Wednesday, January 27, 2010

GizModo Knows About Sucking, Apparently

Gizmodo was very quick to put up a page denigrating the iPad. Generally, for a consumer device, I would view disapproval from Gizmodo as a good omen for future success1, but wanted to address their statements anyway.

  1. Big, Ugly Bezel - Yeah, I thought it was too big when I first saw it, but ugly? It's black and shiny. What's ugly about it? Were you hoping for beige plastic, perhaps? Anyway, then I gave some thought as to how you would hold a device this size, and you know what? I bet Apple had a darn good reason for making it precisely the size they did. I'll bet on Apple's product design and testing against Gizmodo's kneejerk reaction any day
  2. No Multitasking This is a geeky need. Most people don't need it. I need it in my day-to-day computing so this would never be my primary computing platform, but as a media viewer, why would I need it? And most non-geeks concentrate on one app at a time, and as long as when they come back to the app, everything is where they left it, that's just as good as multitasking. Apple also has competitive reasons for doing this: they don't want you listening to Pandora, they want you listening to iTunes. You might see that as a negative, most people don't because most people use the default player anyway. On the Mac, most non-geeks use iTunes and on Windows, most non-geeks use Windows Media Player
  3. No Cameras Okay, I sorta agree with this one, though I'm not sure it's going to be that big of a deal in person for the people who it's targeted at. I don't see my mom having a burning desire to do videoconferencing, and for me, well, my phone has a camera already and I alway have that with me. My laptop also has a camera. How many friggin' cameras do I need? The iPad is kind of unwieldy to use as a camera, and videoconferencing on the road would likely be a huge battery suck.
  4. Touch Keyboard I'm not saying anything on this one until I've tried it, but if you need the keyboard all the time, buy a MacBook, this isn't the product you need. Move along, move along. Expecting every product to do everything is silly. I mean, my phone won't do the dishes, either, but I don't tell people it sucks.
  5. No HDMI/HD Video OutAgain, not sure most people will care. It's a tablet, not a media center. It's designed to be portable. It's NOT a DVD player. If you need a media player, buy an Apple TV or an inexpensive desktop computer.
  6. The Name iPadOkay, I've got nothing here. I don't like the name either.
  7. No Flash This is a bad thing? Please. This is the greatest thing to happen to the web since, well… ever. Lazy web devs who use Flash as a crutch won't be able to use it any more. Adobe has proven themselves incapable of delivering a good non-Windows version of the Flash runtime, so let's give content providers reason not to use the fucking thing. Or, I should say, another reason, because the iPhone has already started playing Flash's funeral dirge.
  8. Adapters, adapters, adapters Yeah, and if they had made it bigger to attach all those things that you'll only use rarely and at your desk, you'd be complaining that it was too heavy or too thick. Newsflash: it doesn't have a floppy drive either. Most people won't care. They'll use one or two adapters at their desk, and won't want them when they're elsewhere.
  9. It's Not Widescreen Yeah, well, I sorta had that same reaction, but with the black bezel, letter boxing isn't that big of a deal, and I doubt people would want this product if it was any longer. There's no real argument that they should have made it thinner to match 16:9 so, once again, I'm going to say that Apple had a reason for designing the product this way. I'm sure they tried many different form factors before settling on this one, so I'll go with their track record over Gizmodo's gut.

1- I'm not knocking the Gizmodo folks (too much). Just pointing out that they are geeks, like me, and are not necessarily the demographic that this device is targeted at.


Ken Pespisa said...

I agree with every point. You've even convinced me (over time, not just in this post) that no Flash is a good thing. It is time to move on.

Not to mention there are competitive reasons for not including Flash. said...

I have stopped reading Gizmodo few months ago. I came to a conclusion that the bloggers there are in general cheap. They are too much inspired by pornography and use a lot of obscene language. I am happy with engaged for now.

warmi said...

The frame on that thing is a bit ugly but,yeah, it is pretty good for the price and for what it was intended for.

Personally, I wouldn't mind having Flash since it is better to have it rather than the other way around ( one could always disabled it by default and only use when neccesary) but it is not a deal-breaker.

name lost said...

hello jeff
i mostly agree, well except the multitasking
although the target audience for iPad is a 'common consumer' class, can you imagine switching back and forth between movie player and twitter/whatever social app via the home button ? me not :) on device this capable this is simply inconvenient and maybe silly;
it can handle much more than running one app on slightly modified iphone os; but i hope (and bet!) they kind of resolve this cause this is a major flaw so far imho

Joel Bernstein said...

3:4 is pretty close to the aspect ratio of a piece of paper, but I think the main reason was price. 4:3 LCD panels are cheaper than 16:9 panels, especially in standard sizes like 1024x768.

Even the iPhone's widescreen is just a 640x480 panel cut in half.

Alex Koloskov said...

Things like bezel or name are very subjective. Some people will like them, some not, some will not care.

But I strongly disagree on multitasking. It's already a problem on the iPhone and it's not just about alternative media player. Writing e-mails (at least in my everyday life) quite often requires jumping between say spreadsheet or document, browser and e-mail client. The entire concept of IM is based on the fact that it runs in the background.

And kind of the same thing with Flash. I agree that Flash is not a good technology and it's better if more people/companies will adopt HTML 5 etc., but let's face a reality right now a lot of popular services/websites use Flash and I'd rather see Apple spending their energy on pressing Adobe to develop a decent Flash runtime for iPhone/iPad then telling their customers to f... off.

And I disagree on front-facing camera as well. Video-conferencing via Skype is one of things that people use on their netbooks and use a lot, because it's dead simple to do. And as someone who has a lot of friends & relatives overseas I can say that "normal" people actually care about seeing you and use it a lot (thanks to the fact that cameras are part of many laptops and even desktops nowadays). From battery consumption standpoint I don't see how videoconferencing can be more energy-hungry then streaming video from YouTube.

Joel Bernstein said...

I actually suspect that multiprocessing in some form is coming soon, just not until 4.0 this summer

Jeff LaMarche said...


It's already a problem on the iPhone for whom? Some people yes. Probably among many of my acquaintances it is quite an irksome problem.

But my dad? My cousin? My neighbor? They don't care. They don't want it. Don't know why they would.

It's all about who the product is targeting. Geeks will always want more out of a device intended to be used without training by the masses. They will want more freedom, more flexibility. That's why my only interest in this product is for development purposes, and maybe as a media player.

This isn't a computer. If you need a computer, get a Mac. This is a task-centric computing device, and if that's not what you want, don't buy one. But if it is what you want, multitasking isn't really that big of deal.

I think it's interesting that people think it's wrong when a product isn't tailored to them. This is a great product, but it's not a product designed primarily for me or for you. And when I view it in that light, I can't help but think it's a home run, even though I wouldn't buy one if I wasn't going to develop for it.

Matthew Frederick said...

On the bezel, I was a first surprised and then realized the genius of it: you have to hold it somewhere, and if the idea is that you just pick it up and use it, not worrying about orientation, the bezel has to go all the way around. I'd demand such a bezel in any e-reader, and it would be a hassle to use if the screen -- and most importantly the touch sensitivity -- went right to the edge, or even close. No accidental taps there.

TerryG said...

When Safari will support HTML5? That will be the answer to proprietary plugins like Silverlight and Flash.

OKJ said...

All of Jeffs points are basically either about how Apple are uncriticizable or how he specifically understands what "real" people want. Apple makes dumb moves all the time and real people have no idea what they want.

Simon said...

Not beeing the exact target for a device still leaves you the possibility to critises it.

And still, some of those points are very right :
- No IM while doing something else ?
- USB adapter ?
- microSIM ?
- no Video iChat ?

Erik Price said...

"I'm not knocking the Gizmodo folks"

But you have no problem knocking the people who develop for the Flash platform? Real nice. For what it's worth, there are a lot of people who work very hard to build compelling interactive content, and they happen to use Flash (or Flex, the application development framework which compiles to the same bytecode as that produced by the designer-oriented Flash authoring tool). For a prominent and widely-followed technology author/blogger to dismiss an entire development community simply because there is a lot of crap Flash content on the web, or because you don't like the technology, is like someone saying "Yeah, well, 90% of apps on the App Store are time-wasting pieces crap, because iPhone programmers are too lazy to build anything other than fart apps and tower defense clones." 90% of anything is crap. No need to slam another development community as "lazy" just because you disagree with their technology.

Jeff, I've been reading your blog since I read your book over a year ago, and you have a lot of great content. But this isn't the first post of yours that, like a hastily-written email response, demonstrates a "written from the hip, not the brain" thoughtlessness. Try writing your blog posts and then letting them cool for a bit before submitting them. It's a little less lazy.

PS: For what it's worth, I think the iPad looks awesome, and I think it's fine that it doesn't have a Flash plugin installed (which I don't particularly care for either). The only thing I'd want Flash for is Hulu, and they'll have an iPad app for their content soon enough.

simonth said...

A opportunity for the missing multi-tasking feature is to create an app that has an interface with twitter, itunes playlist, web browsing, etc...

The 9.7" screen should give the land-estate for such app.

lovingvama said...

You are so wrong about flash support. Think about it, video sharing!!
Certainly most of the non-geeks are using flash advantages, without knowing.

As a geek, i agree with most of Gizmodo's list.

Come on, i found my Sony Ericsson K700i, which is 5 or 6 years old... and it does have multitasking. I used to listen music while browsing the Internet.
That's the big reason I sold my iPhone and never want one again.

Matthew Frederick said...

Bizarre reason to get rid of the iPhone since it plays music while you surf the web just fine.

lovingvama said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lovingvama said... - take a look at this

@Matthew Frederick - I remember that my iPhone 2G couldn't do that. Anyway, there are a lot of reasons why I chose to got rid of my iPhone.
One of them would be the sync just with iTunes - if you wanna sync it with your computer, then with your laptop, you're screwed.

name lost said...

what are you talking about ?!
1st gen iPhone 'plays music while surfing the internet' just well from day zero, like the one lying on my desk right now
you have pretty short an inaccurate memory for someone who calls himself a 'geek', not mentioning the crap you posted

iPad is not perfect and surely is not 'magical' and not as innovative as iPhone was, but it's still not comparable to anything on the market simply because it was made to be not comparable

lovingvama said...

I'm afraid I don't know exactly what the crap was. I don't remember, I think that's not a crime.
But every other phone I had since 2005 had multitasking, except the iPhone. And that's a shame...

For example, I use to chat on YM while browsing. Is that possible on iPhone or iPad?

Sony Ericsson P1i has a great task manager and you can easily switch from one app to another.

Or that copy-paste function, or the address book search which were later introduced and presented like "wow, what a revolution".

Do you remember Nokia 3310? I think it's a 10 year old model and... guess what? It had the search option, just from the begging.

Apple isn't for me. I certainly have greater expectations :)

Matthew Frederick said...

Good that you know what you want. It does make me wonder why you read this blog, though.

lovingvama said...

I don't read it. I reached it accidentaly, from a twitter link, i think.

abu said...

I agree with you.