The Ipad

The E-book reader from Apple.
Rumours, including contract terms are getting stronger. … ring_2010/

There is a slight mention on Mac Rumors.


[Warning: This turned into a bit of a rant about that article…]

It may turn out to be a very nice tablet, but as an e-book reader it sounds about as misjudged as the MacBook Air being decent netbook alternative.

The writer of this article utterly misses the point. The iPad’s LCD display is exactly what is going to make it a poor e-book reader, and the grey-scale e-ink displays of the Kindle and Sony Reader are the entire reason people buy them over reading on computer screens or existing PC tablet devices. The whole point is that e-ink looks just like real ink (in fact it is real ink, if I recall correctly). You forget about the Sony Reader’s screen soon enough - I found myself going to turn pages, in fact. But reading a novel on a computer screen… bleugh.

Brilliant. Because when I pick up a book, I really want to see a rich array of innovative advertising opportunities.

No. No I wouldn’t. There are several colour e-ink technologies in R&D at the moment, and I look forward to seeing them make it to market and being able to read full colour articles on an e-ink-like display that looks just like a magazine page. But in the meantime, give me greyscale e-ink for my e-readers any day.

I don’t mean to knock Apple’s product before anyone knows anything about it, because all of that article is speculation, but something about it really annoys me. The way Steve Jobs made an offhand remark to an interviewer a couple of years ago about how they’re not interested in entering the e-book market because “nobody reads any more”, making a dig at the Kindle in the process, seemed to me utterly ignorant, whether a calculated denial of something he was keeping secret or not; and thinking that they can double a tablet with an LCD screen as an e-reader just smacks to me of “we know what’s best for you” arrogance".

I was talking to someone the other day about the rise of the so-called “Hackintosh” and how it’s partly Apple’s fault. For about five years now Mac users have been clamouring for a Mac netbook, and Apple refuse to deliver one. But to what purpose? Instead they deliver the MacBook Air and say, “Look, we made it thin instead of small and took away all the ports - this is what you really wanted.” Except it wasn’t, so now many devoted Mac users end up buying PC netbooks to go on the road with. And this seems to be the same sort of thing. It’s one thing to say, “We have a cool tablet device and you can even read e-books on it” - that’s all fine and dandy - it’s another thing to tout it as a Kindle-killer and suggest that you know best what readers want. Of course, as I’m sure someone will point out, Apple hasn’t actually done this yet - it’s all speculation and it’s the article writer in this case that annoyed me, not Apple. :slight_smile:

For the record, I’m not bothered about an Apple netbook personally, but I would love a proper Apple e-reader with e-ink that supported the epub format. Well, I can dream, can’t I?

All the best,

No. Apparently not. Mr. Jobs thinks that dreams inturupt your sleep so mac users are not allowed to dream per the ula which was accepted when you first thought of using a mac.

I have a couple of issues with your rant, Keith – though first, an agreement: Jobs’ comment that “nobody reads” was obnoxious. I think we can chalk that up to a bit of competitive obfuscation – not unlike “nobody wants to watch video on an iPod.” And, of course, to the fact that Steve Jobs can be totally obnoxious.

As for the hackintosh phenomenon being “Apple’s fault”… their fault for what, exactly? There are hackintoshes, and Apple has done little or nothing to prevent them. They don’t make them because they are not in the business (so far) of making crappy $250 computers. They may have missed the opportunity to make a killing in this market, but they are hardly suffering as a result. (And it’s unclear whether there is, in fact, a killing to be made – I seem to recall hearing stories about netbook makers losing money on the product in an effort to gain market share.) The fact is, Apple has had quite a run over the last decade by sticking to what they do well and doing that almost perfectly. You want them to make netbooks? Keith, this is a company that shipped smartphones without copy/paste for a year, because they didn’t think it worked in an Apple-like fashion. They don’t make $250 Macs because a $250 computer wouldn’t be a Mac.

As for the substance of the article itself, I think you’re on the right track when you say that it’s loaded with speculation. Ham fisted speculation, if you ask me. It seems the practice of following the supply chain and patent registrations and extrapolating a product (and a price) from there is folly – the internet is littered with the wrongheaded predictions of business writers. While I have obviously never seen the machine, I would guess that Jobs, Ives et al are going to do something a lot more creative and savvy with the sum of those parts than the analysts and pundits can imagine. (And if not, well, Apple does not have a mind control machine that makes us buy their products – though they have filed for a patent for one, and I hear there’s a South Korean company that is providing the flux capacitors. I have reason to believe they are beta testing it at the Apple Store in Santa Monica.)

I too*** hope that Apple’s tablet is a proper e-reader – and that whatever method of providing content they use does for books (and, for that matter, comic books) what iTunes did for music. If I could read AND use Scrivener (with my words rendered in e-ink!) well, hell… where do I sign up? Again, if not, then I’ll be disappointed and grumble and buy a Kindle or some such. But I’m going to wait until I see the thing to be mad at it. And I’m certainly not going to get riled up by what amounts to speculative fiction.



P.S. If you really don’t like the idea of the Apple tablet, the best thing to do might be to not talk about it. By simply being quiet about it, the crafty Mr. Jobs has gotten what must be a billion dollars of free advertising off of talk just like this – so much so that the new JooJoo (JooJoo? Really? Geez.) was introduced as a competitor to the Apple product… that doesn’t exist.

***What do I do here? “I, too, hope…?” Because that just looks like too many commas.

[Edit: I read back through this post. Discursive much, Sean? It occurs to me what the world really needs is a way to add footnotes to an online post! Because Scrivener users have never met a piece of software to which they didn’t want to add footnote functionality!]


If you read my rant you will see that I say I’m not particularly bothered about whether they make a netbook or not (clearly they refuse to believe such things exist as my spell-check changed that to “notebook” then “netback”, whatever a netback is). I’m happy with my MacBook, a machine that has finally replaced my old iBook in my affections.

But I will point out that I never mentioned anything about price, and that my comments were related to what many users wanted and what was provided, that’s all. Since the 12” iBook was discontinued a couple of years ago, the smallest computers they have released have been 13.3”. Now, as I say, that’s fine with me. But a lot of Mac users - Mac users, lots of them, not me, just check out the various MacRumors discussions etc :slight_smile: - have been clamouring for something smaller. As a result of that, I know a number of Mac users who would have been happy to pay much more for a small Mac computer who have purchased a PC for travelling with instead. Most Mac users will always be happy to pay more for their computers, and a 10”, stripped-down MacBook would probably still sell at $7-800 (at a wild uneducated guess).

My point was only that Apple occasionally like to tell you what they think you should want rather than listen to what a lot of their users are asking for; at least, that is my overriding impression of the MacBook Air, and I was riled by Jobs’ comments about ebooks. My point about the hackintosh was that it seems a shame that Mac users are being driven to buy PCs just because they want something easy for travelling with, and that some PC users are put off from buying a Mac not necessarily because of the price but because they want something small. (I repeat, my MacBook is small enough for me personally; this is just an observation.)

As for the tablet itself, I have no opinion either way because, as you say, it’s all speculation at the moment. I probably won’t have any use for a tablet myself, but it’s something a lot of users have wanted for a while. If there’s e-ink (and I very much doubt it as e-ink just isn’t at the stage where it could be used for an all-purpose colour tablet, and probably never will be - there are oils and such like being developed for that sort of thing) then I’d probably buy.

As for the iPhone having no copy and paste, it did make me laugh that it was introduced as a big feature for 2.0 or 3.0 or whatever it is. And the iPhone still has no rich text… Except in Apple iPhone applications. I recently spoke to a developer who had his iPhone app rejected from the app store because it used rich text via HTML and so he has been forced to return to plain text. One of many reasons I don’t own an iPhone.

So, to recap, I stand by the points I made previously. Although I have no need for a netbook it does seem wilful of Apple not to have released something that at least competes in that market by now, and as a Mac developer obviously I like to see anything that brings new users to the platform or keeps them here (and yes, it pains me when I hear of Scrivener users who have to use a small computer for travelling and so want a PC version purely for that). And really, although it’s speculation, from Apple’s comments and the very fact that it does seem they are hoping to make this tablet double as an e-reader, my hopes for a proper Apple e-reader seem dashed.


Well the device has been a rumor for a very long time and actually had a grandfather (Newton) and a father (ipod touch and iphone).

I think the idea is not really just an e-reader (simulate black on white text) but more of an interactive hand held device.

The old idea was for MAGAZINES and NEWSPAPERS and not really books. The thinking behind it was you would have “cartridges” that would contain a magazine or newspaper. You would plug it in (Think Nintendo DS) and you would have an INTERACTIVE magazine that would contain text but have options like text reading, Pictures that would be movies, sound bytes, animated advertisements, etc.

The cartdridges would be recyclable and would be cheap for magazine and newspaper providers to manufacture instead of having to actually print paper copies.

But then the internet changed the whole concept and the idea was shelved. Then wireless (Mobile) internet has become a huge boom in the past few years and is estimated to outgrow wired internet (using an actual computer).

Now the idea comes back as a handheld device that is very simular to a netbook but instead of a monitor and keyboard you would have just a touch screen tablet. Think ipod touch but the size of a CD jewel case. THe idea is a wireless handheld device mainly used for what many people use their “smart phones” to do. Like checking sports scores and stories, interactive magazine and news articles, weather updates, gps and mapping, etc.

A device that fills the gap between a mobile phone and a netbook designed for MOBILE wireless and not to replace an actual wired deviced or laptop.

The kindle and other e-readers are more of a niche device, designed for specifically large amounts of TEXT. They would not be replaced. The iPad would not be a direct competitor for large amounts of text but would instead be a competitor for a wireless mobile device designed for viewing and interacting with MOBILE internet use and applications.

But then again its all conjecture but I really think the iPad would be more in the category of a larger iPod Touch than an e-reader. The Touch’s main use will be the standard for a MUSIC device that can interact with wireless devices but the iPad would be more of a device designed for wireless ineraction FIRST and not a “smart” music player likes its sibling.

That’s a very good point – I’d even go so far as to take the “occasionally” out of it. They have, in fact, made a good living off of doing exclusively this. But you have to admit, more often than not, they’re right about what they think we should want. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a new product from them and thought “Huh. I didn’t even think about being able to do that” – then, months later, I couldn’t imagine a time when I did it any other way. (I got my first iMac thinking I’d miss the floppy drive. Not so much, as it turns out.) I don’t think it’s a case of Apple not caring what their customers think – I just think Apple has an enormous amount of confidence in the way Apple thinks. Luckily, they share these thoughts with us. And by “share” I mean “sell for a shitload of money, the greedy bastards.”

Apple has changed the way so many of us do so many things, and I don’t think a company can innovate like that without some degree of this-is-the-way-it’s-gonna-be-ism. As disappointed as one may be to see someone using Scriv on a crummy little PC, I’d think we’d be equally disappointed to see Apple chase the latest fad with an inferior product. (P.S. Yes, I think netbooks are a fad, and no, I don’t buy the argument that a 13" MacBook is somehow unsuitable for computing on the go – I’ve schlepped much worse.)

I say all of this because I read these articles and these rumors and I see people making the mistake they always make with Apple: expecting that they’re going to do something expected. If I may speculate for a moment (hypocrisy!), I’d venture a guess that Apple’s tablet won’t come out until they are sure that it will change the game. I think in a couple of years, we’re all going to wonder why we ever wanted a netbook.

That said, I really (really) hope that includes a robust e-book function.

Thus endeth my embarrassing Apple apologia.

Mr. Coffee,

Would you like to borrow my stick?

No, Jaysen. I clearly have one of my own. (I did kind of beat poor ol’ Nelly into a viscous paste there, didn’t I?)

I hate, by the way, that I sound like an Apple Fanboy when I talk about stuff like that. I just really respect people (and companies) that try new things. I think my current level of disdain for the same-old stems from having accidentally watched Nora Ephron movie.

From all that I have read, I think Wock is likely to be right. It looks like Apple have learnt from the competitive advantage that the iTunes Store has delivered. The iPad will be about content, but perhaps content that delivers a shorter intensive experience, rather than a novel-length extensive experience, less Mill on the Floss, more Factory Media. And the hardware will be attuned to this.

If I take Hugh’s message correctly, the suggestion is that Apple is becoming the crack dealer of the IT industry. Expensive crack, but crack none the less.

Mr Coffee, I would never mistake you for a fanboy. Others might, but me? never.

My take on the apple “secrecy” debate is a bit different. Business is about money, right? If you are telling everyone else what you are doing then you lose some of your share. Sure they are gods of system/product design (as long as you ignore the text subsystem) but they are just as much gods of marketing. They took “geek toys” and made the masses drool for them. Slick adds. Sexy designs. Easy interfaces. Once you have the edge, you do what you have to to hang on to it. Think M$ and back room deals with Dell. And Gateway. And Compaq. And HP. And IBM. And Acer. And Digital. And …

I think you get the point.

Good thing I have a stick of my own, well worn as it is.