Bangarang – a media player

January 27, 2010

The iPad

Filed under: Uncategorized — jamboarder @ 3:19 pm

I’m a geek and I love me some gadgets and there is no way I can pretend I’m not excited by the iPad.  If no-one sees the actual news behind the announcement of the iPad, then they need glasses.  A gigantic iPod Touch? Yeah, boring.  iPhone apps on the iPad?  I agree.  That is completely uninteresting. The rather more salient news is the traditionally desktop-class apps (iWork, Brushes, etc.) on the iPad done in a way that actually recognizes the physical interface.  It’s the real, credible evolution of desktop apps from WIMP interfaces to touch interfaces.  It’s also the sale of desktop apps in the apps-store.  If successful, this may be the first tangible signs of the potential future of Mac OS.  And from a business standpoint, no-one should be surprised that Apple would love to deliver third party apps directly to the device via the single blessed Apple-owned music/movie/book/app store, where they can get a cut of every single purchase, or more device lock-in or both.

Forget the Macbook (formerly the iBook).  Forget netbooks (I never quite got the point of those things anyway).  For most casual use (music, movies, web surfing, email, book reading, notetaking), basic creativity (Brushes and a certain-to-be-released iPad version of iMovie – basic video editing already on the iPhone) as well as basic productivity (iWorks, Calendar plus future apps) in a portable, accessible package, there is just no good reason for many users – no not all, many – in this demographic to get a netbook or small notebook.  None…

I suspect this could easily canibalize Apple’s low end Macbook sales to a large degree and I’m guessing Apple doesn’t care.  Between the margins on the device and the margins on the store, they’ll probably make out better in the long run… If I were a (non-engineering?) college student, why on earth would I bother to haul my, now bulky looking, Macbook around when this serves most of my needs.

It’s absolutely not all there yet.  The thing needs multitasking. More desktop-class apps need to show up.  Yeah, it would be better off with a forward facing cam.  And sure, why not stick a regular camera in there.  Yeah,  Flash would be nice too, but I’m happy for Flash to die.  A microphone would be great for voice recording.  And no, Apple’s not doing anything essentially new here.  But, for better or worse, they are delivering the arguably pre-existing essentials in the most practical, accessible form yet.

If the rest of the market responds with more open devices like it has with Android, WebOS, Maemo, etc. then I’m all for them succeeding with the iPad.  The nice thing for KDE is that several parts of our ecosystem are already in a position to adjust.  Plasma always had this adjustment in mind.  The KOffice infrastructure appears to be ready as evidenced by it’s recent Maemo appearance.  There probably are other KDE projects in a good position.  For my own little project, the underlying Bangarang design purposefully allows for a complete swap-out of the user interface while preserving the underlying functions (I also tried to make the current ui to scale well to smaller resolutions).

I will be ridding myself of the iPhone and picking up an Android phone in the next couple months.  Still, I’ll end this post like I started. I’m a geek and I love me some gadgets and there is no way I can pretend I’m not excited by the iPad…



  1. I can’t stand the ad invested web and getting adblock to run on this might be tricky (custom router, gateway, proxy needed) ..

    And I HATE iTunes with a passion and this thing is essentially totally tied to iTunes in every possible way.

    Comment by Tom — January 28, 2010 @ 3:08 pm

  2. Honestly, I’m more scared of the iPad rather than exited. A general-purpose computer replacement with an iPhone-type installation system?!?!

    Jailbreak it, Tom. Jailbreak it.

    Comment by Michael "Scared" Howell — January 28, 2010 @ 3:42 pm

    • Defintely, jailbreak it!

      Comment by Andrew Lake — January 29, 2010 @ 7:54 am

  3. I don’t understand why everyone gives Apple a free pass based on “potential”.

    I also don’t understand your point with the college student scenario. From the engineering perspective (currently), or the non-engineering perspective (previously). When it comes to getting work done, a full-blown laptop or workstation is necessary. Certainly the added power is important for mechanical drawings (SolidWorks, I’m looking at you!), but it’s even the case when writing a paper. People are adapting to touchscreen keyboards, but who really wants to use them for more than brief emails, microblogging, or typing in a URL? For those three things, smart phones are ubiquitous. Sure, my Pre is comparatively wanting for processing power, and sure it can get annoying having to zoom in and out frequently, but that’s the price I pay for having something like that in my pocket.

    And that’s the thing: my Palm Pre fits in my pocket quite well. The iPad is significantly bigger. In fact, that’s getting into the same territory as my Thinkpad. If I’m going to be lugging around something significantly larger than my smartphone, something that has absolutely no chance of fitting into my pocket, why would I NOT grab my fully-featured laptop that can do everything I need it to do?

    Comment by Jeffro Tull — January 28, 2010 @ 4:04 pm

  4. I own a “touchbook” from Always Innovating ( and although the software on it is quite “raw” at the moment, the concept is better than Apple’s including the price 🙂

    You can detach it from the keyboard and it becomes a tablet but when you want to write something longer than a web address or chat message, you can plug it back onto the keyboard and it becomes a ‘standard’ netbook.

    Worth checking out and supporting, especially because its completely based on open-source software.

    Comment by KenP — January 28, 2010 @ 5:18 pm

    • Yeah, part of me wants to buy the Touch Book, because that really does seem to be the best of both worlds (especially now that I hear that it runs Android and Chrome). The other part of me wants to hold off and get a Cortex-A9 based system. Or just get a new battery for my Thinkpad…

      Comment by Jeffro Tull — January 28, 2010 @ 5:27 pm

    • Love the video of the founder of Always Innovating driving while filming, holding the touchbook in one hand, reading it and chatting about it.

      Comment by maninalift — January 28, 2010 @ 11:50 pm

    • Neat! Thanks for the info! It’d be cool to see the next version of this. Especially with some desktop-class software that has evolved to properly take advantage of the interface!

      Comment by jamboarder — January 29, 2010 @ 8:00 am

  5. […] Andrew Lake (Jamboarder): The iPad on Planet KDETopics: IWork, IBook, MacBook […]

    Pingback by Mac Laptop News » Blog Archive » News: “Andrew Lake (Jamboarder): The iPad” — January 28, 2010 @ 8:11 pm

  6. My attitude is much the same: The only way in which I am interested in apple products is how it stimulates other tech.

    Comment by maninalift — January 28, 2010 @ 11:52 pm

  7. The iPad can replace neither a phone nor a laptop. For 150% of its price you can get a 12″ convertible with 20x storage, multi-touch display, Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM… And for 80% of its price you can get a touchbook.
    I want to have a keyboard and a trackpad, so the screen is not covered by a virtual keyboard and my fingers. And a touchscreen is good for drawing and that is more comfortable when you can hide or remove the keyboard.

    Comment by The User — January 29, 2010 @ 2:47 am

    • No, the screen does not have to be covered by the virtual keyboard since, guess what, just like the touchbook you can use a real keyboard via bluetooth or the dock.

      More importantly, it’s not the hardware that’s interesting. Fact is, all the major manufacturers are coming out with hardware in this class. In fact, most could argue that devices in the class have been around for the better part of the last decade… Running my desktop-class apps designed for a WIMP interface and crammed in to a small display with touch interactions only incidentally shoehorned in is not new and was never really that interesting to me.

      More interesting to me is the demonstration that you can take desktop-class productivity and creativity apps, *redesign* the interface to properly take advantage of the platform and still make a credible case for being just as productive or creative. I’m looking forward to finally seeing new ui’s for open source apps that properly take advantage of these platforms rather than the make-the-window-smaller approach that’s often the only consideration given to these platforms.

      Comment by jamboarder — January 29, 2010 @ 8:18 am

      • But I want to use serious applications, KDevelop, LaTeX, KOffice…
        And sometimes a touchscreen is simply not faster than a trackpad. I want to work with the device, and that does not work very well with 16GB storage, a virtual keyboard on a small screen, drm etc.

        Comment by The User — January 29, 2010 @ 10:07 am

      • Then such a device is clearly not for you.

        As mentioned, for folks whose primary or only computer usage is “casual use (music, movies, web surfing, email, book reading, notetaking), basic creativity (Brushes and a certain-to-be-released iPad version of iMovie – basic video editing already on the iPhone) as well as basic productivity (iWorks, Calendar plus future apps)” such a device would suit them just fine. They’d barely miss a separate laptop.

        I’m certainly looking forward to an incarnation that’ll drop the DRM, the forced purchase-apps-via-store model and add multitasking, SD card slot, etc. as well as *properly designed* open-source OS and desktop-class apps that fill the *above-mentioned* roles (yes, as demonstrated by some of the apps on the iPad, it can be done without sacrificing essential functionality). Lots of folks, myself included, aren’t interested in using KDevelop or AutoCAD or any of those things when I go on vacation or hang out with a friend down the street or just chill in my living room after a long day of work. If others want to do that, they should definitely be hauling around their laptops/workstations. For many of us, the (preferably more open incarnations of) the iPad will do just fine.

        Comment by jamboarder — January 29, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

  8. You may not want to use KDevelop, Eclipse or LaTeX (although that is common for students), you may want to manage tons of fotos from your cam (more hd, sd-card-reader), watch DVDs or import CDs while running (something like) KMail, Choqok, Kopete and Konversation. You may want to use multiple powerful applications like Digikam and Krita together, play a full featured Wesnoth or you simply want to have a real keyboard to write your EMails etc. And do not lie: A touchscreen is not always a faster replacement for a trackpad.

    Comment by The User — January 30, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

    • Anyone can craft a million specific things that this or any other device can’t do. Maybe someone wants to run pspice while managing a web server while ripping 2 DVDs simultaneously, transcoding 3 1080p movie on the fly for 5 DLNA clients, reading an ebook, managing their budget and running climate model simulations. If the iPad Or similar devices can’t do that then well, good golly, it can’t possibly be of any use. See, I can craft strawman arguments too. And please, don’t put words in my mouth. I made no claim that “touchscreens are always faster replacements for trackpads”.

      Like I said before, maybe devices like the iPad aren’t for you.

      Comment by Jamboarder — January 30, 2010 @ 4:53 pm

      • U have not put words in your mouth, but a convertible provides a trackpad and an iPad does not. The possible tasks I have listed are definitely not very special.

        Comment by The User — January 31, 2010 @ 3:53 am

  9. I saw your article very good contribution to the presentation and can be responsibility, hopefully you stay ahead presents articles like this
    thanks for the article

    Comment by asepsryn — February 8, 2010 @ 3:01 pm

  10. Someone who say that. The iPad in general is dumb. There are better, cheaper things available if you need somethign in between a smart phone and a laptop.

    Comment by link2mobile — June 15, 2010 @ 6:47 pm

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