues and can’t meet existing demand — which may very well be below internal targets for the device.”

First, it’s worth noting that Apple’s definition of “delivered” means “delivered into the channel”, not “bought by customers”. So it’s entirely possible that it has iPads sitting on shelves in the US – those are “delivered” product.

But secondly, I think Andrew is correct about this being supply-chain problems – and my gut feeling is that it’s connected to the availability of the 3G model, which still hasn’t been released in the US.

Apple has always planned to release the 3G and WiFi-only models at the same time outside the US – late April. This, not by coincidence, was also the date for the release of the 3G model in the US.

What, though, if supplies of the 3G model were more constrained than Apple had predicted? In order to hit that late-April date in the US, Apple would either have to split the launches of iPad outside the US, shipping WiFi first then 3G, or delay the entire international launch.

The second option makes more sense than the first. Splitting the releases outside the US reduces the opportunity to maximise the effectiveness of the marketing expenditure on a per-country basis.

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Sometimes, closed is better than open

Daily Kos: State of the Nation:

“I was a PC gamer, but the current generation of dedicated gaming consoles took care of that. My Xbox, despite being made by Microsoft, is stable, fast, and runs my games perfectly. How could a company that gave us Windows build such a great gaming platform?

Because it was a closed system.”

There will be open phones. There will be open tablets. There will continue to be open PC operating systems. And there will be systems which fit somewhere along the scale between “closed” and “open” (which is where I’d fit both iPhone, iPad and Android.)

But the winners with consumers will be more closed than open.

The best summary of the Apple/Adobe war

Want a a simple, single-paragraph on what the Apple/Adobe iPhone spat is all about? Jean Louis Gassee supplies it:

“Who, in his right mind, expects Steve Jobs to let Adobe and other cross-platform application development tools control his I mean the iPhone OS future? Cross-platform tools dangle the old “write once, run everywhere” promise. But, by being cross-platform, they don’t use, they erase “uncommon” features. To Apple, this is anathema as it wants apps developers to use, to promote its differentiation. It’s that simple. Losing differentiation is death by low margins. It’s that simple. It’s business. Apple is right to keep control of its platform’s future.”

I think it really is that simple.

Create things people want to own

Sometimes, I start writing a blog post only to find that someone else has said what I was about to say, only with more brevity and style.

In this case, it’s Joe Clark, talking about the open source community’s “sky is falling in” act about the iPad:

“This was the weekend those of us with high standards lost their remaining residue of patience for ideologues who hyperbolize about open systems without actually creating something people want to use.”

Sometime, I will actually get around the writing my post, though. I promise.

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Cory is wrong, Nick is right

Nick Sweeney is (1) one of the cleverest and most astute people I know and (2) doesn’t post anywhere near often enough. Fact Number Two is probably connected to Fact Number One.

In the comments to his post on the iPad, which you should go read right now, he more ably puts the argument against Cory’s anti-iPad screed than I possibly could:

“I am so over the idealistic belief that every computer user is a latent hacker-maker-coder who just lacks the right tools. I am so over the idea that access to the cornucopia of creative and insightful and useful stuff that’s available online requires either a boatload of foundational computing skills or extensive hand-holding. While I have no objections to those battles being fought out in the computing space I inhabit, I am personally done with this guild-mentality shit.”

And then, as if that wasn’t enough, he adds this:

“What particularly annoyed me [about Cory's post] was his image of a purported user as a passive, bloated ‘consumer’, as if the only makers that matter are the ones assembling crochet-covered Arduino-powered companion cubes to sell on Etsy. Well, bollocks to that.”

I argued with Cory about this on Twitter earlier, bailing out mainly in deference to the fact that I know Alice would tell the pair of us off for converting her Twitter stream into a slanging match.

But before I let Cory have the last word, it became pretty apparent to me that Cory’s point conflates creativity with coding, and prizes hacking over any other kind of creativity. So what if the iPad enables more people to do more creative things – to write, to paint, to communicate, to play with pictures, to learn. None of that matters, because you can’t write code for it (unless you pay Apple $99 and accept the hegemony of the App Store).

This just seems wrong to me. It places the primacy on geek-creativity, at the expense of every other kind. That is a remarkably narrow world view.

My position is the same as Nick’s, which he ably-explains:

“If the iPad truly abstracts away the whole ‘using a computer’ bit of using a computer, it will make me very happy. If another device comes along that does the same thing without DRM or developer lock-in, then like Andre I’ll embrace it. (Before anyone chips in: no, the Archos is not that device.) If that kind of lock-in comes to OS X proper, I’ll resent it, resist it and reject it. But it’s been nearly 30 years since I received my first home computer, and it’s about time everyone else got to play without it requiring informal training, monthly VNC sessions, and every family gathering turning into onsite tech support.”

Until the open-platform people step up to the plate and make an open machine that matches this, I, too, will be using an iPad.

The ball is in their court.

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The missing piece of the iPad puzzle

Ian Fogg on why “Cloud” is the Missing Ingredient for a “Third Device” iPad Strategy:

“For iPad to really fly, preferences, usernames, passwords, and content should transfer automatically across the different devices that Apple intends consumers to use together: PC, phone, and iPad. Apple should use a consumer cloud to do it. Consumers should not have to think, all of this should just work. Tethered sync is a twentieth century product feature.”

Ian is right, and I’d go further and say that syncing files of all types should be part of the iPad experience.

With an iPad with 64GB of storage, there’s no reason why every file on my iDisk can’t be stored on it and synced wirelessly. I could then access documents with iWork and other applications, and the iPad would be a real netbook replacement. If I have to be tethered to my Mac to get files in sync, that will be a very much second-rate experience.

(Image from AJStarks)

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