He gives credit to Digitimes of all orgs for the original (March!) prediction of a thin-bezel ipad - and goes out on a bunch of limbs predicting what the new iPad Mini might look like. In particular, his weight prediction, of 265 grams, is somewhat hard to believe - but would be very much appreciated by those of us who spend 2-3 hours a day reading books on our (somewhat overly large for that function) iPad.
I guess we'll know in another 30 days.
Graphics-heavy stuff beyond the scope of the Kindle is usually larger format anyway, and even the 10" iPad feels a bit small for that.
I find the iDevice very easi to read on. Perhaps e-ink is even better.
- When, Why, and How Controversy Causes Conversation by Zoey Chen and Jonah Berger
- What Makes online Content Viral? by Jonah Berger and Katherine L. Milkman
Results from the first study reveals that controversy significantly affects likelihood of discussion. The second study comes to a similar conclusion but fleshes it out a little more eloquently:
"Importantly, however, our findings also reveal that virality is driven by more than just valence. Sadness, anger, and anxiety are all negative emotions, but while sadder content is less viral, content that evokes more anxiety or anger is actually more viral. These findings are consistent with our hypothesis about how arousal shapes social transmission. Positive and negative emotions characterized by activation or arousal (i.e., awe, anxiety, and anger) are positively linked to virality, while emotions characterized by deactivation (i.e., sadness) are negatively linked to virality. More broadly, our results suggest that while external drivers of attention (e.g., being prominently featured) shape what becomes viral, content characteristics are of similar importance (see Figure 2). For example, a one-standard deviation increase in the amount of anger an article evokes increases the odds that it will make the most e-mailed list by 34% (Table 4, Model 4). This increase is equivalent to spending an additional 2.9 hours as the lead story on the New York Times website"
Apple is well known for controversy and Gruber is known for his snark (though I found this article to be insightful speculation) - the two seem to really complement each other and a lot of their success comes down to their behaviour. So for anyone who feels inclined to write another "Why is Gruber on HN?" post, that's why.
But your analysis is more about why any article of his can qualify. Wouldn't it be better to judge this individual piece on its merits instead of pleading the general case?
If you label each of his articles as "Controversial; Pro-Apple" you run a risk of forgetting to read them. Today's piece should count against that label, not reaffirm it.
On the content: Right on. I will definitely be surprised if the words "thinner" and "lighter" do not feature prominently in Apple's keynote, both vs. the Retina iPad and the Google/Amazon competition.
My thoughts exactly. His recent talk with Siracusa must have helped.
From the show, 1h24m23s:
“You haven't done one of those in a while where you do like screen shots and stuff, you used to do that more…”
He also changed his favicon soon after Siracusa remarked that it wasn't retina ready, so he probably listens him.
Slightly off topic: The Atlantic had an article yesterday about DF's 10th anniversary (http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/12/08/happy-10...), and it had this bit of astute criticism:
The past year, DF hasn't been as enjoyable as its been in the past. Apple, Gruber's Beatrice, is engorged as a company, and seems now to be veering from interestingly complex to dully complicated. [...] But, in light of that victory, his renegade confidence has become an assured superiority. He hasn't written, for a long time, an engaging description of a laptop or an account of an anthropomorphized interface element.
To which Jason Kottke agreed: http://kottke.org/12/08/an-appreciation-of-10-years-of-darin...
So perhaps Gruber is consciously responding to these critiques and upping his game - which is nice, because this post was a great read.
He and Siegler come off as partisan hacks and nothing else. Hence mostly only Apple fans seem to think he writes great. I do not know why they have to hate other competing platforms so immensely to love Apple.
I appreciate Gruber because he's unapologetic about something like that. We can dance around it forever, but judging by sales and in-the-wild presence of WP7, that briefly if crudely summarizes the Lumia & WP7 ecosystem to date. Doing this stupid old world stuff like distributing nail polish that matches your phone isn't distracting anyone from the increasingly untenable situation Nokia is sliding into right now. Moreover, moves like that make it seem like they're treating their situation flippantly.
It's not about "hate", it's about not candy coating things to appease certain groups. We heard for the last two years about how beautiful and fast and revolutionary WP7 is and how nice the Lumia hardware looks. Now it's time to put up or shut up and they just haven't. That's a fact, and I don't see why someone should have to ignore that and paint a happy face on the situation to not be considered a "hack". Moreover, I don't think you can extrapolate from that that Gruber hates Nokia, the Lumia or WP7. It's just a snarky observation.
If your issue is with the joke itself, I'll give you that. It wasn't all that funny or anything. I also agree he's a much better writer when in long form, and his snark does get over the top. I see where he's coming from here though.
You think any article by someone calling Ping a brown piece of shit would ever be featured on HN? Hell, even Paul Thurott's Winsupersite is hellbanned on HN.
Gruber has made it clear he likes what Microsoft is trying to do with the WP7, and he has positively reviewed some of the Lumia devices. Agreed, he's partisan, but he's a witty partisan, which is why I still read him, while many of the other apple bloggers, like Dalrymple, who has good sources, just seems to frequently come off as just being mean without the cleverness.
But Apple fans bend their picture of their company, as much as fans of other companies do it. Therefore neither understands, or is willing to understand, the other.
Short and snarky is not as much of a strength for him as he thinks it is.
I wonder if some of his gentler tone has to do with Apple's success. It's easier to be gracious when you feel you are on a winning/popular side, and there are certainly fewer reasons for Apple users/fans to feel persecuted by misinformed pundits nowadays.
What's funny is how Apple whose very core has always been counter cultural has now become mainstream, and Android has become the new counter cultural reaction (even though Android is just as much the product of large corporations and not exactly the product of a new youthful startup). Samsung's marketing team has certainly been effective at reminding us that the hipster crowd is aging - and becoming less cool. Apple itself needs to decide whether it wants to become a mature company or somehow hold onto that more youthful "stay hungry, stay foolish" mantra.
I would observe that it has been exactly the opposite -- it was at the height of Apple's success, during the period when they essentially owned the market, that Gruber got that obnoxious swagger and ill suited confidence. With Apple becoming a player instead of the player, Gruber seems to be maintaining relevance by removing the attitude, to very good effect.
>The angle to these stories is not merely “Apple is set to release a smaller iPad”, but “Apple is set to release a smaller iPad and it could squelch the Nexus 7 and any other smaller tablets before they ever really get a chance to take off”.
Gruber will apparently even try to spin a "me too" response by Apple as genius.
Given how short a timeframe (4 months) Google gave the development of the Nexus 7, and Apple's supposed "don't release until it's 'perfect'" attitude, I wouldn't be surprised if it was indeed the case that the iPad Mini entered development first. If so, does it really count as "me too"? Or just later to market?
(speculation) What if the Nexus 7 was a response to the rumoured possibility of a 7-inch iPad? A way to try and capture that segment of the market before Apple rolled into town?
The Nexus 7 is a rebranded Asus device that was talked about last year. Then consider the Galaxy Tab, and the basic fundamental that Android has never dictated the sizes of devices.
Only Apple so tightly coupled their API with very precise, specific form factors and sizes. It is impossible to view Apple's move (especially after widely criticizing a 7" tablet -- recall the sandpapered fingers nonsense) as anything but a me too maneuver.
The "sandpapered fingers" bit was just Jobs saying "small tablets are junk. We're working on the problems so our product won't be junk."
As for the sandpapered finger thing, I imagine that you're right, but at the time, I wouldn't necessarily think the sandpapered fingers comment was just blowing smoke.
I'd guess that Jobs was simply conveying his findings at the time. Obviously, this is purely speculation, but the in years leading up to the iPhone and iPad touchscreens and software weren't that great and users weren't familiar with them either. I'd wager that the testing that went into touch-target optimization led to results that made Apple/Jobs uncomfortable with releasing a 7-inch.
The Air predates the brief netbook craze. The netbook was supposed to be the cheap computer you can take everywhere. People were surfing the net from their couch, using it on long commutes, and bringing them everywhere. The iPad pretty much killed the nascent netbook market.
The Mac Air took a couple iterations to get popular, but it's now cannibalizing the college kid/small business person's laptop. The Air might be as light as a netbook, but it's not a cheap compromise, like the netbooks were.
Apple had itself pretty tied up with two form factors, with no near term hopes of coming out with a form factor between the two. Jobs was simply trying to undermine Samsung's efforts (though Android succeeded in doing that for him). Seriously, if 7" doesn't make sense for a touchscreen interface, how could a 3.5" screen possibly make sense? Only in Apple world is a 7" tablet simply a 10" shrunken.
I don't believe there have been any assessments of the next generation iPad anywhere on the internet that have been this justified with rationale provided, or have carefully sourced all the other writers that contributed to his thinking.
Gruber obviously comes from a very specific position when it comes to certain things, but whatever you think about him he's someone who watches Apple very closely and has done for some time.
With someone like Apple where 100% of the information isn't out there, if I'm going to read speculation then I'd rather read Gruber's speculation than most because he's far better equipped to try and fill in the gaps.
Think about it: the Touch didn't get a spec bump while the iPhone, iPad and even the AppleTV did, and it sells for the same price of a Kindle Fire, Nexus 7 or Nook Tablet, all popular small tablets in the category where this iPad mini would compete.
PMPs are dead mostly because the same kind of people who bought PMPs are now buying tablets and Apple can't make this new iPad too expensive or it will be too close to the iPad2 and consumers will buy that one instead, nor can it make the Touch cheaper or it will cannibalize the Nano.
Combine that with falling costs for flash storage, and I could see them going down to $150-$250 for the Touch ($150 for 16GB up to $250 for 64GB), $100/$125 on the Nano, and keeping the Shuffle at $49.
And, if you consider a revamped TV is on the way in a couple years — man, we're talking about iOS in the living room, in your lap, and in your pocket. It's astonishing to think that the iPhone is only 5 years old at this point.
(I really want to respond to the idea of yearning for another IBM/Microsoft-scale monopoly too, but I'll limit myself to simple snark for now.)
Also, no one would be making tablets of any size if it weren't for the success of the iPad (introduced January 2010.) If you recall, 2009 was all about the netbooks. Remember them? Nobody else does either.
The Nexus 7 (released at the end of June) is the first non-iPad tablet of any size that has ever gotten a legit positive review. It's hard to see how the unimpressive Android tablets of the past two years and the Kindle Fire constitute successful pioneering. And now Apple looks to introduce a very strong competitor three months later.
Here's my prediction. Unless the iPad mini is an unmitigated turd, Apple's iPad mini will outsell the Nexus 7 five-to-one during the Christmas quarter. That's platform dominance.
My only real complaint about the iOS devices and pretty much the main reason I don't (and very likely never will) own one is that they are made by a company that I really can't stand. Hardware wise, they are decent devices that really don't have any more or less problems than their Android counterparts I have. But I won't buy into their ecosystem. I quit getting involved in debates about which product is superior because in the end, they both have strengths and weaknesses. Neither one needs to be a "killer" of the other. The world will function just fine with each of them maintaining a comfortable market share. So... ya... there actually is reason to not get an iOS device. But I'm happy you found something that works for you. Good for you. So did I. ;)
Wow, that's some hyperbole. Other than price I presume you mean.
(And, of course, "average consumer" is also probably a key phrase. There are rational objections to be made to iOS, but they're mostly relating to things that HN readers are likely to value more highly than most consumers.)
On the plus side, with the entry of an Apple device, there will be a much greater incentive to create workable design paradigms for the form factor, and both Android and iOS devices this size will benefit.
An edge to place your thumb on must be about an inch wide. A 7 inch diagonal screen is 4 by 6 inch or so. With a one inch edge, the edge would be 16 square inches, or about a third of the area of the device. I do not see how they could sell you that (well, maybe, if they used them for solar cells and managed to power the device from it)
The thickness of a case can often double overall size and weight in your hand. This that isn't going to change, probably ever.
Once the early adopters flash their iPad airs around with no case (or an extremely thin mag cover), an ipad 3 is going to look fat and heavy. A nexus 7 is going to look bulky and old. Soon it will be a basic expectation that tablets are light as feather computers with no perceivable thickness. Tablets that don't come in this form factor will be seen as clunky relics of the past.
The best way to tell if an apple product will do well, is to ask your self: "Once this product gets wide spread adoption, will this product make its predecesor seem, old, clunky and/or unrefined". From a tactile and visual stand point a iPad air will do this.
Full disclosure: despite my argument, I hate cases on my devices and refuse to use them aside from a thin tablet screen cover.
There is a severe flaw in what you're saying - Apple didn't design the iPad 1, iPad 2 or iPad 3 with a full case in mind, in spite of the audience using them lots.
Yes I realise they make the smart case. I think of this like the bumper - offering something demanded, but the core product was designed without it. They also introduced it significantly after the iPad 2.
Personally I'll definitely be buying one, but mostly because I'm very money conscious and would love a slightly bigger iOS device.
What, and give developers another resolution to develop for? No.
The iPad Mini will use the iPhone 3GS LCD pixel density. Then in a year, the iPad Mini will adopt the iPhone 4 pixel density. This means that every "retina" iPad app that currently exists will display natively on the device.
So basically: wait a year and then you'll have that crazy-good iPhone 4+ density.
I understand the issue, but my personal iPad usage would not be affected by more resolutions (I surf, read and watch video) but the greater PPI would be very appreciated. That's why it's frustrating.
That would indeed be amazing, but I doubt it will happen next year.
But he's right about the tradeoffs. The idea of a 7" tablet that weighs as much as my Kindle is pretty amazing. I don't think my Kindle is very heavy, and I keep it in a leather case; without the case it's amazingly light.
As Gruber saidhe retina display would need a bigger battery. Apple touts battery life too much to lower it. My parents (with light usage) can go a week or more without charging their iPad. I don't think an iPad Mini with 4 or 5 hour battery life would be received that well. And the battery requires thickness and weight, not to mention all the additional costs (RAM/VRAM/screen/battery/etc).
$200 or $250 is a pretty great price point. At $350, it's in a different market segment from the Fire and Nexus 7.
iPad 2012 is 264 ppi at 9.7 inches
Gruber got a 7.85 in measurement somewhere (I think from a past article of his).
264ppi / 7.85 * 9.7 = 326 ppi
i.e., if they made a 7.85in iPad Mini, it would have the exact same DPI as a iPhone4/4S. I can COMPLETELY see this as a viable option, as they might be able to use some of the same lines as they do for the phones and they already know 326ppi is possible.
(But I have heard of several people destroying them with coffee or beer).
Why? The iPhone is meant to be held in one hand and manipulated by the other. The iPad has a different use model and hence a slightly different design. How would the use model of the iPad mini be different?
He also loves to call bullshit on trashy link bait.
By linking to it. On his massive blog.
This post is a direct continuation, picking up where the Thinking This iPad Mini Thing Through post left off. It's "Through-er" both as a joke and to make it perfectly clear it's a sequel to the previous post.
Thoroughly would imply something different, like he wasn't really thinking about carefully it in the first post. That isn't his intent. It's not supposed to supersede the other article, it's just "more".