Verizon wants the iPhone. Any carrier wants to offer its customers the option of using the most popular smartphone on the planet. And Apple wants Verizon to have the iPhone. An increased number of carrier options for the iPhone means more iPhones sold. Technical, strategic, and contractual reasons have prevented the Verizon iPhone from happening – so far. But (nearly) everyone should root for it to happen whether they themselves would want to use one or not, and for more reasons than might immediately come to mind:
Bandwidth: this might be the most obvious, but even if relatively few current iPhone users end up switching over from AT&T, the existence of a Verizon iPhone would stem the flow of longtime Verizon customers who’ve been coming over to AT&T just to get the iPhone (a far more popular trend in 2010 than the headlines might suggest). This will slow down the number of new iPhone users on AT&T, giving the carrier’s overburdened network a chance to catch up a bit. So the mere existence of Verizon iPhone would likely improve the quality of the iPhone experience on AT&T.
Competition: AT&T has iPhone users over a barrel on pricing, because iPhone users don’t leave the platform – and AT&T knows it. This means that the carrier can not only charge iPhone high-end pricing for basic voice and data services, it also means that add-ons like tethering arrive years late and come with asinine price tags, all while AT&T eliminates unlimited data plans in an attempt to make sure that all iPhone users are being overcharged, not just some of them. Verizon treats its own customers no better. But if the iPhone became available from both carriers, new iPhone buyers (who aren’t already under contract with one or the other) will be able to choose between the two, meaning that both AT&T and Verizon will have to at least make some feint attempt at offering vaguely competitive monthly pricing for iPhone users. This could end up saving existing iPhone users on AT&T a bit of money.
Economy of scale: Economics 101 says that the more iPhones that Apple sells, the cheaper it can manufacture them for – and the cheaper it can sell them for. And the larger the platform becomes, the more app developers get involved, which means not only more apps to choose from (as if there weren’t enough of them already) but also increased competition among app developers, which is a win for consumers. And a Verizon iPhone would likely means tens of millions of new iPhone users within the first tens of minutes of its availability.
So who should be rooting against a Verizon iPhone and why? The answer is fairly straightforward:
Verizon meltdown: Those Verizon customers who mistakenly brag about their network being significantly superior to that of AT&T are in for a rude awakening the day Verizon gets the iPhone, as those tens of millions of new iPhone users will put a major strain on Verizon’s network – which in technological terms, is as woefully outdated (CDMA) as that of AT&T (which still uses GSM). Even if most Verizon iPhone purchases are already Verizon customers, a major portion of them will be upgrading from a generic flip-phone which didn’t have any data functionality (email, internet, Twitter, Facebook, and so on). With all of those Verizon flip-phone users simultaneously upgrading to a phone with which they can chew through data at a healthy rate, the impact on Verizon’s CDMA network is would be anything but healthy (when Verizon and AT&T both go 4G in presumably 2011, this could be a different story)
We get asked about the Verizon iPhone a lot, and the answer is always the same: the only thing you can be one hundred percent sure of is that anyone claiming to know anything about an arrival or launch date is full of it, unless that person’s name happens to be Steve Jobs – and with his continued cryptic comments on the matter (such as his recent quip “the future is long”), it’s not even clear that he himself is sure when or if a Verizon iPhone might happen. But depending on which of the above categories you fall into, at least you know whether you should be rooting for it to happen sooner rather than later. Here’s more on the Verizon iPhone.
The iPhone 4 has sold more than three million units in its first twenty-two days despite the fact that inventory has been strained the entire time and the antenna story being touted by the media for nearly that entire stretch as well. So it that a strong number or a weak one – in other words, how does the iPhone 4 stack up in terms of sales? For reference, Apple announced in May that it had sold one million iPads in that product’s first twenty-eight days on the market (remember the iPad? It hasn’t been getting much press lately one way or the other). Later Apple announced that three million iPads had been sold in the first eighty days. Compare that to the three-plus million iPhone 4 units sold in the first twenty-two days, and we see that the iPhone 4 reached the milestone about four times as quickly.
Is this a fair comparison? Not necessarily. The iPad was a brand new kind of product which buyers would have to trust would fit into their lifestyle. In contrast, the iPhone has been around for a few years and much of the mainstream knows what the device does by now, either by having already owned one (or by having already been an iPod touch user), or by having received enough exposure to the iPhone over the past few years via the osmosis of being surrounded by iPhone users. On the other hand, a sizable chunk of the current iPhone user base (particularly among the iPhone 3GS crows) is not yet contract-eligible to purchase an iPhone 4 at standard pricing. Both the iPhone 4 and the iPad have been under severe inventory constraints from the start; the iPad is still listed at a seven to ten day wait on Apple’s online store and the iPhone 4 is currently backordered twenty-one days online. This means that both products would have sold sizably larger numbers by now if inventory were sufficient (a company can’t legally book a sale until it’s shipped, so even those placing orders online won’t get counted for awhile). The iPad saw its 3G model not ship until a month into the process, but on the other hand the iPhone 4 still hasn’t seen its white model ship.
In all, there are too many unaccounted variables for both the iPhone 4 and the iPad to accurately estimate what either product’s total sales would be at this point if not for supply constraints and model-specific delays. But the fact that the iPhone 4 is selling four times as quickly puts into perspective the fact that any way you look at it, iPhone 4 has been overwhelmingly embraced by the public – a storyline that’s completely antithetical to the increasingly bizarre iPhone 4-related headlines that have surfaced during the same timeframe. And that’s before you consider the confirmed fact that only two percent of iPhone 4 units have been returned for a refund (the iPhone 3GS saw six percent of units returned in the same timeframe following its 2009 launch), despite news article after news article claiming that iPhone 4 returns were happening en masse without any statistical or anecdotal data to back it up. Even more telling is the fact that only about one half of one percent of all iPhone 4 users have complained to Apple about antenna-related issues in any capacity, which confirms that A) the “defect” never existed except in the minds of headline writers and those who got sucked in, and B) of the two percent of iPhone 4 users who did return their unit for a refund, most weren’t even doing so for antenna-related reasons.
Most telling of all is that even with the antenna “controversy” reaching such a fevered pitch as to inspire theme songs and late night talk show jokes, mainstream consumers still decided to tune it all out and go ahead and buy the iPhone 4 in quantity anyway – that’s if they could even get their hands one, as the iPhone 4 is clearly and vastly outselling even Apple’s own internal estimates or else the company would have used its vast resources to manufacture more units in advance.
If anything, perhaps Apple should be criticized for significantly underestimating demand for its last two major product launches to the point that the iPad and the iPhone 4 are both still way too hard to get ones hands on, this long after launch. Why is the company still being so conservative with its initial manufacturing efforts for products that it must have the sense to know are going to be massive hits? But in making the criticism, one has to acknowledge in the process that Apple’s products can no longer be brought down by externally generated controversies. In past decades, wholly inaccurate stories about “Mac compatibility” would keep the most of the public from buying one. But here in 2010, whether it’s the media trying to make the lack of ancient Flash technology on the iPad into a “controversy” or the media making hay out of the shocking revelation that the iPhone 4 antenna works in pretty much the same way as every other cellphone antenna on the planet, consumers have simply stopped listening to anything the media has to say when it comes to making their purchasing decisions regarding technology products. And seeing how thoroughly and bitterly the geeks who write the technology headlines have turned against Apple of late, that’s good news for the company – now if only Apple can be nudged into delivering sufficiently large enough initial inventory to meet increasingly massive demand, instead of continuing to play its manufacturing cards too close to the vest.
As the geek tech pundits spent Thursday coming up with their gameplan for poo-pooing the iPhone 4 with something slightly less obvious than “Don’t buy an iPhone 4 because it’s not geeky enough” and collectively settled on an imagined controversy over the iPhone’s antenna placement, those Thursday headlines from geek-specific publications mushroomed into similar headlines on Friday from the geek tech journalists who write the same geeks-only propaganda for mainstream publications. Those Friday headlines were along the lines of “iPhone 4 has reception problems” and “Don’t buy an iPhone 4 due to antenna problems” and my favorite type of headline, “Apple admits iPhone 4 antenna problem” which the author pretty much made up just for fun. But all of this blatant anti-Apple propaganda, even though it’s now being blindly parroted by even the local television news broadcasts in small town USA, won’t hurt the iPhone 4. How do we know this? Because these phony geek-generated anti-Apple “controversies” never have.
On launch day we looked at some of the trumped-up “problems” that the geeks manufactured in an attempt to hurt other Apple products in the past. But the common thread among all of those attempts is that they failed completely. The iPod owns a majority of digital music player sales despite the fact that the geeks have attacked nearly every iPod model with one kind of nonsense or another over the years, and the iPhone has been a major success despite all the attempts on the part of geeks to libelously label the iPhone as a “closed” platform even though it has a quarter million different third party applications available.
In contrast, today’s geek-written headlines and going on and on about how wonderful the new Droid X phone is, even though no one outside the geekdom cares about the Android platform or ever will. But that hasn’t stopped the geek tech press from attempting to prop up the Android platform, and for the simple reason that it’s “open” to the point of total anarchy and was specifically designed to be hacked with homebrew apps; an official app store for the Android platform has been made available almost as an afterthought, as the assumption is that anyone geeky enough to buy a Droid is probably coding their own apps by hand anyway. Yes, the Droid is that far removed from being suitable for anyone who’s not a hard core technology geek. And when you start to understand that that’s what the geeks want in a smartphone, you then understand why they both hate and fear the iPhone so thoroughly. The more mainstream success the iPhone achieves, the less the mainstream will have to rely on the geeks for buying advice, usage advice, or really any advice at all. And to add actual injury to the bruised ego of no longer being able to feel important, geeks see products like the iPhone and iPad as signifying an end to the era in which consumer tech products are suitable for geeks. No wonder, then, that the geeks are clinging to their Android dream so tightly, despite it being such a thoroughly underwhelming product: it’s the only hope they have left.
Well, that and Linux, the desktop operating system that’s built around the same kind of total anarchist geekery, an operating system which has seen literally zero adoption outside the geekdom despite the fact that the geek headline writers have been touting Linux as “the future” for more than a decade. Rather than admit that Linux is a complete mainstream failure, the geeks have instead merely transferred their enthusiasm to the Android, a platform which hasn’t yet officially failed, giving them license to attach as much irrational hope to the future of geek products as they wish.
But even as these insulated geeks manage to libel the iPhone on a daily basis with their geek-agenda headlines, and have seemingly stepped it up a notch with the phony iPhone 4 antenna controversy, mainstream sales haven’t been hurt. It’s almost as if the mainstream public have spent so many years (decades really) reading technology headlines that invariably turned out to be wrong-headed and worthless that they’ve instinctively learned not to trust those headlines. The proof? Geek tech pundits have openly attacked every product that Apple has brought to market over the past decade, and yet nearly every one of those products has proven to be a mainstream success. In contrast, the only two Apple products that the geeks supported from day one, the Mac Mini, and the Apple TV, have been Apple’s only two notable flops during that same time. It’s not, then, a question of how irrelevant the geek tech pundits have become, but instead just how much of a counter-indicator they’ve become. The next time Apple launches a new product that the hard core geeks fully support and don’t bother to manufacture phony controversies about, Apple might want to think twice about that particular product’s mainstream suitability.
In the mean time, iPhone 4 is already a mainstream success. The pre-order numbers clearly demonstrated it, the massive lines on Thursday made it even more clear, and the likely press release from Apple on Monday morning announcing more than a million iPhone 4 units sold will seal the deal – at which point the geek headline writers will find a way to spin that negatively and try to prop up their latest Android fetish instead. You heard it here first.
For all the talk of Verizon customers wanting an iPhone on their perfect terms, Apple will very soon announce that it’s sold one million iPhone 4 units. In fact the company was already more than halfway there before the day began, thanks to pre-orders which were only halted due to overwhelming demand. If indeed there’s enough initial retail inventory to support demand, Apple could be released that “one million iPhone 4 customers” press release as early as tomorrow morning. Geek tech pundits will claim that all or nearly all initial iPhone 4 sales are coming strictly from existing iPhone users, but even a cursory check of real world non-geek mainstream people will confirm that this is not the case, as any number of longtime holdouts have decided that iPhone 4 is the milestone which has finally put them over the hump in terms of joining the iPhone platform. These first time iPhone buyers include a number of people switching from Verizon to AT&T just to buy an iPhone 4; one member of Beatweek’s editorial staff is doing exactly that, and it’s unlikely that he’s the only one. So it’ll be interesting to see if Apple releases any data on what percentage of those first million iPhone 4 customers are first time iPhone buyers, what percentage of them switched over from another carrier to buy it, and so on. But either way, iPhone 4 will be, statistically speaking, the biggest cellphone launch in the history of the market. Maybe iPhone will come to Verizon later this year and maybe it won’t, but that continued question mark isn’t getting in the way of iPhone being a smashing success right out of the gate.
The iPad officially arrives in the United Kingdom tomorrow, May 28th, but don’t tell that to some Brits whose iPads were delivered to their homes today instead. It’s early afternoon on May 27th right now in London, and some Londonites have already received their iPads, which will likely rankle those who had instead decided to camp out tonight outside Apple retail stores in order to get their hands on an iPad first thing tomorrow morning instead of having to wait until later in the day tomorrow for the delivery man to arrive. Seeing as how the iPad has been available in the United States for nearly two months, the “early arrival” by one day in the UK is probably less of an embarrassment than if a similar scenario had played out during the original U.S. iPad launch, but the news is likely to have Apple fuming at the UK delivery service nonetheless.
Apple’s UK website still lists “May 28th” as the official iPad launch date, despite the early arrivals.
Although the vast majority of Apple’s retails stores appear to be sold out of both 3G iPads and non-3G iPads, those inventory shortages haven’t affected the wait time for online iPad orders through the apple.com website – at least not yet, anyway. Going into the weekend, both the 3G and wifi-only models of the iPad were listed as having a five to seven day wait time, and as of early Monday morning, that wait time is still listed as being the same. It’s possible that Apple’s online iPad inventory has also grown short as a result of robust retail sales this weekend. However, given the fact that online orders are still seeing the same wait time suggests that the more likely scenario is that the “shortages” at retail are more a matter of not enough units having been shipped to each store for launch weekend, giving those who missed the boat some hope that Apple will simply back up some more trucks full of iPads to its retail stores during the course of the week.
The five to seven day waiting period for online iPad orders goes for all six models, including the three 3G models and the three wifi-only models.
After higher than expected initial sales of the non-3G iPad last month led Apple to delay the international launch of the product due to the resulting inventory shortages, history is quickly repeating itself with the newly introduced 3G iPad. Not only did the estimated 300,000 3G units sold this past weekend mirror the official 300,000 unit count from the original launch weekend, it turns out that forty-nine of of the fifty Apple Stores checked,/a> up on were in fact sold out of the 3G model. Most of those same stores were sold out of the wifi only model as well. It’s still not entirely clear whether Apple was intentionally conservative with its initial iPad inventory, or whether component shortages limited the amount of inventory that could be available, or whether sales really are that much higher than the high end of Apple’s own internal predictions – or perhaps a combination of all three.
So someone claims to have found a prototype of the forthcoming fourth generation iPhone, which hasn’t been announced yet by Apple, lying on the floor of a bar in San Jose – and that’s not even the most obviously phony part of the story. Nor is the claim that the iPhone was booting up, but now mysteriously no longer is. And that’s before we even get to the part that the only person in the world who could currently get away with carrying a 4G iPhone outside of Apple’s campus would be Steve Jobs himself, and if the liver transplant recipient went out for a night of drinking in a bar, the complications from the alcohol consumption would likely have killed him. But none of that is the part that gives immediately gives away the fact that this supposed new iPhone is an obvious fake.
No, the devil is always in the thrown-in details, and in this case, it’s the fact that the person who made up this fantastic story couldn’t help but pile on juicy details like the fact that it’s got a front facing camera (we could go along with that)… along with an eighty gigabyte storage capacity.
Oops. If you remember any of your ninth grade math, then you’ve by now spotted the fact that iPhones and iPod touches all come with capacities whose numbers are in powers of two – you know how the current iPhones are eight, sixteen, and thirty-two gigabytes? Yeah, that’s not just because Apple likes numerical progressions – that’s how flash memory works. The next stop on the road would be sixty-four gigabytes (the iPad is already there), and then 128 gigs, which you can currently find in the MacBook Air’s solid state drive. The only place you see a number like eighty gigs (or forty, or 160 or 320) is when you’re dealing with hard drives, not flash memory. So unless Apple has decided to suddenly switch to hard drives for the IPhone, which would make the device significantly bigger, much more prone to dying after being dropped, and oh by the way, much worse on battery life, there’s just no way the “next iPhone” is sporting eighty gigabytes of storage. A hundred and twenty eight might be believable, but not eighty.
It’s entirely possible that the person who claims to have found this device on the floor of a bar may actually believe in good faith that it really is an iPhone 4G prototype. But even if this person really find this device in such a manner, it’s certainly not the next iPhone. Looks like we may just have to be content to wait until Apple shows us the real one, presumably in June.
photo credit: Engadget
If you believe Apple is speaking the truth about the matter, then early iPad sales in the U.S. have been higher than what the company itself had been expecting. As a result, Apple says, the launch of the iPad in other nations will have to wait until inventory can be built back up. According to Apple, “”Demand is far higher than we predicted and will likely continue to exceed our supply over the next several weeks.”
International pre-orders for the iPad will now begin on May 10th, and pricing in the various currencies will be set at that time. Apple, which announced it had sold 300,000 iPads on launch day in the U.S., now pegs that number at 500,000.
Watching geek after geek having a public meltdown this past week about the iPad has only helped confirm what’s been trending for awhile: influence over consumer technology is falling further and further out of the hands of geeks and directly into the hands of non-geek consumers. Not only were most of the people who bought iPads this weekend non-geeks, most of them didn’t wait for the sign of approval from their favorite geek either; they relied on their own assessment that the device would be a good fit for them, combined with their own existing comfort level with Apple products, which led them to trust the company enough to become an early adopter of an entirely new kind of device.
From start to finish, the geeks played no part in the iPad’s launch – and that’s why so many of them are now having meltdowns. They know the days of “consumer technology” products being designed specifically for them, at the expense of everyone else, are coming to an end. And now they’re publicly lamenting those “good old days” and unwittingly painting themselves as completely out of touch in the process (while also tacitly admitting that the real high they got from those “good old days” was the control it gave them over all the non-geeks around them).
As fast as things are changing, there’s an emerging potential role for geeks, and not just in terms of being the ones to code all these iPad apps. We still need people to step up and be something of a spirit guide, to help us make sense of the daily technological changes and how to best fit all this new technology into our lives in a meaningful way. It’s no secret as to why the most admired technology columnists for mainstream publications, the most popular Mac podcasters, and so on, have risen to the top: they’re among the relatively few geeks that A) understand there’s a real world out there beyond the geek bubble, and B) don’t resent that fact.
In fact, with so many geeks taking themselves out of the picture of late, in favor of self-imposed isolationism and/or screaming about how things are going downhill at a time when the rest of us see the glory days of consumer technology rising before our eyes, there’s actually a real opportunity for the geeks who do “get it” to rise up and carve out that new geek role within society. But sadly, only a few of them will want it. At this point, most geeks, for all the attempts they’re making to resentfully cut themselves off from relevance, might as well move to Mars. And then who’s going to be left to code that cool new solitaire app for my iPad?
Those iPhone and iPod touch users who’ve feared Apple’s recent focus on the iPad might detract from their preferred touchscreen product will be
relieved pleased to learn that now that the iPad is out the door, they won’t have to wait long – a mere three more days, in fact – to get the official scoop on the iPhone 4.0 operating system.
While the event itself is no surprise, as Apple publicly previews the new iPhone OS each spring and then releases it each summer along with a new iPhone hardware model, the timing of the event is intriguing to say the least. Apple could have chosen to allow the rest of the week (or even the rest of the month) to be dominated solely by iPad headlines, but has instead decided to steer the focus of Apple-related talk back to the iPhone and iPod touch. It could be that Apple simply wants to reassure iPhone and touch users that even in a week in which thousands of iPad-only apps showed up in the App Store, Apple itself is far from done focusing on the iPhone platform. Or perhaps Apple has had this event ready to go for some time but was simply waiting until the iPad was out the door first so as not to distract from pre-launch hype for the iPad.
It’s also worth noting that the iPad itself is running the 3.2 operating system, leaving open the possibility that we’ll see a preview of not only the next iPhone operating system, but also a sneak peek at new software features the iPad might gain come summertime. However it’s debatable as to what effect unveiling future iPad features might have on current sales, as it could lead to confusion over the fact that iPad 4.0 would be fully available to current iPad buyers.
In an email sent to those users signed up for the company’s mailing list, Apple has sent a late-night mass email announcing rather simply that the “iPad is here.”
Beyond the subheader of “A magical and revolutionary product at an unbelievable price”, that’s pretty much the entire email, beyond a giant picture of an iPad and a “Buy iPad” button. Perhaps at this point Apple believes that the iPad speaks for itself – or perhaps that the presumably loud word of mouth coming from the hundreds of thousands of pre-orderers who get their collective hands on an iPad today will manage to do the talking on the company’s behalf.
The only news coming from the email, or non-news as it were, comes in the fine print, as the company states that the 3G iPad is still on track for “late April.” A visit to the “Buy iPad” link confirms that wifi-only iPads ordered today are still on track for April 12th delivery.
Have you been wondering why Apple decided to ship out the first batch of iPads for delivery on a Saturday? After all, weekend package deliveries are rare and typically cost a whole lot more than weekday deliveries. Turns out it’s yet another case of Apple understanding the typical consumer in a manner that almost no other “consumer technology” company ever has.
Whether you’re dealing with UPS, FedEx, or one of the others, they’re nearly always going to deliver your package to your home between the hours of 9am and 5pm, Monday through Friday. But as it just so happens, those are the exact same days and hours that most people are at work. As a result, you’re almost never at home when the delivery man comes knocking, so you come home from work and find yourself in one of three random situations, depending on the whim of the driver: your package has been left sitting on your front porch all day in plain sight (not the best idea on a day when the whole country knows the first batch of iPads are being delivered), your package has been left with one of your neighbors (on the mentally challenged assumption that the people who live near you must automatically be trustworthy friends of yours), or you come home to find that a tag has been left on your door with an across-town address that you can try to race to by 7pm in order to pick up your package, or failing that, wait until the next day when the same nonsense gets to play out all over again in some kind of delivery service version of Groundhog Day (not exactly good PR if people who pre-ordered an iPad expecting to have it in their hands on day one are instead left to play cat and mouse games with the delivery truck driver for days on end). In other words, weekday deliveries are a slap in the face of consumers on the part of a delivery industry that can’t be bothered to do home deliveries in the evening.
Understanding that nearly every consumer in America is stuck in this same nonsensical situation when it comes to home delivery, Apple has instead opted for an avenue that actually makes sense: Saturday delivery. Sure, it’s no doubt costing Apple a bundle, but when you start adding up the profit margins of the presumably hundreds of thousands of iPads being put into people’s hands, and just how much the company has riding on the word of mouth that comes from this first wave of buyers of this mysterious new product, and you realize that taking advantage of Saturday delivery is sheer brilliance: while most working Americans couldn’t be home from 9 to 5 on a Friday without calling in sick (and their bosses probably being able to figure out why), most of the working class can in fact stay home all day on a Saturday if they need to.
And many will do just that today, even if they might have otherwise had plans around town. Keep in mind that these are the people who plunked down their money weeks ago just to make sure they had an iPad in their hands on April 3rd, not April 5th or 6th or 7th or whatever later date they might manage to finally get their hands on it if they were stuck playing the usual weekday home delivery game.
Did it require much brains on the part of Apple to figure this out? Not really. But it’s the kind of “we understand the public” thing that the company seems to continually get, while most others in the industry seem to somehow manage to blow similar opportunities. No, the clever idea of delivering the first batch of iPads on a day in which most pre-orderers will actually be home to sign for it won’t make or break the platform. But as today plays out, a few hundred thousand people will be glad Apple thought of it.
I learned long ago not to trust anything that lands in my inbox on the first of April, for obvious reasons. And because I’m far from the only one with their guard up on a day like this, the only thing dicier than a company pulling a joke that gets permanently mistaken as fact, is the unfortunate mistake of sending out something serious and having it mistaken as a joke. Witness how long it took Google to convince people that the original Gmail announcement really was real, after its April 1st rollout years ago. And don’t ask me to take a stand on whether Facebook’s new community pages, rolled out today, are supposed to be real or not until I see whether Facebook is still talking about them tomorrow.
So when I got a press release today entitled “Five reasons not to buy an iPad” I reserved judgment on whether it was an April Fools prank full of obviously silly reasons, or just the usual pro-geek anti-Apple propaganda from yet another hard core geek who misses the days when every new “consumer technology” product was suitable only for the geekiest one percent of the population and no one else. Here’s the problem, though: after spending a fair amount of time reading and chewing over said press release, I have no earthly idea whether it’s supposed to be a joke or not. Sure, it lists the same old geek complaints about Apple’s mobile products that no one in the real world has any issue with, but the explanations for those five reasons delve into obviously comical territory that I’m left to wonder: am I being pranked or not?
No Multitasking – No searching the web as you chat on AIM, no listening to Pandora as you read an eBook. Sure, the iPad is faster than your smartphone, but what good is added speed when you will have to be constantly going in and out of apps instead of being efficiently able to do them all at once?
Sure, except no one cares. Not only does no one in the real world care about multitasking, almost no one in the real world even knows what multitasking is (so much so that Palm effectively sealed the Pre’s fate as a mainstream flop when it starting running ads introducing the product as having “multitasking” first and foremost). The fact is that with the current hardware specs, Apple would be wantonly reckless to open up the iPad (or iPhone or iPod touch) to limitless third party multitasking, which would quickly bog the entire device down into underpowered mush and ruin the entire iPad experience for the typical user. In future years, when significantly more powerful computing hardware can be packed into the same size device, Apple will eventually open this up – but to do so now would be sinful.
No Flash – An understandable limitation in the world of cell phones, but this is unacceptable in a product trying to position itself in the world of notebooks. Not only do many websites require flash to view certain content, some require it to access the website.
This is particularly comical on a day when major television networks lined up to pour sand on the grave of Flash by announcing that they were eliminating the use of Flash in their online properties for the benefit of iPad users. In other words, the rest of the publishing world has come around to the fact that Flash is twentieth century junk, designed for a bygone era, about as suitable for use in 2010 as the floppy drive. For someone to claim, on today of all days, that lack of Flash is supposed to be a drawback, on the day that Apple officially won the battle to kill Flash, makes me wonder whether the press release really was intended as a joke.
Limited Software – Like the iPhone, only runs apps from the Apple’s App Store. Although there are tons of apps at Apple’s store, it still bans certain apps, such as Google Voice, your notebook does not.
Here’s where the fun begins. Take the feature that many if not most users consider to the be single most attractive aspect of the iPad/iPhone/touch platform, the overwhelmingly large number of free, cheap, and safe software titles available for the platform with literally one click, and try to spin it into a negative. Hard core geeks are the only people on the planet who think the App Store is “too closed” (or whatever anarchist propaganda phrase they’re using this week); everyone else sees it as a reason to buy, as evidenced by the tens of millions of App Store based devices on the market. These are the same geeks who claimed that iTunes was the biggest drawback of the iPod, at a time when the other ninety-nine percent of the population viewed its seamless integration with iTunes as perhaps the main reason to buy an iPod. So I’m left to wonder: was this nonsense written in all seriousness by an insulated geek who really doesn’t understand that there’s a world out there, or was this purposely written as nonsense in a too-subtle effort to be funny?
What will you use it for? – The iPad is not going to replace any of your existing technology. Your smartphone may have a smaller screen, but it does just about everything the iPad does (not to mention makes phone calls), the iPad’s clumsy touch screen keyboard and limited capabilities make it incapable of replacing your laptop, and even a Kindle is a more practical alternative to the iPad as an eReader.
Let me get this straight: if a new device doesn’t replace one of your existing devices, you shouldn’t buy it. Cellphones didn’t replace anything (at least not until years later when they began replacing landlines). Was buying a cellphone a mistake? iPods didn’t replace anything, as most people were not carrying a portable music player of any kind when the iPod launched. Should we not have bought those either? What about computers? What did they replace? And until recent years, laptops weren’t powerful enough to replace your desktop; was everyone who bought a laptop as a secondary computer making a mistake? If a bicycle can’t replace a car, should you never buy a bicycle? You get my point.
And what of this “clumsy touchscreen keyboard” that the iPad supposedly sports? Is the author basing this assessment on actual hands-on time spent with the iPad (hint: no), or is the author basing it on the virtual keyboard of the iPhone and iPod touch, which is a fraction of the size and won’t even likely be typed on via the same combination of fingers? A keyboard on the iPhone and iPod touch which, by the way, is currently in use by tens of millions of users? And if the author really is that convinced that this iPad virtual keyboard he’s never used is going to sink the device, you’d think that perhaps he’d mention the fact that Apple is selling an optional iPad physical keyboard for home use.
But just when I’m starting to think that the author is simply an idiot rather than a prankster, I get to the claim that “even a Kindle is a more practical alternative to the iPad as an eReader,” a suggestion that even Amazon itself doesn’t appear to agree with (witness Amazon’s Kindle app for iPad). The Kindle, by virtue of only having one main feature and lamer hardware, is a significantly cheaper option than the iPad and may be a smart choice for those who wouldn’t use an iPad for anything but eBooks anyway, but to suggest that the Kindle is the superior product…. you’re starting to understand why I’m struggling to figure out whether this was written as satire, right?
It is sure to get better- If you still feel like you really need an iPad, at least wait until the next model comes out. By then Apple will have heard all the above complaints and it will be greatly improved, and probably cheaper. Case in point: the iPhone.
Alright, you got me. That’s just the grand slam right there: criticize a device because it might get better in the future, claim to know that those “improvements” will identically mirror your own list of atypical gripes (and that Apple will do this just because you’re the one doing the griping), claim to know that the price will drop, and as proof of this, point to another product whose initial pricing was structured with a radically different philosophy. At its launch, the iPhone was a three inch computer which initially cost $499; the iPad is a ten inch computer which initially costs $499. A fifth grader could understand that despite the same price tags, one of those devices was significantly marked up at the beginning, and in contrast, the other is initially priced to move.
I give up. After all of the above evaluation, I still can’t definitively figure out whether out whether the press release was seriously intended as nonsense, or whether the nonsense was intended to be taken seriously. I’m not going to link to the original source just in case it was the latter (or worse, intentional ignorance for link-baiting purposes), but it’s easily findable through search engines if you care to. You guys are free to speculate about whether or not this was a joke in the comments, but I’ve already surrendered (for what it’s worth, at least one of my counterparts at another publication who received the same press release is betting on the press release being a prank). One last thought, though: could it be that this was indeed an April Fools joke that unfortunately wasn’t intended as one?
In what will surely come a disappointing surprise to the hundreds of thousands who pre-ordered the device and were expecting delivery on Saturday morning, Apple has quietly announced that its iPad tablet computer has been canceled due to what CEO Steve Jobs termed “over-interest” on the part of the public.
According to Jobs, who called it the “hardest decision” he’s ever had to make in his tenure, “While we know that a lot of people were looking forward to the iPad, Phil Schiller and I realized last night that the public’s unprecedentedly high level of expectations would mean that the iPad itself would never be able to meet those expectations.” He went on to compare the hype surrounding the iPad to the Guns ‘n Roses Chinese Democracy album, which was released fourteen years after it was first announced and failed to live up to ever-heightened expectations, and stated that everyone who paid money for an iPad pre-order would be refunded in full on the first of April.
No word on whether those who bought Chinese Democracy will be eligible for a refund.
It appears that Apple Stores may not be the only place you can get an iPad on April 3rd after all. According to reports, about two-thirds of Best Buy’s thousand retail stores in the United States may also be offering Apple’s tablet computer on launch day. According to the report, the Best Buy units have already received iPad promotional and sales related items, but no actual iPad units as of yet.
However, this information is seemingly in at least partial conflict with another report claiming that those who pre-order an iPad today for home delivery won’t receive it until April 12th. If both these reports are true, then people who haven’t placed a pre-order would theoretically be able to walk into a Best Buy or an Apple Store and by an iPad, nine days before those who place a pre-order between now and the launch date, suggesting that Apple’s (or more accurately, FedEx’s) maximum delivery capacity for April 3rd has been reached (Saturday deliveries are rare to begin with, and typically require a higher payment than a weekday delivery).
As with all Apple product launches, the relative lack of detail provided by the company until the very last minute invariably leads to this of atmosphere of unconfirmed rumors and conflicting information. We wouldn’t recommend lining up at a Best Buy store the morning of April 3rd without official confirmation from either Best Buy or Apple, which could potentially come this week if true. Also glaring is the lack of any hint that AT&T Stores might be selling the iPad, which may be a sign of an increasingly strained partnership between AT&T and Apple, or a simple recognition of the fact that AT&T retail employees may not be the ideal candidates for selling tablet computers.
As for whether you’d be better off at this point by pre-ordering now or by hitting up an Apple Store on April 3rd… well, stay tuned.