The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. - Wm. Blake

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The iPad

I've been a Mac/Apple fan since using them in college, enough so that part of my reason for picking my last two employers was the ability to work on Macs. I was an early adapter of the iPod and iPhone, and I was pretty excited in the runup to the iPad announcement.

Then, like many others, I was a bit underwhelmed. Part of it was that I'd read too much in advance, and so there was really nothing about it that was new (and therefore exciting). But part of it was that I couldn't see any real role for it in my life - I've got a laptop and an iPhone, and I don't need an in-between machine.

But, over the last 6 weeks or so, I've read a number of pieces that convince me I was looking at the iPad incorrectly. The first phrase that shifted my thinking came from the child of a tech blogger: "Dad, it's that thing from the movies." Every sci-fi movie for 30 or 40 years has featured flat, portable, effortless data screens; the iPad. This post, in particular, captures well what the iPad represents (as does this followup post). No guarantee it gets there, of course, but Apple has been hitting its targets pretty reliably lately.

The original Macintosh computer was advertised as a computer "for the rest of us." And, relative to command-line DOS, with its C: prompt and arcane, 8 character commands, it was. But the iPad promises to be the first computer that really is for the rest of us - for everybody's who's ever hunted for the file they've just created, for everyone who's closed a window thinking that they were closing a program, for everyone who's hunted through 50 drop-down menu items searching for the tool they want to use.

I'm still not sure I, personally, need one: as an architect, I'm pretty much a power user, and I don't see anyone making a full-featured gesture-based CAD program in the near future (I'd love to be proven wrong; Sketchup has some of the appropriate characteristics, but it's not actually adequate for contract documents, and I hate the idea of a building model in one program and the "real" drawings in another). But this is surely the first computer I'd consider recommending to my mother-in-law, and I think it won't be long before the iPad starts to draw a lot of customers who are stuck with a lot more computer (and a lot less usability) than they need. A designer friend recently noted that design isn't about making things pretty, it's about making things more useful; I'm not sure that there's a better example of that than Apple's iPhone OS approach.

PS - All that said, until the printer interface becomes seamless, computers will remain a source of frustration. Sometimes, you just need a piece of paper, and I don't think the iPad gets us any closer to making that process non-frustrating.

Labels: ,


Blogger David Sucher said...

"Just curious why you were ever against it?

About a year ago I fell in love with my iPhone and said to myself "I just wish they'd take the iPhone and enlarge its screen to about 3-4 times."

So what convinced me (in about 30 minutes or less) that iPad was "right" when someone complained bitterly that "It's just like a bigger iPod Touch!"

I knew that Jobs had nailed it.

Btw, I am porting City Comforts to (I hope) the iBookstore.

12:04 AM

Blogger JRoth said...

I wasn't against it as such; I just didn't think it would be transformative (even though I love my iPhone and witnessed a person who doesn't give a toss for tech become like an excited child the first time she used mine). But reading about it, and thinking about it, more, convinced me.

I kind of missed the "no multitasking" thing in the original presentation, and I thought people were silly to complain about it later, but I think that's actually the key fact about it - how much of the "complicated" nature of PCs comes down to having lots of programs and windows open, and then managing it? I"m (more or less) a power user, and I still make mistakes related to that, all the time. Wipe that away, and users can stop wondering "what am I doing wrong?" so often.

9:41 AM

Blogger Bak said...

thanks for your sharing! great helpful!!!Louboutin Shoes Christian Louboutin ShoesChristian Louboutin Pumps Wedding Dress ShopsWedding Dress ShopsChristian Louboutin Boots Christian Louboutin PumpsChristian Louboutin Heels Christian Louboutin SandalPigalle Christian Louboutin fur bootschristian louboutin fur bootslouboutin pumpslouboutin fur bootscoyote fur bootschristian louboutin heelssilver strappy sandalschristian louboutin toundraloubitan studded bow peepvintage wedding dresses wedding dressescheap mobile phoneWedding Dresses 2011Wedding Dress ShopsOff the Shoulder Wedding Dressesbridal jacketswedding jacketsbridal jacketshalter neck wedding dressesoff the shoulder wedding dressesvintage wedding dresseswedding dresses with sleeveswedding jackets for the brideSorry for the bother, God bless you.

4:44 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home