Apple's iPad might be the latest thing, but Motion Computing has been selling tablet devices for more than a decade - long enough to work out what punters want from a slate. Based in Austin, Texas, Motion Computing designs and makes computers in the slate form factor. Eschewing keyboards for a pen-based interface and still …
Makes me wonder
How many of the sales to the public are actualy going to people like architects and civil engineers to use on building sites. Not realy important, but would reduce the number used by the public even more, and would explain the sales of this type of PC.
They would say that wouldn't they
They're scared ******* about the iPad and it stealing their market.
Miss the part about specialist requirements?
You know, disinfection and the like? Numpty.
Except that is a non-issue
I recall reading an article a few years ago about how doctors were using iPhones as mini-tablets and in-office entertainment devices specifically because they can be easily cleaned and disinfected.
What a tablet PC would be really good for is for presentations, but you need to go wireless for that: Have the tablet send the video-signal wirelessly to the projector, so you can walk around with the tablet as you present.
First off you would need a wifi enabled projector. Both wifi devices would have to have sufficient bandwidth for video streaming.
Seeing as you are unlikely to find both of the above at venues you visit to give presentations your next option would be to carry around a laptop that has the presentation on it connected to the projector and you control it from a remote device you carry around with you.
Oh wait... you can do that already.
List price = ouch
There's a discount, right? Right?
If architects, and civil engineers, in the field, are buying their own computers, they're the public.
"...Motion Computing has been selling tablet devices for more than a decade - long enough to work out what punters want from a slate."
Obviously not, or they'd be a household name by now.
Motion Computing repeatedly point out—in your own article—that they sell to *vertical markets*. Apple don't sell to vertical markets any more than they sell to corporates. Apple is not Dell.
At the risk of committing a terrible pun, you're comparing apples with oranges. This is a complete non-article.
Tablet PCs aren't a failure from Microsoft's perspective: there are plenty of hospitals and construction firms who need a slate-shaped device with no keyboard, and Microsoft don't need to do that much to Windows to make it respond to touch-based devices like these.
However, the Tablet PC is simply not a consumer-friendly user interface. It's a compromised version of a traditional desktop GUI, not GUI designed from the ground up to be touch-centric.
The technology is not, and never WAS, the point with Apple's products. Their core competency is in *interface design*. That is both their alpha and their omega. There is no secret. No magic. No trick.
They're not in the same market which is why they're happy about the iPad, that's basically what I got from that article.
I can see his point, Apple are basically good at making toys, they won't last forever and you probably wouldn't want them to.
I would be concerned if they started to use the apple toys in places like hospitals and construction sites, in particular the former. I doubt they will though, in most cases it's probably been suggested by some fanboi to a manager who is basically clueless.
You'd trust Windows with your life?
"I would be concerned if they started to use the apple toys in places like hospitals and construction sites, in particular the former."
Really? I'm not a fanboi but the all too common BSOD in a medical scenario seems scarier to me then whatever you are imagining might go wrong with an iPad.
"Really? I'm not a fanboi but the all too common BSOD in a medical scenario seems scarier to me then whatever you are imagining might go wrong with an iPad."
Last I checked, the physicians I know don't rely on their Windows PCs in a "medical scenario" that could be considered "scary" by any means. Of course, when your personal physician (of whom your basing your comment on) runs blind because his iPad ran out of juice and is no longer able to get help from a First Aid for Dummies app, I really will feel for you.
...Define "toys", please...
"I can see his point, Apple are basically good at making toys, they won't last forever and you probably wouldn't want them to."
Since my daughter still easily runs Photoshop on a TiBook and I'm comfortably doing the same, as well as doing professional graphic design (and some video-editing and 3-D modeling on the side) on an 8-year-old G4 duallie, I'd be curious as to your definition of "toys".
I will agree that they won't last forever -- nothing will, after all -- but running the (next-to) latest version of the OS (since the latest is Intel-only) and current productivity tools on boxen that are closing in on a decade old, and doing it with sufficient alacrity that we're working profitably seems to take something out of the 'toy" category and into the "f*cking-A tool" category.
Clearly, your definition of "toy" differs from mine.
Never see it
You'll never see a BSOD or an iPad running on a critical system in a hospital. Sure they might be using it on their data terminals but it'll never run on something that is life or death critical where fail operative and/or triple redundancy is the norm.
Did I say that your TiBook was a toy?
Apple are good at making toys.
I consider the iPhone a toy. I anticipate the iPad being a toy. Target markets are different, people buying iPhones couldn't give a stuff if they last longer than the life of their contract, they'll just get a new one.
Your example isn't a particularly good one though, what you've described is not work as far as I'm concerned. Professional graphic design can be making a poster for someone who gives you a tenner for doing it. BFHD. 3D modelling and video editing also pretty much fall into the hobby category and there are any number of devices suitable for the job. Something used by someone in a job doesn't tend to get treated in the same way as something owned by that same person. There's a lot less respect for the value of an item you work with than one you own.
In hospitals they won't own the device so it's going to need to be robust, and not break if a little bit of vomit, blood or any kind of bodily fluid spills on it.
Renewed interest in Slate form factor
When Microsoft first came out with the idea for Tablet PC, they expected a huge public response for it, which never really came. Maybe because it's Microsoft, maybe because the cost of the units were prohibitive, maybe maybe maybe... But what is true is that people have mostly forgotten or rejected the idea of Tablet PC's.
Now Apple come along with all their fanbois and launch a Tablet "PC", and there is the hype that was never there when Microsoft sold the idea. So Motion Computing would quite clearly not mind the launch of the iPad, as Apple have spent a lot of money selling the Tablet idea to the masses, that seem to be more receptive this time around. Motion spend very little, and can ride on the back of the wave of the iPad success.
Everyone's a winner it seems!
Why is it that some people seem incapable of not using the term fanboi and Apple or iPad in the same sentence?
The reason the Microsoft concept did not catch on with joe public has nothing to do with it coming from Bill Gates... otherwise linux would be the dominant platform in billions of homes right now.
Nobody knows if the iPad will succeed or not yet... the way people talk about it with such authority you would think they have had one for months!
"Motion Computing has been selling tablet devices for more than a decade - long enough to work out what punters want from a slate."
Then how come it never occurred to them that what people want from a slate is a glowing outline of a half-eaten piece of fruit on the back?
The iPad is hermetically sealed morons! You can do everything short of SOAK it in disinfectant and it will be fine. There's no buttons, riedges, etc to get in the way of a simple antibacterial polishing, even the screen is hard glass and can be easily cleaned.
WTF this guy from Motion talking about?
Is the iPad going to be used in environments where hard durability is a requirement? Probably not, but then again, with it's slim form factor, adding a near bulletproof casing to it, like the OtterBox ,is going to happen soon, and could make it easily as durable as a full fledged Toughbook that costs thousands.
who said it was sealed?
It has a speaker and microphone jack, two dock ports, and a home button!
Now that's news!
I don't remember 'The Apple Show' sayin' that. What about that button on the front? Is that hermetically sealed too? So when you get yours, tell us how well it holds up in the shower. You do know it has those indicators inside that shows up if it gets wet like a phone. I think that RDF has got you by the short-n-curlies! Hermetically sealed... That's a good one... like the iPhone; that must be hermetically sealed too.
Dont get me wrong, I will definitely be getting one, but the bollocks some people talk about it is sometimes unbelievable.
Where did Apple ever say this device was for anything other than light use in the home? I think the whole Hospital idea came out of some web sites rumour that they had been seen before release in hospitals undergoing evaluation...
Apart from the difficulty in cleaning the iPad the major disadvantage it has is that there is nowhere to easily carry it. If you look at the industrial design machines they have a handle built in to the case making it easy to grip with one hand.
Not Impressive, unbelievable.
And totally at odds with the product margins Apple reports at each quarterly earnings call.
Still, gets iSuppli's name in the press eh?
should've mentioned gloves
Both health care workers and construction workers are often using gloves. Another reason why an iPad might not do well in Motion's verticals.
@Richard 120: Apple does make toys. Only they make their toys better than anybody else (compare iPod Touch to Zune: similar price; just try both and then form an opinion). Apple also happen to make some pretty serious workstations and servers (unlike Packard Bell, they still have two or more machines on the top 500 supercomputers list, last I knew). And, whether one likes it or not, they are also the makers of one of the most stable high-graphics operating systems available at this time. Much of the kudos go to FreeBSD, of course, on which much of Apple's MacOS X is based.
Anyway, Motion has a specialised market in which they are well established. They can afford to sit back and watch Apple take the message to the decision-makers of their target customer companies by pushing a viable tablet machine into the general market.
That is a viable marketing policy: get the decision-making, chair-hugging managers of companies interested in a technology, then offer something tailored to the needs of the company's operatives -- that could actually work out great for both Apple and Motion. The managers buying the iPad, the Great Unwashed getting to use the ruggedized Motion offerings for their daily toil *shrug*. Could just work out. Plus, I guess graphics designers and suchlike are going to fall in love with the iPad.
Me, I'm off for a stiff pint or two...
>>Only they make their toys better than anybody else
No, you prefer Apple to Orange (I prefer the Zen Vision to the iPod video, I think the creative is much better on many grounds, more CoDecs supported/more screen colours/better battery life/ability to fix and upgrade, I prefer the interface and had the bonus of being cheaper), if you want to pay more for a technically inferior product that's fine, as long as you think you're getting value.
>>Apple also happen to make some pretty serious workstations and servers (unlike Packard Bell, they still have two or more machines on the top 500 supercomputers list, last I knew).
No, Apple don't feature in the top 500 (and I can't recall if they ever did, MS appears).
Apple don't MAKE workstations and servers, they build them and put OSX on them, you can build almost identical kit and bung your OS of choice on there for a fraction of the cost, hell you can run a hackintosh for half the price, my Ubuntu machine has a pair of overclocked q6600s and 8Gb of ram, it cost a third of a similar spec mac pro (and was faster than ANY mac pro when I made it), I don't want to pay three times the price to have a mac logo.
You mean you didn't want to pay for an Apple to get "the Apple experience"?
Where everything just works straight out of the box, is less customisable, ties you to numerous other services you may not want to use, restricts you from services you do want to use.
It looks pretty though.
Honestly, I can't understand your attitude, you must be some kind of apple hater, listen to the fanbois, they know what they're talking about. The apple experience is the only experience you'll ever need.
I think you could add a simple case to the iPad and a stylus that works with the capacitive screen and would have something that works totally fine in a hospital or industrial environment. And would still be lighter, smaller and cheaper than most specialized slates.
This thing certainly is a consumer device, but it will still hit the vertical markets like a bomb, believe me. Even the dreaded app store is actually something many specialized companies are eying with envy, since it could eliminate a huge part of the installation, licensing and update nightmares you have to deal with in such settings.
The problem of course is that then you had to port your software to it and since nobody in their right mind even thinks of that you'll have newcomers to the market who will leave many established companies shivering.
I was going to reply to say adding a case and a pen doesn't magically change what it is (lipstick on a pig etc.), there is after all a huge market for "ruggedised" laptops, phones etc. there's a reason why they are heavier (they are better built).
The app store is good, 79c bits of software just couldn't be distributed in any other way, it has opened the market up for the amature software writer to make a few quid (like Stalins speaches etc.), but not really what hospitals and industrial environments need, and in fact you would want to restrict access to this sort of thing in a professional environment.
Your last point is interesting, whether or not it's valid will remain to be seen, but given the fragility of the iPhone and the care and reverance that they get given (they are delicate and expensive) I suspect that if you didn't pay for it yourself it wouldn't be so cared for and would be subject to more abuse, proven hardware/software should always be a companies first choice, cheaper, unproven software/hardware may turn out much more expensive.
But, all things considered, you said "it will still hit the vertical markets like a bomb, believe me", so I can't help gigling at you.
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