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Old 02-02-2010, 02:52 AM   #1
Bob Russell
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IPad Design - if Apple was custom designing one for me

The iPad has my interest, even though I'm not a fan of closed systems, and I never thought I'd consider a device without at least one USB port and a memory card slot. What follows is my reasons for interest, and the things I wish it had. I.e., if I could have provided input, this is what Apple might have included on an iPad developed just for me.

Why I Am Interested
  • Good battery life. Hopefully, real world usage matches 10-12hrs.
  • Great form factor - light, slim and nicely sized screen
  • Zippy performance - should be much faster than e-ink devices
  • Capacitive touch screen
  • Lots of developer support, and huge iPhone consumer base
  • External keyboard via BT or dock. Eventually wired keyboards will probably be available via the connector.
  • Should be a good e-book reader, even for PDFs in landscape. (I don't mind reading on an LCD screen.)
  • Price is not much more than an e-ink device, so I can potentially make this as an e-book reader purchase that gets me some additional functionality and a more responsive device as well.

If you go to a full O/S like Win7, then you lose battery life and the lightweight advantage. I.e. In that case, I may as well use my convertible tablet, or get a netbook (still a possibility). The extra weight and shorter battery life is a critical factor for me.

It will be interesting to see what Android tablets come out with 7-10" screens, 8+hr battery life, <2lbs weight and sold for <$500. If there is a good device, and it meets my needs, it might beat out the iPad for me.

I don't think we'll see a Win7 device this year that meets those criteria.

What iPad is missing
  • USB ports and Memory card slots
  • Flash browser
  • e-book format support. Seems to have PDF and eReader and ePub. But is ADEPT ePub going to be available? Is PDF support very good?
  • DivX video support (and other formats as well)
  • Remote PC control - I expect that LogMeIn Ignition or other apps will support this
  • BT tethering to use my Treo as modem data plan. I'm not even sure how I'll figure this out before making a purchase decision, but it would be a big plus if it works.
  • GPS and mapping SW. Wish it could run Google Maps with GPS. Maybe it will?
  • Flash browsing - especially to allow things like Hulu, Fancast, ESPN360, etc.
  • Synching without a computer or iTunes. That goes back to the memory card and USB port, but also I don't really want to even use iTunes unless I have to.
  • If you buy an app on an iPad/iPhone/iTouch, do you have to buy it again to use it on another iPad/iPhone/iTouch? If not, and I get an iPad, they may have shifted my future phone desires from Android to iPhone as well.

Are these deficiencies show stoppers? I don't know yet. I'm really looking at this as a stopgap device until I can get what I really want with Win7 inside, so it doesn't have to be perfect. Just better than other e-book readers for my own purposes and tastes. I already expect it to be outdated by the time the second generation iPad comes out - but in the e-book reader game, that's par for the course right now.

Caveat - I'm going by memory in terms of what is available on iPad or not. This info may not be completely accurate. And, obviously, in many cases I already indicate above that I don't know. Please let me know if you have answers!

Anyway, I'd sure be interested to see if others have similar desires for the iPad and what you might also want that I left out.
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Old 02-02-2010, 03:24 AM   #2
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If the txtr app runs on the iPad, then you will have ePub with Adept support.
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Old 02-02-2010, 03:57 AM   #3
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:15 AM   #4
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For my the best iPad that could exist will be an iPad with a Full OS X and a "layer" like FrontRow or Dashboard that will put the OSX in an iPhone like version.

IE the iPad will work mainly as an iPhoneOS device when used standalone, and when I plug it to a special dock that give it more peripherals (like touchpad, keyboard, DVD driver, bigger battery, and lot of connectivity (USB/FW/SDcard etc..)) it work like a classical OS X, but with multitouch screen in bonus!

That's my ideal iPad
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godzil View Post
For my the best iPad that could exist will be an iPad with a Full OS X and a "layer" like FrontRow or Dashboard that will put the OSX in an iPhone like version.

IE the iPad will work mainly as an iPhoneOS device when used standalone, and when I plug it to a special dock that give it more peripherals (like touchpad, keyboard, DVD driver, bigger battery, and lot of connectivity (USB/FW/SDcard etc..)) it work like a classical OS X, but with multitouch screen in bonus!

That's my ideal iPad
Interesting idea. I would have no use for such a thing, but I could see a market for it. Say for a few hundred more a person could get said dock, and have the best of both worlds.... cool.
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:07 AM   #6
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Edit.

Last edited by dadioflex; 12-15-2010 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:01 AM   #7
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Calling a device with 160,000 applications at launch "closed" is a bit of a stretch. Any OS limits what you can do, and of course an internet/media device is not made to do movie editing or to run your small business. It is not a matter of "Open" or "closed", it's a matter of how useful the device is for a particular person. If someone wants to write code, or do spreadsheets I would say the iPad is not for them. If they want to email/internet/music/movies/read/light gaming...etc, on a portable device, then perhaps it is.

The battery issue is an old horse, that just needs to be let go. I had a 20 gig ipod for 3 years. It finally gave out (after hours of daily use), and sure the battery was not as new, but still worked long enough to be useful. If you want a replaceable battery, then get something that has one. But the "non-user replaceable" (of course there is a way....) battery has proved itself a working model in the marketplace. My Sony PRS-300 also has a non-replaceable battery, and I'm not worried about it.
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:03 AM   #8
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I can see where Apple are coming from with the iPad - it's their take on what the original netbooks were trying to do. However those machines ended up becoming small form factor laptops running Windows.

Whether that was because the market rejected the netbook concept of a cheap, long battery life machine focussed on web applications or it was down to Microsoft mounting an aggressive campaign to promote Windows isn't clear.


The problem is that the iPad isn't really cheap. Nor is it very expandable. Whereas I think that the iPhone OS suits small devices like the iPhone/iPod touch well, I'm not sure it scales up well to provide the sort of functionality that people will want from a large tablet. And you are locked to getting your apps from the Apple App Store and using iTunes (ugh) to transfer stuff to and from the machine. Plus, whereas a tablet might at first glance seem a great form factor are really going to keep holding it out to surf and watch films? It's no problem to wield an iPhone for prolonged amounts of time but the iPad is a lot bigger.


From an eReading point of view, it will be great for comics and technical manuals if that's what you want your ereader for. Not so good for regular novels with a short battery life and a backlit screen and being quite large and heavy. That non user-replaceable battery isn't going to hold up well if it is constantly being charged either and what's the betting that Apple try to lock users into their own proprietary DRM-ridden system?
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:07 AM   #9
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make it smaller. 10" is too big. 7" would be more portable, easier to hold.

Keep it 4x3. Why people think 16x9 or 16x10 is good is beyond me.... HD is overrated, and it makes a device too awkward for other things. Too wide (or tall) for good book reading... same thing for web browsing. That is the one good chocie that Apple made.
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:11 AM   #10
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I am upset,
I am a mac user (I use windows everyday also at work), I am a mac & iphone developer, Ive been waiting for what seems like years for a mac netbook, I couldn't wait any longer so I “hackintoshed” my dell mini thinking..its ok, the new apple tablet will be the answer and it’ll be better than a netbook, I wait a year and then it turns out it doesn't even run full macos... i mean come on, no multi tasking?? and don't get me started on any of the other missing features... i am very disappointed, it looks like im stuck with my hackintosh!
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:39 AM   #11
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The ExoPC wouold seams a good start for me.
Maybe with hdmi, and a larger screen.
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:06 AM   #12
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For the gadget to use a full-blown Operating system, you do not have to bog it down with a Windows 7 or the latest MacOSX.

There are many alternatives.
There is, for example, QNX operating system. I had a demo FLOPPY with QNX 3.0 operating system on it. You could boot 486 computer with a few megabytes of RAM from a FLOPPY and have a complete Unix-like operating system with windowing graphical user interface and even web brower. And it was screaming fast. It was used for realtime applications for years. It is still being used in critical systems.

Today, even a 'lousy' Arm 9 processor is magnitude faster than 486. The A4 processor from Apple even has powerful graphical chip on board.
Most of the modern mainstream operating systems are huge and hopelessly bloated, because they have to run on very, very wide range of hardware. Linux runs on everything from Arm based handhelds, gigital watches and toasters to supercomputers with great variety of hardware in between.
If you tailor-fit an operating system to a tailor-made hardware, if you tweak a few critical parts of the system in assembly language, you can get screaming fast system. It does not have to be a CLOSED system. Just release an SDK and make sure that installing a new software requires user approval and that the installed software is run in its own sandbox.

Just remember Amiga, remember Atari ST. Even the lousiest appliance today has magnitude faster processor.
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:14 AM   #13
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QNX 3.0 is pretty old, and the latest is unable to do such a thing. QNX is no more a viable OS for end-user (cost too much, not enought application) QNX will stay as a niche for RT-OS.

If you go further with a 68000 @ 8Mhz & 4Mo of RAM you have a Mac Plus that may be able to do some internet things too. But no, using old software is not a solution.
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:25 AM   #14
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Calling a device with 160,000 applications at launch "closed" is a bit of a stretch.
It is closed.
Because Apple is censoring what applications you are allowed to run.
There are lots of applications that were removed from the Apple App Store because they were "duplicating functionality" or provided way for user to make his own program.
Commodore C64 emulator is one of the victims of Apple censors. The emulator came with its 30 year old version of C64 BASIC interpreter so Apple pulled it from the Store.
What I am going to make in an C64 BASIC interpreter? A "Hello World" program?

For me, to consider ever buying an iPad it would have to be able to run Vim text editor. You will NEVER going to see a full-blown Vim on iPad, because much of the functionality of Vim is implemented by running scripts and programs written in a built-in Vim programming language. Even a default configuration file is in fact a program.
This is just one little example why iPad can not be considered open.

Let's wait and see. I am extremely curious if Apple lets us to run ANY e-book reading application besides iBooks. From what I have seen so far, a PocketBook 360 implementation of FBReader is much more powerful than iBooks. It does not feature that slick spinning bookcase, but I can set any font I like, I can set margins, line spacing, justification, even fine-tune hyphenation. I can organize my books in folders. And all that is because PocketBook is open.
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:35 AM   #15
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QNX 3.0 is pretty old, and the latest is unable to do such a thing. QNX is no more a viable OS for end-user (cost too much, not enought application) QNX will stay as a niche for RT-OS.

If you go further with a 68000 @ 8Mhz & 4Mo of RAM you have a Mac Plus that may be able to do some internet things too. But no, using old software is not a solution.
I know that QNX 3.0 is old. The company I work for maintains quite a few systems running on it.

I was just using it as an example that you can have an operating system that is fully functioning, very fast, very small and very efficient.

The main weakness of QNX is that the developers are unable to keep up with the hardware development. We have storage of old, never unboxed network interface cards, graphics cards and other hardware so we can keep the systems running.

If you have a system with fixed hardware configuration - like A4 system on a chip - the development is much easier. And you can stand on shoulders of giants
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