Lispian Random meanderings on whatever catches my fancy

Lispian
The iPad

First off, hate the name. iSlate would have been better, especially as this is truly a clean slate for many applications and how people will interact with a computer.

Now, I’ve been reading all kinds of rants from folks on the web about the iPad. I think they’re all full of it. The iPad represents a proper computational device for the masses.

Why? Simple.

Most people just want something that works, that does not require endless dicking around with, that does what it claims to do, is light and functional and attractive. They don’t want to program it and they want the applications all to behave in standardized ways. The attitude from some people is that it’s closed and makes you use the iPhone/iPod Touch touch interface. Well, duh. Most people can figure out using something based on touch, but the mouse, keyboard, etc. aggravate people.

What Jobs and crew have done is create a device that replaces paper in a number of instances:

  • notebook
  • calendar
  • contact list
  • books
  • etc.

Thus, you suddenly have a single device that does all those things. And does them elegantly and consistently.

I look upon the reaction of some kids I know. They quickly realized that it would replace their textbooks, a huge savings in weight. And, it can hold their music, their calendars, pictures, etc. Sure, the iPod is nice and small, but when you’re in class taking notes or wanting to read the text book or some journal or a web page, the iPad will do all of that efficiently.

Therefore I see a huge uptake in this device. Especially from students in university, business people, and geeks. Geeks will use it to dump their docs onto, business people will use it to take notes, track their calendar, check mail, etc. without having to lug around a computer, a notebook, etc. A Blackberry might be handy, but you can’t respond in any intelligent way via a Blackberry or iPhone. You need access to a keyboard. And various documents will just be there for you in a readable way. Not so with small handheld devices. With an iPad you can keep up-to-date versions of documents of interest, books, contracts, etc. for quick reference. I see this device helping declutter the corporate world. And it’s about freaking time!!

So, I doubt Apple will be able to build enough of these things. They’ll sell millions upon millions of them. And I think this will kill the netbook completely, except for those few who want a general computational device they can code in Linux or the like. But for the vast majority of people it’ll be just what they want. Something attractive, something that works, and something that is consistent. For the Linux crowd, they’ll foam at the mouth because they will continue to not appreciate that most people don’t give a rat’s ass for Linux on the desktop. They want something that works, does not require any customization, and that has someone they can call when it doesn’t work.

I know I’ll hear laments all summer about the “idiots buying closed hardware”. And to aggravate some of those people I intend to buy myself one, once the first few bugs are out.

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January 2010
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