iPad: Yet Another Opinion

Here are my initial, general thoughts about the much-hyped iPad. Clearly the world doesn’t need another blog post about this, but it sets the stage for something coming next.

  • As many have observed, iPad is most easily summarized as a larger iPod Touch, plus some of the mobile data capability of an iPhone. Although this has been expressed widely as a criticism, I note that a very large number of people have bought an iPod Touch or iPhone.
  • By making the iPad fit the above description so well, I fear that there is a tinge of Apple playing it safe for Wall Street. Playing it safe, has not been the strategy that invigorated Apple (and its financial performance) over the last decade.
  • This iPad “1.0” is somewhat short on hardware features. I suspect a second generation device will arrive in 2011 with a few more ports, more storage, more wireless, etc. 1.0 only has to be good enough to prime the market for 2.0.
  • The screen needs more pixels; the resolution / DPI is unimpressive. Also, OLED would have been nice; but Apple had to trade off some things to get to a price point, and the screen technology was obviously one of them.
  • The battery life Apple claims, even if it is vaguely close to reality, is fantastic.
  • I am surprised at the lack of a video camera.
  • I expect to see some kind of trivial tethering interoperation between iPad and iPhone over Bluetooth, sometime in the next couple of revisions of both products. I suspect that loyal Apple fans carrying an iPhone 3GS will end up able to use their iPhone mobile voice/data service for both devices… possibly with some extra monthly service charge.
  • iPad 1.0 will not replace Kindle or other eBook readers, though it might slow their sales growth a bit. But what about iPad 2.0, 3.0, with a better screen and even longer battery life? Once a beautiful color LCD device is good enough, monochrome eInk will be a very tough sell.
  • I will quite likely buy an iPad shortly after it ships; but I’ll be buying perhaps 25% to enjoy it as a consumer, and 75% as a means of more fully understanding the industry importance of the tablet form factor.
  • As a user of a “real” Apple computer (a MacBook Pro running OSX 10.6), I find the closed App Store software distribution model something of a disappointment, compared to a tablet form factor Mac OSX PC I could easily imagine; but I have another blog post coming about that in a few days, after I get some real (non-punditry) work out the door.

Upcoming talk: Cloud Computing User Group

The St. Louis Cloud Computing User Group launches on Jan. 21st at Appistry. Sam Charrington over there kicked it off, but I suspect it will shortly grow far past its Appistry roots.

I’m giving a talk (one of two) at the first meeting. Contrary to the initial description floating around, I won’t be speaking (in detail) about “Amazon Web Services from a Developer Perspective”. Rather, my talk will be broader, and from a developer+business perspective:

To the Cloud(s) and Back

Over the last few years, I’ve been to the Amazon cloud and back; on a real project I started with inhouse file storage, moved to Amazon S3, then moved back. I’ve likewise used EC2 and tried a couple of competitors. I think this qualifies me to raise key questions:

  • Should you use (public) cloud storage? Why and why not?
  • Should you use (public) cloud CPUs? Why and why not?
  • How do you manage an elastic set of servers?
  • Can you trust someone else’s servers? Can you trust your own?
  • Can you trust someone else’s sysadmins? Can you trust your own?
  • What about backups?

This talk will mostly raise the questions, then offer some insights on the some of the answers.

Update: Slides are online here.