Eine Zusammenfassung meiner Gedanken zu Apples iPad
I spent most of this sunday thinking about mobile computing, where it is right now and what may happen.
Around 2002 I first became interested in the whole mobile computing idea. My favourite mind game for that topic is a “city walk”, an application in tourism. You visit another place and want to learn about how it came to where/how it is today. So, for my hometown, you could think of a tour with lots of pictures from Deutsche Fotothek (would be very interesting to see this and the present place), maybe an audio guide as well. Current mobile technology back in 2002 was the Sharp Zaurus, the iPaq and similar pda’s.
So, what if you could have something that is able to display photos (or even videos), that knows where it is, where it points and has access to storage media (internal or via some wireless network)? That was what I thought about eight years ago. That was two years after the EUR 50bn 3G auction in Germany (EUR 600 per resident!) and two years before an actual 3g phone hit the local market.
Fast forward 8 years. We have (or are promised) a device that has a usable (multi)touch screen, decent performance, wireless+3g networking, (a)gps, a compass, accelerometers, access to peripherals (via bluetooth) and some reasonable storage. The platform even has a working developer ecosystem, very good user interface standards, and a software distribution channel.
And that thing even has a large enough screen to make it possible to implement that idea, without having to design any custom hardware at all. Yes, it is pricey. Yes, I think the price will come down at some point. No, it won’t be soon, assuming the competition remains that bad.
Competition: That would be Microsoft and the various hardware vendors out there. They do not have anything comparable to the apple tablet. Even if there was some comparable hardware, the lack of a decent software platform to base it on would be a showstopper. Windows on a tablet for grandpa? Linux on a tablet for grandpa?
Sidenote: I think this grandpa idea should not be underestimated. Something larger than a flimsy iphone that comes with “built in internet” and is actually usable by that generation? Just check the prices for picture frames with wireless access and no touch. See?
Then we have the small/internet tablet market, like the the Nokia N900. Look at this screenshot. Need I say more? I do not want to bash open source here. Ever tried getting (or even purchasing) some software for your N-Series phone? Oh wait, this is turning into a phone rant now.
So yeah. The iPad will kick ass. Will I buy one? Probably not this year. But I guess I will replace my old N73 with something that seems to have a future in the market, broad developer support and great usability.
I wrote this with reasonable distance from the reality distortion field. I did not watch any keynotes and tried to avoid most of the media coverage out there. Oh, and if you look into the archives, you’ll find my november 2007 rant about the iphone (in German).