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The iPad is the first Personal Computer-- what you have is a work computer. (spreadsong.com)
48 points by colinplamondon on April 2, 2010 | hide | past | favorite | 65 comments

The iPad isn't a computer. It has a cpu, but so does my toaster, it's a portable cableTV box. The point of a personal computer is that you are in charge, you create content, with an iPad you pay to download and watch other people's content. It's the difference between writing your own blog and reading the national enquirer

It has iWork. You can create documents, slideshows, emails, and plenty more with other apps (including blogging apps).

Not only is your definition of a computer narrow, it's not even accurate with regards to the iPad.

Did you notice when you posted that that you also fried the entire premise of the linked article? Work still beckons, email still beckons.

If it is left up to the user to not permit those things to beckon, well, gosh, I can do that right now on any machine I choose, there's nothing special about the iPad.

There is no such thing as "work machine" or "personal machine". There are only computers. Turing machines. A computer is what you make of it. In fact I'd fight anyone who tries to hide this fundamental mathematical truth, because they're probably trying to lock me in a trunk. Which in fact Apple is. (The metric works!)


The existence of lots of apps (already, before the device is even available) for creating content completely refutes this absurd argument.

On both a PC or an iPad, you can (for free or for pay) download lots of other peoples' content. And on both there are lots of opportunities for creating your own content. They don't completely overlap (each will be better for different scenarios) and that's exactly why both types of device should continue to exist.

To conflate the inability for one to compile one's own kernel with being unable to be creative on the device is silly.

I get the sentiment, but I think you're exaggerating a bit. The device does allows you to install content creation tools and it's nowhere near as locked down as you imply.

But... the icons have rounded corners. And unlimited 3G is only $30 a month. Don't you see that this is revolutionary?

Yes as a way of consuming content it's great (but so is any $100 screen with 3G - there is nothing iApple great)

The point is that there is a fundemental difference. The first home computers let you create your own books/fanzines, then they let you make your own websites, then make your own albums and videos.

This is going back to the 50s, you buy the hardware and pay to watch content made by large studios.

Why do you say I can't create a book or a fanzine on an iPad? What about Pages would keep a user from making a book?

Mobile devices like iPads contribute heavily to websites by uploading text/photo content. Are they the best way to start from a blank new .html file and build your whole website by hand? No, but why do they need to be? We've got computers for that.

There will be a ton of content created on iPads. I don't know why the fact that one of their main usages is likely to be for content consumption (seems like there's a hell of a lot of that going on on "computers", too) makes you think that's all they can do.

Connect up a keyboard and a bigger screen, and sure, you can create a book on an iPad.

There is nothing software-intensive about creating a book. The hard part is typing it in. (If you don't have a keyboard, that is.)

But I don't want a keyboard on the device all the time, else I'd have bought a notebook.

So I can use it the vast majority of the time without having a keyboard attached. And I can make edits or small additions to my novel from anywhere in addition to all the other things that I do, the vast majority of which aren't typing-heavy. Then when I want to sit down and focus on writing for a long time, I put it in the keyboard dock or use a wireless keyboard.

If all you ever want to do with the device is to type your novel, yeah, just get a notebook instead, it'll be better for you. Which is fine: they still exist and nobody that's buying an iPad is buying it only to type their novel on the thing.

Let me know how that goes.

> There is nothing software-intensive about creating a book. The hard part is typing it in. (If you don't have a keyboard, that is.)

What about dictation?

"Even novelists, working in a form so very written, have needed to write by voice. Stendhal dictated “The Charterhouse of Parma” in seven weeks. An impoverished Dostoyevsky had just six weeks to deliver the manuscript of “The Gambler” or face complete ruin. He hired a stenographer, knocked the book out in four weeks, then married the girl."

From "How to Speak a Book", http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/07/books/review/Powers2.t.htm...

(I'm amazed by the accuracy of Dragon Dictation on the iPhone.)

'The iPad's killer app is chilling out!' That's exactly what I think.

I can picture this thing being passed casually around the living room so that family members or friends can look at photos or check out something on a webpage ('look at this!'). You can't really do that with a laptop, and it's not very appealing with a smartphone. I can imagine it becoming a staple of the lounge just like TV&remote or newspaper.

Also I can see many workplaces adopting it to kit out their practices/garages/surgeries/kitchens like Star Trek... iPads bolted to the walls or mounted on stands etc.

Actually I think it's going to change how we work just as much. Think about it. iPad 3G + HTML 5 business web apps? No more software to install, constant connectivity, dynamic touch driven interfaces,etc. If that's not some Jetsons shit, then I don't know what is.

Dunno about this. Most of the spreadsheets I look at on a regular basis don't even fit onto a 30" display. "Real work" does not happen on 10" tablets.

Exactly. Enterprise IT doesn't want "computers" for it's employees. They spend so much time locking down, reconfiguring, managing etc. PC's in the workplace. Build the few in house apps employees need as iPad apps or web pages and freakin be done.

iPad with a keyboard and maybe bigger screen will be the netPC et al, done right.

You don’t sit it down in your lap, the screen doesn’t come up and block reality- it’s something you pick up and hold. And, like a book, you can simply put it down.

A wonderfully concise way of putting the key difference.

It’s the first Personal Computer- good for hanging out in the living room, terrible for ‘real’ work. That’s why it’s fantastic!

However, this misses the mark. It's only a matter of time before we iron out the kinks and such interfaces are used for work.

I still don't see this (the iPad as something for work, I mean).

Does most people's version of "work" consist of setting something down on a table, and then never breathing on it?

This idea of a tablet as a work device has been solved many many many times already and is already extremely successful; it's called a toughbook and it is a wonderful machine. I have guys drop their toughbooks, use them in the rain, use them when their fingers are covered in grease, I've had toughbook get run over, and left in hot cars for a day. There is absolutely no possible way that the iPad could survive in these conditions.

Howabout doctors? Lots of people are claiming that doctors are going to be all over this...why? How is this different then the myriad of tablets that are already available? I've heard people praise the iPhone's interface as some marvel of modern design, but really? I've had mine for about a week and a half now and I cannot TELL you how much I miss buttons that do things. The phone's interface feels like there was a lot of shoehorning to get it to work with only a few buttons. I really miss my blackberry.

My iPhone is great for updating my twitter status and making people laugh by having them sing into the "I am T-Pain" app, but it is absolutely not in any way something that is designed for work.

We'll see, but I think that the iPad is just going to be an iPhone SUPER, and I think that we've already seen why the iPhone doesn't work as a business tool (at least not for the people I've met). I replaced a few people at work's blackberries with iPhones because they begged and begged for them [I talked to their boss and had them set up the iPhone as a sales incentive for them, it worked really well, actually :)] and after about a week they started crying for the return of their blackberry.

My opinion is that the iPad will be the same story.

Does most people's version of "work" consist of setting something down on a table, and then never breathing on it?

Oh, come on! That's the current capability. If you can't see potential capabilities which can be introduced in software, especially if you saw the Brushes part of the keynote, then you lose designer acumen points right there!

Yeah, toughbooks tablets are pretty neat. They're also about 3 pounds and are full blown PC's, which sounds great but most workplaces have to endure much higher costs from maintaining and administering full blown PC's than they'd endure from a more limited device.

I've had to do a phenomenal amount of tinkering to get my tc1100 tablet to a lovable level of slickness. (A 3lb slate form factor PC.) We're talking about weeks of research, trying out software, buying components off of eBay and one afternoon of disassembling the thing.

The iPad is just about as useful to me after just one hour or so of App Store downloading. It's a bit faster to write posts with, even typing one handed. I haven't been able to sync the Bluetooth with my Plantronics 510 headset, though.

Probably very good for traveling salesmen, who can use it to draw up fancy charts for their clients.

Find and replace all instances of "iPad" with "netbook" and the article describes my netbook usage.

The same is true for me and “laptop.”

That doesn't mean either of our use cases are optimal.

Agreed, but a small form factor netbook shares many more similarities with the iPad than a full-fledged laptop. My 9" EeePC is light and comfortable to use on the couch, in bed or even standing in line at the DMV. The keyboard is too small to do a lot of typing, but it's fine for quick emails or chat. The screen is too small and the processor too slow for Photoshop. Granted the iPad surely has a nicer screen. And if a netbook keyboard isn't being used, it's "dead weight" so to speak. But I've also used my netbook for work in a pinch (ftp, notepad++, vnc). So I suppose my EeePC falls _between_ an iPad and a laptop, which is good enough for me.

My mom wants one and that's how I know it's going to do well.

Sidenote: Anyone order 2 and are willing to let the other go? Or are going to pick up in store and could grab another? I'd really like to get it 3 weeks before the international launch :P

My friend tried to order 6 and Apple canceled all 3 of his orders :( If anyone can help me out @yurechko on twitter or m[]mikeyur[]com

I'm not particularly interested in the Ipad myself but my mother was over yesterday asking to send some emails and reminded me I had still not setup my old desktop pc for her.

I said she should just get an Ipad and showed her the video on Apple's site.

She went bonkers for it.

Absolutely loved it.. started saying "I want a MomPad!!" along with lots of "ooohs" and "ahhhs" and a few "oh my gods!"

My experience has been rather the other way around: I've only heard two people so much as mention the iPad irl; one was an engineering student and the other is a techy as a hobby. The former wants one because its made by Apple, and the latter can't see the point. I don't think my mom's ever heard of it.

I was absolutely convinced that my mom would never so much as send an email in her life. Last time I saw her, she brought up the iPad.

Could it just be the result of efficient advertising, though?

Arguably iPods are very useless things, too (except for the iPod Touch maybe), yet they sold like hot cakes. Again I suspect it's because of advertising. Marketing is something Apple is REALLY good at.

Also iPods were good for displaying status (maybe the only real use) - the same isn't true for an iPad you keep at home on your couch.

They sold well because of ADVERTISING? Please tell me you are kidding. They filled a niche and were stylish. That's kind of the point of a good product. Sure, Apple has good advertising, but contrary to what some geeks think advertising isn't brainwashing.

Um, did I hit a nerve?

I think you did. Around here, I think that many people see the iPod as the kind of success that they would love to emulate. The iPod did something simple, play music, but it wasn't useless. In dash vinyl record players did that as well, but the iPod did it really well. Apple created an elegant device that solved a simple, but very common task. They combined this with great design and brilliant advertising. For this they were rewarded with truckloads of money from satisfied customers. This is something to be studied and emulated, not derided by calling it useless.

Wait, what? Useless? They play music. Or at least that is what I used mine for. YMMV.

There were plenty of options for playing music otherwise. I think playing music while on the road is useless.

Except maybe for some commuters on the train. But I don't think most buyers were commuters.

I remember when people used to carry around large binders of CD's. That all seemed to stop after the iPod became popular.

I don't have an iPod, and I don't use CDs anymore. I suppose it could have been MP3, BitTorrent and cheap external HDs that killed CD binders, not iPods per se.

I think playing music while on the road is useless.

You are unlike much of the human race. Music is part of every culture and part of the way your brain works. http://www.amazon.com/This-Your-Brain-Music-Obsession/dp/045...

I like music, just not when I am traveling outside. But granted, I don't commute much. I tend to bicycle, where iPods would be hazardous. Also, I don't want to blank out my environment.

I listen to a lot of music at home.

As I said, I can understand if somebody has to commute a lot.

I think you are absolutely right. The success of the ipod is all about very clever advertising. At the time that it came out, there were dozens of other mp3 players that were cheaper and just as good (there still are dozens of mp3 players that are cheaper and just as good).

But somehow apple turned the ipod into something that wasn't an mp3 player and was an ipod.

And Apple is really good at marketing and also making their products pretty (so that they can be marketed).

Sansa or Creative, for example, don't seem to spend anywhere near the marketing money on their products as apple does, and it seems to show. (iPod is a household name, no one knows what I'm talking about when I talk about my SanDisk). (I'm sure iTunes had something to do with it too...)

I think that too often we want to attribute the success of a product to rational causes such as technological superiority or 'innovation'...

But really, I think there is a lot more that needs to be said about clever manipulation of your consumer's thoughts/desires.

I also don't get why you are getting downvoted. Disagreement by downvote is not cool. Disagree by disagreeing, downvote when someone is being an idiot.

Interesting how you imply product's prettiness to be somehow secondary to its functionality. Apple creates pretty products and that's why they are bought - not because they are marketed as pretty. If you've seen any scifi movies you know that the future is slick sweet, just like the iPad. Everyone wants to live in the future.

Yes, let's co-opt words so we can confuse consumers.

The key phrase in this article is "when you pick it up".

Just think of how important it really is to be able to set your laptop down in front of you somewhere. Anywhere. What about holding a cup of coffee while browsing? Or writing?

Just because people "want" one doesn't mean they are going to get "used".

A lot will be purchased, sure, a lot of apps will be sold, but will it change personal computing forever? Nope. People will realize the laptop keyboard and form factor is a pretty sweet thing.

Imagine trying to type your comments on HN using that keyboard on the iPad? Hmm.

I don't think the keyboard issue is really there- if you read the reviews thus far, most brand it as either good or acceptable.

Apple is lightyears beyond anyone else in virtual keyboards, which will be shown off big time with iPad.

Its interesting, i have been using swype beta on my droid for the last month or so, and it completely changed the way i type on the phone, i just had to type again on the iphone, and it struck me as almost anachronistic.

A Swype like feature on the ipad can have great potential.

To the all the people whining here and else where on the inter-webs:

Is the iPad special?

Heck yes it is. Show me a tablet computer other than the iPad that is as polished, has as much of a vibrant app store and does most of the things you'd expect from a freaking 10 inch small slate, I'll join you side.

Is the iPad revolutionary and magical?

Of course its all a joke -- never heard about marketing before?


""" The iPad isn't a computer. It has a cpu, but so does my toaster, it's a portable cableTV box. The point of a personal computer is that you are in charge, you create content, with an iPad you pay to download and watch other people's content. It's the difference between writing your own blog and reading the national enquirer """

The iPad is a 10 inch slate. Even if it had full blown OSX on it, I doubt it could be used for full blown "content creation." For light editing / writing work, there are apps on the app store to help you do that.

If the iPad were to be a bigger slate, thats something different. But, for a 10 inch tablet..c'mon.

Oh, jesus christ. Listen. Just because you can't do any actual work on an iPad doesn't mean I only have a "work computer." It's very rare I use my laptop for work. I use it for my personal tasks and entertainment and thus it is a personal computer. Now can we please stop with ridiculous comparisons like this?

That's not what the article is saying. The article is saying that the iPad is optimized for personal tasks. A personal computer is (implicitly) optimized for work-related tasks. While you certainly can use your laptop/desktop/netbook to perform the same functions as an iPad, it may not be as natural or as comfortable to do so.

I'm not sure I believe the author's analysis either. But the least we can do is represent it faithfully and not argue to straw men.

You're being way too kind to the author. He never tries to demonstrate any of the ways in which a personal computer is "optimized for work-related tasks." He just takes it as a given: "you can’t kick back and relax with a laptop." It's just bullshit, not an analysis.

I didn't say I agree with him. I just said I don't agree with making up a straw man argument and then burning it down.

"you can't do any actual work on an iPad"

That's a ridiculous claim. (Not that the article was of a much higher level of quality.)

True, after all, there is an iWork suite of apps for the iPad.

Yep. And OmniGraffle (think Visio) and Brushes for painting and Evernote and on and on. Somehow this meme got started that this device is only capable of consumption and it just doesn't make a bit of sense.

It seems like the downsides of the "work computer" as he's characterizing it are the fact that it encourages multitasking behavior. On the other hand, with the iPad/iPhone/iTouch platform multitasking is severely restricted, applications appear full-screen and there's a small (time) penalty in switching from one application to another (it's not as easy as alt/cmd-tab).

It is ironically a good limitation for some situations. But, you can achieve the same thing by just doing one thing at a time. (And I think that's a lot better for a lot of work activities too.)

I wonder how many people will bother to carry their iPad AND their notebook/netbook on the train or air plane. Maybe iPads will kill off netbooks, but at the moment I still doubt it somehow.

To be honest I'm amazed that anyone can be bothered carrying laptops or even netbooks about. To me they're good because you can move them easily from desk to desk, but the prospect of using a laptop 'out and about' and carrying it all day is singularly unappealing.

The iPad is actually heavier than my subnotebook from 4 years ago, and I suppose also heavier than most present day netbooks. It's also heavier than a MB Air.

I sometimes carry my notebook along when traveling. Not so much for just going to work at a cafe, but that might be because there are no really nice cafes around where I live.

Are you sure about those weights? I thought the iPad weighed 1.5 pounds, which is surely lighter than a MB Air and judging by a quick Google search lighter than the lightest netbooks ("just under 2 pounds").

I think "personal" was attached to let people know that it was a computer, but not the size of your living room. And not something you'd have to rent out by the hour.

But still, good points. I don't know if I'm ready to shell out 500 bucks to chill and read stuff, but I know there are tons of people who will be.

Ok, after so many ppl explained why iPad is cool/suck, am i the only one who truly dont care at the moment and prefer to wait a bit to test how ppl will adopt it?

Sorry, but we probably can't.

Those of us waiting on Saturday orders are a little jumpy right now.

Nonsense, I have various everything-machines that can "transform" into either work computers or personal computers, depending on what I want them to do ;)

Still, I want one.

I really want to work on it, too, though.

Three words: Google Apps HTML5

> what you have is a work computer

The 20+hours/wk playing games would beg to differ.

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