Me: (tries to visit a local restaurant’s website via iPhone)
Restaurant website: I require Flash. Fuck off.
Me: I just want to know how late you’re open.
Me: But I’m on my phone. Don’t you have a little “HTML Version” link up in the corner or something?
Website: I’m ignoring you.
Me: What if I’m on my phone because I’m out, looking for a place to eat? Didn’t that ever occur to you?
Website: Fuck entirely off.
Me: (gives up, switches to computer)
Website: Oh! Hi! What can I help you with today?
Me: What are your —
Website: Hang on, I’m loading the music.
Website: You’ll love it. It’s “Girl from Ipanema” arranged for steel drum and keytar.
Me: No, you don’t have to —
Me: All I want is —
Website: I SAID DOT DOT DOT.
Me: (drums fingers on desk)
Website: There we go. Isn’t that nice? It’s… what’s the word. Ethnicky.
Me: What are your hours?
Website: Take a look at our menu! It’s a PDF of a screenshot of a scan of a Word document printed on a dishtowel. With fonts!
Me: I don’t care. What are your hours?
Website: Don’t worry, the menu loads in a new window so the music won’t stop. Can I show you some broken images?
Me: What. Are. Your. Hou. Rs.
Website: I… I don’t know.
Me: (goes to Denny’s)
I have to hand it to Don Reisinger of eWeekeurope. He’s done what I didn’t think could be done — crammed every single wrongheaded idea yet floated about the iPad into one incredible (and I use that term very specifically here) article. Bravo, sir. Such a consummate, categorical collection of ca-ca is not easily assembled, but I think you’ve managed it here.
Reisinger titles his obtuse opus What Apple Failed to Mention About the iPad. Though Apple may not have mentioned these things (because they’re mostly untrue or irrelevant), it sure seems every knee-jerk nay-sayer out there has managed to mention them in recent weeks. A few of them even waited until after the iPad was announced to start whining about this stuff, which shows that there are still a few pad-pessimistic pundits who don’t understand that the best way to get mileage out of an anti-Apple screed is to hit it early so that there is no danger that anything resembling a fact may get in the way. Don waited this long to be sure he didn’t miss any of the good doofusness.
I’ll save you the link. Here’s the list. Try to act surprised.
“Hobbled web surfing” - Don’t faint, but the iPad doesn’t support Flash. Honest. Pass it on. Reisinger says “It’s a major problem.” Yes, it is. For Adobe. It hasn’t been a problem for Apple on the iPhone or iPod Touch, and anyone who has any sense of which way the wind is blowing knows it isn’t going to be a problem for Apple on the iPad, either. Reisinger, however, appears not to have a weather vane. Check out RoughlyDrafted’s “Myths of Apple’s iPad: #2” for more details why iPad needs Flash like a fish needs a bicycle.
“No multitasking” - Reisinger says “due to iPad software limitations”, users won’t be able to multitask. Well, no. Users can multitask, or at least I seem to be able to do so using my iPod Touch. Cut and paste works across a change from one app to another just fine. What I think Reisinger means is that you can’t run iPad apps in the background and switch back and forth on a windowed or tabbed screen. This appears to be the case, but that seems to be a deliberate design choice. We’ll see if this is as big a problem for iWork on the iPad as Reisinger thinks it will be. I suspect not.
“Where’s the video output?” - Hyperventilate not. It is right there in the Apple iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter, Don. So when you say it is “impossible for users to transfer video content to an HDTV or monitor”, that’s just wrongity-wrong-wrong, isn’t it?
“Try printing” - Don says the iPad “won’t allow for printing to a connected device”. If he means that you can’t hang your cheap inkjet off the side of your iPad with a USB cable, you are probably right — but who wants to? If he means that you can’t get words to paper easily, it would seem kind of silly for Apple to create Pages for the iPad if this was true. Apple hasn’t been too specific, but I suspect one will have little trouble getting print output to a Bonjour-aware wireless device or something on the same local network with the iPad. Slashgear talks a little about these plans here.
“No DVD/Blu-ray drive” - <sigh> OK, you really are determined to get a Schwinn under that poor little salmon whether he wants one or not. This is not a portable DVD player, Don. If you want one of those, I found one that’s right up your alley, but the iPad is a sophisticated platform for downloadable digital media. And as for what you said about “wouldn’t it make sense to make it easy for users to… rip movies and television shows on the device”, I’m shocked — shocked! — you would even dream of such a thing. Don’t you know that’s against the LAW, sir?
“The $499 version is not a deal” - <stunned silence> OK, let me get this straight. The device most of the interwebpunditverse thought couldn’t be sold for under $999 before the announcement isn’t an absolute steal at $499? Yes, “the $499 version lacks 3G and it has the smallest available hard drive”. That means you can buy a device that does everything my iPod Touch does (and a whole lot more), holds some 20 hours of video or 3500 songs, and has big honking 9.7 inch screen for less than five Benjamins. Most people wept for joy when they heard that price, including the nay-sayingist of nay-sayers. If you want more, you can have it. The maxed-out model with 64GB flash drive, 3G cellular on top of the wi-fi, assisted GPS, etc. still comes in at only $829, well under the $999 “minimum” predicted. Monty Hall never offered a better deal.
“Reading won’t be fun” — Personally, I think reading using the iPad will be a blast! I love using my iPod Touch for this purpose, but the small screen size limits it a bit. I have no problems reading for extended periods on the iPod Touch, though, and I can do so in a lot of places where a contrast-challenged e-ink display device like the Kindle would be useless to me (for example, in my darkened bedroom while my wife is trying to sleep nearby). Further, i will be able to do a lot of types of reading on an iPad that are not possible at all on an e-ink Kindle-like device. Forget about good magazine format reading on a Kindle, for example. Imagine Wired, Men’s Health or Sports Illustrated reduced to gray-on-gray text and limited line drawings. That’s like comparing a meal from Emeril’s with a package of frozen mashed potatoes. (Do not even think about the Kindle version of National Geographic. It will make you weep…) And at long last the digital comic book becomes a reality with the iPad! Joy! Rapture! The iPad further brings to the table(t) things that can’t be done in the slickest of slick periodicals or the most expensive of textbooks — interactivity, animation and video. “Reading won’t be fun?” Brother, reading will be more fun than ever before!
“Forget about USB” — Thanks, I will. Again, who wants a bunch of USB cables hanging off of the ultimate wireless device? (Hint: Not CouchGuy…) Don says “connecting to peripherals won’t be easy”. I seem to do just fine with everything from mass storage to my color laser printer without jacking them directly into my iMac via Bonjour, wi-fi and Bluetooth. I doubt the iPad will find itself crippled in this regard. The iPad is a device designed for the wireless twentyteens and beyond, while Don seems to still be a “plugger” who is stuck in the late ’90s with his USB cables. Just gotta have a cable, Don? That 30-pin dock connector on the iPad adapts for a lot of uses.
“The apps won’t all work well” — Huh? According to Apple, most (not “all” as you claim they said, but the vast majority) of the iPod Touch/iPhone apps that run on the current models of those devices will run on the iPad. Those apps that call on embedded devices that don’t exist on the iPad (like a camera or a phone) won’t work, of course. Calling the iPad “magical” is a metaphor, Don — Steve Jobs really isn’t a sorceror. Don whines that these existing apps, created before the iPad even was announced, “won’t fit the device’s display”. Well, they were never intended to do so. Rewrites and updates that designed using the iPad SDK will fit the screen — and most existing apps can be resized with a single click to something more iPad-sized by pixel doubling in the meantime. How else would you have expected the iPad to work with iPhone-sized apps? And the new apps created for the iPad? Have you seen those, Don?
“There are potentially better products out there” — Duh. The mind can always conceive of a better product. The trick is bringing that product from concept to design to prototype to shipping reality. Apple is, as usual, way ahead of the curve and everyone else is scrambling to catch up. Much touted just-released or “coming-real-soon” tablets like the Joo-Joo and that early HP prototype that Steve Ballmer disappointed everyone with at CES faded from the collective consciousness the second the iPad was announced. So far, no one is showing as much as a solid prototype of a device that can touch the iPad for versatility and value. Lots of people promised “iPhone killers” in the wake of the introduction of that device, too. The only thing that ended up besting the iPhone, however, was the next iPhone. I know that there will eventually be a tablet device that will outstrip the iPad 1.0 in features and value — and when the first such hardware appears it is likely to come from Apple and be called an iPad. Don says “when it comes to tablets, the iPad isn’t necessarily the best offering”. I challenge him to point to a real device with at least a solid ship date and locked-down specifications that is a better value. Don’t try to sell me a pipe dream.
Did Don miss any of the common dumb assertions about the iPad? Yeah, he forgot to bitch about the lack of a camera, but we’ll let him slide on that one. He’s only human, and we can’t really expect him to survive a swim in an even bigger pot of crap soup than this one.