back to article Apple iPad vs netbooks: fight not over yet

Apple CEO Steve Jobs was rather dismissive of the netbook at the iPad's launch last night. He needed to be: he was trying to win over journalists and analysts who've spent the last 18 months or so asking when his company will release just such a product - and telling readers why it really should. Jobs' criticisms were …

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  1. DavCrav Silver badge
    FAIL

    No no no!

    This is so wrong it hurts to read it. I watched the maxiPad commercial on apple.com and when the guy types his e-mail on it he rests it on his legs, which are magically raised in the air, presumably because he's lying on the sofa.

    A tablet cannot work for typing unless you want a back injury from leaning over. This resigns tablets to passive consumption of media, like books, films, music or the Internet. Books are better read on e-book readers because they don't give you eye strain (or, for example, on books themselves). Films, well that's just silly, as I have a TV, and don't really need to watch entire films on the move. Music, well, I have a much-cheaper mp3 player for that, and the Internet, sure, that might be useful, but not for the amount of money required.

    The iPad will fail after the silly people buy one, and then one might come out with USB, etc., and be something slightly useful.

    1. Michael C
      Stop

      yes, yes, yes

      1: the keyboard position on your lap would not be different between this and a netbook/notebook, so I'll cimply dismiss this point you failed to make.

      2: the sleve for it, which is a real nice way to carry and protect it, not to mention the ergonomics it adds to it, can acutally give you an even better keyboard position than a notebook, and, the keyboard being dynamic means it is by FAR the best system for working in spreadsheets, charts, and presentations...

      3: Eye Strain? Have you really tried to read an ebook in the dark using it's backlight? I borrowed a kindle for a few nights from a friend, tried to read in bed. Very glad I did not waste $300... I read from my nice MacBook Pro IPS panel all day long with no issues, including at night in bed for hours straight, and I also have no issues at all outside in direct sunlight. Maybe you should actually TRY it in these scenarios before you compare it to something else you also likely don;t own and have not tried. The ONLY advantage to e-ink I have ever experienced was long battery life (and only while not using a back light, which will kill the batteries in 6 hours or so).

      4: Really, you already have a system for connecting a PC conveniently to your TV to stream movies to it? Good for you. The 98% of the restu of us who've been considdering an Apple TV, hassling over cabling up a notebook properly (including power), or looking at other set top options think the iPad is the perfect option to solve this.

      5: the living room if NOT the only place I watch video. hanging an iPad behind the car seat for the kids to watch would save me over $800 equipping the car with a video system that's half that good. Car DVD players with 10" screens at 480i resolutions may be cheaper, but they're DVD based, and that's a pain for kids that can't reach the player to change disks... Also, at the beach/pool, on vacation, in a hotel, and on top of all this and an e-reader, it also plays some damn nice 3D games?

      6: You underestimate the value of portrait view for both websites and photo management.

      7: USB and SD adapters are already advertized, $29 for both. Yea, probably should have been built in, but the form factor would have to change to even include micro-USB, let alone SD. And really, beyong 32GB I can't think of anything I;d need on the device I could not stream over wifi or 3G. (free software already makes this possible on an iPhone).

      It;s not going to fail. It;s going to be a huge success, likely selling 3-4 million devices by years end, and then a newer more powerful model next year WITH SD and a camer integrated will be the same price next year.

      Keep in mind, Apple can't make the PERFECT device the first time. There's a demand curve that has to be handled as manufacturing ramps up performance. They're not making 30 million A4 chips this year, NO ONE has the fab to handle that today. Its market strategy. 2-3 million people will buy one regardless in the USA alone. Give them just enough, and bring out a better one next year, and a better one a year after that, and they'll sell 20 million in the US in 2.5 years.

      1. Christopher Rogers
        Grenade

        I cimply have to disagree

        1. The position of the keyboard to the screen you are typing to is going to be different. They are infact the same thing.

        2. I agree an onscreen keyboard is dynamic, but positionally it still won't be great.

        3. You tried to read in the dark? okay then.... also back lit displays of any nature cause problems for your eyes. look at the Sun, it will prove the point...

        4. Bullsh1t. The ipad does not fill this gap. It's good for presentations. That is all.

        5. you would spend that sort of money for something for the kids to watch in the car??? Lend us a fiver would ya, you must have plenty. For the cost, you could have a system with 2 screens. Probably TV built in too....

        6. This goes without saying. Some like it tall and thin, some like it wide. Mind you, its only an oldschool 4:3 screen...

        7.For this to have the selling point of being a great photo frame, i'd like to take the sd out of my digital camera, put it in the ipad and display my nice new pics. FAIL.

        Your guessing and as a fanboi i'd suggest you think Jesus Jobs got his sums right (In steve we trust). This whole sector is vague. No one knows what they want from it, all i can suggest is Apple have made a fairly good fist of their attempt. The difference this time is apple haven't done anything revolutionary and in missing that trick, they haven't convinced the great unwashed that this is the gadget you never knew you needed. Yes it will sell. But not like the iphone and ipod. Apple spoiled themselves when they pulled off those tricks.

    2. Dr Richard

      No yes yes!

      I'm sitting here leaning back in my chair (working from home of course) with the foot-rest up (no lazyboy but comfortable) using a laptop but could quite easily use a tablet instead.

      Plus have a look at iPad case here http://www.apple.com/ipad/specs/#case-flat

      looks very usable to me.

      "This resigns tablets to passive consumption of media" ... umm, yes and what do *most* people do with computers in their homes? Niche users will use it for data input and reference, e.g. medics, pollsters, students etc.

      The iPad will sell well because it will fit in with the lives of millions of people .. however the next version will sell even better and version 3 will be even better ... or am I just thinking of the ipod and the iphone alone?

    3. markp 1
      Coffee/keyboard

      erm...

      you missed the part where they offer a dock with a keyboard, yes?

      Mind you it is missing a whole load of other face-palm, d'oh, why isn't that in there features that would actually make it competitive with the netbooks.

  2. nichomach
    Jobs Horns

    Really?

    "They'll get touchscreens, and Windows will get better at working with touch control, and then they'll become Tablet PCs before finally morphing into keyboard-less devices like... the iPad. "

    No, I think they won't. They really won't, and I'll tell you for why; people who really use netbooks, who do things like write articles or reports on the train, who use them as cheap and flexible devices for not just accessing but creating and editing documents, emails, whatever, will not want to give up the keyboard for a number of reasons. It doesn't require losing half the screen to use it, it allows a more natural typing position and it's more flexible. Would you want to have written even something as short as this article on a tablet or worse yet on a touchscreen-only device? They won't become tablets, either, because tablets are expensive relative to plain keyboard only machines - if that sort of move were likely it would have happened at the high end ultraportable bit of the market, where the relative cost increase is a lot less significant part of the purchase price, first. Yes, there are high end tablets, but the vast majority of ultraportables are keyboard only. The iPad isn't an alternative to a netbook, or if it is, it's a piss-poor one. It's just another Apple-branded automated wallet-unloader.

    Evil Steveil for...well...just because, OK?

    1. Michael C

      small deal

      You might have just eliminated about one thousandth of one percent of people: editors who ride the train and do something other than read the paper...

      "people who really use netbooks" Ok, that's about 1 in 100 people i know who own a netbook. most of them barely use it to send a few e-mails, take some notes, and update facebook... Anyone with serious document managament needs, and especially every single "editor" i know, have MacBook Pros or Airs. The rest have regular, full performance notebooks. No one who "really uses" a newbook has a use case for a netbook the iPad can't fill. Very few people care about a real keyboard that much, especially since an iPad in it;s sleve actually presents a better ergonomic position than a netbook on a lap in a vehicle...

      A netbook does not do portrait. A netbook does not have multitouch, a netbook can;t hang from your carseat and entertain the kids with a 720p video (since they don't do 720P on their piss ass processors at all)

      Is this a great PC replacement for everyone? absolutely not, no way. However, for 50% or more of the people considdering a secondary PC device and/or ebook reader and/or car based video system, this is cheaper and better in almost all use cases. It;s also tougher (unibody build and solid glass/not plastic screen), and it;s weather sealed unlike a netbook at a beach which would get caked with sand and sea air...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        720p video

        Any atom based system, even with a crappy Intel IGP, can handle 720P video just fine. They can't handle 720P Flash, because Flash is a pile of crap, but them , the iPad can't do Flash either.

        I've watched an awful lot of 720P video on my 37" TV driven by a n Atom base9d MSI Wind. Which cost less than half the price of an iPad.

      2. Mark 65 Silver badge

        720p why?

        So why would you want 720p on a 10" 600 pixel height screen anyway? 576 from normal PAL would do just fine

  3. Daniel Owen
    Stop

    6 out 12 new stories on ipad

    So come on... how much are they paying you?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    At last

    "They'll get touchscreens, and Windows will get better at working with touch control, and then they'll become Tablet PCs before finally morphing into keyboard-less devices like... the iPad"

    So Apple will finally catch up to where MS were 8 years ago, we had a load of tablet PC's at school and they were pretty good. MS were let down by the available hardware and battery life. The hardware is finally there.

    1. N2 Silver badge

      Yes but

      Eight years ago, you diddnt have the CPU soaking pig of an operating system that Windows is.

    2. Justin Clements

      They failed because they didn't work

      PC Tablets failed because they just didn't work the way you wanted them to.

      And I know as I had a Toshiba tablet for several years. Loved it dearly, despite its ability to eat a hard drive each Christmas, but I rarely used its tablet function.

      The problem is that a tablet PC just doesn't work. You come up with all these ideas on how you can use it, and it doesn't happen. The Windows interface just doesn't lend itself easily (and there is much difference in functionality between XP and W7 - you still click in bottom left hand screen, lists come up, move across, select the app, and the app behaves the same way whether its XP or W7). I doubt the OSX interface lends itself to purely touchscreen either.

      But the iPhone interface is an excellent user experience.

      And there is the key words, I said them "user experience". And that is why this device will sell truck loads. We're going to buy one, and if it works, a second one. They'll make sofa surfers and traveling machines.

      1. Sean Timarco Baggaley
        Thumb Up

        Hallelujah!

        Someone else sees the light.

        Apple don't do technology for its own sake. They do *interfaces*. That's why Jonathan Ive—their lead designer—is in the iPad advert, right at the beginning. He's the chap with the British accent. Apple owes much of its present success to him and his team. (And to the guy who designed "Delicious Library"; the iBooks GUI will look suspiciously familiar to owners of that app...)

        Yes, the iPad is *technically* just an evolution of the iPod Touch (and, to a lesser extent, the iPhone). But it's the *user interfaces* which make it different. Note that it does not use the same GUI as a Macbook Pro, but borrows primarily from the iPod Touch / iPhone GUI instead. *This* is why all those Windows-based Tablet PCs have bombed. It's the interface that matters, not the physical components.

        The most significant element of Jobs' presentation wasn't the whizz-bang games, or even the iBooks stuff. The most important part of the whole event was presented by Phil Schiller and involved... iWork. Watch it. Then watch it again.

        Consider that all the media stuff is *built-in* to the device itself. (Yes, you can tether it to your traditional computer or laptop, but you don't *have* to.)

        Now, recall that a keyboard dock is also going to be on sale for the iPad. So, when you're sitting at a table or desk, you have a keyboard with a touch-screen computer right there in front of you.

        What all this points to is the beginning of the end for the ageing desktop GUI metaphor and WIMP models.

        And about damned time, too.

  5. breakfast
    Thumb Up

    Just not getting the idea

    I couldn't help but notice Jobs missing the point of netbooks big time when he talked about them. Obviously that is his job, but the point about Netbooks is that they are good enough that you can get things done with them and cheap enough that you can take them out with you and not have to panic about breaking them or losing them. Mine has been great for keeping in touch with home when I'm travelling, writing up adventures and editing photos as I go. Given Wine it even plays the old games that i mean't to finish on my PC but never got around to. Basically it can do everything my PC of ten years ago could do ( and that's not so different from what I need to do now ) it just does it on a slightly small screen with a slightly dinky keyboard.

    Good enough really is good enough most of the time.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    You missed the point

    The netbooks are already nearly there.

    They will probably be there by the middle of the year by which time the infatuation with the overgrown phone which can run ONLY ONE APPLICATION AT A TIME would have faded.

    0. As you correctly noted - first they need a touchscreen. There is already at least one that does so.

    1. 360 degree hinges so you can fold it back or full split/undock at hinges. The current tabletPC idea of rotation around a central hinge is an idiocy. It is fragile, big, clumsy, clunky and has Redmond User Experience written all over it.

    2. Undock/split the keyboard which remains connected to the main unit via Bluetooth. Yes that pesky Keyboard thing which the God of Apple and his prophet continuously deny to the user. iXXX is the only smartphone group not to support a BT keyboard profile which is hysterical considering that Apple remains as the only true faithful user of Bluetooth for keyboard and mice.

    All of that is achievable provided that the iPad (this sounds like a brand of something ladies use...) does generate user interest.

    And nobody said it needs to be Windows. I replaced my "BIG Laptop" running my "BIG applications" with a netbook which runs the same apps. However both of them funnily enough never ever ran windows. They ran debian from day one and never caused me any problems with it.

  7. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  8. mlo0352
    Thumb Down

    Well...

    The way I see it, the iPad is just a cartoonishly large iPod touch, and the only function it really has is to replace the kindle as a more media centric semi-ebook reader. The things it does are pointless if you have an ipod or iphone. Also, if it was supposed to be an intermediate device, I cannot for the life of me understand why in the hell they would have put a freaking 16, 32, 64 gb choice in it. Basic netbook tend to be ~120 (unless you go for ssds), and I realize that this device isn't supposed to be used with real applications, but I feel like they could have put a bigger memory in there so people could actually have their music and video collections on it, and all that... Just a thought.

    A glorified ebook reader. Yay. Let's hope the competition steps up to the plate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Hate to ruin the rhetoric

      ..but iPad thingy supports normal BT keyboards just fine.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RegisterFail fail

      Mac mini faded into obscurity? Since when? Not only do I own two, but I can see eighteen from my desk. It's arguably the best Mac that Apple have ever made.

      p.s. never heard of this Asus 'seashell' thing though. What processor does it have? Unless it's an Apple A4 you're comparing the proverbial with oranges.

    3. Piro
      Thumb Down

      No, the iPad won't be good at drawing

      Because it's capacative, and includes no stylus.

      It's useless for everything.

    4. Michael C

      you are not getting it either

      0: touchscreen on XP/Win7/Linux are simply not the same, the OS does not have native proper support for it, not do any available Windows apps. Single touch, yea, but multi-touch is not developed properly yet.

      1: that hinge, and the compenents underneath for the keyboard, extra bezels, and core components, mean that thing can't be much less than 1" think, and then it will also either be very flimsy, or way more than $499. That also increases weight and reduces battery compartmentalization. plus, that thin screen is going to have its own issues as well... The iPad is a SOLID built device you;re not afraid tyo toss onto a couch. A cheap plasitc netbook with a touch screen that would try to compete within $100 of the price point of the iPad will fall apart in a year of casual use...

      2: THE iPad DOES SUPPORT THE BLUETOOTH KEYBOARD PROFILE. Read the fucking specs!

      However, my BIGGEST gripe with any alternative is this: I want a DEVICE to accompany my PC, NOT a second PC I have to patch, maintain, and buy expensive software licenses for! The iPad already runs the 40+ apps I have for my iPhone, exchange support is free, and a complete office suite is only $30 (and can run on up to 54 other iPads under the same license). I don't need to AV protect the iPad, It needs patching only infrequently and that's automatic when docked, and it;s easy to get files in/out of and through the cloud through all the services i already use today.

      Oh, and an instant gratification device, like a reader, tablet, etc, needs to be INSTANT ON. I can't STAND waiting for a netbook to boot, and when it;s hibernating, it doesn't get notifications. The iPad has 1 months standby time on Wifi/3g. That's amazing, since I'll get e-mails, chat notifications, or be able to look up something on my mind or that I see on TV nearly instantly, without going into the other room to get the laptop, wait for it to boot up, just to check a message, and by then I've forgotten what i was looking up, or missed something on TV...

      This device is not an end-all be-all replacement for a portable PC, but it filly 90% of what i want a portable system to do, so now i only need this and one real, full performance notebook.

      Oh, a netbook is NOT a good vehicle video Solution for the kids. The iPad, hung from the back of a seat, would be PERFECT!

    5. Michael C
      Stop

      "rea;" applications?

      You mean, like iWork? Creating full documents, spreadsheets, charts, presentations? If it can do that, it can do just about anything else... Editing/croping photos won't be far behind with a software update, OS 4 will have much improved multitasking support (already confirmed).

      Considdering it's cloud connected, and designed to stream, i see no reason at all for more than 32GB on it. For those who will never take it out of their home, 16GB would be compeltely fine.

      Netbooks have 120GB HDDS not because there's a use case for them, but because THAT'S THE SMALLEST HDD YOU CAN GET!. SSDs are 32 and 64GB for most machines, and most people don;t use 100% of that. Also, with a Windows OS, you need 30% free at all times for fragmentation/OS performance/cahce files/snapshots, etc. The iPhone OS could use 99% of the storage and not suffer performance, so a 64GB flash disk is the same or better than a netbook with an 80 or 120GB SSD. (and the flash here is high performance class 4+ flash, and should outperform spinning disk without question).

      Glorigfied color e-book reader? No. Glorified car video solution, maybe, at a lower price point, and including free exchange support, not needing AV, and not needing PC licenseing, and not needing PC maintencance, with better battery life and half the weight and size? Find me a REAL comparrison that satrts at $499 and I'll print this text and eat it.

    6. Drew Scott
      Stop

      @AC

      "Undock/split the keyboard which remains connected to the main unit via Bluetooth. Yes that pesky Keyboard thing which the God of Apple and his prophet continuously deny to the user. iXXX is the only smartphone group not to support a BT keyboard profile"

      You obviously missed the part where they're shipping a dock with keyboard, and that the iPad will support any bluetooth keyboard.

    7. Michael C
      Grenade

      Seashell? really

      1: 1.6GHz are is SLOWER than the C9 dual core 1GHz CPU used here. in fact, the C9 is more powerful than the 2GHz snapdragon... Also, the Atom has no 3d capability, and can't do HDTV video playback.

      2: might be 10.1", but it's not IPS and has lower resolution.

      3: that 160GB is A0 a slow spinning disk compared to flash, and b) with Win 7 good luck using more than 120GB of it without loosing even more performance (never leave less than 30% free space on your OS drive). Since the iPad natively streams with other PCs as well, you really don;t need all that storage, and since you can't run Win7Pro on a netbook, you don't get media center on it...

      4: 10,5 hour battery? Engadget's testing showd 3hr 7 minute playing an mpeg file. The product spec says 6 hours, not 10. Your facts are simply wrong here.

      5: Non-US pricing for the iPad has not yet been revealed, where did you get your $399 numnber, huh? The 1008ha is $429 here in the US, not much cheaper than the iPad, but without half the performance, battery life, worse rez, no 3d, and on top of all that, software licenses, support, security, and patching are a huge burden compared to an iPad that just works out of the box...

      Uh, oh yea, it;s not a touch screen....

      next competitor?

      1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

        iPad

        Show me gcc building itself by default with no hacking and then we'll talk.

        I mean, apple are so coy with their specs I don't actually even know

        1) how much RAM this thing has.

        2) what sort of CPU this thing has. Does this thing ACTUALLY have cortex 9 cores? Apple have been so coy I have no idea.

        Where would one get such information? The apple site remains coy, there's nothing of any substance on wikipedia yet.

      2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Coffee/keyboard

          You made me laugh RegisterFail

          I liked the way that you raised several arguments and then when they were shot down in flames what happened?

          You said they were all irrelevant anyway.

          From what I can see this entire thread consists of three groups:

          1, Apple haters

          2, Apple fans

          3, People who have something sensible to say

          Group 3 seem to be in the minority.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        comparison

        "Find me a REAL comparrison that satrts at $499 and I'll print this text and eat it."

        Well, hopefully for MUCH less than $499 you'll be able to learn to spell.

        I'll bet the iPad store has an app for that...

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Point 1 - Already been done

      HP TC11xx Series PChs had a rotatey - folding hinge and the hinge and keyboard was removeable. It was a USB connector so once removed it didn't work ie not by bluetooth but the unit has bluetooth so it was certainly possible

      That faield to set the world alight either, they were good for surfing but the touch screen nedd is a PITA to do email or any decent amount of text input on.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      too true

      Not only Jobs but netbook manufacturers too. I won't pay iPad prices for a netbook, and lately all manufacturers see to think I will. Something simple, dosn't need more than a SSD because I keep all my real work on another pc, Cheap enough to drop or leave on the train. Browse web, check email, revise and make a presentation. that's all I want.

    10. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Stop

      Netbooks

      First, lets give the iPod/Touch/Phone the credit it deserves.

      1. I have NEVER seen a better user interface for something with a touchscreen. It is FANTASTIC.

      2. They do appear well built

      Problems

      1. Locked down OS

      2. Fuck it, no SD slots? WTF..

      Basically fantastic UI, pretty good build quality, but crap realisation in terms of OS, expansion, customisation.

      I have done quite a few important things on the run on netbooks. Written/patched/debugged windoze (I hate windows but I have to live with it) and linux stuff, on my netbooks. Yes, I will emphasize the plural there. At airports whatever.

      I have NEVER bought an apple iPhone/Touch... And likely never will. They are nice and fancy but it would seem you can't do diddly squat on them.

  9. Alex 0.1
    WTF?

    Eh?

    Several things strike me about this...

    >>> No, the only real difference between netbook and iPad - the price of the two devices being much of a muchness

    It is? At $499 for a base model (which will undoubtedly convert to £400 at least) this iPad's 50% more expensive than a middle of the road netbook like an Eee 1005HA, which has significantly more flexibility and a similar battery life. That's not really much of a muchness at all, in my book.

    >>> But netbooks' future is limited. They'll get touchscreens, and Windows will get better at working with touch control, and then they'll become Tablet PCs before finally morphing into keyboard-less devices like... the iPad.

    These have existed for quite a while, i'd love to know how come suddenly after yesterday everything similar will be morphing into an iPad, and not the countless "prior art" devices that already exist and work fine?

    An Eee T91MT is a good example... touchscreen (with multi-touch), check, windows, check, works fantastically well with touch control, check, is a tablet pc, check, still has a keyboard to allow input as well as consumption to be much more a flexible device than an ipad, check, still costs around the same as a base model iPad, check.

    The only place it falls down is battery life, and hell, portable media tablets that can achieve 10 hours are nothing new either, an archos 7 can manage about 10 hours of straight video (or signifiantly more when browsing / listening to music), has been around for a year, has a browser (*cough*which supports flash*cough*), and again, is significantly cheaper than a base model iPad.

  10. spencer
    FAIL

    In my eyes the fight is over

    The personally think it's all about the keyboard.

    The netbook is good because it fits in your bag and when you need to do some proper computing, you got the keyboard there to do it with.

    Anything else you can do on your android/iphone/blackberry/n900

    the ipad you can't carry on your person, so you gotta put it in your bag, why not just take a netbook instead?

  11. Alex C
    Welcome

    Other missing facets of netbooks

    iPad will cost about $600 -700 when connected to wifi / 3g - something my netbook is already capable of and costs less than half the price.

    It also supports the vast majority of the windows software I've bought over the years, and the networking side is already geared up to the way my office works.

    It's a small cheap machine that frankly isn't a disaster if I lose or break it.

    Don't get me wrong - I think this'll be a fairly significant shift in the way portable computing happens over the next few years and is going to be just as much fun (and just as much of a hindrance) as using an iPhone, but the points above shouldn't be neglected - they're main reason I bought the netbook in the first place.

  12. Jason D
    Coffee/keyboard

    I would swap my EEE for anything

    I don't need a full laptop since my PC is for gaming, but for quick website checks, email etc, the EEE is great, especially for writing when I'm out.

    However, I have to say, if I need to check the weather fast early in the morning before leaving for work, I don't switch on the EEE, I use my iPod Touch to get the weather instantly and painlessly. Maybe if we wanted quick access to the internet, or youtube (or any flash application if they ever implement it) then maybe the iPad would be useful.

    Dropping one would be hellish though, can't imagine it surviving a fall onto my marble floor...

  13. Sly
    FAIL

    Real keyboards account for a lot

    in my book at least. I'll never pony up for something that requires me to spend extra time cleaning the screen just to see something because I have smudged it with my oily fingers again. For me, the Fujitsu Lifebook u8x0 is still a superior design for portability. I would like that one better with a 7-9 inch screen, but then there's the Asus EEE T91 that seems to fit the bill (and is a far sight less expensive). The iPad just doesn't compare. Again, Apple has released something that's shiny but overpriced for it's capabilities.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Ipad is so much better than a netbook

    That the fist accessory is a keyboard to make it work like a netbook.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      @DeFex

      "the fist accessory"

      What about the elbow and ankle accessories?

  15. calagan
    Thumb Up

    He did it right

    I actually found this launch (and the first hand-on videos) very reassuring:

    - I was expecting it to be overpriced: it starts at $499 ($629 with 3G) and the 14.95/month for 250MB data plan is quite affordable

    - I was wondering about typing: the keyboard dock looks really good

    - I was worrying about eye-strain: the IPS screen is nearly as comfortable to the eyes as a Kindle

    - I was wondering about software availability: it runs 99+% of the current iPhone software library

    - I was wondering about productivity: they redesigned iWork for the iPad and if you get the keyboard dock, it should work quite well.

    As per the comparison with netbooks, I'd say that it's nearly impossible to get MacBook-like build quality and design on netbooks (probably only the Nokia Booklet 3G comes close) so the iPad is a good compromise, without ruining yourself. Moreover, being only 0.5" thick, it's much more portable than a netbook.

    I'm no Apple fanboy (hell, I don't even own a "Jesus Phone"), but I definitely will put this gadget on my wishlist.

  16. James Robertson 2

    iPad will be ok

    Your missing the point of the iPad, its not for people that want to run linux or windows or even for that matter OSX, its for people that don't want an OS at all, that don't want to have to download drivers, or virus checkers, or have to know how to install or un-instal programs. its for people who only want to surf, do email, watch a casual movie or tv show, people that don't need, want, or even know how to multi task, and there are a lot of these people, my brother is one of them he CANNOT use a computer, as soon as 2 programs are running he loses all idea of where to find which program is doing what, if its not visible its not running as far has he is concerned. So the iPad may not be for you or even for me, but it will appeal to a lot of non teck punters.

  17. Torben Mogensen

    The competition is not from netbooks...

    ...but from smartbooks.

    Smartbooks like Lenovos Skylight or the upcoming products by HP and Dell are more comparable to iPad than Atom-based netbooks: The weight is similar, they (mostly) run a Unix/Linux-based OS, the screen resolution is similar (or better), the processing power is similar and so on.

    Though Lenovos initial offering is announced to be around $500 (same as iPad), this is likely to fall once the competition starts. The iPad announcement alone might get Lenovo to push the price down, but if HP and Dell announce products more similar to Skylight, that will definitely do the trick.

    Lenovo also announced the IdeaPad U1 which has a detachable tablet screen. If Lenovo sells the tablet separately, this would be very close to the iPad form-factor (though it would be a bit bigger). I don't really see the point in having two CPUs and operating systems, though, so the full U1 package leaves me cold. But the tablet on its own might be interesting if it isn't too expensive.

  18. Paul E

    Quite taken by the lenovo separating one.

    Where you can take off the display and a low power CPU and linux kick in. Have the note/netbook for creating stuff and user the top as a tablet for consuming stuff.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    So many nay-sayers...

    ..it's almost funny. You can almost feel the denial and rage they feel, that actually...they secretly like it. Resorting to spec sheets is just to justify the denial.

    Ok, it's real simple - watch the keynote. Saint Jobs states that the Ipad will not REPLACE a) smartphones/iphone b) laptops. He's openly state he wants to create that "3rd way" thingy. Ie a NEW sector. So stop bl00dy comparing the spec sheets FFS!

    If you want instant-on, non-complicated, quick "in and out" access to media and internet consumption - the ipad will beat netbooks/laptops/ hands down. *That's* what it's there to do. It's NOT a f**king replacement for 'product xyz' and was never meant to be!

    Having said that...no streaming/accessing of existing media server/PC libraries (especially itunes) is a dumb omission for such a device. Deal breaker for me.

    Cameras? Irrelevant. Multi-tasking? Irrelevant. Lack of storage? Irrelevant. 3G & GPS? Irrelevant. Flash? hmmm. 50/50 on that one. If I wanted to do more "hardcore" things like that...guess what - I'd use the desktop/laptop/netbook....

  20. Ken Hagan Gold badge
    Boffin

    Much of a muchness

    "No, the only real difference between netbook and iPad - the price of the two devices being much of a muchness - is the presence of the real keyboard."

    I paid under £200 for my netbook and I would not contemplate buying one at iPad prices.

    To me, then, the real difference between *my* netbook and *my* iPad is that the former exists and the latter is never likely to. That's a pretty big difference.

  21. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Down

    More iBling?

    Looks very pretty and there are plenty of the "look at meeeee" brigade who will buy into this thing, but is it of any practical use.

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      Build quality

      I have had no problems with Eees. I would specifically recommend 1000HE's, if you like macbook type keys( By the way, I am typing this on a macbook with those new chichlet keys, so yes I use macs too). The clamshells are also well built.

  22. thomas k.
    FAIL

    Steve's RDF working overtime

    My netbook - heck, *any* netbook - puts the iPad to shame in terms of it can do and the iPad doesn't.

    What was that Steve said about netbooks awhile back? That Apple wouldn't make a $500 netbook because it would be crappy and Apple doesn't do crap.

    So, his solution is to make a $500 tablet that's crappier (in terms of features) than what even the most basic netbooks offer?

    Hahahahaha.

  23. Nat Pryce

    I bought a netbook because it's cheap and small

    I bought an EeePC 900 because I wanted to write on the tube or in cafe's (and do a bit of programming) and I didn't want to worry too much about the cost if a thief snatched it off me. The larger and more expensive they become, the less useful for that kind of thing. I do miss a touch-screen though because I like to sketch diagrams and what-not with my laptop's stylus.

    An iPad is less tempting for using when out and about because it's more expensive, more fragile, and harder to type on.

  24. Neil 13

    It's the software, stupid.

    None of you iPad knockers are taking into account the one thing the iPad has that netbooks never will: the iPhone OS.

    People aren't just buying iPhones because of the device and it's capabilities. They're buying it because of the software user experience. Many phones can do what the iPhone does (and some even better) but the reason it's carving out such a huge market share and scaring the bejesus out of RIM, Nokia, Palm etc. is because people get wrapped up in the user experience.

    That's what'll happen with the iPad. That's why it'll sell millions and smash up the net book market. It's got heavily patented software that can only be mimicked to a certain degree. Apple crashed the mp3 market and took it over with ease of use software (although it's cool looking players haven't hurt), it did the same with the iPhone and there's no reason why it can't with the iPad.

    And didn't I hear that the net book market was in decline even before the debut of the Jesus pad?

  25. Tom 35 Silver badge

    What is it good for?

    I have both a netbook (great if I want a real computer that I can take with me), and an iPod touch (music and basic computer functions that fits in my pocket - Jail broken so I have the terminal ).

    The iPad is too big for a pocket so I would not want to carry it around all the time, and it's not a full computer so it's not a replacement for the netbook.

    What is good for? Watching movies in bed? If your going to make it that big at least add a SC card slot and a mini-usb port. Not the camera adapter dongle crap sticking out the bottom.

    Now if they made a bigger iPod touch that would still fit in my pocket maybe 4.5 or 5" screen that would be more useful.

  26. simonac
    Thumb Up

    Instant On

    I think the biggest advantage, for me, will be the ability to switch it on instantly like the iPhone and not have to wait the time it takes for my laptop to wake up from sleep mode. Even at its most efficient my lappy takes quite a few seconds. If I then have to start Outlook, Chrome, etc it takes even longer.

  27. Chad H.
    Stop

    The pad is an easy point to miss

    All of these posts that say "the iPad sucks because it's not a laptop" only succeed in showing how well they fail to understand the point.

    Repeat after me: The iPad is Not a laptop. There, do we feel better now?

    The iPad isn't a computer as we've cone to use the term, it's an alternative computing device. To say that the iPad is crap because it doesn't have laptop features is like saying a Helicopter is crap because it doesn't go as fast as an aeroplane - well duh, different tools for different jobs. It's an alternative style to get some of the same things done, and some other things that your laptop isn't built to do well.

    There are things that both factors will do well. Are there situations where the iPad will be easier and more useful than a netbook - yes; and vice versa.

    Now can we please stop critisibg the apple because you can't use it to make orange juice? (pun unintended).

  28. Brian Gannon

    The market will decide

    33 million netbook sales in 2009. Must be doing something right.

  29. Brangdon
    Go

    The article has it right, but...

    Netbooks aren't going to go away; there's a need for small, cheap laptops. The iPad is a different product so they'll co-exist. The key point is that many people who currently use a netbook would be better off with something like an iPad because they don't author content. They don't even do enough email or note-taking. The on-screen virtual keyboard is good enough for entering search terms or renaming photos or whatever, and that's all they need. The iPad-like device is then better for them because it's simpler and lighter.

    A smart phone won't do for them either because it doesn't have a big enough screen.

    So this is a new product category, and seeing it as a netbook but worse, or a smart phone but worse, misses the point. It's not competing with either of those.

    I say "iPad-like device" rather than iPad because I'm not sure they've quite nailed it. It's a bit heavy, and the aspect ratio is bizarre. You want 16:9 for widescreen films, and 9:16 would probably be better reading eBooks, too.

  30. Alex Walsh

    my two penneth worth

    Windows 7 Starter, which most people remove from their netbooks as soon as they get it home because its so hamstrung, can run 3 times as many programmes at the same time as the iPad :)

    I bought my wife a MSI Wind U130 the other day, it cost me £215 (and her nothing!). Is that really going to be "much of a muchness" in terms of price with the iPad? Is $499 really going to become £307+VAT (£360) without a UK premium being slapped on it? Doesn't look like much of an even price comparison to me. Okay you can spend silly money on a netbook but frankly you're silly if you do. It's not for no reason we were conned into having them renamed netbooks from SCC's because the small and computer didn't change but the cheap sure as hell did for some manufacturers.

  31. Tom Smith 1 Silver badge
    Flame

    missing the point

    The main advantage $generic netbook$ has over the iTab?

    Price.

    $500 will become £500 once it gets over here, which is enough to buy a couple of netbooks, or one really spiffy one.

    1. Gregorski

      You should've waited

      Now show your wife the iPad and ask her which she would have preferred..... thought so.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Missed the point

      How many of you have missed the point entirely?

      This isn't INSTEAD of a netbook - it's aimed at an entirely different market.

      If that hasn't sunk in yet then go away, kick yourselves 20 times in the groin and repeat "I must learn to open my mind"

    3. Rod MacLean
      Happy

      RE: The pad is an easy point to miss

      Chad H. - you seem to be the only person around here talking any sense! Bravo!

    4. Kleykenb
      Unhappy

      iPad

      When Apple came out with the Mac Air I understood that it's added value was more than just it's estethic form. With the iPad it is however alot more difficult to argue pro such value.

      Fact of the matter is that many people without a PC will consider buying this but they will find that is a dumb thing to do because you need a PC to be able to use the iPad ! In other words, the iPad is a PEREPHIRAL to your PC and because of this fact it definatly DOES suck because with the wifi and the relatively fast processor it COULD and SHOULD have been AUTONOMOUS. It should be , in other words, a netbook in the for of a pad, and not 'yet' another extension that clearly intentionally is ment to expand the Apple market , through the iStore, the iBook store and the iApp store ! We deserve to be able to CHOOSE where we buy our music, our books and our apps but Apple is putting a noose around all it's FANBOIS and they don't even object, they in fact love it for the sake of the easy user experience !

  32. markp 1
    Headmaster

    Can't really blame the people who bought netbooks as actual laptops

    They're largely sold and marketed as such, there's no real publicity over the fact they were originally just supposed to be email and web 2.0 stations (heck, I myself thought the Eee was supposed to be a small & light typing mule for people who don't need anything past the basics required to run Office, Outlook and a browser, rather than explicitly email + "some" of the internet).

    Even the IT dept at my mother's work got taken in by them. When the old 15" Toshibas came to the supposed end of their life (hers had easily another 2 years left in it for the tasks being run), they were weeched away and replaced with Piano Black, 10", WSVGA Acer somethingorothers. Just the thing for middle aged teachers with inevitably fading sight and joint flexibility who are called upon to produce reams of complex Word, Excel and Powerpoint docs throughout the year as well as their normal teaching duties. In ribbon-happy Office 2007 (when the old ones ran 2003), no less.

    Agh, but I've digressed. Highly unsuitable for the task in hand, there, for sure. But otherwise "competent" (I know too much about them so the quotes are necessary) ITSers still saw the pricetag and the processor/ram/disk specs & thought - "yes!".

    I wonder if that will now happen with the Slate. Yay for still being able to have email, office and an image editor open at the same time on the netbook and combine the elements of the former and latter into a word doc or PPT. I can see a lot of people having these things foisted upon them just because they're a cheap "computer" when really they're an oversized, underspecced PDA (I can't really say Smartphone because even WinMo and Symbian manage task switching...)

  33. Neil Charles
    Thumb Up

    Netbooks aren't better than anything?

    They are you know. If you want a holiday / travel / occasional PC there's nothing better.

    Low cost, doesn't matter too much if it gets nicked, fairly durable, if the case gets a few dings in it, who cares? and doesn't add much to your luggage. Run windows (yes, I know) and you can plug and play any other gadgets you've brought with you to recharge or download no problem.

    iPads might be lovely but with that price and design (seriously, who wants the $499 one?) I'm going to have to be careful with it. Up a mountain, on a beach, slung in a suitcase with your shoes... netbook please.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Badgers

    Hmmm

    The apparent market for the iPad is people who want to consume media on the move and do a little light surfing/emailing, but not so light that an iPhone will do. Travellers who need to change content (ie. do work) will be better off with a netbook. The first group could make do with a netbook, but "making do" is not what Apple customers are about.

    I think the market has room for both devices, being differentiated by price and the simple presence of a keyboard. The iPad wrestles with a couple of contradictions though: it strives for elegance, but is too big to be truly elegant, and it is offers media on the move, but you can't move it without the help of a bag.

  35. Mike Richards Silver badge

    RAM

    It's not the small screen, slow processor or tiny keyboard that means I've pretty much given up on netbooks - it's that they're still shipping with Windows and 1Gb RAM. It's just not enough to make them useful over a long period of time.

  36. emtee
    Happy

    Great second "computer"

    My girlfriend is always on my MacBook, while her similarly-aged Windows XP laptop sits there unused*. Quite often we'd both like to be using the Mac at the same time. Getting a second "proper" computer (which has been hinted at) would be expensive and overkill.

    The iPad seems like an ideal second "computer". It'll do the majority of what we both use the MacBook for on a daily basis - checking email, reading the web, and even editing the odd document.

    Because the iPad is not be a "proper" computer, and is designed to sync with your "main" computer, buying an iPad wouldn't create the annoyance of having to manually maintain and synchronise two separate computers (like a netbook would).

    Tempting... and cheaper than buying her a MacBook...! :D

    (* Windows XP laptop hated because it's treacle slow and irritatingly cluttered. Hibernate/sleep could be used to avoid the glacial "power-on-to-actually-useable" time, but doesn't seem to work reliably... I guess I need to take a look at it. It was a fresh install only a year ago.)

  37. Mike Moyle Silver badge
    Alert

    It's NOT an either/or proposition, people!

    @ DavCrav -- "A tablet cannot work for typing unless you want a back injury from leaning over. This resigns tablets to passive consumption of media, like books, films, music or the Internet. "

    @ nichomach -- "No, I think they won't. They really won't, and I'll tell you for why; people who really use netbooks (for) creating and editing documents, emails, whatever, will not want to give up the keyboard for a number of reasons"

    The point that a lot of people seem to be missing is that Apple. with the iPad has shown that it is possible to build a (relatively) economical tablet-format computing device. As has been noted, previous tablet-PCs have tended to be high-end, high-price-point products -- generally standard laptop chassis with extra stuff bolted on -- rather than something designed from the ground up to BE a tablet at a lower price-point.

    Having now seen that it IS possible and seeing that (potentially) there IS a market for such a device -- and NONE of us will know whether that market is there until these actually become available to buyers; anything else is rankest guesswork and prejudiced thinking on both sides -- I would not be at all surprised to see Asus or someone else trying to build a low-cost tablet-PC. They won't do this to REPLACE their clamshell-format line, but to AUGMENT it. Reaching into a new market while ditching the costs associated with keyboards, hinges, and suchlike mechanical kludges will be attractive in a business with such narrow profit margins.

    It seems to me that most of the people who say "But you NEED a physical keyboard," only say it because THEY need a physical keyboard and can't think beyond that.

    Who would POSSIBLY find a tablet without a physical keyboard useful as a traveling tool, suitable for on-site preliminary to show a client, or work that is later downloaded to the "REAL" computer for the heavy lifting, or work that requires minimal alphanumeric data entry but frequent (if not continuous) updating with the home office...?

    Hmmmm... How about --

    CREATIVES:

    Architects

    Artists/Photographers/Graphic Designers/Web Designers

    Interior Decorators

    Landscape Designers

    INDUSTRIES:

    Civil/Traffic/Hydro Engineers

    LAN or A/V Designers

    Delivery Companies

    Utility Companies

    Insurance Companies

    Hospitals

    GOVERNMENTS:

    Law Enforcement Agencies

    Pollution Remediation Agencies

    Planning/Inspections Departments

    ...and THOSE are just off the top of my head.

    Now, many of these already HAVE bespoke tools that serve their functions. But these ARE bespoke tools, not off-the-rack tools with the cost-savings associated with OTR over bespoke.

    And, sure, you can rightfully point out that these are all niches, but of many niches with similar needs an industry is made.

    MY expectation is that, within a year, at most, you will see netbook manufacturers building and selling low-cost tablet-PCs alongside their traditional clamshell products and marketing them as BOTH media-consumption devices at Best Buy AND mobile productivity tools at OfficeMax (or local equivalents), and many of the software engineers that were writing industry-specific custom software for custom systems will be porting their software to these more generic platforms.

  38. DrXym Silver badge

    Touchscreens are stupid

    The iPad seems like a thoroughly inconvenient device. The fundamental issue with touchscreens is that to type on one of these things you must hold it with one hand, precariously balance it on your lap, put it on the table and suffer a horrible viewing angle, or give up and lug a stand, keyboard & mouse around.

    As such I really don't see the iPad being suitable for anything except elementary user interaction since typing or running a finger over the whole screen will a huge pain in the butt. It just seems a like a rather badly thought out device. One which forces the paradigm of a touch screen while ignoring the severe usability issues it brings with it.

    I'm sure it will sell well despite these inherent issues because hey it's Apple. It seems people don't care about the price, DRM, usability issues, sealed in battery etc. when it says Apple on the outside.

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      I had a psion 5

      Touch screen there was fine. That was a fine device, could do loads despite constrained resources. At its time, it was ... amazing albeit a bit heavy.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      DrXym

      Simple solution if you want to type, you get one of the keyboards which they're making for the iPad. Duh.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        For how much

        So you have to spend some stupid amount of money and haul around an extra piece of kit to make the device useful for typing?

  39. DS 1

    fail

    Apple failed utterly. The hype and hopes of people and computing in general were dashed. Most middle of the road watchers have been left un-inspired.

    The Apple Ipad could and should have been so much more. It should have had at least a 5-1 flash slot, replaceable battery, decent camera front and back, a network port, wifi and 3g, including phone, and full browser, not the no flash, no java cut down garbage being shovelled as 'web how it should be'.

    In terms of media, its 2010, the content control on apple files is fine, I can live with that, but the pads inability to play other content (ie, the stuff you own and might like to put there) requires conversion or it won't work. Even the cheapest devices on market have at least part ability in this area.

    It should also have had USB. In a limited device, often to make it usable you need an external mouse or keyboard. And no, being forced to pay $60 for the privilage is not good for me the consumer. It may be nice for Apple shareholders, but they are not the customer. I am.

    You can top it off with a fail on multitasking - something Apple were the kings of in OS7,8,9 and you might ponder they may have remembered the lessons of those times.

    This device would be over priced at $199. And even at that cost, its got so many limits and lock downs, and a lack of IO and so on that its not likeable. It just isn't.

  40. Adam T
    Coffee/keyboard

    I hate marmite

    But I rather enjoyed the crunchy cockroaches served on the streets of Bangkok.

  41. Gareth Gouldstone
    Happy

    Missing the point

    This is a consumer entertainment device, not a computer.

    Most of the people who buy this would NEVER buy/need a netbook/laptop.

    I could give an iPad to my 93-year old grandma, and not need to do daily support visits ...

    Direct comparisons with netbooks are pointless, as the iPad is more a partial hybrid of the (xbox with netbook with PSP with iPod touch with ...).

    In other words, an entirely new class of product...

  42. Gregorski

    People don't understand netbooks

    My view on netbooks was exactly echoed in Steve Jobs' words during the keynote. I don't know whether to be proud or worried about that fact.

    What worries me here is how many people simply don't get netbooks. A NETBOOK ISN'T JUST A SMALL LAPTOP. Netbooks were designed to be simple, portable devices which you would use to browse the web, deal with your email and basically stay in touch in 2 scenarios:

    1. Whilst travelling to avoid the baggage of a full sized laptop

    2. For the less technology concious home user who wanted a simple cheap way to stay in touch and access the internet

    The clue is in the name guys !

    Early netbooks running various flavours of Linux gave us exactly that. The problem was that consumers kept pushing for more and more features and functionality in them because they thought that these devices were crippled. The manufacturers complied, putting either Windows XP or less crippled Linux distro's on them. These netbooks have effectively become mini-laptops. And this is Steve Jobs' point. As mini laptops they're fatally crippled by crappy tiny screens, not suitable for desktop style apps, and by ridiculous keyboard which are probably ok if you have fingers the size of a 5 year-old's.

    All those consumers have done is ruined the netbook segment for people who really needed a netbook as it was intended to be. What those consumers really needed was a much more portable proper sized laptop. It's a shame that manufacturers haven't realised this and concetrated on thinning down their standard laptops and making them more portable whilst still powerful. (My Dell laptop is a brick). The form factor is irrelevant here. A 12-13" laptop would be no less portable than a netbook if it were made to a sensible weight/size target. Sadly for the Apple-haters, Steve Jobs' got this right too (Macbook Air). There are ultra-portable offerings out there too, not just Apple's.

    So, the iPad. The iPad is not a fully functional PC. It's not intended to be so. What it is however is a personal computer providing all the functionality intended in the netbook segment, and a whole lot more. Take my mother for example. All she uses on her computer is e-mail, browser and the occasional typed document. This device, coupled with a bluetooth keyboard (not that 1970's looking dock combo) would be ideal.

    I would label this device as "A netbook done properly"

    It has flaws for sure, the ommission of a front facing camera for web chat is woeful, but Apple know how to make money, and I'd expect this to be on version 2 to ensure all of the early adopters end up paying double for their new toys. However, at that price it's hard to complain at what Apple have done. Show me anything that slick and powerful at that price.

    This device along with the rest of Apple's line up just shows how the other manufacturers just don't understand the market place they're in. Sometimes listening to what customers are asking for is the wrong thing to do. You have to think past what they're asking for and realise what they really need.

    I'm afraid Apple got it right again.

    1. CADmonkey
      FAIL

      Until...

      ....she calls to ask why youtube won't work, again.

  43. Will 12

    You have to laugh

    When you read comments like no sd slot, no replaceable battery, no Ethernet. What has Apple done in the last 5 years that gave you any impression they would give the iPad such things. Also, all te criticisms of the iPad are exactly the same as this that were made about the iPhone and iPod.

    The people who comment on these boards have shown time and again that they know very little about what sells and why in the real world

  44. J 3
    Badgers

    Hm...

    As I mentioned elsewhere, I'm starting to think the iPad might be at least reasonably successful. That conclusion comes from the reactions I've seen from a handful of people. Two artists/web designers, and a biologist who is not techie at all. They all drooled on the idea/demonstration of this thing. The biologist colleague already has a Touch, which she uses all the time. I mentioned "but the iPad is just a giant Touch", and she said "yeah, wouldn't that be great?". One of the artists mentioned the possibilities for graphical apps.

    So, I guess only time will tell. I myself am a bit meh on this. Yeah, a large Touch would be fun (I don't have one), but for how long? Will people find uses for this thing to keep their attention for more than a week? You know, after the novelty wears off and they get tired of lugging a large media thing around, when their pocketable Touches and iPhones have about the same capabilities but are, well... pocketable. Now all that is needed is the killer app for the iPad, if Apple wants it to succeed as more than a $500 overgrown Touch.

  45. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

    Screens

    The iPad is 1024x768? sorry was this a boast?

    That is as bad as the Gates man proudly claiming that some of their Win2K boxes had managed up times of 80 days.

    My early netbook has a 1280x768 display, anything lest than 1920x1080 is officially classified these days as low res and can't do video.

    1. Nic 3

      apples and oranges

      You are comparing it to a netbook. It isn't.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I suppose ...

    ... that the me-tooz might have a bit of an edge when W7 mobile (or whatever it becomes called, nomenclature and all that).

    But I cannot imagine it to be swift nor sweet as a general OS has lots of stuff to consider as well as error correction.

    Software on a chip on the other hand can focus its energies quite clearly without dilution but I guess you knew that anyway?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Is content available outside US?

    While everyone is arguing about esthetics, success of which will be determined by the market anyway, there is the glaring omission of the content questions. Content is what will make or break the iPad. While Apple has sewn up ebook and TV content in the US but it remains to be seen whether or not Apple can do so in other countries.

    I'm in Canada and it looks tricky here. Our Esteemed Protectors of Culture will likely balk. It won't just be Apple and the publishers at the table. US TV online here is heavily censored or sparsely available at disparate cable websites. 75% of what cable and satellite provides is US programming although happily we get some UK programming too. Ok we're a small market so who cares but this may be repeated all over the place complicating the iPad's raison d'etre.

    While the flash/browser issue is annoying it's not necessarily a deal breaker for me. But if I can't read my favourite books, or watch my TV shows then what use is a tablet over a netbook paradigm where I can attempt to do so with nonDRM content and technical workarounds.

    Paris cause if I can't run flash porn on my iPad then I'll have to convert A Nite in Paris AVI into MP4 on my PC so I can watch it on my iPad.

  48. Adrian 4 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Too big ?

    I don't get these moans that the device is too big. If you want to carry something like this around, use a folding netbook or an iPhone. What this says to me is armchair-pad : something a laptop with it's ungainly hinge just can't do right.

    My only complaint is the app-store concept : as a developer, I can't conceive of buying a computing device that isn't user-programmable. I'm well aware that I'm in a minority, but very happy to let Apple stir the me-too manufacturers into making something that suits me better.

    As for those who complain it's no good for business users .. I laugh at you. Neither is the Wii, the PSP, the Tivo-alike or the hot water bottle. All show healthy sales figures.

  49. san1t1

    I like my netbooks.

    I have one that i run as a server. little acer aspire one, 1Gb Ram, runs Ubuntu, and acts as my home file server (it has a 2Tb drive attached), and a little web server for testing things out on. Cheaper than developing on Amazon, and means I can play my music collection from anywhere on the web.

    My 11 year old daughter has a Asus Eee with 2Gb Ram, runs Win 7, and she uses it to do homework, watch movies, web etc and I've also installed Audacity on it, she has an outboard sound card/mixer, and uses it quite happily to make music. It doesn't struggle playing back up to 16 tracks simultansously (though it doesn't do much DSP). It attaches to a 19" external monitor for this.

    Where Apple missed a trick with the iPad (but you'll see it in v2, no doubt) is adding front and rear cameras. The next huge revolution in computing is Augmented Reality; the iPad would be a GREAT device for this, but without the camera .it's a fail. Add that, and the apps to make the most of it, and this form factor may start being useful.

  50. Adrian 4 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Why is the name always wrong ?

    Set top boxes : always kept under the set.

    Desktops : fit on a desk, but so much more convenient under it

    Laptops : Only really any good on a desk. A real struggle to actually use on your lap.

    Palmtops : Well, just about. But only if both palms and all fingers are free for use.

    If you have no working surface, the only good tool is a book, or something with a book's formfactor and weight. Something you interact with only enough to control the flow of information. You don't write on a book (I hope), the nearest thing is a clipboard - and that's for scribbled notes, not essays.

    Your lap just isn't the right place to work : too low and at the wrong angle to either look or write. The only people who should be working there are lap dancers.

    Webpads were broken by manufacturers who were scared to let them compete with 'laptops', and kept them way too expensive, power hungry and big to find a natural market. More power to Apple for doing it right.

  51. thomas k.

    Not missing the point at all

    No, it's not a netbook, it's an "alternative computing device". We get that. Perfectly.

    And, as much as I love my netbook, I'm excited by the idea of these altenative devices as well. Just not this one.

    Leaving aside feature comparisons witth netbooks (since they're different devices intended for different purposes), let's see how it stacks up against the one other similar tablet-style, internet-connected multimedia device currently available, the $549 Archos 9 pctablet.

    9" touch-enabled widescreen display, capable of true 1080p HD video with H.264

    front-facing webcam for video chat

    built-in USB port and SD card slot

    60 GB storage

    it's Windows, so full Flash player support

    it's Windows, so you can install any apps you want (not just the ones Steve decides you can have)

    and let's not forget true multi-tasking

    So, it won't have "instant" on and the "touch" may not have quite the gee whiz factor of Apple's and the battery only lasts half as long ... hey, wot's this around the back? it looks like a removable battery! ... well, scratch that last one then.

    It's not a case case of saying a heliocopter is crappy because it's not as fast as a plane, it's more a case of this particular heliocopter being crappy because it lacks basic features, like seats or landing gear, *any* aircraft should have.

    And, of course, we all know exactly why the iPad doesn't do Flash.

    "Hmm, do we let people watch tv shows for free on Hulu or make them to buy that cr*p from the iTunes store? Decisions, decisions."

    1. chr0m4t1c

      Probably not the best choice for comparison

      "9" touch-enabled widescreen display, capable of true 1080p HD video with H.264"

      Well, looking at the Archos site, this smaller screen 1024x600, making it lower resolution than the iPad. So while it supports playback of 1080p video it's pretty pointless and really just a waste of storage.

      I'd also point out that the Archos has a resistive touch screen rather than the iPad's capacitive one and if you have ever used the two technologies you will probably know which one provides the better experience (hint: not the one on the Archos).

      On top of all that, the last device I bought from Archos with hard drive storage had to go back to them twice in the first year with drive failures and now resides in my loft with it's third failure because it failed again out of warranty. And I can't replace it myself because they link the drive to the machine in some way that means a vanilla drive won't be recoginsed by the machine - I think it's an anti-piracy measure, but it's much more of a problem than any of Apple's foibles.

      I was really tempted to get the Archos9 when it launched, but while Archos produce some nice functional products they have shown a tendancy in recent years to abandon them as soon as they produce the next device and promise additional functionality through firmware upgrades that never appear. I can't even swap power supplies between my various Archos devices because they use different connectors.

      Whether or not you think people who like their products are mindless fanbois, you have to admit they do tend to launch what they announce and they are reasonably good at keeping an amount of backwards compatability.

      Don't get me wrong, my Archos kit (that still works) does what it's supposed to do and does it well, but there's a whole lot of stuff that each product probably could do that was put in the next version and never made availble to my version and not because the hardware was significantly different, e.g. the new device had a larger drive.

      But as with everything you pays your money and you takes your choice.

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