The iPad, full of a never ending stream of menstrual jokes by people that evidently still giggle at the word period, has been announced and every where I turn I hear how lame and stupid it is. How it doesn’t include this or that or whatever. How all of these people were all let down so dramatically by Apple. Fucking Apple, those dicks. And I guess I don’t get it, because I see an awesome product.
I spend all my day on a MacBook Pro, usually plugged into a 24″ screen with a keyboard and mouse. It is called work and I love it. But when I get home, I put my bag down and go hang out with my wife and kids. Eventually dinner has been eaten and the kids are asleep and we’re hanging out on the couch. I pull out my iPhone and start catching up on twitter, google reader, forums, etc. These are primarily data consumption tasks, things that the iPad will be awesome at.
I am not going to use it for work. I am not going to use it to draft long emails or proposals or even blog posts like this even though Apple demoed it as such. But I am going to use it to consume the hell out of stuff. Sure, my iPhone can do that, but c’mon, I am not going to say it is awesome on a tiny screen. Yes, it works, and yes I do it daily, but it is not optimal. And frankly, using my laptop while lounging is less than ideal because it is just hard to lounge on the couch and hold a laptop. The iPad is perfect: lightweight, no hinge or extra bulky element in the way like the laptop, good battery life, decent size screen, etc. And when the time comes to go out somewhere and I have 5 minutes to kill waiting in line somewhere, I’ll pull out the iPhone and consume more. And when I have work to do, I’ll pull out the laptop.
It is the perfect couch information consumption device.
Stop Thinking About Yesterday
Often times, I work with clients that already have an application that serves their basic needs, but they don’t like it. Perhaps it is a crappy flow for the user, or the admin is rough, or it has forced their work flow to be stupid, whatever. And they hire us to fix it. So we meet with them, figure out what they do and how they do it and work to make the new application awesome.
And as we build this new system, the client is forever comparing it to their old system and almost subconsciously trying to rebuild that because that is what they are comfortable with and know. They aren’t letting go of yesterday. They keep trying to drive the truck down the same road, so we have to steer them towards a new idea. Sometimes they have to see it in front of them to actually realize how awesome it can and should be.
I feel like people keep looking at the iPad and trying to make it fit into their current setup, but they are just thinking of the same old setup. It won’t replace my laptop. It won’t replace my iPhone. It is not something that exists in your gadget arsenal right now, so people can’t make it fit.
Tomorrow Will Be Awesome, Yesterday Sucked
Tablets are not new, but they have never been awesome because the interface blows. Windows and OSX are based on the mouse and keyboard interface. So you add a touch screen into the mix, then you use you finger in an awkward mouse like fashion, which sucks because you are doing it wrong. The iPhone touch screen interface is great, but it would not work with a mouse and keyboard because that would be doing it wrong. Take that great touch interface and make it bigger, and it will still be great. Once you take away the pretend my finger is a mouse bullshit and replace it with a solid interface and suddenly tablets can be awesome.
Think Of The Future
People need to stop framing the iPad as a giant iPod Touch, because it will be so much more very soon. Everyone says the iPad is faster than an iPhone 3GS, so there will be apps that are iPad only that can be more resource intensive, and thus that much more awesome. I predict this device will be everywhere in no time. Kiosks around the world will start using custom apps on iPads. Pick music on a jukebox, order products in a self checkout. Apple Store employees will rock these as they wander the sales floor. Mount this in a vehicle for municipalities and logistics folks to access data. Gone are the bullshit proprietary touch screen hardware and software because Apple just blew those providers out of the water by giving the public a cheap hardware tool that isn’t a custom black box that includes a well documented, hugely popular, and well known set of development tools for it. I would not want to be a custom touch screen hardware/software vendor right now.
Wander A Bit
Relax the definition of computer a bit, because the iPhone is a computer, an android based phone or netbook is a computer, and the iPad is a computer. Sure, they aren’t all exactly the same paradigm as a win/osx/*nix based machine but does it really matter? They all do very similar things, so let your mind wander and stop trying to force it into some box or role that you have predefined in your head and you’ll see how the tablet scene suddenly now exists.