Apple's Amazing Keynote - Revenge of the iPad!

Bill Loguidice's picture

Well, Apple did it, they actually lived up to the hype yet again. Steve Jobs coming out on stage and doing the presentation was a brilliant touch. No matter what you think of Jobs or Apple, good for him. As for the iPad 2, well, Apple didn't merely iterate slightly, they did actually make a true "2", no now all those silly rumors of an iPad 3 coming out in the fall can be put to rest. 1.3 pounds, THINNER than my iPhone 4, new A5 processor, improved graphics, dual cameras, available in black and white, AT&T and Verizon from day one, 10 hour battery life, $499 starting price (maxes out at $829 for 64GB with WiFi/3G), HDMI mirrored output up to 1080p, smart covers, etc. I think my hemming and hawing over what tablet to get was for naught as the decision has been made rather handily for me. Apple is just too far ahead of the competition at this point. Maybe that will change within a few years, but right now, all things considered, the iPad 2 is the only logical choice in tablets. It hits the US on March 11 and rolls out to 26 more countries on March 25. So, what do you guys think? Are you sold or do you think there will be better options in 2011?

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Bill Loguidice
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Matt Barton wrote:

I'd definitely pick one up if I could afford it. Unfortunately, this is strictly a luxury item for elites at the moment, pretty much like all of Apple's products. No doubt that's a big part of their appeal--if they were cheap, they wouldn't have that chic factor.

I don't carry around a notebook anymore and I don't like netbooks (though I have one at present in my bag just in case). Obviously I would if I genuinely needed one, but at the moment I really don't. So I would look to a tablet to fill that gap and do all the other things that I'd want one for (reading PDF documents, etc.). What I've seen of the iPad 2, it would fill that gap. So for me, I think I can make a strong use case for getting one. I think it can easily fill the gap for others when you don't need or don't want to bother (or can't bother) with a laptop. I'm sure though, for many, it's a luxury item that they don't even genuinely need, it's just something rather cool to own. Interestingly, even though we can say Apple finally created the category where others failed (most famously Microsoft), it seems clear based on the pricing from the competition that Apple is not really overcharging for the device. It seems that the $499 to $899 price range is pretty much what it takes to get one of these things on the market. What's fascinating is that many people - even many generally non-technical people - don't find that particularly off-putting. It's like the $250 price point of the 3DS - we may think it's a lot, but we've been conditioned through $199 - $299 smartphones on contract and the like that it's OK to pay more than was previously considered acceptable (though unwritten) for technology. That's also a good indicator of how important technology and tech products have become in everyday life, even for people who don't traditionally consider themselves into technology.

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Nous
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Bill Loguidice wrote:
Matt Barton wrote:

I'd definitely pick one up if I could afford it. Unfortunately, this is strictly a luxury item for elites at the moment, pretty much like all of Apple's products. No doubt that's a big part of their appeal--if they were cheap, they wouldn't have that chic factor.

I don't carry around a notebook anymore and I don't like netbooks (though I have one at present in my bag just in case). Obviously I would if I genuinely needed one, but at the moment I really don't. So I would look to a tablet to fill that gap and do all the other things that I'd want one for (reading PDF documents, etc.). What I've seen of the iPad 2, it would fill that gap. So for me, I think I can make a strong use case for getting one. I think it can easily fill the gap for others when you don't need or don't want to bother (or can't bother) with a laptop. I'm sure though, for many, it's a luxury item that they don't even genuinely need, it's just something rather cool to own. Interestingly, even though we can say Apple finally created the category where others failed (most famously Microsoft), it seems clear based on the pricing from the competition that Apple is not really overcharging for the device. It seems that the $499 to $899 price range is pretty much what it takes to get one of these things on the market. What's fascinating is that many people - even many generally non-technical people - don't find that particularly off-putting. It's like the $250 price point of the 3DS - we may think it's a lot, but we've been conditioned through $199 - $299 smartphones on contract and the like that it's OK to pay more than was previously considered acceptable (though unwritten) for technology. That's also a good indicator of how important technology and tech products have become in everyday life, even for people who don't traditionally consider themselves into technology.

I'll just go ahead and proudly admit that I need a quality netbook more than I need a tablet right now (netbook as in, dual core CPU, proper GPU, 4gig of ram, 11 inch screen, nice keyboard, large hard drive, dual booting windows and linux, etc) - and they cost about the same. A smartphone, such as the iPhone 4, though is indispensable!

However I am in a minority. This is probably not true for the VAST majority of casual users.

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Bill Loguidice
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Time and place for every device I guess
Nous wrote:

I'll just go ahead and proudly admit that I need a quality netbook more than I need a tablet right now (netbook as in, dual core CPU, proper GPU, 4gig of ram, 11 inch screen, nice keyboard, large hard drive, dual booting windows and linux, etc) - and they cost about the same. A smartphone, such as the iPhone 4, though is indispensible!

However I am in a minority. This is probably not true for the VAST majority of casual users.

I already have an active desktop, gaming laptop, access to a netbook when I need it, and a work laptop, as well as an iPhone 4 as my primary phone (and a BlackBerry Bold as a work phone, which sadly needs to be carried around as well). I can forsee the iPad 2 replacing the need for the netbook, period, and also serving as an eReader, among other things. If I didn't have access to some type of computer at all times when at home and work, I'd 100% need a good transportable laptop with kick-ass battery life. It all comes down to personal need.

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Matt Barton
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I can't believe any of us

I can't believe any of us here would consider $500 to be pocket change. That's what, at least twice as much as a modern console or netbook? I'm pretty sure you could buy a decent desktop for that, even. So I'll stick to my guns on this being a luxury item for elites; the folks who already have all that stuff and have either techno lust or a desire to look cool (or both).

With my colleagues here at SCSU, the ones I notice with iPhones and iPads fit a peculiar demographic--they aren't tech savvy per se, but buying these devices and using them at meetings and such instantly confers that reputation on them. People watch them using the multi-touch and so on and are obviously wowed. Of course, we know that the interfaces on these things are designed to be intuitive and simple to use, but for an outsider just looking on--it can look almost like magic. In short, well worth the $500 for anyone hoping for a quick boost to their tech and "with it" image.

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Bill Loguidice
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Matt Barton wrote:

I can't believe any of us here would consider $500 to be pocket change. That's what, at least twice as much as a modern console or netbook? I'm pretty sure you could buy a decent desktop for that, even. So I'll stick to my guns on this being a luxury item for elites; the folks who already have all that stuff and have either techno lust or a desire to look cool (or both).

With my colleagues here at SCSU, the ones I notice with iPhones and iPads fit a peculiar demographic--they aren't tech savvy per se, but buying these devices and using them at meetings and such instantly confers that reputation on them. People watch them using the multi-touch and so on and are obviously wowed. Of course, we know that the interfaces on these things are designed to be intuitive and simple to use, but for an outsider just looking on--it can look almost like magic. In short, well worth the $500 for anyone hoping for a quick boost to their tech and "with it" image.

Oh, image is certainly a factor and certainly a factor in any Apple products as you say, but two things. One, let's leave the iPhone out of the equation because I've had two generations of the product and recently got a BlackBerry Bold at work, and let's just say in terms of functionality and usefulness, I find the iPhone so superior to the BlackBerry Bold - which is supposed to be a work phone - that it's not even worthy of a comparison in my opinion. So to me, the iPhone - particularly the iPhone 4 - is a supremely useful phone and tool, that just happens to also be an awesome portable entertainment device.

As for the iPad STARTING at $500 - and honestly I wouldn't recommend ANYONE go in at that price point because it only gets you 16GB of local storage - 32GB is the minimum model you'd want and I highly recommend going all the way to 64GB, so it's hardly $500 in my opinion. So this is easily a $600+ minimum item to actually be useful. Trying to compare it to a laptop or netbook to me is irrelevant unless you really need what those things specifically offer, because those are very different beasts. You don't get the same practical battery life. You don't get the same instant on. You don't get the same stability. Etc. For me, I'd find it far more useful to have an iPad 2 than a notebook or netbook in the same price range. It can do all the things I need when I'm away from a computer (including work on documents), and it's actually a practical portable device (instant on/off, about 10 hours of battery life, etc.). So really, if it's not the same functionality as a notebook or netbook, I don't consider it necessary to compare the two.

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Bill Loguidice
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iPad 2 hands-on
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Nathaniel Tolbert
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@Bill - Sadly in my day to

@Bill - Sadly in my day to day usage, I have to have a notebook. This device, although interesting, does not fill the requirements that I need. Yes it's cool that you can use the pc anywhere app on it to RDP into computers, but the use of a finger instead of a stylus really hampers that. Also, if I need to run diagnostics on a network, I cannot easily plug it it and run a toolset. First the toolset doesn't exist on the iPad, and second, almost all networks I deal with (business networks, not home networks) have no wireless component. With no dongle or ethernet jack this device is incapable of replacing a notebook that cost me 300 USD, does more, and has a battery that lasts 5 hours. So what if it's not using iOS? I personally don't like being hamstrung on what I can and cannot use my computer for. Wait, you say Windows is restrictive too! Yeah, but I don't see Windows blocking me from installing something that wasn't released through an approved store by Microsoft. And before you say, they would if they could do so, they had the option of creating a Microsoft software store for PC's and ruling with an iron fist. Do you know why they didn't? Because they would have smacked hard for being anti-competitive. Yet Apple is allowed to get away with it, because they are the underdog. Sad! As for competition, Creative Labs has an android based tablet called the Ziio that is getting very respectable reviews and their 10.1" screen version (which is out in Europe but not here yet.) which uses a resistive screen (stylus and finger, although slightly more oomph is required to use your finger apparently) and comes in either 8 or 16GB with an SDHC slot for an extra 16GB is slated at $349 with the 7" model priced and available for $279. The big problem with all of these companies making iPad killers is that they are trying so hard to desperately mimic what the iPad has and that is not the way to go. They need to make a unique device that does what people want and is offered at a price point they can afford. Instead they are making something and then pricing it in direct competition with the iPad. This seems inherently idiotic to me. Since Apple owns the entire supply chain basically they can set whatever price point they want because they own everything. You cannot truly compete with them on this level because they have rabid, almost blind fanboys who try to tell you every fucking day how their Apple computer is superior to everything else out in the world! Until you ask them to play oh say Crysis. There is no doubt in my mind that the device is functional and would work for a lot of people's needs, but it is not innovative, it is not magical, and it IS NOT revolutionary. This was proven right here on this website with ads for Tablets that were released in the 80's! The only thing that Apple did right was the marketing. And considering that what Steve Jobs is good at it is no surprise that the sheeple (mindless followers of style) eat it up like it's the greatest thing in the world. You shouldn't have to root your device to get all the capabilities out of the device. That just shouldn't be. iOS or Android. This is the reason why I still don't have a tablet. I highly doubt I will ever get one at this rate. This silly one up-manship is just ridiculous.

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Bill Loguidice
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Well, again, Nathaniel,

Well, again, Nathaniel, despite the Jobsian hype, no one, even Apple, is realistically expecting a tablet to REPLACE a computer in its entirety. The issue is not replacing a computer, the issue is with all the computers around (as in my example), do I really need to lug around another computer just to have the extra power and flexibility that those afford. In my case, I don't, and I think that realistically applies to most people. Most people don't do hardcore things on their computers, and for those lesser needs, a tablet can provide a similar and sometimes even superior experience. Again, there are pluses and minuses to both devices. Neither will ever make the other obsolete. They're their own thing.

As for rabid fanboys, that's true with every platform as you know. My buttons actually get pushed with the Linux guys, who I consider the ultimate platform elitists. It's silly for anyone to declare the superiority of one platform over another if said "lesser" platform meets the needs of the person using it.

As for the competing tablets - particularly the low end models you've talked about - there are just too many compromises for a realistic comparison. Apples and oranges. Some are big on rooting the Barnes & Noble Nook Color e-reader into an Android tablet, but really, is that something that's ideal for everyone? Is it really an optimized experience? Etc. Many people want appliance computing. That's a fact. Turn it on, it works. Want something new, download it from a standardized and pre-filtered and tested app store. Etc. That's what Apple brings. It may not be what you personally want, but there's no denying the appeal to something that just works with minimal fuss, right? To top it off, there IS power there, which also can't be denied. You CAN get stuff done. Real stuff. You may not be able to code software on it or troubleshoot networks, but what percentage of end users actually need to do that kind of stuff?

And I'm sorry, but to say Apple is not innovative is ridiculous. They absolutely innovate. It's all too easy to marginalize what Apple does and brings to the market because they prize style as much as substance, and they're so amazing at the marketing aspect. That's what I think people have more problem with than any actual lack of innovation.

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Nathaniel Tolbert
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Innovative is not the right term
Bill Loguidice wrote:

And I'm sorry, but to say Apple is not innovative is ridiculous. They absolutely innovate. It's all too easy to marginalize what Apple does and brings to the market because they prize style as much as substance, and they're so amazing at the marketing aspect. That's what I think people have more problem with than any actual lack of innovation.

This is where you and I will have to agree to disagree. You also took my comment out of context. I said the iPad is not magical, not innovative, and not revolutionary. Apple was a very innovative company for a long time. But in my opinion they aren't any more. Their switch to x86 means that all they do is license exclusively for a period of time x86 tech that will be available to all. This is not innovative, this is anti-competitive. I for one cannot justify the added expense of a pretty case and an Orwellian operating system. For a company that promoted itself as anti-establishment they sure have done a 180 in recent years. Also I don't like someone trying to push their moral ideals and ethos on to me. Jobs doesn't like porn. That's fine. But some 62% of adults (men and women!) do and to not allow access to something that people want with a product they bought is borderline criminal. Locking out a software distributor from your platform because you think their product needs work is also criminal. Adobe has stated many times that if they had access to the source code to see how things work in OS X they would be able to make a more stable product. Jobs says no, and says flash should die, yet flash is the largest program for interactive and multimedia material on the web. Yes, HTML 5 is slowly changing that, but they cannot even agree on single format for media! If Apple was a privately owned company I wouldn't have a problem, but Steve Jobs has such a stranglehold on Apple that he runs roughshod over even the investors, and they love him for it! I have seen the cult of Linux, and it is no good, I have seen the cult of Android, and it is NO good. I have seen the Cult of Apple and it is NO good. Hell even Microsoft has a cult following! It's not good either! Looking at these groups fight with each other reminds me of the days of the Atari vs Amiga vs Mac vs PC days!

Back on topic. The reason why I dislike anyone using the term innovative is because it takes an awful lot for anything to be innovative now days. Changing the casing, and giving it a magnetized cover is not innovative. Those have been around in the past for industrial computer machines to keep metal shavings and such out of the system. Giving it a dual core processor with integrated graphics isn't innovative. There were phones last year that had dual core processors w/ imbedded graphics. Everything they call revolutionary, and innovative are not so. They are elementary and evolutionary upgrades to an existing product. They use the wrong terminology for what they are doing. Oh by the way the upgraded graphics chipset is approximately 9x faster, as the newer PowerVR SGX chip is incredibly fast compared to it's predecessor. On top of that they announced a quad graphics core chip which is supposed to be used in the new Playstation portable. Look for that in the next "innovative" iPad3 next year.

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Bill Loguidice
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I took nothing out of

I took nothing out of context, Nathaniel. You're clearly stating that you think Apple lacks innovation - and the iPad 2 is somehow a manifestation of that - and I say that that's simply not true. It all depends on how you define innovation. If you mean by innovation creating something completely new from SCRATCH, then no, Apple is not particularly innovative, but then 99% of other companies aren't either. Apple has innovated for years, but probably not in a way that people like you care for (which includes things like iTunes, infrastructure, getting deals done withe content providers, etc.). To say the all-in-one iMac, the iPhone, the iPad, etc., are not innovative because those form factors were present before is silly. No one did it in quite that combination that Apple did it, which IS innovative. They have an innovative approach to bringing technology together in a way that is appealing to a large number of people. They've created whole markets out of nothing. They made the MP3 player market a force. They made touchscreen smartphones a force. They made tablets a force. Etc. Again, we can put down individual things the company might have done, but it shows remarkable bias and a lack of insight to fail to acknowledge what they have brought to the table since late 2001.

In regards to the porn thing, Apple follows a similar model to how Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo restrict content on their consoles. We all know Apple is in control of the platform, and that has clear advantages and disadvantages over something open like the stuff on the Google side with Android/Honeycomb. It doesn't mean you can't watch porn on iOS devices through the browser - you can - it just means that Apple will not sanction any apps it deems of an inappropriate nature. That's clear going in, and if you don't like that, there are plenty of alternatives, just like the alternative to controlled consoles is a PC. Anyway, it's just a way to do business, not inherently right or wrong.

As for the Flash thing, they really don't need to embrace any technology they don't feel strongly about. Flash DOES have performance issues. That's a fact. So they don't want it on their platform. If you want Flash or rely on Flash, then clearly portable Apple platforms are not for you.

Finally, you can pick and choose obscure prior uses of technology all you want, but it's a big, big leap making it work for mass acceptance. That's like when I talked about what XaviX did with the XaviXPort in AA's podcast. Sure, they were a few years before the Wii, but they didn't bring it together in the same way that Nintendo did.

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