On the downside of the iPad

I don't want to dog the iPad just for the sake of dogging so I'll just start off by saying, I'm not buying an iPad now. However, I think there is a real market for the iPad but it isn't tech geeks. In this post(http://gizmodo.com/5458382/8-things-that-suck-about-the-ipad) by Adam Frucci at Gizmodo, he calls out 11 'shortcomings' of the iPad as a device. I disagree with Adam and as much as I respect him I think he misses the point of the device.

Big, Ugly Bezel
I've not seen it in person, so I can't give an accurate assessment. I can understand having a place to put your thumbs while holding the device without getting in the way of the screen like a Kindle or nook.

No Multitasking
This is a power user desire. Remember, this isn't replacing a MBP or your iMac. You use the tool you need to complete the task. I can count on one hand the number of times I wish more than one app was running. But I'm not comfortable with the performance and battery life trade off for multitasking. Most apps hold their state well enough to switch between them without losing anything important.

No Camera
I'm with Adam on this one. This I fail to see why it was excluded. So many apps leverage the camera for more than just taking a picture for the photo album.

Touch Keyboard
Haven't tried it. The jury is still out.

No HDMI Out
Most people aren't going to care and would be fine getting an accessory to output video.

The Name iPad
Yes, this is a horrible name in my opinion.

No Flash
Ugh, I hate people crying about no flash. Apple doesn't care and apparently we don't either since iPhones and iPod Touches are selling. Most websites sniff iPhone users and filter flash or you leave the site. Besides being a resource hog HTML 5, which will handle video, uses the H.264 codec. Apple is pretty committed(http://www.apple.com/quicktime/technologies/h264/faq.html) and their browser supports HTML 5(http://www.apple.com/safari/features.html).

Adapters
Agree, hate the additional need for a bunch of adapters. Even old people don't like that do they?

It's Not Widescreen
I agree it kind of stinks with the pixel density and overall resolution lacking. However, this does make me wonder if the next version of the iPhone will have a higher resolution closer to the iPad. This would reduce the need to optimize for one vs. the other.

Doesn't Support T-Mobile 3G
Perhaps T-Mobile should have picked one of the other frequencies used by other carriers. This feels more like a T-Mobile weakness than an Apple issue.

A Closed App Ecosystem
This isn't an iPad weakness but an iTunes Store decision. Apple isn't going to open one device while everything else is closed. Again, most people aren't going to care because apps work when you go through the store. Apple makes it easy and that is what consumers are going to appreciate.

I think this post(http://gizmodo.com/5458855/the-apple-ipad-is-for-old-people?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+gizmodo%2Ffull+%28Gizmodo%29) by Adam's fellow Gizmodian, Ultimi Barbarorum, sum things up well. Older people are going to really enjoy this. In fact I wouldn't be surprised to see my mom toting this thing when it is released. She loves all the things her iPhone can do, but truth be told she would love to see things on a bigger screen.

iPad = iNot

Reflecting on the events of the day has been challenging. I'll collect my thoughts in a more organized manner as it relate to the iPad later. But I'm really having a hard time with the name of this thing. There are so many dumb jokes about the name it isn't worth my time to find or collect them. I'm sure in a day or two there will be no shortage of Twitter favorites, blog posts and linked directories that collate all of the offensive and immature humor related to the name. I hope there was intense debate about the name of this thing and it wasn't a situation where Steve Jobs walks in and says, "It's the iPad. We're done here." 

I also hope that the name is not firmly placed on any one individual so that the blame can be passed around like a cheap chew toy. Of all of the names bantered  about in the leaks this was the weakest one in my opinion. I could handle the iTablet, iSlate or even iPod Mega. The cat is out of the bag now but through the efficient hype machine the name somehow wasn't vetted properly. 

Buried in this collection of pre-announcment buzz:http://gizmodo.com/5434566/the-exhaustive-guide-to-apple-tablet-rumors are some of the names bounced around. The name iPad was getting trademarked in July 2009 but I wonder if the geeks on the rumor mill ignored it for the lame name. I would have and did as the rumor started showing up in my RSS reader. As much as Apple likes to position themselves as a "think different" kind of company, this name was not the strongest choice.

The iWhatever is not what you think

I’ve had the pleasure of living through the mega-hype from Apple long enough to be cynical. That isn’t to say their products aren’t good, it’s just leaving me burned out. Every year we live through a couple of Apple fanboy lovefests and what do we get? Everyone talking about how awesome Apple is and that the rest of the tech world is lame and falls way short of standards Apple has created. All is not perfect in Apple land. There is an ongoing saga at Gizmodo trying to get faulty 27″ iMac fixed – http://gizmodo.com/5452083/the-faulty-imac-saga-chapter-2-even-steve-jobs-cant-fix-em. I continue to hear issues with the iPhone. Issues with network AT&T and stability of the phone by Apple could be an issue. Others have complained about contacts that just go missing, apps that constantly freeze, the OS needed a hard reset to work properly. My point is that Apple is not walking on water here, they have issues like everyone else.

That is why I don’t really care about the iTablet, iPad or whatever comes out tomorrow. The hype machine Apple controls is doing it’s thing and all of the speculation doesn’t mean anything until the announcement tomorrow. Seriously, does it really matter who “guessed” the most accurate version of whatever will come out tomorrow? It means nothing to speculate. Other than selling some banner ads on your website, how could one monetize speculation? Once the product is revealed you are left with nothing since everyone will have the details. Plus, even if you knew exactly what was coming, why would you share this information with the world? You would be buried when big news picks it up.

Whatever happens tomorrow will only mean that a new product will be launched sometime this year and it might generate some cool ideas but what if this thing is the next AppleTV, Newton, QuickTake, etc…“`

Checking in on Yelp!

I've been tinkering with the latest iPhone app from Yelp! but the experience has been somewhat lacking when compared to Foursquare. First is that Yelp focuses on places to eat rather than on the true GPS coordinates of the user. So when you show up at anything other than a restaurant you have to search for the business. Another thing is when a business that should be listed isn't there isn't really a quick and easy way to add one, if at all, in the application. But really, there isn't much motivation to add anything or become a frequent visitor anyway other than bragging rights? The fun with Foursquare and Gowalla is that there is a competition between users to become the mayor. The check in process feels like a forced feature to compete with location based services but they haven't quite figured it out.

2010 – Where is Roy Scheider?

I never really understood what Kubrick was after in 2001: A Space Odyssey. This despite writing a couple of papers on this back in the good ole days. Those papers were actually written in grad school as I was getting my feet under me with HTML back in 1996. Thankfully those papers appear to have fallen off the Interwebs.

In the “sequel” to 2001 Roy Scheider eventually saves the galaxy. I don’t know what sort of chaos would occur if Jupiter suddenly “turned on”, but the idea is pretty crazy. Given everything we contend with in our world it would certainly put some perspective on how small we really are. The recent news about at hole on the moon is crazy but then to put a base in there is wild. The thought of some poor astronauts setting off on an adventure across the galaxy to check out Mars is reminiscent of Columbus setting out for a short cut to the Indies.

We may not be labeled “explorer” as product managers but by definition we explore everyday. Sure it may not sound as exciting as sending someone to Mars, but we do have the opportunity to uncover something new or unique about our customers and how they interact with our business. Those little discoveries and micro trends fuel my desire to keep plugging along. So happy trails explorers let’s find some new territories in 2010.