Some new iPad details

Created by Addfwyn on March 15, 2012, 7:13 p.m.
  • I know the community is a bit divided on this, but for those interested in the device, some new iPad details have emerged along with the device being available for preorder.  Thanks go to friends at other apple blog sites for the heads up (include theappleblog). 
     
    Data Plan:  The $30 "unlimited" plan is, actually, unlimited surprisingly.  If you opt for the $15/mo 250MB plan, the ipad warns you when you are at 25% and 10% usage left.  You can also freely upgrade to the $30 unlimited plan for one month, and then downgrade back afterwards.   Of course, this part only concerns the US.
     
    Screen Lock:  There's a button to lock your screen orientation.  Anyone with an iPhone knows that in some situations, it's a bit annoying to have your Iphone constantly switch orientation, and this would be doubly so for a device like the iPad.  There's a hardware button that locks the orientation and keeps it from changing. 
     
    AVI Support:  Didn't expect this one, but it looks like standard AVI support will be added to the iPad at resolutions up to 1280x720.  Somewhat surprising to me, though certainly not unwelcome to support more video formats.   
      
    iBooks support:  Forgot to mention this one, existing epubs from sources besides the Apple Store will be freely syncable to your iPad via iTunes.   

    I still can't preorder one due to leaving the country, but I'm pretty interested in some of these changes.  Especially glad to hear about the data plan.  Thoughts?  (Besides 'zomg the iPad sucks')  Constructive critiques appreciated though.
  • AVI and syncable ePub's are biggies for me - I already have a collection of ebooks and videos which I was hoping I'd be able to sync without too much of a painful conversion process. These changes alone are making me consider getting the 32GB or 64GB model. 
     
    Data plan stuff doesn't affect me in the UK though - doubt we'll see anything unlimited, but I probably won't get a 3G model anyway.
  • @Addfwyn: The book store is US only.
  • @MAGZine said:
    " @Addfwyn: The book store is US only. "
    Well, looks like the main thing that was keeping me interested just disappeared.
  • @david: Yeah, I was disappointed when I read that, too. It's a pretty big letdown, but I guess licensing issues on in the way. 
     
    Oh well, a large android tablet or Microsoft's courier will beat the crap outta this thing, anyhow.
  • @MAGZine: Only on release - the book store will likely be available elsewhere shortly after.
  • @TheBeast: is there anything to backup your 'likely' statement. People thought Apple's tablet device would 'likely' do multitasking. 
     
    Not saying it won't come, but it doesn't make sense for a company to launch a cornerstone product globally when it's biggest feature isn't even supported everywhere.
  • @MAGZine: Best I have is this from PC Pro:  

    However, a spokesperson for Apple told PC Pro that “iBooks will be available in the UK, but the timing of that will not be announced until the iPad goes on sale”.     


    Agreed that it's a bit frustrating that it won't be available globally when it's released, but Apple have a tendency of holding back features (or releasing before it's 'ready' - depending on which way you look at it) until a while after release. Not making it available globally, with the Kindle now available almost everywhere, would probably adversely affect their relationship with publishers. 
     
    Still looking forward to getting my hands on mine - even if there's something 'better' available 2 months later, the iPad's probably going to be a big enough landmark in tablet computing to warrant owning one.
  • @TheBeast: ...but Canada? :( 
     
    I just don't see the iPad being that significant. I don't see the market for an enlarged iPhone.
  • @MAGZine: I'd certainly hope Canadians get in on the action at some point! 
     
    Yeah the iPad is certainly something of a bone of contention at the moment - I can see how it's perceived as an 'enlarged iPhone' or not quite comparable numbers-wise to similar devices, then there's peoples' problems with iPhone OS, Apple's control over the Apple Store etc. - but this is all from the perspective of us techies, people who look at this stuff and care about it. The paradox of choice is not so relevant to us, because we like to have choice, but to the people who've never even thought of owning a tablet computer, this is the device.  

    Even if 90% of the people on a forum dedicated to technology think it's a pile of horseshite, I personally think the iPad is a pretty major step forward and may change the landscape of tablets, if not all portable devices for the better.
  • As said, I think it's pretty likely that the Book Store will spread post-launch.  Liscening issues are a pain, I remember how much of an annoyance the iTunes store was at launch for some people for the same reason.  Is it guaranteed?  No of course not, and if you are interested in it mostly as a book reader than I wouldn't advise you to go out and buy one til you know it'll have books in your area.  A lot of the times, by releasing a product early before a copyright-driven service is in full effect, it allows Apple to use it as a bargaining chip to get those deals set up.  Once the iTunes music store was a success, apple was able to pitch the 'you will be able to sell your stuff on our successful store' angle.  If Apple's bookstore is a success in the US, Apple will be able to pitch it to other areas as 'see, it works'.  That said, if it's a failure, the exact opposite would probably be true.
     
    I have reservations on the device til I can actually use one, but I've always seen the comparison to an enlarged iPhone as an unfair comparison.  Take into account that the device has a bigger screen, while for many devices this isn't a big deal this is a major difference for a touch-screen device like the iPhone.  When you change the size of the screen you are directly changing the usable surface area and size of all control options.  By increasing the size of the screen, you directly increase the number of controls and functionality of the device by orders of magnitude.  This gives you not only more screen real estate to work on, but it gives you more space for control panels.  In addition to that, it makes gestures that were previously impossible on an iPhone (or any other smart phone) possible now.   I certainly could never imagine reading or editing word docs on my iPhone (though I know people who did just that) but I could certainly see doing it on the iPad.  
     
    So yes, you could argue it is an enlarged iPhone.  But it's worth noting that enlarging an iPhone changes the functionality dramatically. 
  • Still not convinced to bite this bullet.
  • @TheBeast: meh, I still fail to see where it'll change anything. it's not something that any other company could have created, and in the most part, it's a generic device that hasn't really accomplished anything in the innovation department.
  • @MAGZine: Well, I agree with you that it isn't sometihng that any other company could have created...but isn't that kinda the point that makes it a unique (thoroughly Apple) device?
  • @Addfwyn: Sorry, I messed that it. 
     
    It should have been 'it's not something that any other company couldn't have created'. 
     
    The A4 processor in the thing is the most 'innovative' part of the entire thing, and it's proprietary, so it's limited innovation.
  • @MAGZine:  
    I disagree, I think the backends that Apple has is some of the reasons devices like the iPhone (and it looks like the iPad, even based solely on preorders) have been such a success.  I don't think the iPhone would have been nearly successful without the app store or itunes store behind it (looks at sales of iPhones from the first generation to the second generation).  The same will hold true for the iPad with the app store and the book store (especially as that expands to envelop more countries and publishers). 
     
    So no, I actually don't think any other company could have made the same device and have it be....well, the same device.  Also, I never understood the argument of proprietary things being bad.  I prefer to use whatever products are the best, and 9/10 the proprietary products are almost always actually better than the open products.   Or do you just mean in the sense that other manufacturers won't be able to use that chip?  Which is true.  Though I am totally apathetic about geeking out about hardware, have always found the integration of hardware/software to be much more important than any individual tech spec.
  • it doesn't take a lot to throw together a tablet device with an OS of linux origins, plenty of Chinese companies are doing that exact thing right now. The only thing that iTunes that has that can help to hold it up is iTunes, but the Appstore isn't anything special. Considering that the AppStore was a direct result of users hacking the device, I think that any other company can do just as good, if not better things than Apple. I'd take Android OS over Apple OS any day. The iPad is just another tablet with a custom processor and custom software. It build into Apple's market, but I disagree with the fact that the iPad is anything unique. You can't just take something you already created, throw a new feature into it, make it bigger and call it innovative and the 'best thing you've ever created'. I'm not a fan of Apple in general, but I can tell you that the invention of some of the other things Apple has created, vs. the creation of the iPad leave the iPad as a stupid device. 
     
    Apple's product-loyal customers will keep the iPad from death, but the iPad is certainly not the great device that Apple touted it to be. "the device is magical". Give me a break.
  • @MAGZine: I reserve final verdict til I get to use one, and won't buy one til I do, but everyone I've heard from that used it has basically said 'you really need to actually use the device to understand'.  I can appreciate that, because reading a spreadsheet of tech specs just doesn't give you the same concept. 
     
    I mean, if you remember when the iPod launched?  Everyone was looking at the tech specs and laughing about it and how nobody would ever buy it.  Even if you don't like the iPod for whatever reason, you can agree that that was most certainly not the case.   Though I don't expect the iPad to reach quite that level of saturation (though pre-orders have sold nearly as well as the original iPhone), but people reserve a special kind of cynicism for Apple that is almost as bad (on the opposite spectrum) as the apple fanboyism.    
     
    Yes, Apple doesn't have a monopoly on good ideas, but nobody HAS done anything just as good as Apple's AppStore.  Yes, Android has an app store, but it quite frankly sucks compared to Apple's app store.  Being more open, as I said, is not always a good thing, as much as some of the tech elitists tout it as a holy grail.  It's a bit clunky, very hard to find things for on the phone itself (Unless it's superior on the Droid somehow, I've never used the Droid itself, just a couple others) and a lot of the apps are broken or worse, though you'll find some that are solid as well (ironically often ports of appstore apps).  So right now, Apple's (yes proprietary) store backing the iPad does actually put it leagues in front of other tablets, especially when we start seeing apps designed from the ground up for the device.  
     
    While I think the Android OS still has promise, I don't think it has the level of polish that the Apple OS has.  It was an OS designed by engineers and techies, not designers and HCi experts.  That's all well and good for selling devices to techies, but HCI specializes in selling to the average consumer, which is just always going to be a large market.  They certainly could polish it up, and they already have improved on a flawed product with the second iteration, but it still needs more work.  ESPECIALLY if they want to get converts.  Your product can't just be a little bit better if you want to get people to switch to it, to get an entrenched user to 'switch' it has to be several orders of magnitude better, and it just isn't there yet.   Look at Macs themselvse, while their market share has certainly grown a little bit, they just aren't significantly better enough to get most people to switch from something they are perfectly comfortable using.  It'd be nice to see it get there, I love competition cause they drive every device forward, but I just don't think it is yet.    

    I prefer to be optimistic about devices rather than cynical, so I'm hopeful for when I actually get one of these in my hands and get a chance to play with it, and early press from people who have has been pretty outstanding thus far.  Who knows, maybe I'll hate it when I finally get a chance to swing by an apple store.  I'll let you know first thing if I do :P
  • The ad potential for an iPorn store on a touch device is staggering...
  • I don't believe that the whole designers vs engineers/techies argument makes whole lot a of sense. 
     
    A designer might make something look good, and while the iPhone looks good, the design of it inherently prevents displaying a large bulk of features/being capable of micromanaging every last thing of a program as you'll see in Android. Techies and Engineers are designers, too. When they build menus, homescreens, landing pages, etc, they tend to be very functional and just not look as pretty. I think that Android looks nice in it's own way - you don't need to highly stylize something to 'sell it to the average consumer'. 
     
    While the iPhone marketplace does an alright job of highlighting some good apps, it would be incorrect that it isn't also polluted with garbage - it's just easier to find the featured/more popular apps. I'm sure it'll get better with iteration. Remember the original iPhone didn't even have an AppStore. :P
  • Apple are aiming at a new market with these sort of devices, not the nerds who like their gadgets to come with big numbers and plenty of choice, but the people who never knew they wanted a device like this, never knew they existed, and want to go for the one device that's the center of all this hype. 
     
    Barry Schwartz' very insightful 'The Paradox of Choice' can give you a good insight in to why the iPad won't be easily 'beaten' for a while; consumers don't want to choose, they don't understand technical differences or why one OS is better than another - it drives them away - if they buy something and very soon see their friends with a better version, they will feel negativity towards their product and its brand.  
     
    Apple knows this best, they know they can put out one very attractive device that will, through it's design and feel, spread almost virally amongst people - everyone will feel good about it, not only because it is designed to feel good, but because it's the best thing they know of.
     
    Android on the other hand, while absolutely fantastic for us nerdy people, suffers from a couple of flaws when targeted at average consumers: 
    • No brand loyalty is established - Google allows manufacturers and carriers to customise Android to the point where it is barely recognisable as the original Google OS - they will rarely think, 'This Android phone has served me well, I must get another!'.
    • Too much choice - Do you get phone A from manufacturer A rooted to Android 2.1, or do you get phone B from manufacturer B with Android 1.5? Or what about the Nexus One? How does that vary from the HTC Whatsitcalled?
     
    I imagine the same will happen with other tablet devices in the future - the iPad will set the tone for what makes a device that feels good and will, for a good while, be the center of attention for many, while other manufacturers will start building their own devices, with their own tablet OS' - and they'll be great, but because of this paradox, no single device will receive the same amount of attention and sales. 
     
    I'm not a pre-orderer, I'm definitely waiting until I can feel an iPad before I splash out the cash - and I can certainly understand the reservations many have about it, but even if it sucks, I believe this will be a pretty major step forward in computing. Also I really hope that after the iPad, we won't see people trying to shove desktop OS' (Windows 7 etc.) on a tablet PC - that's just never worked.
  • @TheBeast said:   
    Android on the other hand, while absolutely fantastic for us nerdy people, suffers from a couple of flaws when targeted at average consumers: 
    • No brand loyalty is established - Google allows manufacturers and carriers to customise Android to the point where it is barely recognisable as the original Google OS - they will rarely think, 'This Android phone has served me well, I must get another!'.
    • Too much choice - Do you get phone A from manufacturer A rooted to Android 2.1, or do you get phone B from manufacturer B with Android 1.5? Or what about the Nexus One? How does that vary from the HTC Whatsitcalled?
    Isn't part of Android's mandate also partly to be a platform for other companies to build off of? Again, I'm not really buying the argument. 
     
    Just because Windows 7 is sold on a variety of devices by a variety of manufacturers doesn't mean that I get confused as to whether or not I liked Windows 7 or Windows ME. We're all living and evolving in a technological world. It'll be in the phone creator's best interest to keep Android up to date, and large updates should keep the software relevent (2.0 to 2.1 - not a big deal. 2.0 to 3.0, big deal). 
     
    In the same way the iPhone does iteration and hides 'versioning', other Smartphones will follow. Does the average iPhone user know what version of the iPhone OS they're running? Probably not. The versioning in Android is just so prolific because of the obvious tech crowd it's gathered. Tech crowds always being the coolest and innovative technology to the forefront of their platform/organization. 
     
    But we all digress. This thread is about the iPad, not about Android/iPhone OS. :P
  • @MAGZine: Yes absolutely, I'm not saying Android is doing the wrong thing (I love it), just pointing out why I think it doesn't have the same effect on the average consumer as Apple devices do.  
    Apple knows how to hide this stuff - how to evolve a platform without leaving existing customers feeling like they've been left with an inferior device - I think that's one of the reasons they're doing so well with their target audience at the moment.
  • @TheBeast: I disagree with that. 
     
    Apple's entire business model revolves around making you feel like you've got the inferior device. Each device that they release, each device that is iterated upon ALWAYS has the newest features, coolest things, etc. Like the iPod touch and the speaker. Why didn't the original iPod Touch have a speaker? Like a new 'unibody Macbook'. Like an enhanced processor in your iPhone. Like an iPod with a camera in it, or an iPod that can do video playback. 
     
    It's all about purchasing a device with a premium on it, but being sure to purchase another device to keep up to date. I know several people with a multitude of iPods. I know people who were sure to order a new unibody mac, even when their current mac was done. 
     
    Just watch. The next iteration of the iPad is going to have somethings that for-surely should have been included in the original build, but have been left out for one reason. 
     
    Apple wouldn't make the money that Apple does if everyone was still using their original iPod touch, with their older Macbook for a couple years ago.
  • @MAGZine: Oh absolutely, that's how they do business - but that's how all hardware companies work - you can't release DLC for a graphics card (yet?). 
      
    I don't think they hold back features from older devices so they can sell them somewhere down the line - I think they hold them back because it's more sensible for them to test the waters with devices that have a larger profit margin while they figure out how to reduce production costs - but until Steve Jobs starts visiting Tested I don't think we'll ever have a clear insight in to what decisions they're making behind closed doors. 
     
    The point I was making was that an older Apple device never feels inferior to a consumer because there aren't multiple product lines, multiple options or multiple OS' released in parallel, or by holding back 'upgrades' from users. My iPod 5G is still an awesome bit of kit, despite its recent significant improvements.
  • @MAGZine: Techies and engineers are not designers, which is why the entire field of HCI exists (Human-Computer Interaction).  While techies and engineers are great about adding in function, they often totally miss how the average consumer thinks.  You'd be amazed at how many real world designs we saw in our HCI classes that just took certain specialized knowledge absolutely for granted and were thus almost unusable to most consumers.  I don't mean something needs to be highly stylized to be an example of good design (in fact that often produces the opposite result), it has to be intuitive and obvious how to use.  You have to be able to show it to a random guy on the street and have them instantly grasp how to use it, that's good design. It doesn't have to look amazing, it just has to be intuitive.  Android looks fine, appearance wise, but it shows that it was designed primarily for a techie audience.  Which is totally okay, there's nothing wrong with that at all if that's the only audience you want, but it won't reach as widespread a market that way.
     
    True, the original iPhone didn't have an app store, and the iPad has almost matched that product in pre-order sales alone already.  Of course, the iPhone store also has some crappy apps, but you won't find apps that outright don't work or damage your phone, which is just a price you pay for using a product like Android (Even though you can get those apps pulled retroactively, in some cases they are done already).  There's ups and downs to both models, one allows the developers much more freedom, one allows the consumers an overall better experience in the end.  I'm not saying the Android store won't get better, or that it won't provide solid competition for the iPhone, or the Ink won't provide solid competition for the iPad.  I hope that they do. 
     
    Yeah, we're getting a bit off topic. Oops.  Derailing my own thread T.T 
    @TheBeast: I loved the Paradox of Choice, and that's very relevant to the discussion.  I think a lot of the reason there's some sour taste here is a lot of us on tech forums approach the products from a developer's point of view, who are often going to want things very differently from the consumer.  The consumer wants something that is straightforward and works (for that reason, I think having 6 SKUs for the iPad is almost a bit too much) without really having to pick and choose from a bunch of things.  That has been the success between a lot of Apple's past products, even though they weren't always the most technically superior.

  • @Addfwyn said:
    " @MAGZine: Techies and engineers are not designers, which is why the entire field of HCI exists (Human-Computer Interaction).  While techies and engineers are great about adding in function, they often totally miss how the average consumer thinks.  You'd be amazed at how many real world designs we saw in our HCI classes that just took certain specialized knowledge absolutely for granted and were thus almost unusable to most consumers.  I don't mean something needs to be highly stylized to be an example of good design (in fact that often produces the opposite result), it has to be intuitive and obvious how to use.  You have to be able to show it to a random guy on the street and have them instantly grasp how to use it, that's good design. It doesn't have to look amazing, it just has to be intuitive.  Android looks fine, appearance wise, but it shows that it was designed primarily for a techie audience.  Which is totally okay, there's nothing wrong with that at all if that's the only audience you want, but it won't reach as widespread a market that way.
     
    True, the original iPhone didn't have an app store, and the iPad has almost matched that product in pre-order sales alone already.  Of course, the iPhone store also has some crappy apps, but you won't find apps that outright don't work or damage your phone, which is just a price you pay for using a product like Android (Even though you can get those apps pulled retroactively, in some cases they are done already).  There's ups and downs to both models, one allows the developers much more freedom, one allows the consumers an overall better experience in the end.  I'm not saying the Android store won't get better, or that it won't provide solid competition for the iPhone, or the Ink won't provide solid competition for the iPad.  I hope that they do. 
    I'd think that Office's old UI vs the 'ribbon' is a good indication of engineer vs. HCI. :P 
     
    Also, what app damaged the phone? I never heard of this incident. o.o