Would you use this object if it came with restrictions? Photo — of a hacked Moleskin, ironically — (CC-BY-SA) Alexandre Dulaunoy.

Apple’s iPad is here. It starts at $499. It’s a gorgeous, brilliantly-designed device that has the benefits of Apple’s cleverly-engineered, best-in-class developer tools for mobile. A lot are likely to sell. And unfortunately, to me that means bad news for the kind of creative computing we talk about on this site.

To put it briefly, I think the new, mobile Apple is doing immense harm to the computing legacy the company has forged. We could have had a Mac tablet today. Instead, we have a giant iPhone – and that’s a decision that has some serious repercussions. It’s a blow to open source alternatives, but also to open development in general: the power of interchangeable hardware and software, on which everything we do with music and visuals on computers is based.

For years, the Mac community railed against the perceived closed nature of Microsoft. Now, many are rallying behind an Apple with a vision more closed than Redmond’s.

This is important to both CDMs, because it’s on both these sites that I, along with readers and contributors, have advocated open computing as a creative outlet, for creation, sharing, and distribution of music, visuals, and knowledge.

I’m entirely biased by my own perspective. There are certain things I care about, that I believe in. I can talk about the technical, measurable values of each of those, but I can only speak for myself. With that in mind, the iPad, in a single device, embodies the exact opposite of all the reasons I’ve invested so much time in computing for the last 25 years.

  • It’s a closed platform. As with the iPhone, development for the iPad means reliance on Apple’s tools, on the use of proprietary Apple hardware and software just to build an app. Now, those could be worthy sacrifices for a great product. But it also means that Apple alone distributes applications, and decides which applications developers will be allowed to create – something that has never been true on a computing OS. Since the unveiling of the iPhone SDK, Apple apologists argued that somehow this was a decision made by phone carriers, that surely their beloved Apple was not to blame. Yet Apple has chosen that path for a device that, while it lacks a keyboard, otherwise looks for all the world like a computer – like something that could have been a Mac, with all the power and freedom of a Mac, instead of an iPhone.
  • It has no standard ports. Like the iPhone, the iPad has only a proprietary dock connector, ensuring Apple has control over the hardware made for the device. You can throw away decades of the lessons of the value of standard connectors, of the freedom to connect a computer as – to use a phrase Apple popularized – a digital hub. There’s not even HDMI to connect to a display. Clarification: video out will be possible, albeit with a proprietary adapter. And *access* to that video port from software has been a huge problem on the iPhone. See additional notes on Create Digital Motion. Additionally, the possibilities of external hardware are not entirely known. Apple will offer a memory card reader adapter that uses USB. But there isn’t a native USB port on the machine, and this doesn’t necessarily suggest full support for USB; hopefully, additional details will emerge.
  • It’s tied to iTunes. As with the iPhone, you can’t use the iPad’s drive as a drive. You can’t connect it to a computer and put on it what you like. You’re limited to using third-party apps as conduits or servers – and even then, you’re limited; critical files for media and reading are controlled by Apple’s market-dominating iTunes app. It’s a storage device you own, but that someone else controls. Maybe that’s acceptable for game consoles, but, again, the iPad has the appearance of a computer. (Except, of course, it’s actually not.)
  • Apple alone controls the distribution of media. Apple already has a dangerously dominant position in the consumption of music and mobile software, and their iTunes-device link ensures that content goes through their store, their conduit, and ultimately their control. This means that developers are limited in what they can create for the device when it comes to media – a streaming Last.fm app is okay, but an independent music store (like Amazon MP3 on Android) is not. Now, you can add to that Apple dominating book distribution. At a time when we have an opportunity to promote independent e-book publishing, the iPad is accompanied by launch deals from major traditional publishers. What does that mean for independent writers and content? Updated: As several readers have noted, one positive sign is that Apple’s book application supports the open epub format. We’ll see how this works, and how this interoperates with other devices over the coming days and months. (And it’s important, too – this is not Create Digital Books, but a lot of the information we want to read is published in e-books.)
  • It’s not an open computer. It’s not a Mac. The bottom line: you can’t do the things that an open computing experience allows. You can’t connect the hardware you want, develop or run the software you want, or have the open-ended experience computers have provided. That’s not to say a tablet or slate or pad or whatever you want to call it needs to be exactly like other computers. On the contrary: if you believe in the computing experience, you believe it should work in new and creative form factors. (There was a time when the clamshell laptop was a new idea, remember, a time when computers were giant bricks you plugged into a TV.)

Limitations are a wonderful thing. Specialized operating systems for mobile make perfect sense. But that’s a design decision – it’s about the interface, the developer tools, the hardware. A mobile device can work just as well without being tied to iTunes or with actual ports on it.

I know what the objection will be: but this computer isn’t “for” people like me. But that’s the whole problem. Apple threatens to split computing into two markets, one for “traditional,” “real” computers, and another for passive consumption devices that try to play games without physical controls and let you read books, watch movies, play music, and run apps so long as you’re willing to go through the conduit of a single company.

And, of course, this wouldn’t be worth my breath if not for my real concern: what if Apple actually succeeds? What if competitors follow this broken path, or fail to offer strong alternatives? The iPad today is a heck of a lot slicker than alternatives. It’s bad news for Linux, Windows, and Android, none of which have really workable competitors yet. It’s especially bad for Linux, in fact, which had a real chance to make its mark on mobile devices. Edit: Actually, one major advantage of a big, splashy Apple announcement – a number of those manufacturers have started talking about their rivals, already in the pipeline.

These issues have always been a matter of open debate. Jean-Louis Gassée infamously got an “OPEN MAC” license plate for his car during the early days of Apple Macintosh. The “open” vision was the vision we got. It’s the Mac II. It’s the expansion capabilities of the Mac that allowed PostScript support, which let the Mac launch computer desktop publishing and ensured the survival of the platform. And it was a vision in contrast to that of one (younger) Steve Jobs, who argued against expansion and nearly made the Mac a failure, another forgotten 80s oddity. It was after Jobs was forced out of the company that the Mac platform, the Mac community as we now know it were really forged, built on the expansion and flexibility those later Macs offered. That expansion port was what enabled early products from Digidesign, which would later become Pro Tools – the very birth of digital audio production.

Like I said, I’m biased by my own opinion. But it’d be unfair, after years of being hard on small developers when it comes to issues of openness, if I held back here. This is the world’s self-proclaimed “largest mobile manufacturer,” the company that, as it reminds us in every press release, launched the computing revolution. I wish I understood why they were now running away from some of the basic ideas that made that revolution possible.

This is what I asked in January 2007 on this site, shortly after the original iPhone was launched:

“1. Will Apple lock down the iPhone, blocking Flash, Java, custom widgets, and open development from its new platform?

2. Could Apple’s multi-touch patents actually stifle growth of new, interactive displays?”

Unfortunately, that turned out to prescient. As for point #2, and perhaps no fault of Apple’s, it’s apparent that multi-touch gestures are now missing in prominent platforms like the Android because of fear of litigation. (Yes, the Droid in my pocket has multi-touch and even a multi-touch API, but nothing in the shipping apps, apparently because someone’s legal department got involved.)

And as for point one, just compare what you can do with a Mac to what you can do with an iPhone.

Ironically, at that same show, I saw the very thing the Mac users most badly wanted: a Mac tablet. But because an independent developer had to hack that product together, it was overpriced and not terribly useful. At the same time, I know some people bought them, because that’s what they wanted. They wanted a Mac tablet.

Ironically, the biggest disadvantage of the iPad is that it’s not a Mac. So now we wait and see if someone can come up with intelligent new tablets that are at least more like PCs.

I know who I’m rooting for. And it’s not this.

Clarifications / thoughts from comments:

Of course, comments are here so that we can have a spectrum of opinions, and believe me, I do read and listen – including (sometimes especially) those with a different perspective than my own.

Some issues worth clarifying, respective to the above:

Several readers pointed out that I’m oversimplifying some of the relative historic “openness” of Apple. When the “Open Mac” battle was raging in the early Mac days (leading to the SE and Mac II), the connectors were indeed often still proprietary. The question was more whether to have ports or expansion at all. In the defense of the early Apple engineers, recall that, with the exception of formats like serial, standards were not as evolved as technologies like USB today. Even though there were already IBM clones, they were clones of IBM PCs, literally, not the open-ended PC market we have today. So readers are absolutely right – I was blurring some of the issues here. At the same time, this only underlines my point.

We’re again revisiting the question of what “consumers” need. The reason Jobs was opposed to ports, expansion, and the general ability of a user to service or upgrade a machine was because he perceived a need for a “consumer” device. In other words, he was making the argument then that his design is making now, and that some commenters are making, as well. Jobs was forced out of Apple, and the “Open Mac” won – and the rest is history. But my devil’s advocate question would be, given that computers with expandability won out in the 80s, why are we in a rush to eliminate that functionality now, in 2010, when even average consumers are more demanding and less afraid of technology? Is that who this is really for, or by the very virtue of its limitations, is this just a toy for gadget lovers? (I’m not asking that rhetorically; I think the readers making this argument have a point, and I’d be curious to hear people follow up.)

The other question is whether Apple was “open” in the intervening time period. However, here I have to invoke some history. Apple under Sculley was working very hard on interoperability with IBM, even though that ultimately failed. The Mac platform may have run a different OS, but it also embraced and/or helped popularize serial ports (hello MIDI), SCSI, and 3.5″ floppy drives (standard storage for the time). Under Amelio, Apple even pursued cloning – before Jobs reigned it in. (I’m not arguing that was a smart business decision, but it did at least qualify as “open.”) Mac OS X and modern Mac hardware are replete with standards, the Safari team is by far the most active contributor to WebKit, and the Apple OS team continues to work hard on interoperability.So, I may have been oversimplifying, too, but I can at least say this particular product is not characteristic of some of the more “open” behavior of Apple in other areas.

Finally, many of the comparisons have been made to the Lemur. I agree the Lemur hardware is aging and the software is relatively inflexible (certainly more so than apps made with the iPhone SDK). As for specifics of how the devices compare in multi-touch accuracy, or whether users will be as satisfied with the iPad as a wireless controller versus the Lemur’s Ethernet cord, that remains worth discussing.

Side note: Nowhere did I say that the alternative to an iPad has to be open source. I’m a huge fan of open source and truly free software. But by the measures above, Windows qualifies as open.

  • Yeah, it's kind of funny that I looked at the announcements, read the specs, and said to myself, "This'll be great once someone cracks it!"

    All I really wanted from this was the possibility of a cheap Lemur alternative. So, I guess this is kinda close to that.

  • Right, but I'll say what I said on Facebook — "cracking" closed devices is part of the problem. Wait and buy the open device, or don't complain when no one is left who makes open devices.

    I think we can get a possibility of a cheap Lemur alternative without going this route, too. Surely the sum total of the rest of the industry can do *something*.

  • felix

    Great critique. It's a shame because the hardware is gorgeous.

  • I'm bummed about the device for all the reasons you just mentioned. I'm probably not alone when I say that I wish they'd just created a multi-touch screen peripheral that connected via USB.

  • "Support for 1024 x 768 with Dock Connector to VGA adapter; 576p and 480p with Apple Composite A/V Cable, 576i and 480i with Apple Composite A/V Cable"

    No Digital out, means no HDCP. Better than HDMI in a way. *shrug* Just saying.

    iPhone OS is definitely a limitation though.

  • You'd have to go back in time for the backlash to arrive any sooner.

  • donkey

    Why wouldn't Lemur like apps be made for the iPad?

    Why would‘t someone make a giant Jasuto, where you could share patches, build patches etc.?

    Just asking.

  • People complain about the proprietary & closed nature of Apple's products but praise them for the quality, surely there has to be a case made for the fact that one goes with other?

  • Clearly this isn't aimed at musicians, it's aimed at taking a chunk out of the netbook market. Dry them and move on.

  • kkonkkrete

    Brilliantly chosen price point, IMO. Just a shame there aren't any USB-audio interfaces worth a shit. Still this thing is going to be killer sofa sketchpad.

  • Okay, I hereby remove myself from this comment thread, because I have to finish a big project tonight. 🙂 But comments are, ahem, "open." And they're that way because I don't expect – or want – everyone to agree with me. Have at it, folks…

  • donkey

    By the way, do a search for "Lemur" on Twitter- people are already figuring out that the iPad could be great for music(icians).

  • It seemed to me from the very start of the day that this was just a bigger iPhone. Seems like this might be useful for people who would prefer a bigger interface for their pda instead of the sometimes very small packages in which they come.

    but people manage to use the iPhone in interesting ways regardless, so this will probably open up and be a little different if not new… for one the greater surface area of the screen could mean greater sensitivity for some x/y pad control ive seen people use with the iphone… proly not worth the $500 (which is actually still much less than i thought it would be)

  • Tom

    I was hoping for the tablet to run os x so we could get some interesting things running on it. I have some ideas for it, but the hard part is getting files into it, from outside sources.

  • Why would Apple not do it this way, why would we expect it to be any different? Jobs might've been a peace loving hippie back in the day but he and the rest of his company is all corporate now.

    Feeling sorry for the competition is frankly just bollocks, you missed the boat boohoo! You're in the capitalist market – put up or shut up!

    Why isn't there more entrepreneurs taking up the challenge? Sure this one is aimed at the "ONE" generations need of spoon feeding but clearly there's a pent up need for a touch based DAW controller with an open OS architecture. OK so you might need sell 75M+ but so what?

    I feel you Pete, but moaning on Apple for being greedy control freaks is a little bit naive.

  • Jake

    Hmmm, disappointing in terms of initial specs etc.

    But I really would put money on apple releasing both a iPhone pro this year and then an ipad pro next year. Methinks that if they do this you'll see a proper version of osx on the ipad pro and it'll be what we (ie the arts community) wanted. I honestly think this is all about pushing the tablet form factor to the mass market first, after all surely they'd want to get this in as many homes as possible? Not going to happen if you launch at the price of a MacBook pro…

  • The iPad is just a big iTouch with a much faster CPU. It has a much better battery life. Being a big iTouch doesn't bother me at all since there are so many great iPhone apps already that run and connect via WiFi to my main rig – that is where the iPad will shine. People will make apps that talk to host programs on the main computer and translate the commands into something the programs will understand – much like the ITM programs talk Mackie Control protocol. Albelton and Logic and others will read that fine. There will be control apps for sure talking OSC or whatever and the larger multi-touch surface will make using them much easier. I think the Lemur guys would be fools if they were not porting a Lemur clone to this platform right now. Hell if someone writes a screen-sharing app for the thing they would make bank form it for sure.

  • low resolution sunse

    Yeah, this thing is sort of disappointing. I was hoping for something like a regular computer with a really good multi-touch surface.

  • kkonkkrete

    BTW, Macs also had proprietary connectors for loads of things when Jobs was not part of the picture. The other day I found an old Apple mic I used to use, which had a special connector that is almost but not quite the same as a regular 3.5mm jack. It cannot be connected to absolutely anything anymore.

    I'm surprised to see you so negative. There will be at least some clever people that will do some cool shit with this thing.

  • Just to correct something. As an Apple user since the early 90s I think Apple has never been more open than Microsoft has. Windows has always been more tweakable which is why it's always appealed more to the traditional computing IT geek set who like to modify and tinker. And is one of the reasons why Windows suffers more from malware and viruses. Not to start any Mac vs PC flame war. Apple has never been ‘open’.

  • ChrisG

    So close! great looking hardware, poor locked down OS and ports. I guess we will have to wait for some competitors to release some products styled on this with Windows 7 or Linux; ironically making it more like an OSX tablet than what we got.

  • @Square One

    A mac laptop / tower is also a closed hardware solution, that you can download applications / plug ins / scripts. etc from anywhere. In fact, they give away the development software for FREE because they know, on a computing system, the way they are going to become dominant is if everyone wants to program for it – and you can do anything you want on it.

    so instead of that design philosophy that has given us the products we love and use on a daily basis, they go in a completely different direction, and close the software development off just as they do with the hardware development.

    If they did that on their mac computers, can we say, you wouldn't have ableton, or protools, or logic, or midi keyboards, or professional audio computer workstations….etc….

    tha's the complaint here.

  • I see where you are all coming from, I really do. I would love for this to be a Mac Tablet and not just a xtra large iPod Touch. I will hold my breath and dream about a monome emulator that runs over bluetooth. But honestly when they revealed this I thought "Kindle/Nook Killer" and not full-blown computer. This is something that my wife can use to surf the internet, read books, etc… so that I can use my Macbook/iMac more for music creation rather than sit around and wait for my turn to get on so-to-speak. So, for those of us that are down to one computer in this economy, that have mac-girl's as wives, this is perfect for taking back our Macs. 🙂

  • Jazzmutant better get a move on and port their software before someone else reproduces it. TouchOSC for example. They now have a way out of their economies of scale problem, by means of a device which is in hardware terms exactly what the lemur is – a multitouch display with a computer attached and networking support.

  • teej

    not only do we have a giant iPhone, but a giant iPhone with some glaring shortcomings. no front-facing camera? really?! i was sure this was a definite. first major apple product launch that didn't get me excited at all. i can totally see the musical potential for an AFFORDABLE multitouch surface that's a nice size, but this could have been so, so, so much more.

    that home screen is just hideous btw.

  • teej

    and i wonder if Jazzmutant is truly threatened by this thing. yes, it's Apple and there are going to be a lot of people that buy it just because it exists. i think JM could live comfortably in both worlds, and make a nice penny doing it. sell the Lemur to those who want specialized hardware. sell a Pad version of the Lemur software for $50 on the app store to the other bazillion people. see how it goes, then focus on the stronger of the two?

  • Can't some tech ninja zap Linux onto this so we can run pd? The price point is sooooo tempting for a multitouch interface.

  • I thiak that Ipad is a Evolucionist product, not revolucionary. Its a transition gadget that will need grow in concepts and use.

    That's the first step to a really usefull tablet. Just the first step…

  • Ben

    yeah i agree with dioxide here, "For years, the Mac community railed against the perceived closed nature of Microsoft. Now, many are rallying behind an Apple with a vision more closed than Redmond’s."

    Is not correct, Apple has always been a closed system and that is what has made them the success they have. Microsoft is an open system with different partners developing different technologies.

    The Mac is not an open computer, it never has been.

  • Seamus

    Not much to add to this debate, but I agree with this article 100%. I really cannot understand how people are rushing to defend this shit (not on here, but all over the Internet), it just looks like an awful platform.

  • Mastah Lee

    I'll play Devil's Advocate on this one, I think the iPad has potential to be the Next Big Thing in digital DJing. Consider the biggest reservations dedicated hardware holdouts have against DJing with a laptop:

    1) Laptops are expensive

    2) Laptops aren't as stable as dedicated hardware.

    3) Laptops have interfaces that translate poorly into musical performance ("DJ checking his email" syndrome)

    The iPad solves these problems. Its cheaper than a laptop, the very nature of its closed design makes it much more likely to be stable (not to mention programming for standardized hardware is vastly simpler to make stable), and has a great multi-touch interface that'll be great for music.

    If someone made an audio interface that works with the dock connector and Ableton made a version of Live for it (which would be understandably stripped down), I'd be very tempted to use this. If you're primary use of a laptop is DJing (aka playing back audio files with a little bit of effects), I think this has the potential of meeting your needs if the right accessories and software was made.

    I'm no fan of the Apple walled-garden ecosystem and the complete lack of access to the file system makes things difficult, but if this thing gets enough traction, I could definitely see laptop DJs obsessed with stability and simplicity snatching these up.

    Personally, I'm fully committed to Live and Max For Live, so I doubt I'd be switching anytime soon. I'd be lying if I said that I won't be watching what happens with this in the music production scene very closely, though.

  • cobalt

    I'm also not generally pleased with Apple's closed environment, but the closed-ness of the system does one thing that open source and independent 3rd party developers can't do: it drives down the cost of hardware and makes the hardware and any software written for it accessible to exponentially more people.

    There have been Lemur-like apps in the App Store since no later than two months after it opened, from what I recall. But those apps as well as all the very good synthesizer apps have been severely limited by the size of the screen.

    The Lemur is 12", 800×600, and $2000. It has been out for around 5 years and is in its second generation. For every Lemur owner, there are probably 100 people who would want one if they knew about it and could afford it. The iPad starts at just $100 more than the most expensive iPod Touch. (The 20GB iPod 2G was also $500, back whenever that was.) That's kind of amazing. All of the physics model processing behind a Lemur-like UI can be done on the tablet hardware itself.

    Just imagine a personally customizable control interface that you can use with your guitar pedals, or Macbook powered effects rig. It's hard to be excited about the presentation of a closed system with DRM. But it's all about the apps. The potential here is really enormous.

  • You might also mention there's no multi-tasking going on here. It's not meant to be a computer.

  • Ben

    haven't we had linux and a lemur for several years now? is it wrong to try the opposite approach?

  • cobalt

    I have been thinking for several days, and I cannot think of one reason why the Lemur distinguishes itself from the iPad as being inherently superior from a hardware perspective. I don't have a Lemur, so I can't say from experience. IMO, Jazz Mutant had better put something together for the iPad ASAP, and shift their business to a focus on their experience with UI and software. If they do, they can make tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, theoretically. If they don't, they can watch their hardware sales remain stagnant while all of the functionality of their software system is gradually picked away by iPad developers. They need to take the lead while they have it. Other business models based on hardware distribution have been swallowed up by the iPhone — e.g., Slacker Radio, which you may never have heard from, because of their incredibly slow reaction to the release of the iPhone and what it did for streaming mobile internet radio.

  • vanceg

    I had hoped for a more powerful and open device, as well, but it seems to me this will still be a decent platform for creating lemur-esque touch surface apps. I hope to see some show up within 90 days….

  • @Mastah Lee. Agreed. We're going to see some really cool music performance apps on this thing. I'm looking forward to it!

  • Seamus

    To follow up on my last comment, I really wouldn't want Jazzmutant to shift to developing software on a mandatorily locked-down platform. On the flipside of that debate that Jazzmutant should shift towards iPad development, if it forces people to shift over to a platform they maybe otherwise would not want or use, that can be a bad thing.

  • babaroo

    The point of this thing is that it's a consumer electronics device. It's NOT a computer, which you seem to want it to be. Macs do everything that you opine for. They're different animals. Get used to it.

    The reason that this exists is that there is a whole chunk of the population that DOESN't WANT a computer. They want email and the internat and all of the benefites, but computers are nothing but trouble for them. This market will be well served by the iPad.

  • PK

    @dioxide. I had the same thought. In terms of hardware and OS, Apple literally built it's empire as the proof-of-concept for the "closed architecture" model, whereas the miracle/virtues of Windows has always been that it runs on just about anything (aka "open architecture" model). I guess I'm ignorant as to exactly when Mac OS was fundamentally more open that Windows. IMHO, the only reason people have any warm/fuzzy feelings for "classic macs" and "the good old days" of Apple in the first place is because the closed model allows Apple tight control over a more streamlined, more consistent, more costly user experience. . . . . what worked for them in 1984 still works for them now. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems Apple only steers towards inclusion of open standard when they're losing market share or trying to steal market share (USB ports, CD burners, enabling Windows to run on their hardware, etc). This device is the most "Apple" Apple ever in my opinion. iPad seems completely in-line with the philosophy Apple rose to prominence with in the 80s. Why should "the rest of the world" put up with comparatively hard to use, overly-complicated computers full of all kinds of crap they don't need, when something like iPad would probably meet their needs much better? While "we" need OS X and Windows 7, we are far outnumbered by the millions and millions of users who really and truly do not. I too fear that the iPad will stunt the growth of quality platforms for development, content creation, and more open distribution of content. . . and the coolness and innovation that those things engender. . . but I'm not surprised, nor do I begrudge, Apple's choices. They are staying the course they set 30+ years.

  • Z

    A different perspective–

    I'll be picking one up. I read constantly and I love books. I've been wanting to go completely digital (no paper) for years. This is exactly what I've been looking for in an e-reader solution. Nice color screen (sorry Kindle) portability, relatively inexpensive and Wi-fi. No more piles of books around the house and no more killing trees.

    I understand some of the points made in the article but, I actually think that from a book and magazine perspective this is going to be phenomenal. As an commercial artist who works in the publishing field, I can tell you with certainty that publishing is an even more restrictive cabal than the major record labels. The works of independent publishers, writers, etc. are impossible to find in stores and the few independent book stores where you could discover the works of a new writer, are getting smaller and smaller each day. If Apple iBooks ecosystem follows the same path as iTunes (I thinking of Tunecore), one day soon not only will MY book will be on the same virtual shelf as the newest Steven King novel, I'll be getting paid a bit more because I'm cutting out the middleman. That's wonderful.

  • I definitely think it has some possibilities, but i was really hoping for something based around an intel processor and more like a laptop. I want a laptop replacement in a multitouch tablet form. I definitely think it could be a decent control surface for music with the right apps, but for some reason the announcement today leaves me a little disappointed.


  • Greg


    1. kinda

    2. anything on the iPad is software

    3. Still just an interface, like a piano, a laptop or anything. Just look at any Girl Talk videos on youtube to see how boring laptop performances are.

    Hopefully HP or somebody will come out with a plastic-cased version of this for $300 in a few months and somebody will pop Linux on it and what you can do with it won't hinge on the whims of the app store.

  • Ben

    Your earlier statement is accurate when you are talking purely about hardware that happens INSIDE the computer, and completely inaccurate when it comes to expansion and software.

    It is because of Apple that Firewire caught on.

    I'm not sure it is because of Apple that USB caught on, but the original iMac had a very large role in that.

    Microsoft's software solutions have always been very limited, and the price to get into developing it was always rather steep.

    Then apple, with USB on EVERY device to have unlimited expansion potential – and the ability for a device to not be completely obsolete when the next big thing comes out.

    On Apple, every OSX disc COMES with all the tools needed to program on their platform. Proving that the more software that will run on their platform, the more people will buy their product.

    This is a new turn for them. Not only can you only do the control the hardware, they control the software, they control the path to GET software to your device, they control the path to get media to your device, they control who gets to develop for it, etc etc etc.

    It'll be interesting to see what comes of this – but I don't think the netbook market hasn't succeeded because there lacked a product in that market that just beamed THIS ONE. I think that product category hasn't succeeded because people either need a real computer that allows for expansion – so a year after they invested that money they don't have to buy a WHOLE NEW PRODUCT, or a small pocket sized computer that can have their most important information and usable everywhere.

    Now that apple has put out a device that people have been waiting for forever, and trying to place it into a product category that the people who have been waiting years for this device dont need a device for…I think that may hurt them more than help.

    But the proof is in the pudding, as they say…let's see what happens.

  • Tom

    What most people ignore, is that while yes it could be a great lemur alternative, it has to go through itunes. You don't have another outlet to get software, so it might take 30-60 days for some apps to get approved and if there are issues then there is no rapid updating because apple has to check everything.

  • I too, am looking at it as a book reading device.

    The benefit of an E-Ink type screen though is that it reads like paper, in any lighting condition, and does not hurt your eyes like a computer screen does…

    Anyone have any word on how this non e-ink type screen performs as far as that is concerned?

  • Just one point to make about the closed system. Serato make simple closed systems at a high premium. But they are rock solid and are the market leader. Having a tight grip is much better than a free for all.

  • PK

    @Tom. If the inevitable iLemur app for iPad has to go through iTunes (which it will), nearly every single person that wants to use the app will have to pay for it, meaning the people that make this app will actually get paid by more than 10% of their user base. . . hopefully leading to them being able to invest more time in development. Since iPad is a closed device, managing bugs for this Lemur app should hopefully be a less complex process than if it were developed for OSX/Windows. . . meaning the chances a version with serious flaws is submitted and approved by Apple should (hopefully) be low.

  • TouchOSC will be wild on the iPad, but ultimately not much more satisfying than it is currently on the iPod Touch. The two things that sadden me the most are:

    1) Apple seems to be enforcing a ridiculous patent on multitouch with plenty of prior art examples (Lemur, etc.). Google should straighten their backs and just put multitouch into Android. Multitouch bloody belongs there, like it does on normal computers, playing piano, and making love.

    2) As Peter mentions, it's a closed device. No running existing applications like Live, or Max unless stripped down versions are developed for it and sold on iTunes.

    I might have been interested in this if it was a multitouch device that I could use in the same way I use a laptop with the same tools available now. I might change my mind, but presently I see the iPad as a bulky iPod Touch. No one has registered android4ipad.org yet, but it'll be amusing to see that happen down the road.

  • Paul Angell

    You're a genius (Except, of course, that you're a moron):

    "Maybe that’s acceptable for game consoles, but, again, the iPad has the appearance of a computer. (Except, of course, it’s actually not.)"

  • morris

    apples control of everything you can run on it really puts me off. im a windows guy anyway, but i was thinking i might get one for my dad when i heard it was coming out, then i realised it isnt actually a computer, which means that id rather have a shit netbook thats slow, but i can run whatever i want on it

  • donkey

    How can you run "whatever you want on it" if it's slow?!

    So, you can run it, but it doesn't actually make any sense running it, because it's … slow?

  • Steve Elbows

    I dont care about the clear limitations of the iPad because I was not expecting a computer, all I wanted was a larger version of an ipod touch.

    It should be a lemur killer not just because of price, but because Lemur software has not evolved that quickly, and the actual experience of moving your finger over a lemur touchscreen is not nice compared to moving over the glass of an ipod touch/iphone.

    The iPad should be good for all sorts of remote controlling of other kit. The Apple control freakery over apps is not nice in various ways, but for certain applications this can be bypassed by making webapps. And in this regard Apple have been helpful to the world of open standards, they beefed up various browser things and then got them built into the standards, and their resistance to flash will also help html5 and the next generation of the web.

    And despite all the limitations to developers, both real and theoretical, it doesnt actually stop a load of great apps being developed and released.

  • Gavin@FAW

    I agree on the tight grip over the platform in the context of who this device is aimed at.

    If we look at mail clients, on the desktop they are overly complex, when most users just need to read, send and reply to mails. With the iPhone, you can see how by stripping back the functionality to what is really needed, you can create more inclusive, easy to use software. It is this approach that Apple means when they say they are reinventing the computer. For every 1 person that wants to use some expert level feature, there are another 9 who don't. The key to making easy to use devices is to design for the 9 and not the 1. User experience designers have been preaching this approach for years, but it is only Apple that are doing it. While features and options help with the initial sale, they do hinder the use of the device in the long run for the majority of users. Its a shift in focus, but one we need to appreciate the reasons for.

  • Adam

    Bravo! Thank you for the well-written rant against the closed nature of the new iPad. I couldn't agree with you more. This device is a huge disappointment.

  • Do people really think about musicians when they design this kind of thing? Isn't it kind of an afterthought? Like "Maybe it will work well for the arts too… we'll see…"

    – c

  • This device is cheaper than a Lemur. This device has capacitive multi touch just like Lemur. This device has a higher resolution than the Lemur. It also has built in wifi to transmit OSC messages. With the SDK you can write you own applications. Pure Data runs on the iPhone already. Apple never claimed to be open computing. Neither does Roland. I would love to update the firmware for my MC-09, but I still love it. There is the N800, open moko, android as platforms for people to pursue. Max4live gets coverage here, it requires Ableton. Abelton requires OSX or Windows. These comments look similar to some on the blogs during the iPhones introduction. We are all free to roll our own. As it is this is a device than can already out of the box run Processing (albeit as the .js varient), Pure Data, and transmit OSC via wifi. I think that sums it up for most of the people here. My MPD32 is not an open platform, but I still use it. I can use uCapps or Arduino and I have. What Apple is providing to people who work interactively with media is a tool with features and programmability at a very convincing price point.

  • Cliff Baldwin

    When given a lemon I make lemonade.

  • Alex

    Peter, couldn´t agree more.

    What a chance to be missed…

  • bliss

    Don't really understand the point of comparing the iPad with a Mac. Is it because Jobs compared the iPad to a netbook? As far as I can tell, the iPad does indeed handle the Internet very well – even without Flash support. Not a thorough qualitative statement, true, but Macs or PCs are far more substantial than netbooks. And, in my opinion, a netbook doesn't make sense precisely because it seems to be nothing but a tiny PC trying to capitalize on size reduction, rather than having desirable novel uses to go along with its novel size.

    If the market says that Apple users are "living on their iPhones and iTouches," then an iPad is the perfect complement or replacement. Amazon and B&N definitely have a fight on their hands with the iPad. But the most notable achievement of the iPad will be how useful it becomes at educational institutions around the world. Other than toting more computing power than one needs in the form of Mac and PC notebooks, the only other competition is the iTouch and iPhone. The iPad even at this stage is far more useful than either of those two devices; simply because of its screen dimensions and new CPU hardware. 30-40 pounds of textbooks in a 1.5 pound device, that’s also good for taking notes and making visual presentations via WiFi.

    To me the iPad represents the next stage of what the iPhone began. We will see Macs that resemble the iPad very soon, I believe — but they will be completely different beasts. If Mac users want a Mac tablet, then they are going to get a Mac tablet. What they are not going to get is an iPhone or iTouch pretending to be a Mac. I’m not going to hazard a guess as to what Apple’s roadmap and intentions actually are, but I can extrapolate from what they’ve done in the past. iPods follow iPods and iPhones. Macs follow Macs. The only implied reasoning that Macs will follow iPhones stems from multi-touch technology.

    A multi-touch Mac product has to work. There is no room for error on that front. Not any at all. Microsoft botched Vista’s release and recovered, but Apple cannot botch an all new Macintosh. Remember the Newton? When the first Mac multi-touch is released it has to work with so many things well — so many things — it’s not even comical to contemplate what a failed release would mean. It would be tragic. And if Apple had tried to release Mac OS X on the iPad, simultaneously confusing both its iPod/iTouch and Mac userbase, what a disaster today would have been for the company. Better to announce what works knowing that iPod/iTouch users are expecting iPhone OS 4.0 to be released in the near future, than squeeze in a whole new computing paradigm prematurely. Mac multi-touch represents a new computing paradigm, and it’s no wonder that Apple are taking that very seriously.

    The iPad user experience will inform Apple’s designers of many important things as they continue development of a Mac multi-touch tablet — should one actually be in development [I think it’s reasonable to say that one is]. If this is Apple’s approach, then it is a good approach. Clearly.

    Notebooks are still the norm. It is possible that a company could beat Apple to the punch by releasing a multi-touch PC tablet – that’s the nature of competition. But right now, Apple is not in danger of losing ground – not by a long shot. They have both multi-touch software and hardware R&D under one roof. Unless tragedy strikes, they will continue to be in the lead of multi-touch computing. The iPad only serves to raise Apple’s profile in this area, and it serves to provide Apple with vital feedback from users of multi-touch devices beyond the texting and tweeting experience. (The Brushes application comes to mind.) The iPad’s form factor does not equal just a bigger iTouch/iPhone, it really represents the gateway to true all-purpose multi-touch tablet computing. Any company that gets there first had better have done it right. Otherwise, there would be practically no hope for recovery. It’s my guess that Apple wants to their first Mac-multi-touch tablet to be more than just done right — Apple wants it to be revolutionary. Truly revolutionary. And that’s why they’re taking their time with it.

    At least that’s what I think and feel about it.

  • Adam


    "I’m also not generally pleased with Apple’s closed environment, but the closed-ness of the system does one thing that open source and independent 3rd party developers can’t do: it drives down the cost of hardware and makes the hardware and any software written for it accessible to exponentially more people."

    Please elaborate on that statement. I don't think it's true. If the closed environment drives down cost so much why are Macs so much more expensive than PCs? And how does it make software "accessible to exponentially more people?" That doesn't make any sense! If software is free, and open source you can share it with anyone and have it ported to virtually any platform you want, assuming that platform doesn't have an app "store" that dictates what software can or can't be shared.

  • cobalt

    The only problem Jazz Mutant has is the justification for its hardware platform. But there are so many benefits to selling software that I don't know why they would bother producing hardware. But, if there is some application where different hardware would be beneficial, then there might be a market for it. However, the current Lemur hardware is definitely out. It's simply not competitive, and sticking with it at this point amounts to missing out on the most software sales and the most exposure a company like Jazz Mutant could really get right now.

  • I was there with a DefectiveByDesign.org group today letting people outside the event know about all of these issues — especially the use of DRM to prevent users from installing software from anywhere else besides Apple, and Apple's claim that users who want control over their own devices are doing something illegal (by breaking the DRM). For pics and a petition to sign, see: http://www.defectivebydesign.org/blog/apple-ipad-

  • dx3

    this is crap . ill take a laptop with a battery i can remove. or solar panel????

    more shit for a landfill.

  • I read the ipad will run iwork (keynote, pages, numbers) own version, so I'm sure will not be long we see Apple coverting all their tools including maybe Logic pro, garage band running over a more advanced Mac Ipad. When that happens other companies like ableton will jump into this.

    BTW – what is the graphics tech behind the ipad?. I don't see either Nvidia or ATI.

  • I am afraid both Windows and, especially, Linux had more than enough time to forge a really high standard user experience. And what happened? Microsoft scrambled to battle security issues while caring more about their legacy than their future, and the Linux community can't stop forking projects from one another. In the meantime Apple is the only company that simplifies things even at the highest cost possible, and is not afraid to venture into markets that tap into pop culture.

    Pop culture dictates we consume content. Apple must be out of their minds not to tap into that. Microsoft would do just the same, only they are too scared they never get things right from the start.

    So I am very sorry for all Linux (and MS) folk. The iPad is a closed device simply because the software community didn't lift a finger high enough to make openness really count. "It just works" won. Live with it.

  • erf

    bliss pretty much hit the nail on the head. Well said.

  • cobalt

    @Adam: I wish I had seen your comment earlier. What I meant was, mass production and mass consumption drive down the cost of hardware. Part of the way Apple can sell millions of a brand new form factor is by relying on its pre-existing, closed software and content distribution model. The iPad is the third device that participates in the same iPhone OS ecosystem, which brings in millions of potential users. All of the media content and e-books which likewise make the iPad viable are based on a closed, protected ecosystem. Because of the means by which Apple profits from its closed system, they feel justified in making millions of units and offering them at what amounts to a pretty cost of entry.

    IMO, Macs are more expensive than PCs because they can be, and they're not new form factors requiring a new UI and software ecosystem. They're just computers, and they aren't part of a closed system — i.e., Apple doesn't profit from every transaction involving software and paid content on their computers, they merely have a portal (the iTunes Store) which is in competition with other portals, so to speak.

    I think for the most part, the open system is only possible after the closed system is in place, because of the cost of hardware development, mass production, and so forth. Open source is good at cannibalizing older hardware and parts of manufacturing processes associated with closed, profitable systems. Now, one can hope that the result of the iPad release is a massive drop in the cost of 10" capacitative multitouch touchscreen technology. I think that will certainly happen to some degree.

  • After all is said and done, we have to wait to GET the product to actually see what's possible.

    If you remember some people, mostly Apple, said the iPhone couldn't be hacked. Today we have 2 versions readily available for Mac users to Jailbreak their iPhones and at least 1 option on Windows… So, I'm pretty sure you could do a damn lot on this thing giving people enough time to figure it out.

    It's a shame they didn't make some sort of tablet with nice USB/Firewire ports or ANY ports. That doesn't mean it'll be mostly useless.

    And at $499, it's basically a huge iPhone and if you get an iPhone without the "plan" then you're paying almost exactly that much. So, it IS a killer price point and I'm sure will sell like crazy to all types of people given time.

  • decibel120

    I'm happy with it.

    If you really want a tablet Mac, buy a Modbook!

  • erf


    the cost goes down because:

    1) Content providers see a secure system, so they provide content for it. This drives potential sales, which allows greater volume in manufacturing, which drives down cost.

    2) Apple only has to support one configuration. Developing for countless hardware possibilities drives up development costs significantly, as well as adding bloat to the system, necessitating faster hardware to deliver the target experience which also drives up the cost.

    Sites like to tear down Apple products and remark at the cost of materials being significantly less than retail, but that's only a sliver of the real cost of developing a product like this.

    Now as to why Macs cost so much (versus the iPad), it's because that's the price people are willing to pay for them. If dropping the price of Macs in half would increase sales enough to make more money, that's what Apple would do, but it doesn't, so they don't.

  • simple solution – don't buy it

    time to strengthen ties with computer engineers and linux heads ^^

  • Tom

    @pk While yes it is closed software so yes it'll hopefully be a bug free as possible, but if there are issues as there always are when you release a piece of software then it's hard to quickly roll out updates. I'm just saying i would like to be able to rapidly develop software.

    @vanceg I'm not trying to damper people's reason to buy it. I'm just trying to put it in perspective. One size doesn't fit all with music development/creation so go where you want to. That's more or less what this blog revolves around.

  • decibel120

    I think the biggest ball drop was not having the forward facing camera…. Not computer music related, but still vital.

  • six.fingered.chyld

    what was everyone expecting…?? really??

    apple??? ipod? itunes??? no one saw this 'exclusive vip persons club only' proprietary rubbish coming from a universe away? I don't feel bad for apple enthusiasts complaining about pricing or capabilities at all, you can afford it anyways…right???

    long live open source communities!!! PC sexy brokeass for life!!!

  • I don't really see why everyone is complaining, it's so early in the process of development,apple has already quietly announced an sd card reader for it as well as something with a camera symbol for the 30-pin connector. If you want a lemur, touchOSC will work out of the box and there's nothing saying a company like Cycling 74 won't port Max to it or some other form of modular language that would be perfect on this device.

    And honestly i give it one month after its release before someone has it hacked six ways from sunday, like anyhting from apple, the first iteration is always only inclusive of the most robust and stable parts (so no camera, external connectivity ports), but whos to say that the future models wont have a camera (think how long it took the ipod to get one).

    The best part is the 30-pin connector, which can be hacked in so many ways and has been around forever.

    Apple FTW, if you want a workstation by a computer, not a mobile internet device.

  • PK

    @Tom – I don't disagree at all that Apple's approval process adds a frightening and unpredictable delay between completing a release candidate and actual approval. . . but the few iPhone apps I currently use seem to have no problem getting out updates in a reasonably timely fashion. Personally, I just think the fact that all people using your app on iPad are guaranteed to pay have paid the price you set (rather than pirate it) outweighs the delay in update releases.

  • PK

    @Gavin@FAW – agreed – thank you for touching on the point I was trying to make in a much more concise and eloquent fashion.

  • @domtak

    @bliss & @george – bang on.

    It's a test for a longer term future potential – this is surely obvious? And yes, Microsoft and Linux have had enough time – and unfortunately their own problems to get even close to a product as simple as this.

    So while you all whine, I'll be making the most of innovative apps which hook up into my existing system over (fast) wifi and give me tons of options.

    I mean come on – I paid £400 for an APC40 – this thing could easily emulate a similar device and be cheaper.

    I'm in.

  • I used Mac's pretty much exclusively for about 12 years. . . And switched back to Windows six years ago. Windows is ironically a more open system and a better platform for open source software applications that run native (don't require X). I like the wide choice of hardware and the ability to make or repair a system. I am also running Ubuntu on a desktop and a Toshiba laptop.

  • James

    Nothing Apple can do will destroy the Linux community or undermine the fact that the it has become self-sustaining. Sure we don't have the cachet of Apple or the market share of Microsoft, but so long as we stick to our principles of freedom for both end users and developers, we can provide a viable alternative for those who prefer freedom over convenience.

  • @domtak

    Me again.

    I, like @Morris, was considering the concept / hype version of this for my Dad. Since seeing the presentation my mind is still the same – it would be perfect what what he needs to do – mainly surf the web and email.

    What I like most is I won't be "Mr. Tech Support" as unlike a netbook / laptop – he won't get lost / confused / a virus / break the damn thing.

    Did I say I'm in already?

  • Peter I am with you ALL THE WAY. Good write tup.

    I was expecting a tablet, too. In fact I even had the audacity to expect a stylus.. and USB or Firewire connectivity.

    Seems to me the "iPad" is yet another consumer gizmo that will not advance the arts whatsoever in my estimation. Apple's way of thanking the digital arts community for all its support over the years, I guess. Pish.

    With a slightly different approach this thing could have been a control surface, a graphics tablet, and a steak dinner.. or so it seems to me.

    Lest there be any doubt, just watch the video I posted to my site. Pure M$-style CHEESE. A new low for Apple IMO


  • I'm not trying to be a jackass here but can anybody point me to some great music that has been done with open source? I mean something with actual emotion and that is compelling? When I hear music where they make a point of pointing out it was made with open source stuff (or max/msp for that matter) it is either one of the million variants of techno or only interesting on an academic level but falls short as an artistic piece of music. I'm happy to be wrong here and will gladly take suggestions. I'm honestly not trying to start a flame war.

    I'm content to have a stable, 'boring' piece of mass produced software that allows me to write, record and perform music without having to have a PHD in computer science in order to use.

    The iPad will be of great value to me when there is some version of Logic that can run on it and a (musical) keyboard that I can attach to it. Until then I just want one, I don't need it.

  • If you want a tablet not based on the proprietary Apple model and with a real OS, look at what some of the other manufacturers are doing in this space. Why does it have to be Apple?? The good thing that Apple is doing is opening up a new category of device. There will be many viable alternatives, some that will likely even run MacOS.

  • KennyK

    The Apple video is verging on MS marketing cheese, but listen to what Ives says at the end if you can stick it that long, if not…

    "this defines our vision, our sense of what's next"

    So all those expecting more – be patient… bigger things will come…

  • leslie

    With much larger screen than iPhone and much more processing power to boot, I can see some serious music software coming to iPad near you soon. Ableton, Steinberg, Props… who knows. Regardless, I think Apple has yet another winner. Will be buying one for sure…

  • I am not an apple fanboy and stilllook forward to replacing my iphone with a nexus one at some point, but the ipad at $500 is gonna mess with a whole bunch of companies stock prices inthe nextfew months. sorry, but as much as apples business practices bug me, they have been on fire lately. open source/closed dev?! OSS has to lay it down properly. i have yet to see (before the nexus one and its not completely open) any open hardware/software/app combo that can touch what apple has churned out. if/when i do, i will seriously investigate its usefulness to me but my prediction; this thing, at that price is going to be the must have toy of 2010! and i believe the wifi+3g low end model will be the most popular. hell…i rarely talk to anyone that isnt on skype anyway.

    since acquiring my iphone lastyear, ihave found its shortcomings wildly irritating, but its strengths are enough to keep mefrom tossing it out a window and i bet this will represenst the same psychological compromise.

  • Adam


    Thanks for clarifying your comments. That argument makes more sense to me. However, I'm still not sure I agree. If what your saying is true wouldn't it apply to other electronic media devices to? Take Bluray players for example. Although Sony developed this technology you aren't forced to buy a Sony Bluray player that has a proprietary output that only connects to Sony TV sets and only plays Bluray discs that are manufactured by Sony. The early players were pretty expensive but the cost has come down rather quickly without any sort of tightly closed ecosystem in place.

  • Ryan

    Don't forget people currently pay up to $500 or more for MIDI or OSC controllers (APC's, monomes) – with the right app(s), this could be a worthy and versatile replacement. Not only would it undercut the lemur in price and bang for buck, but the monome as well. Pair it with a Mac Mini wirelessly, transmit OSC to your monome apps – fantastic live solution. Not to mention its usefulness outside of music production. I'll pick one up as soon as I see these apps start to appear.

  • Hey! Cliché!

    Seriously, are you going to say that Android doesn't have multitouch because of Apple? I guess Palm, HTC, Microsoft, Dell and a million other companies didn't get the memo. Get over it.

  • Adam

    @ erf

    What do you mean by a "secure system?" Are you saying that a locked up system such as the iPhone or iPad is more secure in the sense that it's not vulnerable to malicious attacks, or do you mean it's secure in the sense that's it's going to stick around for a while, or what?

  • Max

    If you have problems with the iphone the app store policy, your opinion of apple won't improve by buying a bigger iphone.

  • Paul Norheim

    I agree with Peter's general views in this post.

    However, the iPad actually comes with a USB ADAPTER – apparently intended to transfer photos from a camera. The big question is whether this also can be used to connect audio interfaces etc.

    Apple works with Apogee – so the Apogee One audio interface could PERHAPS be an option. With a USB hub, perhaps it could be possible (now, or in a future version) to connect the Apogee One and – say, a MIDI keyboard. (or a USB audio interface with a guitar/mic input.)

    That would actually be great – especially with USB 3.0 in the near future.

  • @Paul: point taken.

    Of course, with any of these areas that remain question marks, that means it remains to be seen what the competition may offer in the meantime.

    This does still leave questions about device support on at least one other platform, however – Android. Google has an opportunity, especially with the Linux kernel already baked in, to offer better video out and hardware support. But they haven't done it yet, and until they do, I think that counts as a demerit with them, too, especially now that their OS is appearing on devices similar to the iPad.

  • Roger

    I have no problem with the iPad. I am surprised be the amount of people who seem to think Apple should create super niche open source Linux boxes when other vendors and Linux already exist. I think the potential iPad customer does not want chaos they want order even if they themselves do not know it. There are tweaker s and then there are simply average users and they should not be confused for one another. The iPad is certainly not the every-box but that is the point it is what its not that make the platform work so well. As far as open I do not see any reason new developers can not create super glitch Lemur like apps for the app store as I see no one stopping them. I for one would like to try Jatsuto on the iPad after all it runs all iPhone apps so that seems pretty cool to me. I think Linux is great too hear hear Ardour (and many others) but I am in no way a Linux or command line guy and the experience is admittedly not the same nor is it intended to be. It is ok for anyone to have their own opinion but I do think Expectations are pretty high for a product that has been released for about 6 hours and not actually touched yet. In my personnel opinion I think it is about as open as it needs to be for the type of market it is intended for. So some may view that as closed but no open system has so far proved to do a better job and still no one is stopping them from trying so c,mon open source bring it! I mean competition is good and healthy right?

  • Geoff Smith

    It looks great to me.

    I am glad its a closed system, it means it will work 🙂 and that only things which are good enough to be well written will be available hopefully creating a really stable platform to begin with and a solid foundation.

    Things will open up more gradually with time that much I am sure of.

    It will be cool to have apps like beatmaker and all of the millions of step seq apps on the ipad, that were basically overly limited by the iphone small size.

    Anyone who can write a good music app will probably get it released on the ipad. Wouldn't it be cool if Akai released an ipad mpc for fifty quid :).

    This is a time to rejoice 🙂 at last a cheap touchscreen thats gonna have loads of music apps on it!!!


  • Alex

    To be honest this article seems a bit sour to me. I'm all for open source, every piece of music I have ever written as been released under Creative Commons and every piece of software I write is GPLed. Three points though.

    1. The iPad will be cracked, as the supposedly uncrackable iPhone was before it, and people will be jail breaking their iPads to run whatever crazy software they like faster than you can say "worked out the SDK". After a while, people will be running anything they fancy on it, including running Linux or Mac OS X proper (certainly possible, though slow given the processor speed), and doing all kinds of creative things.

    2. Apple have never been an open company as you describe. Sure, they have contributed bits and pieces here and there to open source projects, Webkit and Darwin being the biggest things I can think of, which is great, but at the same time they keep their most important products closed down, and they always have and will. This is bad, but it is the way it works for them.

    3. People will develop great music creation apps even in the closed eco-system as they have done already with the iPhone. By the way, I presume that TouchOSC runs out of the box on the iPad and the developer can extend it, some tools are already out there.. .http://hexler.net/software/touchosc

    4. Overall, I touchscreen sub $500 music controller, which this device will be despite everything, is wonderful news for anyone interested in a cut price version of something like the Jazz Mutant Lemur. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Ableton or even Jazz Mutant aren't already thinking this. And when it arrives we will all love it.

  • What Apple are doing is clear. A baby step into a largely unproven market of ebooks and satisfying the hunger for the tablet hungry market. You have to realize that they develop products and release them 2 or even 5 years after initial scoping is done. So the product you saw released today in actual fact already has a second generation brother device somewhere on the apple campus.

    I have no doubt that there is an osx version of this already prototyped and testing. Remember that these iPad devices were reported as showing up on test networks over 12 months ago.

    I'm not worried, there will be an osx version in September I bet you. The strategy if thus also allows Apple to prepare the laptop range to face a rival in it's own brand. I love my MacBook pro, but would rather a tablet to go with my iMac.

    My business partner and I see that laptop makers and phone networks should have joined a long time ago in selling laptops with unbuilt 3g connectivity. This my friends is the day that proves us right- Apple got it.

  • Freddy

    @Peter and everyone else with complaining arguments about the iPad.

    You are missing the whole point:

    iPad is not a computer, at least not as we know them, period. It's a new product based on the success of the iphone, iPhone is not a computer neither.

    It's as simple as going to apple's website and read the ads, it says device, not computer… as hard as it sounds if you want a tablet computer, look somewhere else.

    With that clarified and out of the way, I find it pretty good for casual stuff, things that won't take more than a few minutes and easier to carry on with than in a laptop or desktop.

    keyword: leisure Device!

    still, I'd love to see Apple coming with a tablet computer, open for anybody to do serious things as we do now on laptops. 😉

  • gavin

    I'm wondering why you don't think the market COULD split?

    If you remove the need for everyday consumers to be able to understand the product, it seems to me that there would be a possibility to make systems that are *more* open than they currently are.

    It might mean we don't get as much of a price benefit from mass-production (and you might not be able to get an apple logo attached to it), but I'm sure there would still be enough people to make a significant market.

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  • Adam


    "Don’t really understand the point of comparing the iPad with a Mac."

    I think that the point for digital musicians is that it's useful to have a device that can easily integrate with the hardware/software that's already out there. If the iPad was more like a netbook version of the Mac that runs Mac OS X and had ports like a mac it would be easy to use the existing software/hardware that is already in use on that platform. Since it's more like an iPhone new software will have to be developed or existing software will need to be ported to it, with the additional hurdle of an app store that can veto anything they don't like.

  • real

    couldn't get through all of the comments but i would say this:

    what is being asked of apple is a little bit much. remember that at the end of the day this thing sells for the same price as the kindle dx and does much more.

    there is a reason it is built this way and as a user of both mac and pc products i understand. i love my iphone and would not want a hackable phone and i'm not sure hackability would be the first thing i would ask for in a tablet. it will come to us in a few years but keep in mind hackability will help us on this blog but does not serve the purposes of the other millions of users this is built for. also the price point is really cheap if u think about what u r getting. yes they screw us with expensive software/upgrades/etc but if it were that easy to create a hackable quality tablet i think someone else would have made one by now.

    in this new category of tablets, the iPad is the best thing we have seen by far. and ultimately it's functionality, battery life, and consistency should triumph hackability, esp in the first version.

  • real

    oh btw i would love a better OS and be able to run ableton, logic, etc. but considering this is to be a portable device i think the battery would be crushed.

    i would be shocked if developers are unable to create multitouch software for this that allows it to work as a controller for other computers

  • cobalt

    @Adam: I'm not sure I follow your reasoning with the Sony BluRay reference, nor do I have enough knowledge to be sure how to respond exactly. The entire industry did try to push for HDCP to limit video piracy and have been lobbying very actively to get a legally mandated, copy protected hardware standard in place for all consumer video electronics.

    But getting to BR, it is a closed environment. The ability to encode and decode BR discs is technology that Sony owns, so everyone who makes a BR player gives Sony some money, while the ability to produce commercial-quality BR discs is also no doubt dominated by Sony hardware and software. Every sale of a software application that allows users to watch commercial BR discs on a computer pays some of the cost to Sony.

    Closed and open are relative terms. The Apple iPhone OS system isn't of course completely closed, since anyone can submit an application for consideration. What matters is that it is heavily managed, with the endpoint of making money and distributing content more efficiently than previous models, benefiting Apple, consumers, and software developers. It is, however, a higher-maintenance model.

    What is really lacking in independent development is a huge profit motive. On the other hand, there are two ways to benefit from the iPad. The first is to really build standards that can be used with the iPad or with any multitouch touchscreen computer or device; that means an architecture within which networked computers interact with a common or interrelated set of data simultaneously, not limited to the master-slave structure already in place in MIDI and sequencers. The second is to work on a completely new multitouch touchscreen OS, optimized for AV control and processing, and to standardize it around a piece of hardware — like Indamixx has done. Open source has to use whatever hardware is available. Apple makes both hardware and software. There's no way to directly address Apple from the open source standpoint; you can only hope to benefit from it in some indirect way.

  • heinrichz

    Regardless ..I would love to run a lite version of Ableton on a multitouch screen as a scratchpad on the go. mobility is of the essence. Also this thing seems to have a pretty good battery live. It's going to make computing and web apps more ubiquitous of course..this was never meant to be the place for openess..at least not as long as we have this form of corporate rule/capitalism.

  • Waah

    @ Alex

    You took the words out of my mouth.

    Sorry but Peter sounds pretty closed minded for someone who is all about open standards. Guess what, you can download the SDK and start writing your own or porting open source software to the iPad. List it on the app store for FREE. There are SO many handy music apps already running on iPhones and touches and there will only be more with the iPad. Certainly all the great touch screen synths and OSC capable apps that are already out there will be even better on a large screen. Also, for music education this could be huge. Kids playing touchscreen pianos while the score is being generated on the same screen, then sending the score to their friends! Virtual turntables, mixers, Novation automap, etc. etc. Stop hating and start coding. In 10 years, people will ask what's a laptop.

  • velocipede


    High expectations are usually dashed.

    I just wanted a bigger iPod touch and I got it!

    I hardly think that this is the end of Linux, open hardware and soldering irons for the devoted. Maybe we should stop expecting Apple to be "open" because its philosophy has clearly not been oriented that way for a while.

    Speaking of dashed expectations, now it's time for the other big presentation of the day…

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  • griotspeak

    @waah, list it for free…ok…but remember this:

    THIS is the complaint. 'someone' has keys to the gate and decides if you get in. free or not.

    one can hope that they become 'more open,' but there is a bouncer at the door who you have to get past.

  • Even if it's a closed proprietary platform, I imagine there are going to be a lot a nifty musical apps for this thing that exceeds what is currently available for the iphone. Besides the potential of being a mini-lemur, this thing might make for a great Korg Kaossicaltor clone, and perhaps even exceed it. Too early to say.

  • deamras

    the best way to to use this "Ipad" will be to unlock-hack it and install Android there

  • vanceg

    @Tom: Yeas – The fact that all the software offerings will have to go through the itunes store approval process really does put a damper on my enthusiasm and hope…. But for MY limited uses of a multi-touch surface, if I could just have a larger Touch OSC interface with perhaps a few new UI objects, I’d be thrilled. And I have great faith that at LEAST this will be coming in the not-too-distant future.

  • OSCulator is the key that you are searching…

    To me this ipad is a deception… and the best scenario for my own develops!

    Larga Vida al DIY!

  • Daniel

    “As for point #2, and perhaps no fault of Apple’s, it’s apparent that multi-touch gestures are now missing in prominent platforms like the Android because of fear of litigation.”

    Palm had to whip out its patent arsenal to get Apple to back down when it was made known that WebOS was not only using multi-touch gestures (pinch zoom in particular), but the elastic scrolling list style.

    Granted it was a bit easier for Palm to do since they control both software and hardware when it comes to WebOS. Even if Google had the patent portfolio to keep Apple at bay, they would have had a hard time finding hardware manufacturers that would pick up a phone OS that had a dubious legal status and the threat of an Apple lawsuit.

  • Jason

    @Peter: I yearn for an actual full-blown tablet computer from Apple as well (or even Google at this point, NexusPad?) but I must say I have also yearned for a larger iTouch for reading, surfing, email (like many of you, probably 95% of my reading the past few years has been on my desktop or laptop).

    Sure, Apple has slick and dominant iTunes stores but I've yet to buy much media on there except some App store apps. And yet iTunes has remained open enough to allow me to put ANY of my music, videos from other sources onto my iPhone. I read books with the Stanza app (free) that allows me to sync directly from their app and import almost any format. iBooks will use the 'open' ePub format so I can't imagine you won't be able to support independent authors and purchase books elsewhere – either in that format or convert with a free utility before dragging to iTunes.

    On the music end of things, I've been having a ball with TouchOSC and with a larger interface can't see why Ableton,Lemur, etc couldn't also develop an app.

    @Synthwerks (way back up there): I've been using JaaduVNC to screen share my macs from anywhere in the world, and it is totally awesome!

  • Omar

    I know they will sell alot of these, which will make it a great marketing test for a REAL Mac tablet. Still, making an app w/ that much real estate could be some controller fun.

  • Casey James Basichis

    I was so hoping to glue a fine leather watch strap to this and be the first Dick Tracy on the block.

    No camera?

    I agree with your point Peter. I think in time this product will take on significance greater than computing especially when the specs and features are so long out of date it no longer matters (who complains that you can't play games on the first gen iPod?)

    I'm more worried about everyone eagerness in turning Apple into an absolute communications monopoly… Who will be running the company in 10 years? What will they do with the power of influence that now extends to every facet of communication…

    Why are we all so excited about being empty dancing shadows?

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  • 7oi

    Well, I agree with Peter all the way on this. I mean, sure this thing is good for recreation so you can free your “real” workstation of webbrowsing/games/movies/etc. and use it for real work. That’s the only good point of the iPad. Maybe some useful apps will also get through the strict apple store, who knows?
    It looks pretty, seems very handy and is probably the biggest thing to happen to the industry of entertainment devices in a long time.
    …but it’s nothing more than an entertainment device.
    I knew we couldn’t expect anything more than that, therefor I’m not very disappointed.

  • Captain Howdy

    It was obvious from the start, that if Apple was building a Tablet device, that it would pretty much be and iPod Touch in a larger form factor.

    Why should this have been obvious?

    Simple… greedy corporate arithmetic. And make no mistake about it, Steve Jobs is not the second coming of Christ, as many of you mistakedly seem to think, he's a greedy corporatist just like the rest of them.

    The logic is as follows, with an open computer system, the user is free to install software from any vendor he chooses. With a closed system, such as the iPod/iPad, the user must make purchases through the Apple store as a gateway. Using this mechanism, allows Apple to levy a 30% tax on all software purchased from their store. I'm sure he and Bill Gates are kicking themselves in head for not having more influence over the implementation of such closed hardware systems in the past. The advent of Smart Phones, and the willingness of users to adopt such closed system merely served as a fortuitous conditioning process and a proving ground to pave the way for devices such as the iPad.

    Why do you think this thing doesn't have USB or Memory Card slots on it? They want communication and installation to be as difficult as possible for the average user.

    This is obviously Steve Jobs vision of the future. A sure way to maximize profits and stifle innovation. And in a world, where deranged corporate executives are of the insane opinion that infinite growth is possible (in a finite world) and if more profits aren't made each year, you are considered a failure, this is the sort of logic that you end up with.

    Just wait 'till your Laptops and Desktops evolve into becoming similarly closed systems.

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  • PK

    @Peter's post update: Thank you for the further insights/elaborations. I have a better understanding now of exactly which point in history you were referencing when you made the comment that many of us (incorrectly) reduced to "Macs are more open than Windows machines, and only now is that starting to change".

    Regarding the paragraph beginning "Again we're revisiting the question of what 'consumers' need":

    1. Obviously, a reduction in physical hardware features (i.e. expansion ports, and user-upgradable hard drives) doesn't have the same direct relationship to a reduction in actual customer functionality (the ability to print documents and store a specific number of files) that it did in the 80s and 90s. The iPad (for example) is a WiFi device, so printing docs and accessing files stored online is still in-play in many contexts despite the the lack of expansion ports.

    2. Also, hardware features (again, not functionality, but physical features) cost money. Adding USB ports increases the manufacturing cost, the software development time/cost, and adds one more thing to the device that may initiate a warranty repair or customer return. . . all of which eat away at the profitability of the device and ultimately drive a retail price increase. In 1987, when a Mac II cost $5K with monitor and peripherals ($10K in adjusted dollars) a few extra ports jacking the price another 2 to 10% wasn't likely to be a deal breaker for the buyer choosing between a Mac II and a new car. . . but for a device that costs %5 of what the Mac II did and needs to sell in much higher volumes to much more casual users to be a justifiable business venture, customer price sensitivity a much bigger factor. I'm not saying that I know the exact customer demographics for any Apple product ever, just that price sensitivity increases the further "down market" you go as a general retail rule.

    In the age of WiFi-enabled everything, online file storage, and the general cloud computing zeitgeist (and yes, I know iPad/iPhone is fundamentally anti-SAAS but still. . ), I don't think there are that many parallels that can be drawn between the increase in hardware openness that kept yesterday's Apple (the personal computer company who was only successful designing and manufacturing Macs) profitable and what keep today's Apple (the Consumer Electronics manufacturer and retailer and media distributor who also happens to make and sell Macs) viable into the coming decades.

    Apple has been gambling that what these "demanding" and "non-technophobic" users of 2010 want is a simple, attractive, and consistent user experience first and foremost. . . even if it's at the expense of certain functionality. . . and so far they seem to be right. I mean, the iPhone went a year without copy/paste and was still a huge hit. Techie people like iPhone, non-techie people like it, my 85 year old grandfather loves his.

    I'm confident that the awesome audio/video content creation tools and communities will be even better served ten years from now than they are today, regardless of what Apple or any corporation trying to compete with them does. . . and if for some reason this absolutely unprecedented embarrassment of riches in new music and AV tools stops pouring in. . . it means we that either we all, collectively, stopped being worth the time and money to cater to or that free enterprise itself has come to a screeching halt. . . . and let's be honest, we'd all just take up guitar if that happened anyway. Life goes on. 😉

  • if i can use it to read all the pdf manuals i have of vsts and god knows what else in a honest to goodness paper formatted way, like i had the damm manuals….

    ONE handed – while having a shit (i think i read my entire yamaha a3000 sampler manual there – and most issues of sound on sound and wired uk)

    then (after washin hands and i imagine it gettin jiggy with ma macbook via bluetooth)

    the damm thing joins in as its own lemur kinda controller device with ma faderfox,launchpad and microkontrol

    i'm SOLD. take me to that party please 🙂

  • seattlestylin

    heh, while everyone is complaining…. dont you think the women will be a little excited about this new "ipad"?


    seriously, i'm just sayin.

    way to pic the worst name possible Steve…

  • Polite

    I don't even really see the point of this device. It's effectively a iPod touch for people with bad eyesight?

  • Since bluetooth is supported doesn't that mean that you could potentially connect existing USB controllers via a bluetooth adaptor? I don't know if there's something in the SDK that makes bluetooth not work, but if it does, it seems like you could still jam on building new hardware.

  • I was thinking how ass-backwards Apple has approached this item. Usually a company would release something big and clunky, then eventually release a smaller, sleeker version. Apple has done the opposite by releasing a bigger versions of something I can already carry around in my pocket. This was way over-hyped!

    Secondly, if I hear those guys from Apple tell me that this turkey was magical one more time, I think I'm going to scream. I'd like to see a commercial for a loaf of bread done in the same style as those Apple commercials. Those guys could turn a kaiser roll into something to be lusted after by the world!

    Finally, I found it enormously amusing that a great deal of time was spent with the tablet in one hand while the other hand was used to operate the device. I'd love to see how everyone's face when they try to type something with this device on their laps and all it's going to do is slide around.

    It's no mystery why they had a big comfy chair on stage for Jobs and others to sit in. I can't imaging trying to use this device while reclining in bed or on a couch. Sorry, but I just can't imagine how this is going to work out. Of course I've been wrong before…

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  • Captain Howdy

    Yeah, calling it "magical" is nauseating to say the least. Must be all the acid that Jobs did in the 70's.

    And saying that the price is unbelievable when in fact they have finally released something that is comparable to competing a device, such as the JooJoo, is laughable. I guess it took a worldwide economic depression to get Apple to exhibit sanity regarding it's product pricing.

  • dustinw

    @Colbalt: "Part of the way Apple can sell millions of a brand new form factor is by relying on its pre-existing, closed software and content distribution model." — Apple is becoming a clear monopoly. It's going to have to loosen up it's grip or it's Multimedia distribution will have to be broken up from it's Device sales.

    From a software and media distribution standpoint Apple's practices are very underhanded.

    Having said that, It's such a great price point that, even with only the existing iPhone music apps, it'll be hard to resist purchasing one. I do wish there was some way to hook up a keyboard controller … support for class compliant usb devices (midi, audio, mass storage) would have made this device irresistible to me.

  • Evan


    I seriously doubt osx proper will ever be on the pad without something actually illegal happening, not just 'jailbreaking' it. The processor architecture on the pad is most likely much closer to the previous powerpc architectures and is almost definitely not x86. PA Semi, the company apple bought and also made the A4, was originally a powerarc processor manufacturer, so assuming that the A4 is akin to powerpc is probably a safe bet. So there would have to be an actual internal build for the ipad of osx, and that build would have to be leaked. Either that or the entire osx sources would have to be leaked and then rebuilt for the pad. I doubt either one is going to happen so I dont think real osx would ever be on it.

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  • meta

    the problem with this iPad is the same problem the Lemur has: it is unable to output MIDI straight to a piece of external hardware like a synth or a drum machine. you need a second computer to receive/interpret the signals & pass them along to your external gear.

    i really wished Apple had put a USB port or two on this thing. i had dreams of just pluging a USB to MIDI cable straight out of this into a Nord. No WIFI, no Bluetooth, no TouchOSC. there would be a desktop app like the Lemur has where you can create your interface (place your knobs and sliders on the screen and set what MIDI messages they transmit). when you're done, just upload it to the iPad and go. when i'm playing live i don't want to be worrying about wireless connections to external gear when a simple MIDI cable will do fine.

    am i the only one who wants something like this?

    as it stands now, in order for this to happen someone will have to come up a with a MIDI in/out cable that connects to that proprietary Apple dock port & then write an app to communicate with it and handle the MIDI. i don't know how feasible that would be.

  • David

    Will Apple hurry up and make some really bad decisions so we can get rid of em. I liked apple up until about six years ago when they started doing stuff like you see today. This gives someone a chance to swoop it from under them, and I think that's a good thing.

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  • I think this article really doesn't have enough critique here that makes sense to me. It wasn't made to be a Mac, it was made to be an iPad and the whole USB issue that people are complaining about can be solved by buying an Apple connector. I'm no tech genius but I know this iPad (even though the name sounds silly) is a very revolutionary device and if you're complaining you cant use it as a hard drive, buy one! That's not it's purpose.

    It has a closed platform because they probably know what they want and how they want it to work so making it open like that can just diminish the whole purpose. I totally agree, it was over hyped but the 'points' made in this article really don't make sense to me. It's an awesome device with a very sleek design and you either hate it or love it. Apple just has a very smart way of making their money by making being very specific with their products.

    I'm a Mac user and I approve of this message!


  • And one more thing. it's just another device, it can't have everything you want, if you think it's so disappointing, go make your own device that has all the tech specs you want

  • Paul Norheim

    As I mentioned in a comment above, there is a small USB adapter in the box, intended to transfer photos and video from cameras, according to Apple. We don't know for sure yet, but I can't see why Apple should have ANY reason to limit this USB connection to transfer jpeg or RAW pictures and different video formats. Why not MIDI Keyboards? Why not USB audio interfaces, etc, etc…

    We don't know yet, but I'm optimistic: If these gadgets are supposed to compete with netbooks, Apple can't be so tactically stupid as to not allow the USB adaptor to work like any other USB connector, i.e. for MIDI transfer, Audio etc.etc.

    So I would suggest that we just wait until we get more detailed info on this, instead of wasting more time and e-ink complaining about the absence of a connection that actually may be in the box, fully functional.

  • After all the speculation and mystery, the rampant hype fueled by the desire for a new realm of man machine interface, Apple throws back the curtain and reveals this curious creature. While not the revolution many had hoped for, this is exactly what it needed to be. The touch revolution has just begun. Touch interfaces can't just be tacked on to existing software. Desktop software with years of legacy code,shaped by the dominant input control of the keyboard can't transform overnight. Slapping a pair of opposable thumbs on a dolphin won't make him a virtuoso violinist tomorrow. What the app store and apps allow is for the evolution of the form. These mini apps are like single celled organisms, simple, focused creatures that excel at one task. As these apps evolve, they will increase in complexity, building off the best and most successful interface ideas, slowly growing into new, more powerful programs eventually rivalling desktop apps.Until this happens at a large scale, a tablet computer is pointless. The ipad is the missing link in that sense. The increase in power and size allows programmers to start to bridge the gap between the smartphone and the computer.A look at the patents Apple has been awarded show that this is just the beginning. A quick look at the tangled mass of cables in my home studio makes me long for a day when everything is wireless. Novation should hook up the bluetooth or wireless loving. I'm over cables.

  • cobalt

    @ dustinw and meta: There are pluses and minuses when dealing with hardware that is not made primarily for audio and video work. One of the minuses in this case is definitely getting the iPad to work with external hardware. I think the power of the iPad alone is in some ways pretty good: especially with 480p video out, depending on how that function can be used in apps (e.g., if it will only show exactly what is on the iPad screen, or a different video feed entirely, etc.).

    But I view the iPad as being much more powerful with a computer. The computer would have to be interfaced with any existing MIDI equipment, etc. But that's a familiar arrangement. An energyXT like environment on the iPad that works on its own, and that works as a control surface and sequencer for a computer based audio plug-in host with MIDI out, and that synchronizes with a desktop version of the software. Or, perhaps a complete host environment with open standards for developers: plugins, samples, etc. are sold within the app, open to 3rd party development. It's a perfect system within a system, which can be ported to other devices and interact with other computers running the same software. Apple would be completely open to that in the app store, and it would function as well as any more open system, except with more efficient distribution.

    Regarding Peter's update: There may be technical reasons why certain people would need a Lemur, such as accuracy, the ethernet port, etc. But for most people who would want to have a Lemur, the cost of the Lemur is simply prohibitive. It could be a controller that makes you french toast every morning and walks your dog, and it still wouldn't be affordable. In addition, most people who want to play around with the functionality of a multitouch touchscreen controller don't need those theoretical advantages. But a general purpose, internet surfing device for a quarter the price, plus maybe $20 to $100 worth of apps — that is relatively speaking much more affordable, practical, and useful. It's a way of having high end capabilities at a casual hobbyist price. Just like the Wacom Cintiq: many more than 4x as many people would get one if it were 4x cheaper.

    What that means is that if Jazz Mutant is going to continue to make hardware that costs more than $500 – $700, they have to distinguish it in definite, significant ways, or those units are just not going to sell. Even a $500 Lemur would have a hard time selling against the iPad to the average hobbyist. And if their whole software environment is wrapped up in their hardware, Jazz Mutant is going to be even more niche than it is: some professional studios and A/V artists, maybe. More niche than it already is is pretty niche. Teenagers, students, and poor starving artists will be using the iPad and whatever software works. Jazz Mutant can choose to market to the largest audience they've ever had access to, or they can try to stay with the ultra high-end market.

  • Notorious Hanz

    Check out Archos 9 pc table if you want an alternative. It Runs Windows 7. It as an extension ports too

  • matt

    if it does a lemur/launchpad/apc/maschine emulation eventually at a decent price…im all in.

    Plus add the fact that I can share it with my wife or use it to quickly browse and check work email…im all in. for $499

    I was initially disappointed. Yet seeing the trend of MI lately and seeing manufacturers not coming up with novel ideas, this holds some promise for good software developers to get on board right away

  • bliss

    The iPhone is only 2 1/2 years old. Literally. When it was first released it was compared to a computer. Definitely the wrong impression. A major complaint was no SDK. Six months later a SDK was released. Fast forward to today, the writing is on the wall for many newspapers and magazines, Apple is ahead of the pack and is able to answer the call. No other company budged. Many could have, many didn't. Apple's timing couldn't have been better in this regard. (Have a look on YouTube to see what Sports Illustrated has in store for sports fans.)

    “Apple is monopolizing print media.” False alarm. No other computer company bothered to create a market for a multi-touch device; never mind for periodicals. Why the hate?

    First an foremost, the iPad is not a computer. Yet following its launch, that is the #1 complaint on the Web about the device. Folks were hoping the iPad would replace their laptops and desktops. By and large, those folks are folks who read blogs like this one. What about everybody else? If newspapers and other periodicals play it right, sports fans will be the among the first major groups of users to adopt. Huge potential for Apple and publishers there.

    Can sports coaches uses the iPad? Hell yes! Write the apps. Multi-tasking is not needed for playbooks – or designing plays and saving them for use later.

    Computer musicians are spoiled for choice. With all of the talk of openness, I hardly ever hear about any musicians using open source music software. They do talk about it a LOT, but actual use seems a whole lot less. What does this contradiction mean? Near zero technical support, lackluster development, and marginal real interest is my guess. Enough said.

    Amateur photographers will love the iPad. Some professionals will too. Much more convenient to display photos and work with layouts on an iPad than the iTouch/iPhone alternative.

    What about medical uses? Doctors offices, hospitals, the dentist? The iPad will could find use in those environments for some doctors. Hard to imagine a doctor toting a laptop from room to room to see patients. Even more ridiculous is to imagine a doctor using an iPhone/iTouch during patient visits, but what about an iPad? Suddenly the concept makes much more sense.

    Medical software developers have developed for the iPhone/iTouch. Without question they’re going to develop for the iPad.

    There are programs for the iPod/iPhone that helps law school graduates study for the bar. Makes even more sense now with the iPad a couple of months away.

    Again, what about everybody else?

    Apple is the only company developing markets for multi-touch devices and computers. Other companies are now following Apple’s lead, but Apple is the company that is developing the markets. Would there be Android multi-touch devices in the absence of the iPhone? No. The mobile market was in no way, shape, or form expecting the iPhone. Two and a half years later, the iPad is positioned to expand the market for multi-touch. But if one goes by the din created yesterday, one would think the market for multi-touch has been growing for at least five years; that the iPhone/iTouch is old hat. What devices rival the iPhone/iTouch? The iPhone does have competition, but the latest devices haven’t even come close to stealing its thunder. (Notwithstanding software and hardware support issues.) The iTouch only has competition from its siblings.

    Yes, Apple dominates, but since Apple is the one investing in the R&D and developing markets for multi-touch, therefore it should be the one reaping the most benefit. Part of creating that benefit is taking steps to ensure a high level of consumer confidence and customer satisfaction. Given the emergent nature of the market for multi-touch, Apple is setting a standard of user experience that must be set. If not Apple,then who? Multi-touch computing is the next big thing, and Apple’s efforts today are making it possible for tablet computing to be successful tomorrow.

    With all of the negative talk, many have missed the simple elegance of the iPad. Indeed, all some wanted was a bigger iPhone or iTouch. They got their wish. Everybody else has to wait.

  • Miguel Marcos

    Asking for a tablet that'll replace a Mac laptop, even with a lower horsepower than the cheapest MacBook, is like asking Apple to cannibalize their own products. They would be shooting themselves in the foot if they weren't careful about the design of this thing. It is definitely possible to include a regular USB connector and implement full USB connectivity, to open up the platform, etc. But you'll quickly destroy the laptop division and start hurting financially.

    I'm more concerned over the medium- and long-term. Once pads start to get close to laptop power and performance, that's when I'd be concerned about how close the interfaces and platform are. For now, this thing is imperfect yet it's practical and elegant.

  • bliss

    Besides, the U.S. is in a recession. Would the technology to bring a Mac tablet to market will be cheap or relatively inexpensive in this economic environment? Are enough people willing to spend for innovative/revolutionary technology under the current amount of fiscal pressure? Seems unlikely.

  • bliss

    Indeed, the recession is global.

  • Richb

    the Safari team is by far the most active contributor to WebKit

    that's no longer true. The chrome team are on a par with apple contributions and I expect the to overtake as the year progresses.

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  • flxjx

    No standard ports? You won't catch me plugging anything in.

    I'll be using 3G/Wifi for DropBox, YouTube, Google Maps, Skype, Flickr, MobileMe, iTunes… all currently free on iTunes… and bluetooth for my keyboard and mouse.

    Wires and connectors? Even cameras have wifi…

  • James O'Neill

    As a computer consultant for both small business and residential customers, I know that the vast majority of my clients use a mail client, a photo application, a web browser, a word processor, a spreadsheet application (mostly to view by a ratio of at least 5 to1 over preparing one) and some kind of presentation software (again a huge number viewing over preparing presentations).

    Well, guess what. This device fits the needs/desires/wants of probably 90% of my clients. At 500 bucks it will probably fit the wallets of 80% of them for certain. The other 10% will scrimp and save for one. Of the 10% of my clients who require something more, most of them will probably want an iPad anyway, because most of what they do will be covered by this device.

    I think Apple has a winner here.

  • Found this while looking for a Lemur-Alternative:


    600 Euros, but it's a real PC which you can actually install software on and it has multitouch….

  • Paul Norheim

    And one day Steve Jobs descended from the mountain with a tablet, and from the shining

    surface of his tablet a man shouted: "Jobs!" with a loud voice, and Steve saw the man

    and said: "yes?". And the voice shouted: "Jobs!" for the second time, and Steve said:

    "iMagic! iMazing! iHear you, Mr. President!". And the voice shouted: "Jobs!" for the

    third time, and Steve said "iHear and iSee you, Mr. Obama; can you iHear me?" But when

    the voice shouted: "Jobs!" for the fourth time, Steve's bespectacled iFace turned red

    and he said: "iWork, Barack, iWork my iAss off! iTime is iMoney, and if you can't even

    iHear me, I have no iTime for your iChat. Goodbye, Mr President…. huh?…iHate?

    …yeah, iHate the bailout too… iPhone you later… iPromise you too!"

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  • Cheeky

    My friend said to me before the launch "Yes but it's still OS X in the kernel". To that I have to say – no it's bloody not! Especially if I can't run Ableton Live, Max MSP, ProTools, Logic or anything else which I have already purchased (and multitask it). I mean – christ on a bike – I'd have probably bought it if there was GarageBand (iPad edition) downloadable from the app store, which I could use with a basic 2-in 2-out interface from Apogee. I love my iPhone for apps like Bebot, but without a compelling and inexpensive migration route for our current proprietary music formats; I think we'll all be on Linux in no time. And I didn't see myself saying that 12 months ago. Grrrrr.

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  • smokingdiode

    What I really think would be interesting is if Apple make this device able to remote desktop to a mac. It has 802.11n, so doing all the processing on the desktop mac would be possible. Mouse control would be a problem though.

  • Zoom

    Sorry Peter Kirn but your comments about no video out and HD are ridiculous!!!!!!What do you want more for 499usd?Whats the alternative to this product??Do you know any alternative to this product with similar price??I really dont know any at least in the European Market!You are making a bad review of the iPad based on features from a Professional notebook,and this is not a professional notebook.This is a giant Jasuto or Touch OSC,that what it is,and for 499 i think it is a killing product!!!!!

  • Stoky
  • Aaron

    I look forward to easily making fun of anyone that buys this single tasking -iPad-. Thanks Apple!

  • Good points Peter but you have Android. Leave us Apple Fanboys to our fancy slick toys. In this case ignorance IS bliss. Here's my full thoughts on the iPad and a small response to this article: http://www.wiretotheear.com/2010/01/28/my-thought

  • Dave Onions

    It's a massive iPhone, whichever way you spin it.

    Another overpriced bit of tat for people with silly glasses, creative friends and moleskine notebooks to waste their money on.

  • robin parry

    seems this comment's after a sexcam blurt, how appropriate reflecting the tone of the article!!

    i've used macs since i abandoned my atari with logic audio!

    a proprer multi touch interface will promote less mousin' around

    (mouse masterbation) and maybe producing some NEW music

    NOt rehashing somebody else's loops

  • Just a side-note/point of clarification, Adobe is boasting that their upcoming Flash CS5 will be able to develop iPhone apps. Here's some info on that – http://cs5.org/?p=359.

    Fairly surprising, I thought.

  • Pad DRM endangers our rights

    Mr. Jobs,

    DRM will give Apple and their corporate partners the power to disable features, block competing products (especially free software) censor news, and even delete books, videos, or news stories from users' computers without notice– using the device's "always on" network connection.

    This past year, we have seen how human rights and democracy protestors can have the technology they use turned against them. By making a computer where every application is under total, centralized control, Apple is endangering freedom to increase profits.

    Apple can say they will not abuse this power, but their record of App Store rejections and removals gives us no reason to trust them. The iPad's unprecedented use of DRM to control all capabilities of a general purpose computer is a dangerous step backward for computing and for media distribution. We demand that Apple remove all DRM from its devices.


  • About multitasking. I find it curious that so many people are upset that the device doesn't appear to multitask, especially since we want it for musical purposes. I wish there were a way to turn multitasking off when I'm working on music and have all of my computer's power dedicated to the task at hand.

  • Robsol

    So we have an unexpandable, closed platform which will go out of date in not too long. What could be better for business?!

  • PS

    Apple isn't the first to have this 'revolutionary' design to a computer.


    the litl webbook. Check it out.

    I still think their system is more innovative – if not as pretty as apples yet.

    As long as apple didn't want to make us happy, I was hoping that they would at least get something more towards that.

  • Apple can be as closed as they want in terms of "appliance" as long as I can get my data out to move to the next big thing when it arrives, I couldn't care less.

    So far, I can get all my data out of my iMac and my iPhone in ISO standard formats etc, so I'm not really worried.

    The closed nature of Microsoft – eg embedding proprietary executable code into Word documents that could not be reverse engineered until Europe forced them to document the "standard", same with SMB and CIFS and all that makes SAMBA possible – anyway, trapping my data, that is what I consider "closed".

    To learn more about the closed nature of Microsoft and understand their culture, read this book:

  • I think this will be great for musicians!

    First, imagine a multitrack recorder with full-size faders to directly manipulate.

    Next, imagine a sheet music app that allows orchestras to dispense with paper sheet music — just set one of these babies on the music stand. Maybe even have a foot pedal to go to next page or maybe even keyed to coda/segno. I've been imagining that for DECADES, and now there's a device which can make it happen! I'm excited. 😀

  • Sheesh.

    Walter: you can already do all the things you mentioned for cheaper with a windows based tablet, multitask, etc. As far as paperless sheet music goes for an orchestra that would be insanely expensive but you could achieve something like that already with a more power tablet already on the market or even the Kindle.

    Apple failed here because it's just the iPod touch on a bigger screen and almost nothing else more than that (arguably less actually re: apps, but that'll probably change).

    Britmic: you really want to argue which company is more closed and which is more open? seriously? apple is the 2000's version of ms of the 1990s… except they're more in your face and blatant about it while acting like they're open tree hugging happy people (douchebags). At least MS never denied who they were or what they were about (being dicks). Thats what infuriates me about Apple, that and Open Source saved their company but you would never know it by looking @ their policies and software.

    And before you go jumping down my throat, I own alot of Apple products. My point is that brand loyality or blind fanboyish, us-vs-them, mentality is assinine.

    Last, you've obviously never developed commercial software for OSX or the iPod platform.. its obvious to any developer that an Apple lawyer will be up your ass in minutes if you use their "undocumented" APIs, or in the case of the app store, get denied. MS never did that.. if you figured it out, kudos. They were however forced by courts to reveal their hidden APIs in fair use/anti-trust reasoning. Yet somehow,.. Apple just goes along their merry ways of making the same mistake MS used to.

    Just because you hate one company and fanboy over another isn't an excuse to be blind.

  • Ben

    I think it's quite interesting that if you want much of the openness you describe on this device all you have to do it pay $100.

    Get your self a developers account, then you can install whatever apps you like on your machine, you can share source code for free and have open source projects. you can design apps that use unpublished api's and create devices that use that dock to USB connector to do all sorts of things.

    You just can't put it in the App Store.

    I personally would have no interest in this device if it were covered in USB ports, I'd much rather see the world move on and embrace wireless technology and I see no reason we can start making wifi audio interfaces and controllers.

  • I actually think it's not such a bad thing to fragment the computing market. I don't mind having a seperate machine for doing real work. Simple is better for my parents; even though I disagree with being locked into iTunes.

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  • Downpressor

    if/when an iPad version of Logic or GarageBand comes out, I'll climb over a mountain of Defective By Design corpses to get me an iPad. Until then I'll just content myself with the used MPC 1000 I recently scored.

  • I'm just going to wait for an Android tablet.

  • Hiya Pete.

    I totally agree with you, as the tablet could have simply been the macbook air but redesigned to integrate 3G (4G) tech, as well as the larger iPhone touch surface.

    I also agree with your closing statement, "in a single device etc.." I sincerely hope apple doesn't "dumb down" or "close" their products in the way of ending the Macbook Pro and Mac Pro / OS-X lines. In fact, I refuse to believe that.

    The iPad is exactly what you said it was: "a very large iPhone". I read someone's twitter post saying: "It's the first Mac that you need a Mac to use." Having the iPhone, I literally have no use for the tablet. Yeah it would be awesome to have, but I'll not be spending $500. on it when I could buy a used Juno or something for that price haha!

    I really enjoyed reading your post here, and it's worth saying again: "I agree with you 100%"

    Have a good weekend!

  • basics

    I see the iPad as a question in the form of a thing:

    *When* will we see MacBook Pro's released with multi-touch screens that are detachable, and that can act fully independently of the keypad.

  • glo


    "After all the speculation and mystery, the rampant hype fueled by the desire for a new realm of man machine interface, Apple throws back the curtain and reveals this curious creature. While not the revolution many had hoped for, this is exactly what it needed to be. The touch revolution has just begun. Touch interfaces can’t just be tacked on to existing software. Desktop software with years of legacy code,shaped by the dominant input control of the keyboard can’t transform overnight. Slapping a pair of opposable thumbs on a dolphin won’t make him a virtuoso violinist tomorrow. What the app store and apps allow is for the evolution of the form. These mini apps are like single celled organisms, simple, focused creatures that excel at one task. As these apps evolve, they will increase in complexity, building off the best and most successful interface ideas, slowly growing into new, more powerful programs eventually rivalling desktop apps.Until this happens at a large scale, a tablet computer is pointless. The ipad is the missing link in that sense. The increase in power and size allows programmers to start to bridge the gap between the smartphone and the computer"

    Well said. Also, I think it's important to note that it's not just a software evolution but hardware is just as important. Nobody is actually pointing out that Apple had to design their own silicon to make this device work. The problem with most of the tablets out there today is that they have lousy specs to run serious software on. The future is an evolution of software based on a new interface paradigm (multitouch) and highly integrated hardware chips (this might be setting the stage for part II of Mac vs Intel). It is the beginning of the end of laptops as we know them…..

  • wa

    When will we see new Macbook Pro's?

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  • PK

    iPod is not a Mac.

    iPhone is not a Mac.

    iPad is not a Mac.

    All 3 are consumer electronics devices designed for consuming content, not creating it.

    Unlike 15 years ago, Apple is now a major Consumer Electronics manufacturer and retailer that makes a majority of their profits from these closed devices that are locked to iTunes, not Macs.

    Apple never promised anyone a tablet Mac.

    iPad IS just a larger iPhone with no camera and no phone, BUT in the context of what Apple claims the iPad is for (to facilitate consuming a broader range of content), that's all that seems to be needed. iPhone sucks for reading books and watching movies because it's too small, iPad solves that problem.

    Content creators already have an amazing number of toys to play with. Is it so terrible that the iPad was not designed with us in mind specifically?

  • Fad

    Apple continues to disappoint me with their most recent releases. The iPad is a pile of crap that'll be good ONLY for people that are satisfied doing simple tasks, such as browsing the internet and such!!! It'll be HUGE for the regular consumer, I'm sure!!

  • Zoom

    Fad you are completely an ignorant!!

  • Tired

    Very good post. With the closed nature of all of Apple's new technologies and projects, they are treading against the grain of technological advancement. When (not if) someone (Google) starts designing products that meet the quality of Apple's, their products will become obsolete, left only to the fan bois who have unquestionably been taking what Steve has given them since day one.

    Just to develop for the iPhone (which I do on a daily basis…) you are forced to use their hardware, their software, their programming language etc.. Then, when you manage to complete an app you are forced to sit and wait 2 weeks and hope they accept it. Their whole process is obsessive and it is becoming increasingly obvious to the average person as the other companies move in the complete opposite (and better) direction, producing open products and services which are often free and if not they are markedly cheaper.

    I find it funny that they showed off iWork at the iPad launch event. To me it shows their disconnection with reality. iWork is a pile of crap that no one uses and most of the better alternatives are completely free.

    Apple made itself out to be the unassuming, cool, relavant underdog to the ugly behemoth that was Microsoft back in the day and they rode that image to some major success. If they stay on the same path, they will be falling off that wave soon.

  • Adam


    My reasoning was to try and illustrate how hardware can go down in price in spite of not being part of a completely closed ecosystem like Apple's where they own the only device and control the distribution chain for all the media on that device. Perhaps it wasn't an apples to apples comparison (no pun intended… ok, maybe it was intended a little bit).

  • @Walter Ian Kaye

    Already done:

  • @glo

    I have a feeling that designing their own processor was not out of – 'we need to in order to make this device work the way we want it to' – and more of a – 'if we use standard processors like we do on our laptops and computers, it will be that much easier for people to hack them and start going around our storefront'

    hopefully I'm wrong…but in a device like this – where it seems they are probably undercutting the cost of manufacturing – hoping to recoup that in the apps selling – that is the most logical reason to go with a completely new proprietary chip.

  • Matos, excellent and well put. Though I also agree with Doc Searles when he says that 'There’s more reason to be afraid of heights than of widths.'
    http://bit.ly/bkDX2Q http://bit.ly/dvNXSm

  • peter

    I have to say it's interesting that everyone is rather het up about this being the end of all things.

    the existence of an iPad is a convenience for those of us who do want to have an appliance that is as reliable and simple as a refrigerator. If I want to do creative computing, I have a laptop for that. the iPod, iPad and other mobile things that apple has created were all apparently created simply as an adjunct to one's main computer. and as such require a home computer of some sort to go with it. as has generally been noted, many other manufacturers have made tablets of some sort, and like with the iPhone, as time passes other companies will ape the iPad as well. there will be available alternatives.

    for 90%+ of what I do at home with a desktop/laptop/iPhone, is covered better by the iPad. for the rest, I have the desktop/laptop/iPhone to do it with. for which they are better suited. there is no way a tablet could become my one and only machine, and I suspect the same is true for everyone else in this discussion. why force it?

  • lepaniag

    Totally agree with you. Itis a big disappointment from apple. If only it was running a full version of Mac OS X.

  • Rus

    I'd buy that iPad if it ran Palm's webOS. Even though Palm controls the hardware and software, they embrace the heck out of Precentral's homebrew community, which for Apple zombies (and yes, you ARE zombies…I've lived through MS's glory days, and you Apple kids give me flashbacks of Microsoft fans every time I read one of your comments), is relatively the equivalent of jailbreaking. The relative openness and non-fragmentation of the webOS platform is really appealing to game developers…and honestly, with a tablet, I'm not going to be using business apps all that much. They're releasing openGL games like mad for webOS right now, the apps are flying out the door into the app catalog, and the next OS update here next month sounds like it's going to add a LOT. People try to paint the Pre/Pixi as only having the advantage of multitasking…but that's not it. It's because Palm is being so open with the platform and for a smaller company, is putting out developer tools as fast as they can. They've also hit that sweet spot between openness and OS control to prevent fragmentation that makes developers like me very, very happy. Now if you jerks would just buy some of them so we don't have to continue dealing with Android fragmentation or Apple fascism, it would force Apple and Android/Google to open things up and localize their OS better. But right now, I see a lot more potential in webOS. They push updates and improvements out pretty frequently…you put that on an iPad type device, and I'd be down with shelling out 500. There's more potential there and I know that'll keep me using the thing. Otherwise, I'll just keep my netbook, which gets the job done just fine right now.

  • ambient8

    I too was hoping for the first in a new platform for mobile computing but low and behold we were given and eReader. I expect that OSC will bring some interesting tools for the musician to the iPad but this is certainly not revolutionary and is not a solution for power users.

  • I'm amazed at the amount of opinion & conjecture that is presented as fact in these comments. I also love when people pull statistics & numbers from undocumented sources. (i.e. their limited experience, or their arse)

    Another thing I do notice consistently is that whenever Apple or MS release a product, just as much time is spent discussing the corporate policy & business model, then the underlying product. I understand that it is often pertinent, but it is also so often blown way out of proportion.

    iPad isn't inspiring much in me at this point. Just like many other platforms, apps & uses for the iPad will emerge that no one could have predicted. So I'm taking the 'wait & see' attitude.

  • Roger Jensen

    I really like the iPad and Apple, too. However, I agree with this article that we really need an open system with external connections and even removable storage. Palm, do you hear us?!!!

    However, until someone else comes along with a better idea, iPad is as good as it gets. I think this should virtually kill the market for the Netbooks and even Kindle type book readers.

  • bo

    I agree completely, Peter! Excellent post!!

  • essex sound lab

    Peter, I'm surprised that you are SO remarkably sour on the Apple tablet. Sure, it could have been many things that it's not. But look at what it is…an elegant piece of mobile electronics that people can develop and distribute apps for, with a minimal barrier to entry.

    It's built on the same foundation that has spurred some remarkably creative music apps, despite the fact that music creation is a second or third order priority for the platform. I'm sure all the developers of iPhone music apps are salivating at a larger multi-touch display and some additional horsepower over the iPhone. And I'm sure some new developers will arrive that waited or a more usable form factor. And it will almost certainly make a decent virtual controller, with TouchOSC and possibly other options. I personally think the intersection of these capabilities could be VERY interesting. One of the things that Apple does is inspire SOME people to create great things. And they will.

    Oh and let's not forget that it will support Web browsing, reading eBooks, magazine and newspapers, viewing movies, listening to music AND provide inexpensive, nice productivity applications for the general consumer. All in an elegantly integrated way, while holding it in your lap on a train or on the couch. It will provide non-stop connectivity to Internet-hosted resources at a cheaper monthly rate than anything else I'm aware of. You know…the things it was actually built for.

    I for one don't mind Apple retaining control of the platform and forging several partnerships across multiple industries to make that happen.

    It's not a Monome. And the Monome guys couldn't have done what Apple did. Apples and oranges…no pun intended.

  • essex sound lab

    @domtak and @Bliss – spot on!

  • yoyoman

    The problem with Apple, is that people expect soooo much of this company, it's almost as if every product that Apple outputs needs to be an earth-shattering revolution , leading always to disappointement (as opposed to Microsoft where people expect so little that they scream genius when they finally deliver a decent OS).

    The iPad is nothing revolutionnary, it's built on the heritage of the iPhone. It's just a very nicely and elegantely made variation of the tablet category. it's a nice product that will probably sell decently well. It won't be a flop, and it won't be smashing commercial hit either.

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  • HEXnibble

    Peter, while I share your enthusiasm for open source and free software, as well as concerns about closed platforms, I take issue with your heavily bitter rant on this product. I mean, hello? We now have a $500 Lemur (thanks to apps like touchOSC) that is much more than just that. Seriously, who else had done that? That should be welcomed! It is so annoying to hear people say that the iPad is just a "giant iPhone" that can only be used for "passive consumer consumption" and it's very disappointing to hear you echo that unfounded sentiment. People have been CREATING amazing content with only the iPhone for a good while now. It's only going to get better with the iPad.

    And I can't believe that people are complaining that this can't run OS X. That's rather short-sighted as the iPad is only a sign of things to come and I have no doubt that the future of computing is in multitouch touchscreens, along with more powerful laptops as-we-know-them. I too want a Mac Tablet that runs OS X and Live. That is only a matter of time, as I have no doubt that WILL happen. And we will see an evolution in software designed for touchscreens that will go beyond traditional computer applications.

  • Chris Shaw

    My two cents. It's pretty obvious that there is something bigger and better in the works. This is definitely an interim product to work out the bugs for the basic function of the eventual tablet.

    People keep complaining about the lack of a keyboard controller. What about an updated Akai iPK25 which currently controls the iphone/iTouch? Surely they will make another on for the iPad (I REALLY hate that name..). Shouldn't it be possible to build the same controller with a MIDI out port to send data from the iPad? That would be killer. There will definitely be a tenori clone written for it within weeks.

    Can't wait for the Lemur/ Protools HUI/Automap apps that are about to be released.

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  • @domtak

    @Bliss – again well put – perhaps the only sense in this thread. Apple have done the R&D and are the only company pushing – let them run it how they want.

    The rest can go check @Looza’s Acer Tablet out – alternatives exist you know.

    Me, I’ll replace my APC40 & Launchpad with a single iPad.

  • hardmanb

    The iPad is a gorgeous, well designed, high quality, easy to use MOBILE CONSUMER INTERNET DEVICE!

    It will completely meet the desires and needs of millions of "consumers" and Apple will sell (many) millions and make billions. Get over it.

    Why is every desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone always criticized by the technorati and pretenders because it is "not all things to all people" and doesn't have every feature ever desired?

    If you don't like it…don't buy it. A lot of us will.

  • hardmanb

    Apple is no longer "Apple Computer". It is now "Apple, Inc." and is self-defined as a "consumer electronics company".

    It is introducing a cleverly planned, intriguing new mobile internet device that will sell to millions, and draw more people into the Apple ecosystem. Apple will introduce new versions with hardware additions and software enhancements on an annual product renewal basis..;.keeping one (or more) steps ahead of the the competing commodity box assemblers and copiers.

    It may not be your dream device, or your cup of tea…but it will be all that millions want and need, and be very, very profitable. To me, that sounds like success. Why criticize Apple, when all they are doing is producing more successful products than their competition?

  • Captain Howdy

    Walter Ian Kaye Wrote:

    I think this will be great for musicians!


    Can you even read?

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  • DBM

    SDK will be open to everyone to do what ever kinda of app core audio / core midi can do within it's hardware limitations … So whats the big deal . Why are there so many crying over it .

    Did you think they were going to make there laptops obsolete on purpose ? Hell people who want an iPhone will still probably buy an iPhone … they might have killed there iPod touch and Apple tv though and maybe their Macbook …Maybe.

    Ultimately if some one wants to write a Monome type app for this it will happen . Someone will make a 30 pin to midi connector I have almost no doubt, but if no one dose whats to stop you from a 30 pin dock and an EMU XMidi Tab . There is already a dock with CF/SD/2USBports . And did I mention the SDK was open to all . Besides it's version 1 … just saying 😉

  • leslie

    Jump here for THE "review" of iPad – Anand is the MAN of PC world:


    BTW; Some big names jumped on the bandwagon of iPhone already including : Steinberg, iZotope, Novation, Bias, AudioRealism, Akai, etc;

    Just wait for the influx of iPad dedicated Apps from these companies and more…

    Can't wait… – 58 days to go 😉

  • mar

    Open Windows/Linux tablet PCs have been around for 10 Years.

    If you haven't been able to make use of them why would you want

    Apple to come up with a tablet?

  • quantize

    What the hell is up with all these whining little babies?! There's gonna be music apps and controllers galore for the iPad just like there is for the pod and phone…


    you guys need to get some sunshine

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  • leslie

    @ quantize,

    BIG + 1 to Your post… 🙂

    PS; c u @ steinberg forums…

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  • Damon

    Why should we have to when they should

  • MIchael Coelho

    synthPond on the iPad – hell yeah! Lemur like application – I'm there. I"m not sure I understand all the hand wringing about this device. Half of the people criticizing it will probably be carrying one around within 2 years. Apple's market share is somewhere around 10% and yet they are cast by some as the next evil empire. I think that rather than stifling completion and "owning" the tablet space, Apple is raising the bar. When they demonstrate that a market exists for such a device, there will be loads of knock offs. It took a couple of years before real iPhone competitors emerged, but there are now really good alternatives to the iPhone. I expect we will see a similar course of events with the iPad.

  • Has anyone here actually touched one of these things yet, or is everyone basing their comments strictly off the keynote presentation?

    I ask because the person selling you something is the last person you should be getting all your information from, regardless of who's making the product.

  • apple's phenomenal success with ipods/etc has made them tremendous bank with which to R/D great new products and continually improve quality of their OS X technologies and computer lines

    if you want open source, go linux, etc and enjoy – i don't get my panties in a wad because i can't buy a hamburger at Taco Bell

    apple's success will spur on independent open source folks, and big name competition to create new affordable useful competing devices and software

    obviously this is their first foray into really useful multitouch devices (looza pointed out the Acer tablet and there are devices out there if you're willing to work with lesser quality devices (one of those Acer tablet owners lamented the poor quality of its keyboard and touchscreen and the mass amounts of bloatware pre-installed)

    yeah the marketing hype for this one is more nauseatingly transparent and sugary than usual, but my guess is that actually using one for a day (with the apps you like) would quickly turn your misgivings into enthusiasm (or at least satisfaction)

    i think BLISS has probably written the most intelligent, practical, useful and probably accurate comment here. even if you hate Apple for this product, you should recognize that it will spur on competition and other alternatives.

    obviously, an OSX multi-touch slate has been in development and will show up in a year or two, and this consumer-oriented ipad's technologies/capabilities will improve significantly in the coming years, while providing a useful blueprint/feedback loop for future OS X multi-touch technologies

  • foShow

    Is closed development such a bad thing? Do you really want every pre-pubescent teen with a slight coding background to go and develop the next virus for a mac or the world? Yes, you have to use SDK to make anything, but keeping development closed means to me that quality isn't compromised.

    Most likely, the developers feel the same way I do about my mac. I remember when everyone thought I was crazy with my teal g3 tower because it didn't fit the mainstream computing world. This was precisely the reason I purchased it. Yeah it looked cool too, but under the hood, i knew cubase would hum and i'd be smiling. In fact, I'm still smiling.

    In the 30+ years MAC has been around, they've never compromised on quality. None the less, they stayed true to their vision and now when they jump, the rest of the industry tries to jump higher, harder, faster and better. Unfortunately, by the time they get in the air, it's too late. Mac has landed on the ground and is focusing on the next biggest innovation. Apple releases the iPad and now the industry is following like sheep.

    I say keep it closed, otherwise we're going to get a diluted piece of crap product that is dictated by the industry, rather than a top notch product that the industry must conform. On top of that, there is no way i'm paying 2 G's for a Jazz Mutant lemur now that this is around. I actually emailed Jazz Mutant them and asked if they'd drop their price. No response as of yet.

  • Jen

    Yes, it is…open source is the future, thats the whole nature of the internet


    target="_blank">collaborative music website

  • fred johnsen

    Peter –

    you really can't be dumb enough to not understand the blatantly obvious logical flaw in your thinking… if you don't like Apple's stuff DON'T F-ING BUY IT & please, please STFU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God you people are such whiners!

    (sincere apologies to all the people who have made rational comments re: this issue above.)

  • Nail

    Developers out there. Please create an app will allows the best controller experience for Record and Reason. The iPad will rock.

  • zvukofor

    Goodbye, Lemur!

    Hello again, TouchOSC & Jasuto!!

  • Well, perhaps folks are missing the point of this device. This is really similar to what Jef Raskin envisioned as an "appliance" back in the initial development of the Macintosh. The goal is not to create another general computer, but a user appliance geared at a specific suite of tasks. In this case, Media Consumption (books, email, audio, video).

    The overall interface is geared to this goal to optimize the user experience (i.e. no deep hierarchies, no complex file structures, simple application management, high degree of interactivity and easily recognized metaphors for interaction.) It remains to be seen how information and files will be managed within the iWorks suite for the iPad, but I assume something suitable exists for this. I would expect a greater transparency for file management between the iPad and your main computer, but since I don't have one in hand it's hard to say what that looks like.

    That said, many predicted that the "closed" architecture of the iPhone itself would stifle development and doom the iPhone. That obviously is not the case. In a lot of cases, people are at their most creative when working within limitations…I'm sure we will see some incredible, mind-blowing, apps created for the iPad that will make even the most negative of us want one. After all, the Newton was a closed system, and people are STILL developing stuff for it, patching the OS, extending it's capabilities so far ahead of it's original intentions.

    We all want things from a new device, personally I would have loved to see integrated HWR and a stylus for note taking at meetings (much preferred than typing), but then again I would have also liked it to be around the size of the Newton 2100 – large enough to have a good writing pad, but small enough to be really portable.

    But, as other folks have mentioned, if you don't really want one then don't buy one. Just don't lament it as a failure of a general computer when it was designed to be an appliance.

  • I figured the fact that I wasn't going to be buying one was fairly self-evident. I see lots of people giving me that advice, though – thanks.

    But Graham, the issue of how you manage files and information is a big one. My sense is that this will continue to be somewhat restricted by the iTunes link. It's already apparent that Apple is taking an open format (ePub) and wrapping DRM around it, breaking interoperability across devices. (Uh… great?)

    I never said the iPhone was doomed. And I think Apple *has* stifled certain development. Just "whining" about it would indeed be productive. So let me make it clear — I'm criticizing *this* in the hopes that *some* people, myself included, go work on alternatives. If you go out and buy and use and love an iPad, fantastic! Like I said, this is only my personal perspective.

    The iPhone – and now the iPad – are restricted in how they consume music and media. The iPhone platform has achieved extraordinary things, but some of its least innovative aspects are the areas that are off limits to developers — the iTunes database, iTunes sync, and that horrid set of undifferentiated app icons. By contrast, having owned a first-generation Android – which was pretty mixed – I've watched the newer models (Droid, Nexus One) benefit from the accessibility of nearly the entire phone stack. Motorola, for instance, went in and did great stuff with Bluetooth accessibility.

    Now, I think the iPhone remains the most technically proficient device in its category. But this is a different category and a different ballgame. I hope that that ballgame involves more open alternatives.

    You're right – different form factors shouldn't try to do everything. Limitations can be empowering. But make those limitations intelligent design decisions, not just a way of building a wall around your business (iTunes), and I get more interested. Maybe that decision is a terrific one for Apple – that's their choice. But I have to decide based on what makes sense for me.

  • PK

    So I'm still stewing on all this, sadly, and so far have the situaion boiled down to this drastic oversimplification:

    The closed nature of the iPod/iPhone/iPad seems completely in line with the philosophies that were guiding Steve Jobs/Apple during both his original and current tenures. However, in Jobs' absence (roughly 85 to 97 I believe), Apple pursued divergent paths and a somewhat contrasting (more open) philosphy that led to a the first "golden age" for macs and mac culture.

    The fact that throughout the 90s, Microsoft was under antitrust investigation by the FCC for, among other things, it's attempt to leverage it's dominance in the OS market to crush competition in the browser market, makes for an interesting comparison with present day Apple, who was recently investigated by the FCC for rejecting Google Voice and Google Latitude for the app store, and have made many other highly suspect app store rejections that could be interpreted as an abuse of their power/position.

    So. . . the potential innovation and personal-freedom-crushing qualities of the iPhone/iPod business model have, for the reasons cited above, already started cropping up here and there, and the roll-out of the iPad can be seen as a big step forward for a business model that some see as deeply flawed, and others see as a necessary compromise to penetrate into the deepest/lowest/broadest markets possible.

    So. . . my overly-dramatic oversimplification of "the big question" is: will market and legal forces conspire to bring some balance to Apple's bid for such total control, or will Apple eventually succeed beyond reason with this approach, resulting in the world "handing over the keys" of their computing experience?

    Personally, and have confidence that Apple will continue to be checked by legal and/or market forces when potentially abusive and anti-customer/anti-competitive action takes place, but I accept the fact that I may be judged as completely naive on this point.

    Google found an HTML5 workaround for Google Voice on iPhone BTW, and the heat on inconsistencies in Apple's App-store rejections is increasing daily, both with the FCC actions and though numerous sites that have sprung up to showcase App store rejection stories. . . all of which give me hope that "ruining everything" would be a very bad move for any company in this position.

  • @PK: Well, having had more time to stew, I may have discounted competition from two sources:

    1. Many, many rivals to the iPad are coming, the results of the convergence of the same component hardware (low-power processor and graphics chips, capacitive screens), running Android, Windows, and Linux. None so far appears to be following Apple's iTunes path – even Windows.

    2. Apple's superb Mac line will continue to compete with iPad.

    There's been lots of complaining about the complaining online in response to the iPad. But one of the things that's come out is that a lot of people respect the engineering work Apple has done, and don't like the closed ecosystem – a *lot* of people don't like it. And as commenters have pointed out, "closed" is relative – we're still talking a pretty powerful development toolset. The fact that that doesn't please everyone only demonstrates how important some of this control and choice really is to developers and consumers alike.

    So if I made one mistake, it was being overly dire – not all consumers will choose this, not all developers will choose this, and there will be competition. Good news, I think. And I likewise appreciate the thoughtful defenses of what iPad is doing right, as well. On that happy note, on to the weekend.

  • PK

    @Peter: well said! I think I've finally had my fill of iPad stew for now and I thank you.

  • iman

    @ Peter Kim

    I thought you had some important projects to attend to and you are leaving this topic 😉

  • jon C

    While it indeed sounds awesome to have Mac OSX on a multi-touch tablet so much work would have to be done on the OS to make interface elements work for touch. Can you imagine trying to edit in Logic as it is now with your fingers? Not without a major rewrite. I think for Apple it made more sense to scale up iPhone OS then scale down Mac OS. I think we will see Mac continually get more multi-touch access in future revisions, and maybe ultimately get Mac OS on a tablet. But there is no way it could have been done well now.

    Even if/when that time comes I'm guessing Peter still won't be satisfied as historically he seems to be dissatisfied with Apple's approach in both the desktop and the mobile space 😉

    The iPad doesn't make me jump up and down and I don't think it is for me but, I'm more with Bliss on this.

    And to echo Britmic – as long as my data can be easily moved to and from my devices to some future platform (and it can with all my Apple products) that is most important to me. Closed file formats to me are more of a concern than a tightly controlled platform like OSX- which has been nothing but a benefit to my productivity and creativity.

    Thanks for the good discussion.

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  • bliss

    Some funny bits – but also some prescient commentary: Mac fanboys comment on the iPod's debut in 2001:


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  • byter

    I was there at the original Byte outing for the Macintosh launch preview. when the Apple guys brought in the closed box Mac 128K and demoed it. I recall one of the first things we tried was to run more than one program, because on the Lisa you could launch Write and Draw and paste between them. The Mac couldn't do that, it ran only one thing at a time. Which was lame. Then we checked the back and the machine was virtually a smooth wall. No expansion slots. No Apple ][, no S-100, no XT, nothing. Apple sold the editors on the "virtual slots" concept and we ran it, but it was a dog then and a dog now. Does this sound familiar?


    The Macintosh eliminates add-on peripheral cards and uses instead a highspeed serial bus that implements what Apple calls “virtual slots.”–an important limitation of the Macintosh: it allows only one major application program to be active at a time–the design of the software, which assumes that the current program has access to all the machine’s memory. This is not as bad as it sounds; a single application can use multiple windows, and material can be cut and pasted from one document to another by storing the material to be pasted on a “clipboard” before loading in the second document (which replaces the first). Still, the absence of hardware slots and the inability to run two applications simultaneously are two important ways in which the Macintosh is fundamentally different from the Lisa computer.


    We already had Desqview and lots of TSRs that let us run multiple programs and copy between them but Apple under Jobs spent years telling us we didn't need all that, and we didn't ned expansion or interoperability. He was wrong then and he is wrong now.


    The bus can run in two modes: with an external clock, it can transfer data at up to 1 megabit per second; with internal clocking (which embeds clock bits in the data stream itself), it can transfer data at up to 230.4K bits per second. The latter scheme will be used to connect most peripherals, which need only a low to medium data-transfer rate, to the Macintosh in a passive daisy-chained line. This scheme implements what the Mac’s designers call “virtual slots.”

    Virtual slots have several advantages over conventional hardware peripheral slots. They reduce the potential problems inherent in any added mechanical connection (a serial interface connector has fewer pins than a typical interface board). They reduce RFI (radio-frequency interference) by keeping the main box leakproof and allowing easy, inexpensive shielding of the serial line. By deciding that peripherals will supply their own power, the Macintosh designers were able to streamline the power supply of the main box without worrying about the power needs of unspecified future peripherals. Finally, virtual slots eliminate the need of peripheral cards to insert themselves somewhere in the computer’s memory map; the unchanging memory map creates a known, unchanging system architecture that all software designers can be assured of, regardless of the peripherals connected.

    The virtual-slot scheme is both practical and elegant; it offers a simple, standard way to connect unspecified future peripherals. The 230.4K bit-per-second data-transfer rate is high enough to meet the needs of most peripherals—printers, modems, plotters, music synthesizers, and so on. However, one class of add-on card will not work using this scheme: processor cards like the Microsoft Softcard, which allow a computer to run another processor’s software. Such cards require full access to the data and address lines and will not work via a serial “virtual slot.” As a result, despite some rumors to the contrary, the Macintosh will never use IBM PC- or MS-DOS-based software.

  • Peter Kirn's main objection to Apple's products and Apple itself (in this article and in the past) is that Apple maintains tight control over their products and content.

    Fair enough – that much is indisputable.

    On the iPad, Apple is making everything from the processor to the software – they are designing the entire machine from the ground up.

    The reason why Apple does this is because they want to control every aspect of the experience. Apple (and Steve Jobs) realizes that

    1. Apple can (and does) deliver a better experience than anyone else.

    2. The only way they can assure as perfect of an experience as possible is by controlling every aspect possible. They do this by a number of ways: by simplifying the experience, by considering “the best way” to do something, by limiting abilities of others to change, modify, etc.

    So there is a philosophical difference here. Apple prioritizes user experience over openness.

    A couple more points:

    Peter Kirn said:

    “As with the iPhone, you can’t use the iPad’s drive as a drive. You can’t connect it to a computer and put on it what you like. “

    I don’t blame Peter for assuming this to be the case (because the iPhone works this way) but according to Appleinsider this is not true:

    “Additionally, iPad apps can now specify that their documents be shared wirelessly. With that configuration, the iPad will make available each apps' documents, allowing the user to wirelessly mount their iPad via WiFi and simply drag and drop files back and forth between it and their desktop computer.

    On the desktop system, the iPad will show up as a share containing a documents folder for each app that enables sharing. For example, a user with iWork apps will be able to wirelessly connect to their iPad as if it were a directly connected drive, and simply drag spreadsheet, presentation, or word processing files between their local system and the mobile device as desired.”


    So, in other words, it seems like the iPad will work much as Peter wants it to. Files will be able to be dragged and dropped between the iPad and computers.

    Finally, I think the best thing for people like Peter who believe in the power of good apps, in innovative music software is simply to develop for the iPad and iPhone! It is a closed platform but it’s one you can access – your program (free, paid, etc…) can be in millions of hands. In other words, you will be shaping the future of music much more so than by having a limited distribution among a handful of diehards. If you want your app to be open source, form a group, submit it to apple and then release the code to the public. The bottom line is that you can still create great art (and great apps) by working within certain limitations.

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  • @ dave ahl:

    "the iPad will show up as a share containing a documents folder for each app that enables sharing."

    i certainly would hope you can access/share/transfer non iTunes/iWork files between devices, because that seems a part of basic functionality for creative apps – especially sound-making apps (midi files, sound files, etc.), drawing/painting apps, etc.

    i guess the question is: will app developers be free to enable sharing or will Apple play watchdog and decide only certain filetypes/content can be shared?

    if you can only sync/transfer iWorks and iTunes and "apple-approved" content, then that IS a pretty crap-ass liability/limitation to say the least

  • bliss

    Frasier Speirs: I'll have more to say on the iPad later but one can't help being struck by the volume and vehemence of apparently technologically sophisticated people inveighing against the iPad.

    Some are trying to dismiss these ravings by comparing them to certain comments made after the launch of the iPod in 2001: "No wireless. Les space than a Nomad. Lame.". I fear this January-26th thinking misses the point.

    What you're seeing in the industry's reaction to the iPad is nothing less than future shock.

    Fraser Speirs – FUTURE SHOCK

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  • kevin

    You already have open platforms in Mac, Windows, Linux and soon Chrome, and they come in all sorts of different form factors.

    Why can't there be something different for the rest of mankind who couldn't care less about open or interchangeable and just want the thing to always work when they want to use it to do something wonderful in their lives?

    Apple will keep evolving the Mac. MS will keep evolving Windows. Google will grow Chrome OS. And the really obsessed will continue to work on Linux. Pick one or more and keep growing it for your use, and let the others have their product.

  • kevin

    You ask "why are we in a rush to eliminate that functionality?"

    1. Who is eliminating it? Did Mac, Windows, Linux, and Chrome die? Nobody and No.

    2. The iPad eliminates that functionality because it's just not critical to for a non-technical person to have in order to use a computer to do what he/she wants to do. Is a USB port and USB sticks and hard drives really critical? Is flash critical? Is multitasking critical? They have their uses but they also complicate the use of the computer. Apple has seen from their Genius Bars at the Apple Stores exactly what people have problems with, and what they could do without.

    3. Finally, how is this a rush? We've been on the same path now for over 20 years. I'd say it's about time.

  • kevin

    And oh, what irony. The one who champions choice, wants to eliminate the choice of the easy-to-use basic computer.

  • Well, I'd say the race is on. It's a fascinating discussion, this question of how much functionality people need, and how to deliver it. Of course, some of the "simplicity" people are championing includes (apparent, though we don't know all the details) aggressive DRM on books and a file system you can't access so that one vendor controls how you buy content.

    So, it's a business model. Now, you can defend that business model, but I think it's a stretch to pretend it's *only* for the simplicity of the average consumer and not, you know, for the bottom line of the company making their device. (And incidentally, the latter is *entirely* Apple's prerogative, just as it's our prerogative to think what we want of the results.)

    I also personally find it fascinating that people whose job it is to be tech pundits have suddenly become grand experts on what the "average" consumer needs.

    I also have to question whether this is "future shock." That presupposes the success of the device – and, having made my own predictions, I'll say I'm also premature. I don't think any of us knows how the market will receive a product. We can only make good guesses.

    But to pretend that this is a new debate is to be profoundly out of touch with history and the facts. These are exactly the same debates that raged in the 80s.

    In fact, I'd describe the debate of the last week by the tagline on a lot of pop radio stations:

    It's [computing's] greatest hits of the 80s, 90s, and today!

  • HEXnibble

    A different perspective from a developer standpoint:

  • kevin

    "These are exactly the same debates that raged in the 80s"

    True and for the most part, all the innovations went down one path. Now at least, someone is willing to put some serious work into the other path.

    In other matters, based on the SDK, the file system looks to be accessible for wifi file transfers. We'll know more in the weeks to come.

    The DRM will be required by the book publishers; one is always free not to buy it. All the ebook apps from iPhone (including those without DRM, and Kindle) look to be transferable to the iPad, so I'm not sure what the point is here.

    And I have no problem with the innovator reaping the just rewards from his innovation, if that's what the market wants. Since it's not an illegal monopoly, someone else can come up with another different system and compete with it. (Macs, Windows, and Linux PCs, as well as Kindles and Nooks are already competing against it.)

  • @Kevin: Ah, that's good to know. It was unclear whether those ebooks would be signed in such a way that they could be transferred in/out of the database.

    Also, I remain somewhat unclear on how file transfers may or may not differ from the iPhone. One would hope that we could collaborate across devices – so, say, a Windows tablet, an Android phone, a MacBook, and an iPad could easily share files. (Should be doable, but may mean looking closely at the exact APIs on those different devices.)

    I still find it much easier to have a file system that's fully accessible from apps and (via USB class) connected devices, which I know is not the case on the iPhone.

    But yes, I'll be the first to admit that a number of commentators – some to a far greater degree than myself – have overstated Apple's likely market power. It's as though this thing is the future, and it'll wipe out all other alternatives. That's obviously not desirable (for any one brand or solution), but also probably not terribly likely. This should be a very competitive area with lots of different ideas.

    One thing I've not been convinced about, though, is whether *anyone* really wants this whole new category yet in this form – the iPad, slates, tablets, touchpads, and such that all seem to be vying for attention now. There's some appeal, to be sure, but the jury's still out. Whatever debates we might have about software, control, design… the fundamental question is whether this is actually a shape of computers people want to buy.

  • PS, for an ebook publisher *not* using DRM, check out O'Reilly.

    And they're a perfect example of someone likely to support a *lot* of different platforms, which is a good thing. Oh, and paper is one of them.

  • @Captain Howdy: Of course I can read. What is your point? The article *clearly* is negative about the usefulness of this device for musicians, and so I was responding to that.

    Can you read?

  • Sotiris

    If it had a few USB and/or firewire ports and MacOS or Linux, i'd go for it…

    AND it will "kill" the ipod touch music apps market. All serious software developers will write code only for the ipad, because of the bigger screen. I'll have to sell my ipod touch soon …

  • @Sotiris: That seems unlikely. I expect the iPad will move a fraction of the units of the iPod touch. The iPod is cheaper, and it's a pocketable music player, and traditionally those two things have translated to a wider market. I imagine devs will code across the two platforms. I would expect the same on Android once Android tablets start to hit.

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  • Gavin@FAW

    Interesting macworld article on the backlash that Apple have felt from the tech world on the announcement of the iPad.


  • ixcoder

    I am a bit disappointment with that it is base iPhone OS but Mac OS……

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  • Yomogi

    I don't understand the cynicism. I'm an educator and I can already see the future of education taking shape with this. Think of 100 years ago with the chalkboard slate that students carried around. Now you've got the same thing with the world at your fingertips. Everyone's got a beef with what the iPad can't do, but within a year, I'm sure students will be carrying these things around instead of textbooks. And the textbooks will have pictures, animations, ICT content, easy highlighting capabilities with easy search options… When students don't understand something they can search the web… Memory? There is an iDisk application for the iPhone. I'm sure it will be the same for the iPad. All the files go from the phone to the iDisk. Same here I'm sure. I use my iPhone as a hard disk, Airsharing is a great app. Apple is carving the future of education. They've done it with the iPod touch, they'll do it with the iPad. I'm ready to buy these for my own school, for my own students. Wow. The world at your fingertips. This is what the world has been waiting for.

  • CD

    I have a great idea.

    Let's wait for it to come out before we either praise it or criticize it!

    You people are worse than Amazon reviewers, and it's obvious that everyone's just blogging about the iPad for hits, because no one is saying anything remotely new.

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  • Marc

    I suspect the iPad will flop.

    It just doesn't to anything new.

    The crowd that would buy an iPad already own iphones/ipod touches and mac laptops, and they have no reason to spend $500 on what amounts to a giant ipod touch.

    Its use as a multimedia device is limited by the ergonomics of the thing. What, are supposed to prop it up against something when we want to watch a movie? Or how about typing, that looks just looks real fun, we have to strain our necks to look down at it.

    Apple's products are trading functionality for "cool" factor. Has anyone really had the desire to replace their mouse/heatpad and keyboard with a touch screen?

  • @Yomogi: one of my specific concerns was the education *would* commit to a single-vendor, proprietary solution for students.

    I think the iPad could be terrific for education, but it's important that educators provide real choice for students, and that education not be tied to any one platform. In fact, even if as an educator I want to encourage, say, Linux, I'd still want to support my students with Macs. Cross-platform support is as essential for learning as it is making sure your students can afford your textbooks.

  • Brian

    I dont get the post of this, the iphone is locked and still there's plenty of opportunity for money making and for distributing good applications.

    their approach largely filters the amount of shit that would ultimately buildup around a product like this giving the end user a much better experience.

    secondly it will be cracked so anyone with half a brain and a desire to do so will be able to access the device as openly as they care.

    pointless thread …sorry.

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  • nomnom

    i'll waiting for Giant S60v5 Nokia =D

  • I have mixed feelings about the iPad. but afterall it is only one device by own company. The future will satisfy us better (hopefully). I wrote a post about this and in particular how choice is important and how this ties in with the commercialisation of the internet…

    have a look see..The iPad(lock) and throwing away the Key.

  • As a Newton user the one thing I find REALLY irritating is that Jobs killed the Newton because he didn't want to support two platforms (Mac OS and Newton OS) and also have the Newt eat into Mac sales. So here we are, Mac OS and iPhone OS (AND iPod OS). I think he really hated the Newton because it was Scully's thing. Oh well. Long live the Newt. I doubt the iPad will eat into Mac sales, but I do hope they won't kill off the iPod Touch.

  • I think in general there is a large group of capable and loyal users who now have the ubiquity of the internet to voice their opinions and needs to these companies and in recent years we've seen these companies produce fewer and fewer technologically complex products to focus more on "average joe" products.

    I think this is creating resentment and frustration especially when it's so easy for these companies to see what people are saying about their products. It all seems for naught.

    The iPad would revolutionize computing if it were a Mac, but it's not. We get another Triton and not another Electribe.. etc etc.

    It may be the economy, it may be El Nino.. but I thin overall people are getting fed up with being fed up.

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  • @dave ahl

    "1. Apple can (and does) deliver a better experience than anyone else."

    I love that statement about being better, I see it all over the internet, with Apple, Ableton, Allen & Heath….you name it. It's also a completely useless statement until you quantify what it's better at.

    This isn't a personal attack, this is a cry for people to provide more useful information that aren't over-generalizations that can't possibly be true on all levels, like they imply to be.

    Even if it is subjective, I wish people would provide their reasons, and spent a minute to articulate them. Many people have done so in the raging iPad discussions, and they have brought to light many things I haven't considered, and so I find use/value in that. Let me give you an example:

    "1. Apple can (and does) deliver a better experience than anyone else, because they really test their software for bugs. All the features the software or OS generally work smoothly right from the get go, and don't take the release of the 1st Service Pack. The program interface is generally more minimal, and I find it much easier to concentrate on the work that I need to do, instead of sifting thru menus to try to figure out how to do what I need to do."

  • I was hoping for a product that could run Keynote be able to connect to a projector either through VGA out or Wireless. Where you could walk around have notes as you need touch a link to get a slide on the screen while you had presenter notes on the iPad. I guess that will not happen on this device.

  • HEXnibble

    @Mike H: Yes, that is absolutely possible with all of its video out options or the ability for it to run as a VNC client.

    I'm just quite surprised at the lack of imagination of all the whiners who are calling the iPad nothing more than a "consumption device." It's more surprising to hear that repeated by people like Peter Kirn who knows better. I think people are getting influenced too easily by those who are biased against Apple products.

  • @HEXnibble: Look, just because I have this opinion doesn't mean I think you have to agree with it.

    It's a "consumption" device to me because a lot of the exchange and consumption of content is tied to iTunes. It's a consumption device for the reasons I've enumerated above, because – in stark contrast to the Mac platform – it adopts aspects of the game console model where there's single vendor control over distribution of certain kinds of content and software. And it's a consumption device because the device itself is relatively unfriendly to the addition of hardware (just to load pictures, you have to buy a dongle that attaches to an SD card reader, for instance).

    In fact, at this point, I'd rather see gadgets start to surprise us with ways in which they let us be creative, rather than us having to bend over backwards to explain why they have restrictions placed on them by the manufacturer.

    I'm not new to the Mac. I've written for Macworld, I've spoken at a couple of Macworld Expos, I've bought a lot of Apple products over the years. I've also been around the Mac long enough to remember the days when Mac users disagreed passionately about which music app to use, and the days when the harshest, most unforgiving criticism came from Mac users. 😉

    In fact, there was a time when the Mac community didn't call criticism of Apple "whining." I've heard repeated use of that word, which is to say that someone doesn't like or agree with a particular criticism, so they make any criticism out to be negative.

    But look, I think you and others have a point — if these specific limitations *don't* apply to the way you intend to use it, if you find ways to be creative with the audio output and video output, more power to you. And I don't just write this to hear myself talk; if you imagine a specific use case, let's hear it. If I just wanted to hear myself alone, then that would amount to whining.

  • HEXnibble

    A case could be made that Apple's tight control is necessary for higher quality products with superior integration and ultimately a better user experience. And it's inevitable that iPad users who are not satisfied with such a relatively "closed" environment will jailbreak it and add things like multitasking and bypassing the iTunes store just as they did with the iPhone. I just view the introduction of iPad as a positive development that will usher in a new market of similar affordable touchscreen devices.

    I do see your point though and I have much respect for your championing of open models and free software in general. In an ideal world we probably would have seen a more open device already. And maybe the Android tablet will be that alternative.

    Philosophically, I feel that I'm on your side all the way. In practice though, I use a Mac because I still find Linux to be higher maintenance than necessary (even the more "friendlier" Ubuntu), and prefer not to deal with Windows drivers and viruses. I wish that we weren't stuck within a capitalist paradigm and that companies like Apple and Google weren't driven by profit motives. But my experience with Apple's products especially with OSX has been that they're genuinely interested in the user experience and reinventing what we expect of the desktop software, as indicated by what they did with the iPad version of iWork.

    Of course, it remains to be seen how the iPad platform will play out, but I'm choosing not to be cynical and await in anticipation for all the amazing apps that people are undoubtedly already working on. In the end, I'm more interested in the user experience and getting work done than tech specs.

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  • Jim

    A total waste of money – – A 'good' netbook or laptop can be bought for less money and deliver it all, even phone (through Skype) I don't understand the logic processes of persons who will actually buy something like the iPad & think they actually have something desirable – –

  • zenzen

    It's good to counter PR and demagoguery. But I find these ipad threads frustrating, with peoples' preferences and ideologies being held up as norms.

    Intellectually and spiritually, I'm a big supporter of the CDM approach. But I must admit that I've let down the side of openness and user control: I don't use OSC, PD/MAX MSP, Reaktor, linux, monome, or handbuilt devices advocated here. Sometimes I don't even use MIDI. Sometimes I use presets. And sometimes I am not even interested in process, but only the sound.

    I'm looking forward to ipad and its ilk. From what we've already seen, there'll be tablets as tablas, synths, drum machines, controllers, sequencers etc. I'm really looking forward to all the unexpected mods and apps that my puny imagination cannot foresee.

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  • danoz

    @Jim – "I don’t understand the logic processes of persons who will actually buy something like the iPad & think they actually have something desirable – -"

    Well, It is Apple NOT Microsoft – sounds like a good reason enough 😉

    As for "desirable" well, Apple products are miles ahead of Windows based products in style, design and function.

    BTW; I have tried to run Reason demo song on "NetBook" – It stopped due to CPU performance issue (Atom processor) half way through – totally unusable…

  • Nik k m.

    I think you are missing the point – a PC without a keyboard is still a PC. What Apple have got for this device, that no-one else has, is an OS that is both simple to use, safe – almost idiot-proof – and quite functional. It is more a grown up PDA than a laptop, but without the execrable Windows Mobile. This device and its controlled eco-system is exactly what a large number of people want and I predict that its sales will be monumental. Its another right time product from Apple, executed with its normal efficiency and flair.

    If you want a small and/or keyboardless PC then get a Netbook or one of the Win 7 tablets, or better still a Macbook.

  • mar


    In what way exactly is the ipad comparable to a netbook

    or a laptop?

    Last time I checked cheap netbooks/laptops didn't feature a

    multitouch screen or an os and software optimized for it.

    I already have a laptop – buying another one cheap or not

    would be a waste of money.

  • @zenzen: Ha! Well, *my* intention isn't to tell anyone what to do. There's no "anti-preset" law here or requirement to hack a monome out of felt and then program it with Pd on a wooden-housed, Linux-based laptop you bartered with a wheel of cheese you made. (Not that wouldn't be awesome if it happened, too!)

    As for the other commenters — you need to check the news beyond the Apple sites.

    Asus has a multi-touch netbook, with a qwerty keyboard coming. There are Android-powered tablets coming that appear to have nearly all of the same innards. And there are laptops gradually adding multi-touch, so it's possible if you are in the market for a laptop you could get a different device there.

    Those products might, of course, absolutely suck. (HP and Lenovo have multi-touch laptops out now, so you can evaluate them now, but the others aren't actually hear yet. On the other hand, they *might* start to appear by the time Apple ships, which isn't immediately — not unless you're Steven Colbert.)

    This discussion now has become quasi-religious partly in the absence of information or competition. I expect it to take a different turn when we have devices in our hand and can judge how useful they are.

    And zenzen, I hope we can make some apps that have some fun presets to play with. Seriously.

  • zenzen

    Thanks for the response, Peter.

    Perhaps it is because (Propellerhead) Reason is my main tool, that I don't mind the closed/stunted nature of ipad. Similar arguments are batted against Reason daily. It does not do everything, but because I don't expect it to, so it is not a problem. I still find Reason useful and have been able to replace much hardware *for the way I work*. I also find it enjoyable, which feeds back into the work. If that's the analogous ipad/android experience, well, sign me up.

    [I did say "sometimes" to the presets 😉 95% of the time my instruments are in "INIT" mode with yours truly doing the sound design…]

  • denovo


    HP, DELL, ACER and others… offer ONLY 1 or 2 " touch" interface…

    Apple offers 4 on iPhone and (iPad could have even more…

    True multitouch belongs to Apple for now… 😉

  • bsantoro

    I for one am excited about the iPad; even to the point of being an early customer. I have been excited about the innovative, albeit baby steps, musical and visual Apps on the iPhone App Store; and I have held off purchasing an iPhone or iPod Touch. The iPad is perfect for its screen real estate, opening up even newer GUI functionality.

    Imagine a Monome-type app with each of the buttons filled with a miniature image of the clip you are about to trigger. Software visual feedback has an advantage over limited hardware limited-colored-only LED highlighting. Imagine OSC Touch controls that are labelled with text or color-coding that explains their functionality; with changeable layouts. Imagine a drum app that lets you group and position any percussive instrument anywhere on the screen, and load any sound into it; even setting its stereo field by its left or right position. Imagine setting up an X-Y finger pad to control any parameters you want. Ableton, for example, could create communication between the iPad and your MacBook Pro or PC netbook running the full-blown Live program, to create your own do-it-yourself controllers on an iPad app that Ableton could write. The possibilities are limitless. The iPad could become a dedicated sequencer, synthesizer, drum machine, MIDI/OSC controller, or a visual generator for live performances, etc.

    I would keep my MacBook pro to edit and create content with applications like Live8, Digital Performer, Photoshop, Final Cut Studio, Motion, etc. To make a touch-pad become a full-blown computer would take a number of years of development to improve the finger-gesture interface paradigm. It would then be a massive overhaul of complex, rich and deep software programs that we are used to on a computer. The iPad is just a start, and many possibilities will emerge in the near future for creative musical creation and especially serving the DJ and VJ crowds!

  • I don't see a lot of comments from developers here – mostly a lot of hashed over theoretical carping. We're under NDA about 3.2 but something I can hint at is that you are premature to worry about some conceptual limitations on iPads and iPad like follow on devices. Pay your $100 and read the 3.2 SDK.Then read between the lines.

    I have a really long history writing music apps that are not meat and potatoes music apps, and while the iPad is no Amiga, it's still pretty inspiring.

    I'm really happy the iPad has such a large space to work with now as a multitouch app developer. What I'm curious about is whether it will minimize multitouch latency – which is the main thing holding it back from being a really good and expressive musical controller. Just having it large enough for two hands to be effectively placed on it makes a great difference in what can be done as a controller.

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  • The proof is in the pudding, yall. If you have ideas for a better solution that will "really" change the world, why don't you make your own tablet?

    I mean, it should be easy… right? Just build a custom kernel of linux (hope you or someone you know understands ARM assembly!), find a good manufacturer of multitouch displays, come up with a good windowing API from scratch (because I know of no available multitouch linux API), don't forget hardware accelleration! Oh, don't forget battery life either! Then open source the whole thing because you didn't need to repay the loans you took out to pay yourself and your friends so that you could all eat for the last year or two while developing a tablet. Oh, and let me know when you're done, because I'd like to pay another company to build the product more cheaply than you do.

  • Hi Mark: you might want to tone down the snark a little bit if you haven't done your homework.

    Multitouch support is going to be part of the mainline X server for Linux. Clutter is bringing gesture support, as is GNOME 2.3.

    "Custom kernel for Linux"? Uh… what the hell are you talking about? A number of Linux distros support ARM.

    This is to say nothing of Android, which has a multitouch API (though not a terrific one; I can complain about that separately).

    And it's also to say nothing of Windows 7, which actually has broader multi-touch support today than Mac OS X does. It also has a multi-pointer API, which makes it the only OS I know of that supports multiple mice. (Actually, X may do that, too – key words 'to my knowledge.')

    I said very explicitly in the article and comments that I wasn't just talking open source, I was talking about open development — the kind supported by Linux but also Windows, and Mac OS X.

    Open source developers typically aren't hobbyists. There's big-money support from the likes of IBM, Oracle, and Red Hat.

    There are tablets coming from companies like Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and the list goes on. I expect they have the money to support some development work. If it turns out the iPad is better, so be it. But to pretend there isn't competition or room for debate about these things, while simultaneously discounting the work of people who *have* volunteered – or been paid to contribute free code – to open source projects comes across as a little out of touch to me. So to speak.

    And believe me, I couldn't agree more that the proof is in the pudding. I think, despite my complaints above, Apple may well come up with the best tablet out there. But let's give them a shot, and there's no reason not to be critical of aspects of any of these projects that are out there to be seen (as all the points I make above are out there in public on iPhone's OS)

  • Side note:

    Alan Kay, who said the nicest thing I heard anyone say about the iPad (that it'll "rule the world"), said about the original Mac that it was "worth criticizing."

    I'm glad Apple continues to design products "worth criticizing," worth debating, even sometimes before they ship.

    Note the word – "criticizing." You ought to be able to criticize a product and consider alternatives. If there were no alternatives, that'd be one thing, but you have the entire computing industry working on tablet forms factor, with none of them – Apple included – entirely sure if any of them wants them yet. So I think it's safe to say this stuff is up for debate.

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  • Wilhelm Reuch

    This open/closed discussion is really just FUD. This device is designed to liberate the great mass of users – not for the 2-3% market that has heard of open source or Linux.

    Liberate them from the computer geeks. Look at the success of the appstore. You can discuss the quality of many of the apps but people are happily downloading and trying lots and lots of different software. And they are not wrecking their iphones/touches.

    For all these users – it is freedom. At last they are in control of the computer.

    And just because you can run only one app at a time does not mean the OS is compromised or not multi-tasking. You have most of OSX in place – but AppKit (keyboard/mouse framework) is replaced by UIKit (touch framework).

    As a developer I think the iphoneOS/appstore is more open than Android or the current tools MS is peddling. Apple lets me run natively on the processor at the same performance level as their own software. On the Android you can only run as slower interpreted code on top of their JavaVM runtime and they check your every opcode. Same with Windows – but they call the same technology .Net/C#.

    The appstore gives me access to all of apples customers. Sure – I am not allowed to compete with their main product or replace their look-and-feel. But they tell you that upfront and everyone knows it. On the other hand their customers actually can find my software and download it – this is *very* open.

    Or compare to the ChromeOS. You are not allowed to run anything but javascript in web-pages on that one. I am just waiting for the ultimate shit-storm that will hit those devices if you think the iPad is closed.

    I dont mind the screaming and ranting from the old-school computer geeks. It just plays into Apples marketing of this device as a computer for everyone else – they simply dont care about the small geek market. In fact Steve Jobs lowkey presentation almost seems designed to trigger the response the iPad has created.

    There are plenty of other touch-computers announced and those who doesnt like the iPad for whatever reason can buy from HP, Lenovo and many others. Its a free market. And I look forward to seeing (maybe even using) the software produced for those boxes. In the meantime I prefer to develop my own software for the coming iPad.

  • Wilhelm: It's not an unreasonable argument you're making, but you have some specific points factually incorrect.

    Windows' native APIs are in C/C++, so I don't know what you're talking about. Yes, .net is an option – one of them. That's true if you're talking either Windows Mobile or desktop Windows.

    Android can execute native code, via the NDK. You still need to package your application with Java and use Java for access to most APIs, but you can write whole algorithms in C if you like, and can even access OpenGL ES 1.1, etc.

    Java is not an interpreted language. Java compiles to bytecode. That isn't the same as "interpreted." It is running on a virtual machine, but that can be very fast. Java doesn't perform as fast as, say, c++ in many circumstances, but you are inaccurately describing what it is and why it can be slower.

    ChromeOS isn't out yet, and I'm certainly not advocating it as a solution. But I think you're also mistaken there; Google has worked on providing native code support in a browser, and it appears a Java runtime may be available, so I would be surprised if Chrome supports only JavaScript.

    And yes, there are likely to be other touch computers; hence, it's worth criticizing aspects of iPad, because it won't be the only choice.

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  • All I'm saying is that DRM loves you and wants you to be happy.

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  • bubba jones

    Um, you do realize that Apple's never really been an open platform, correct? Except for that small window of time when they allowed clones & that almost sank the company. So, keep dreaming about openness outta Cupertino, but it's not gonna happen, no matter how much you want it to.

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  • paul gibbs

    I agree with the principals of "Boycott Ipad". the closed nature of the ipad causes its opsys and apps to be Jailed inside the ipad. Remember also that the 64 gigabit flash chips are $9 dollars each and therefore 8×9 = $72, so charging hundreds of dollars extra for 64 GigaByte flash is ludicrous. WiFi is $2 per Ipad, and charging so much extra for it is silly. The lockdown of the ipads' internals also causes crapple to be paranoid about placing USB on the ipad. So to accommodate Jobs’ ahole nature all USB devices are locked out. Imagine, 1 billion destop printers locked out. 600,000,000 flash drives locked out. Direct cable broadband locked out.

    On the upside, if the ipad becomes popular, the antitrust implications are far worse for crapple than they ever were for Microsoft. we can expect crapple to squander millions in the courts attempting to uphold its NAZI ipad paradigm.

    What crapple have done in the ipad, is to solder flip-chip Dram to the uProcessor chip to try to stifle reverse engineering, however it will be possible to RE the ipad so when this happens and people are able to put apps in the ipad without crapples permission and internet compile/link/download, crapple may well try to eliminate this by freeing up the opsys themselves. If they don’t, they will find themselves as the poor cousin of the ipad world and will have no choice. In the meantime I’m waiting for a windows Tablet that boots from flash in 1 second. This instant startup for Windows would be a breath of fresh air. Fukc crapple

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  • ViNo

    "And yes, there are likely to be other touch computers; hence, it’s worth criticizing aspects of iPad, because it won’t be the only choice."

    The problem is that you did not just criticize "aspects" of the iPad – you could not find anything good about it. Today is August 27, 2010 – 2 months after this article – do you have ANYTHING positive to say about the iPad?

    Here's a few positive things about it from my own use?

    – my four year old son loves to hear me read the books into which I have recorded my own voice with his giggles! Cant create content? Anything that the so called Creators of Digital Music produces cannot compare with the giggles of my son.

    – my wife reads books and writes e-mails all the time on the iPad. Cant create content? Reading books is part of creating content – in your brain. Writing e-mails without lugging a laptop around is being creative.

    – my family together plays Multi-Pong – we have great fun and we dont need wands and joysticks and cables and HDPI or DDMI outputs. Creating content? Creating moments of family life together is good enough for me.

    You geeks wont get the iPad or the Mac or the iPhone because all you think is – how complicated can I make this product I am making? Because the product itself sucks but if I pack in enough features and cables and ports, maybe noone will notice!

    If Apple had gone the "Open" route under Sculley or Amelio – it would not exist today – but then thats what the geeks would have wanted.

    Anyway thanks for a nice blog – but cant agree with the content.


    Ps. When my wife and son left on a 4 day trip last week – they thought long and hard about the Macbook or the iPad – you can guess which won!

  • ViNo–
    I've had plenty more to say about iPad.

    Spend some time reading and not just commenting.

  • ViNo

    Sorry I should have said : Today is August 27, 2010 – 8 months after this article – do you have ANYTHING positive to say about the iPad?


  • ViNo: Yes, I've had plenty to say about the quality of Apple's OS and developer tools, the fact that they still have the best touch-sensing hardware, and the work done by their developers. I've had ongoing criticism of some of their development policies, as have some developers (including those who work on iOS) but I've also given them due credit for things like providing USB audio class support via the Dock Connector and Camera Kit – something lacking on Android, I might add.

    I've had plenty of positive things to say, but I'm not going to censor criticism on issues that I care about. This is a marketplace for ideas, and technology is up for debate. And because of the constant transformation of the technologies we use, that debate has real impacts; it can make a difference. "Openness" today has a much, much broader meaning that it did in the 80s; I don't think the IBM and Microsoft of the 80s would be much of a role model, either.

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  • ! i was sure this was a definite. first major apple product launch that didn't get me excited at all. i can totally see the musical potential for an AFFORDABLE multitouch surface that's a nice size, but this could have been so, so, so much more. 

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