Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Apple iPad First Impressions

Gordon Snyder and I recorded a quick podcast:

You can listen by clicking on this link Apple iPad First Impressions

Here are some quotes from the podcast, along with links to some interesting discussions of the iPad.
John Gruber makes the comparison between a car with a manual transmission and one with an automatic transmission:
Used to be that to drive a car, you, the driver, needed to operate a clutch pedal and gear shifter and manually change gears for the transmission as you accelerated and decelerated. Then came the automatic transmission. With an automatic, the transmission is entirely abstracted away. The clutch is gone. To go faster, you just press harder on the gas pedal.
That’s where Apple is taking computing. A car with an automatic transmission still shifts gears; the driver just doesn’t need to know about it. A computer running iPhone OS still has a hierarchical file system; the user just never sees it.
Jim Stogdill builds on Gruber's metaphor, comparing the iPad to the move from traditional autos to the Prius:
The automobile went through a similar evolution. From eminently hackable to hood essentially sealed shut. When the automobile was new, you HAD to be a mechanic to own one. Later, being a mechanic gave you the option of tinkering and adapting it to your specific interests. In fact, that's how most people up until about 1985 learned to be mechanics. The big changes came with the catalytic converter and electronic ignition (and warranty language to match). Now the automobile has reached the point in its development where you don't even have to know whether it has a motor or an engine to use it, but to tinker at all requires highly specialized skills.
one particularly telling phrase:
It's been a long time since most of us have used our computers to do anything approaching "computing," but the iPad explicitly leaves the baggage behind, leaps the conceptual gulf, and becomes something else entirely. Something consumery, media'ish, and not in the least bit intimidating.
Steven Frank discusses Old World versus New World computing and distills Apple's gambit into a few bullets:
The bet is roughly that the future of computing:
  • has a UI model based on direct manipulation of data objects
  • completely hides the filesystem from the user
  • favors ease of use and reduction of complexity over absolute flexibility 
  • favors benefit to the end-user rather than the developer or other vendors
  • lives atop built-to-specific-purpose native applications and universally available web apps
Andy Ihnatko's hands-on with the iPad is also worth a read.

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