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iPad 2 and the return of Steve

Rory Cellan-Jones | 08:17 UK time, Thursday, 3 March 2011

For a man who, according to one American tabloid, is supposed to be at death's door, Steve Jobs was in fighting form as he unveiled the iPad 2 in San Francisco. The arrival on stage of Apple's founder, who is away on sick leave, was the biggest surprise of a launch which mostly matched up to the rumours that have been around for some weeks.

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Mr Jobs began by telling us that this was an event he couldn't miss - but within moments he was on the attack, saying that 2011 threatened to be the year of the copycat, as Apple's rivals rushed out tablets that just could not compare to the iPad. There were sideswipes at Samsung - how many Galaxy Tabs had they actually sold rather than putting on the shelves? And at Google's latest version of Android for tablets - had anyone got round to making apps for it yet?

Then we got the actual launch, with all the usual hoopla conducted by the maestro in the black sweater. There were slick demos, punctuated by applause from the crowd, with polished videos extolling the virtues of the old iPad - some of the images suggested it could fly an aircraft, cure the sick, or teach every child to become an attentive student. Whereas we all know that most kids are using it to play Plants versus Zombies.

As for the new version, it was "dramatically" faster, "dramatically" thinner, and had a "smart" cover which put the iPad to sleep when you closed it - "so cool" enthused Jobs. The main difference, though, seems to be the two cameras, front and rear, which allow you to make video calls, something which many Android tablets can already do.

What has not changed is the lack of connectivity - no USB port or SD card slot - so getting something in or out of this machine still means talking either to iTunes or the cloud.

I had a very brief chance to play with the tablet at the London launch event, conducting a slightly bizarre Face Time video chat with an Apple employee in California where neither of us knew quite what to say. My impression was that Apple had produced another pleasing device, but one which was not dramatically different to the original.

What impressed me more was the arrival of two apps, iMovie and Garage Band, that should turn the iPad into a portable video editing and sound mixing studio. They will be available for existing iPad users after a software upgrade.

Still, Steve Jobs promised that 2011 would be the year of the iPad 2, and made some pretty bold claims about the way his company was taking computing beyond the PC.

So is he right? Just before the event I cast an eye over the Motorola Xoom, just one of a clutch of upcoming devices running Android Honeycomb, the version of Google's operating system optimised for tablets. It too seemed fast and slick, with similar capabilities to the new iPad.

There is now real competition in the tablet market and it is by no means certain that Apple will prevail. Android fans will point to the fact that their operating system raced past the iPhone, in terms of sales at least, within a couple of years, and this time manufacturers are better prepared. Apple's supporters will tell you it's all about the apps, and there are zillions for the iPad, only a handful for the Xoom and its equivalents.

What you cannot deny is that Apple has once again shifted the focus of an entire industry. As 2010 dawned, netbooks were all the rage and many doubted there was room in the market for another type of device. A year on, every major manufacturer is throwing money at tablet development, and it is netbooks which suddenly look short of a raison d'etre.

And what really made it a good day for Apple was the reappearance of Steve Jobs. There was a reminder in his closing remarks of the way he has shaped his company's philosophy: "It's in Apple's DNA that technology alone is not enough," he told the crowd. "It's technology married with the liberal arts, married with the humanities that yields the results that make our hearts sing."

Apple has plenty of brilliant designers and engineers behind Steve Jobs. But is there anyone waiting in the wings who can match him as a performer, a philosopher and a strategist? I doubt it.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    No exactly a thunderbolt from the blue this announcement and rather overshadowed by rumours of iPad 3 before Christmas.
    This was nothing more than a power upgrade, just like pcs have all the time and macs had last Thursday without the fanfare.

    Not enough reasons for me to upgrade, does anyone FaceTime yet even on their phones?
    No actual thunderbolt either. Apple have out hyped themselves this time and stole their own thunder!

  • Comment number 2.

    iMovie will not be availible to first generation iPad users, according to the Apple website

  • Comment number 3.

    I could care less for the ipad 2. Already over hyped and under powered than the competition. I don't like tablets on a whole (i see them as pointless money wasting gadgets - $800/£800 for full spec) but if i were in the market for a tablet, i would look elsewhere

  • Comment number 4.

    MyVoiceinYrHead wrote:

    "No exactly a thunderbolt from the blue this announcement and rather overshadowed by rumours of iPad 3 before Christmas.
    This was nothing more than a power upgrade, just like pcs have all the time and macs had last Thursday without the fanfare."

    The ipad 2 is 33% thinner and 15% lighter, among other things, so your "nothing more than a power upgrade" doesn't hold water.

    An iPad 3 for the fall is also not a rumor taken seriously by most people.

    "Not enough reasons for me to upgrade, does anyone FaceTime yet even on their phones? No actual thunderbolt either."

    Obviously you are not going to see people using FaceTime out and about away from wireless since that is, for the moment, what it is limited to.

    Why would you need the new Thunderbolt interface on a device like the iPad?

    "Apple have out hyped themselves this time and stole their own thunder!"

    I'm sure Apple's iPod competitors thought the same thing years ago.

    Read those last quoted words from Steve Jobs. That says it all.

  • Comment number 5.

    "What has not changed is the lack of connectivity - no USB port or SD card slot - so getting something in or out of this machine still means talking either to iTunes or the cloud."

    And this along with Apples continued refusal to deal with Flash is why the iPad will never take computing 'beyond the pc'. Don't get me wrong, having actually used one in anger I will admit that what it does it does well, but for things like office suit functions my bog standard laptop still runs rings around it. If the likes of Samsung or RIM can manage to produce a tablet with enough power to be able to reasonably replicate the functions and conenctivity of a PC, and with a comparable price tag then I wouldn't be suprised the ipads market share to start dropping dramatically.....

  • Comment number 6.

    Rory, do you see no irony in your iPad review being Flash ?

  • Comment number 7.

    So.. I don't know too much about tablets but basically you're paying £500 for a thinner, faster iPad with cameras?

  • Comment number 8.

    3. At 10:07am on 03 Mar 2011, sagat4 wrote:
    I don't like tablets on a whole (i see them as pointless money wasting gadgets ...)
    --------------------------------------------------------------

    Well, they're not. Regardless of brand, these devices will change the way business is conducted forever. In a few years time, the security guard where you work will sign you in with one: when you buy a house, the estate agent will have his entire database on one: when you go shopping, staff will check the availability of stock on one (and may even take your payment on one, so you no longer have to queue at tills): when you have a video conference call with colleagues, you'll all be using one (instead of everyone having to crowd round a single phone on a table). Try looking at the bigger picture: tablets will revolutionise so many areas of our lives. Developers would be advised to stop seeing these as frivolous devices for kids and grans, and start creating some serious business apps.

  • Comment number 9.

    @4 AllenT2

    A Thunderbolt dock would lessen the painful time it takes to sync all the upgrades and movies to iTunes.

    If FaceTime is to take off it has to be used outside on mobile devices. I doubt most people will buy an iPad with 3G never to take it out of the house. The need to use it with all the free wifi in coffee shops etc. And it's not happening yet, it's just not a good user experience.

    The mac book pro upgrade deserved more fanfare than these changes in size for the iPad 2. The first iPad isn't exactly difficult to hold and 90 grams lighter is going to save you from a lifetime of arm strain.

    Where's the retnia display? This has the same 1024x768 of the original.

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm rather glad this wasn't a major upgrade as it means I've no reason to replace my current iPad!

    As for this Post-PC comment he kept making, rockbandit on Twitter said it best ""The iPad is a true post-PC device." First thing you have to do when you turn on an iPad? Hook it up to a PC."

  • Comment number 11.

    5. At 10:39am on 03 Mar 2011, justarealist wrote:
    ... Apples continued refusal to deal with Flash...

    ----------------------------------------

    Where would you say the onus lies: for hardware manufacturers to ensure their hardware can play some currently available software, or for software developers to make sure their software runs on all hardware? I'd say the latter, and this is thus Adobe's issue, not Apple's. Adobe are just being lazy by not updating Flash to a more robust version that can work as intended on Apple's stringent operating systems.

  • Comment number 12.

    I have a couple of apple fanboy friends, they initially slated the ipad upon release, 6 months later had both bought one. To me they seem under powered and uber expensive. Very slow to type, lack ability to install programmes, appalling connectivity. Apple, no flash? On a web browsing device.

    'It is netbooks which suddenly look short of a raison d'etre.'

    I would like to see a bit more hype around the netbook market. As there is with tablets and smart phones.

    I love my netbook. To me its far superior than my 3 year old macbook due to its size and portability. And in that time of course it's become more powerful than my old mac. I do miss the apple interface as it was incredibly easy to navigate. And Windows 7 starter removed the option for me to change my desktop background (not that it stopped me). Rather pathetic. Still for £240 id say my notebook was an absolute steal.

    Rory, if you could explore a bit more the future netbook developments that would be wonderful.

  • Comment number 13.

    With regards flash, the onus is on Steve Jobs who has a personal grudge against adobe (mostly since it succeeded where apple failed with quicktime and html5). This is why flash is not on i products, also the fact that the ipad and iphones aren't powerful enough to run flash smoothly.

    With regards the reporting, the usual poor standards for tech journalism from the BBC of just repeating without any actual knowledge. Steve Jobs attacked the android system saying there are no tablet apps, where as there are some 60,000 tablet specific apps for the ipad. There is a very good reason for this, iphone/pod apps do not scale to the ipads low res 4:3 screen very well at all and had to be completely re-written for the ipad. In comparison, the android operating system scales almost flawlessly from on any screen size or resolution, so the apps in the android market nearly all work great on tablets. There are 10 tablet specific apps that are deisigned for use on larger screens. Again, Steve Jobs knows this, but can't help from slagging off the competition and ignore his own company's vast short comings. Does anyone do any impartial reporting anymore?

  • Comment number 14.

    netbooks indeed became pointles. it happened by increasing their RAM and disk so they can run Win7. These increases also ment a price increase. A price that is now almost on par with normal notebooks. So they became pointles. They would probably still be all the rage if the price remained within 130-180 EUR range.

  • Comment number 15.

    Rory Cellan-Jones.

    "As for the new version, it was "dramatically" faster, "dramatically" thinner, and had a "smart" cover which put the iPad to sleep when you closed it - "so cool" enthused Jobs."

    times are hard, I for one won't be spending any iMoney(tm) on 'cool'.

    (but even if I cared about my image that much, comments like MyVoiceinYrHead's #1 and Wengers Optician's #7 ought to give pause for thought)

  • Comment number 16.

    Is the launch of the PlayBook going to get this sort of blanket coverage from the Beeb?

    Oh no, silly me. PlayBook isn't an Apple product

  • Comment number 17.

    iOS products are very cool toys I don't feel they will replace PCs by any means. I love my iPod touch 4G because of all the apps and it works really well for what it does. I use FaceTime or Skype to talk to my wife and my daughter while I'm at work. I carry my ipod touch for my games and music along with my Android Evo 4G which supports Flash. Yes, you can say I'm a gadget geek. For serious matters, I will be computing with my i7 equipped Sony Vaio laptop with built in bluray burner. I will be purchasing a couple of these wifi only bad boys for home use only because they are a fun toy to have around.

  • Comment number 18.

    Graphis #11.

    re flash

    old hat anyway, forward thinking means HMTL5 <video>.

  • Comment number 19.

    Brilliant smoke and mirrors as usual from Apple and the Apple fanboys. Im not anti-Apple at all but fail to see what is innovative about iPad phase 2 over iPad phase 1. So it's lighter and a bit more powerful. Ok thats great but that's not a big deal really. PC's of all kinds upgrade constantly. Big WOW!

    The uses of this kind of technology in it's current form are so limited that it really doesn't offer anything new or a challenge to the norm. People like @Graphis may claim it's the future and round off loads of future uses but that's pure speculation. Present tablets (including the iPad) are not doing anything except fighting a pointless battle to win the coveted title of most over-rated piece of tech.

    @Graphis - You say things like ...
    "Developers would be advised to stop seeing these as frivolous devices for kids and grans, and start creating some serious business apps."

    Clearly you are not a developer and do not understand that there has to be a business case for a developer to dedicated time and resource to a business project. Until there are some real world uses for this type of device and developers have something to gain then we will not be building for the iPad en-mass.

    "Where would you say the onus lies: for hardware manufacturers to ensure their hardware can play some currently available software, or for software developers to make sure their software runs on all hardware?"

    Well thats a pretty child-like question, lacking common sense or depth of knowledge. When manufacturers make hardware that uses the exact same components and run the exact same type of machine and high level code the developers will have no issue in creating one piece of software that works on all devices. Duh!


  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    Warning: This comment is made in a lighthearted way.

    May I direct you to here? : http://www.stylistic-q550.net/en/stylistic-q550/intro.html

  • Comment number 22.

    "8. At 11:32am on 03 Mar 2011, Graphis wrote:
    Well, they're not. Regardless of brand, these devices will change the way business is conducted forever. In a few years time, the security guard where you work will sign you in with one: when you buy a house, the estate agent will have his entire database on one: when you go shopping, staff will check the availability of stock on one (and may even take your payment on one, so you no longer have to queue at tills): when you have a video conference call with colleagues, you'll all be using one (instead of everyone having to crowd round a single phone on a table). Try looking at the bigger picture: tablets will revolutionise so many areas of our lives..."

    What, you mean in the way we have been able to use laptops for the last few years?

    I still can't see I really need one- I have a phone that works as a phone, camera (WAY better than the on in the Ipad), to take draft notes (albeit not good for that), browse the internet, play games, music and even watch videos. I'll be able to use it to make payments soon, too.

    When they're half the price I might consider one, but £500 is ridiculous...

  • Comment number 23.

    Could this have been be more of a "look Steve Jobs is still with us" nod to the stock market rather than an Ipad launch.

  • Comment number 24.

    Just been reading up on the Xoom, the first of the big 3 rivals to launch this year (with Blackberry Playbook and HP's TouchPC to follow).

    It's very early days in it's launch cycle but it's reputed to have launched with no Flash and only 16 full screen Apps for Honeycomb. It's unstable and crashes often in its 6 hour battery life.

    This time last year Apple were behind the field launching a tablet PC, that others had been selling for years. Now others are playing catch up. How can Motorola, Dell, HP etc let that happen??


    The iPad 3 is strongly rumoured to launch in September with a smaller screen, Retina display and cheeper price. The competition needs to get ahead fast.

  • Comment number 25.

    So the functional changes are the cameras and performance, however apparently the dramatic change is that it is lighter and thinner, lets not forget the most important option of all, it now comes in white!

    Had I asked last week of the iPad owners is it dramatically too heavy or dramatically too thick I suspect the answer would have been a resounding "no!". Yet this is somehow dramatically important now?

    Can someone please list what their priorities are for this kind of system, with some justification, and why this makes pads useful; they are cool will be treated with the contempt it deserves, at some point permed hair was cool, leisurewear was cool... I still see nothing that would make me want to buy, own or use any tablet. For a phone a touchscreen is great as by design it needs to be small and room for controls versus display is a premium. Only time will tell when no-one sells laptops or their ilk any more because everyone does everything on some sort of pad.
    @24 Will the Retina display actually be a Retina display, or only if you have poor eyesight like the Retina display on the iPhone4? Cheeper(sic) too did a little birdy tell you that?
    6 billion dollars of consumers money that did nothing at all to make any product an ounce better, that's what profit is.

  • Comment number 26.

    ok, where to start...
    Firstly, as i just said, android doesn't need apps to be written specifically for tablets like the ipad does as it has legacy scaling. 2nd, the point made about netbooks flopping is right. They got to the same price point as entry level laptops but with less capabale cpu's/ram and battery on a par with acer timelines and samsung q series laptops.

    Secondly, despite apple lying (and the media eating it up like hot cookies) the ipad is NOT the first tablet PC, its not even a tablet PC. A tablet PC must be able to replicate the level of communication, multi tasking and productivity of a PC (windows or similar based, not the limited mac systems). These are slates, or smart tabs to get technical, basically larger phones, in this case the Honeycomb is superier as it is sepcifically designed for larger devices unlike the scaled up iOS.

    Also, with people (apple) pinning hopes on HTML 5, HTML 5 cannot replace flash as HTML 5 cannot handle media/animation or storage like flash without an additional plug in, usually java.

    Again, apple will probably make a 7" slate, after months of slagging off smaller tablets as DOA, they now copy and play catch up as always, then claim they were first and news papers and tech journalist swallow it up. This is all most likely due to the fact that apple spends more on advertising than all other phone manufaturers combined, and the press can't bare to lose that revenue stream.

    As for the comments about the buggy Xoom, those reports were from a pre-production model, the final model is pretty rock solid, with honeycomb offering many features that iOS cannot, but again this is all over looked by the media and lost in the glitzy presentation of Mr Jobs, just like using the misquotation of the Samsung exec about tab sales.

  • Comment number 27.

    I know not everyone wants a tablet, but to still call them toys is a bit naive. This one "toy" (iPad) launched last year to lots of scepticism. It could have easily have flopped, but one year later there are 80 or so versions that all look surprising familiar.

    We are only just seeing devices (Xoom and Tab) that are up to call themselves "competition" yet they are both more expensive than the iPad and lacking in apps.

    I really do not think we will get an iPad3 this year. Retina is coming, but the technology and more importantly the supply required isn't there yet.

    The Flash issue is such a non argument anymore. The last year has proved that people do not need Flash (I now have Flash blocked on my main desktop, this gives me a box to click should I want to turn it on). Flash was developed in the days when we were still using websafe pallets and the gif was the only way to have something animated. It was a great platform, but times move on. It's primary use these days is video and annoying banners.

    Flash is great for DRM, but frankly DRM is the tool of the devil and as soon as corporations realise this the better. You can DRM all you want, but if someone wants something they can. If it appears on a screen and through some speakers it can be recorded.

  • Comment number 28.

    baldinie #26.

    #13 "..also the fact that the ipad and iphones aren't powerful enough to run flash smoothly.."

    #26 "..HTML 5 cannot handle media/animation or storage like flash without an additional plug in.."

    "ok, where to start..."

    with getting your facts straight??

  • Comment number 29.

    "I know not everyone wants a tablet, but to still call them toys is a bit naive. This one "toy" (iPad) launched last year to lots of scepticism. It could have easily have flopped, but one year later there are 80 or so versions that all look surprising familiar."

    At last...someone with a bit of clarity!

  • Comment number 30.

    18. At 1:00pm on 03 Mar 2011, jr4412 wrote:
    Graphis #11.

    re flash

    old hat anyway, forward thinking means HMTL5.
    ---------------------------------------------

    Exactly. That's clearly why Adobe hasn't invested in Flash's long term future: they can see the writing on the wall. Every other product Adobe makes works seamlessly on all hardware, except for Flash. Flash was built by Macromedia, and just bought lock, stock and barrel by Adobe. To work as well as Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator etc, Flash really needs to be rebuilt from the ground up by Adobe, and that's just too much of an investment, with better means on the horizon.

    19. At 1:05pm on 03 Mar 2011, SuperG wrote:

    @Graphis - You say things like ...
    "Developers would be advised to stop seeing these as frivolous devices for kids and grans, and start creating some serious business apps."

    Clearly you are not a developer and do not understand that there has to be a business case for a developer to dedicated time and resource to a business project. Until there are some real world uses for this type of device and developers have something to gain then we will not be building for the iPad en-mass.
    --------------------------------------------

    Business case? Don't make me laugh LOL. These devices will never take off in the way I've indicated if the only apps that developers keep making is silly games. People buy gadgets for what they can do, not for what they can't do. You're putting the cart before the horse: create software apps for tablets that do stuff that businesses actually need, and they'll take the world by storm. How do you think Microsoft conquered the planet with a piece of crappy software like Word? That a good enough business case for you?

    That's the problem with developers: no imagination... they need to wait until some visionary creative sees a need for a product first, and then asks a developer to help them build it... at least, that's what you seem to be saying!

    --------------------------------------------

    "Where would you say the onus lies: for hardware manufacturers to ensure their hardware can play some currently available software, or for software developers to make sure their software runs on all hardware?"

    Well thats a pretty child-like question, lacking common sense or depth of knowledge. When manufacturers make hardware that uses the exact same components and run the exact same type of machine and high level code the developers will have no issue in creating one piece of software that works on all devices. Duh!

    --------------------------------------------

    Duh! yourself... If you're a developer and your software doesn't work across the board, I'd say the fault is yours, not a particular hardware manufacturer. If I design a website and it doesn't work in IE, who's fault is that? Mine or Microsoft's?

    22. At 1:48pm on 03 Mar 2011, potatolord wrote:

    What, you mean in the way we have been able to use laptops for the last few years?
    ---------------------------------------------

    No, because laptops aren't designed to be as portable as a tablet: you really need a desk to operate them properly. Think of tablets like those 'electronic clipboards' from Star Trek: linked to a central database back at 'mothership', they're capable of anything on the move. And that's where their business use will truly lie, for people who move around a lot in their jobs. But only if the business apps are there in the first place...

  • Comment number 31.

    My facts are straight, maybe you should do some research before making damning remarks at other's comments.

  • Comment number 32.

    @baldinie
    Not sure where you are getting your information from.

    1 - The iPad doesn't need apps written specifically for it. It can run iPhone apps that it scales up to the right screen size.

    2 - I don't see why you seem so sceptical of HTML5. Many sites are starting to use it now, including some of the biggest hitters in the online world (Google with youtube and google docs / mail etc).

    Also, what do you mean it can't handle media without another plug in? That is totally false, and is one of the main reasons for HTML5 (that we don't need plug ins like Flash).

  • Comment number 33.

    ok, apple banned flash, not flash can't work on apple products. And flash is used for much more than just adverts, most media streaming is still flash based, as well as nearly all online interactive content.

    the best replacement for flash is Microsoft Silverlight, but that probably won't get out of IE.

    my info is a combination of general interest/research and doing a degree in computer systems engineering.

  • Comment number 34.

    HTML5 can sometimes be used as an alternative to Adobe Flash.[1] Both include features for playing audio and video within web pages, and using integrated SVG, vector graphics are possible with both.

    A common mis-conception is that HTML5 can provide animation and interactivity within web pages, which is untrue.[2] Either JavaScript or CSS 3 is necessary for animating HTML elements. Animation using JavaScript is also possible with HTML 4. Some organizations like Apple are contributing to these incorrect beliefs by claiming old technologies, or technologies that in fact rely on future versions of CSS, are "HTML5." For example, Apple's website contains several demonstrations of technologies[3] that Apple claims are examples of HTML5. However, of the six demos, only two rely on technologies that are unique to the HTML5 standard.

  • Comment number 35.

    @Graphis

    "That's the problem with developers: no imagination... they need to wait until some visionary creative sees a need for a product first, and then asks a developer to help them build it... at least, that's what you seem to be saying!"

    Not at all. It's simple. Development (done professionally) takes time and for a business to invest that time in any platform or any device then there has to be a good business case for it. If you went to the Bank looking for money for a project without a business case they would laugh at you. You cannot invest time in something from a business point of view if it isn't going to make money.

    You seem to think that imagination is all that's needed. A good idea is essential but there also needs to be a demand for the product. Even then, that's just the start of a long process. Oh, and if you think MS invented or innovated word processing software with MS Word then you need to go back and think about where they got the idea from and how they financed the development of such a large product.

    "If you're a developer and your software doesn't work across the board, I'd say the fault is yours, not a particular hardware manufacturer. If I design a website and it doesn't work in IE, who's fault is that? Mine or Microsoft's?"

    So by your logic if I developed a game for the PS3 and it didn't instantly work on the Wii or XBox 360 that is my fault? Development is platform and framework specific. Even websites depend on web servers that depend on operating systems that in turn depend on hardware.

    "If I design a website and it doesn't work in IE, who's fault is that? Mine or Microsoft's?"

    Are you serious? Design is not the same as Development. They are not similar in a million years! And in that lies the rub. You are a designer. You have no understanding of software development as a whole only understanding one part of the process. You're not as professional as you would like to think!

  • Comment number 36.

    baldinie #33, #34.

    "..doing a degree in computer systems engineering."

    no one can blame you for being a young person (or are you a mature student?), but wholesale copy'n'paste without attribution is a different matter 'your' info in #34 is, in fact, taken from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_HTML5_and_Flash).

    how about a little less 'attittude' and a little more introspection?

  • Comment number 37.

    @ 26

    Just wondering what limits the Mac against other platforms?

    ___________________

    iPad is not a product I need personally - it's good but not on the money, raised eyebrows only. Though I do agree with the posters with broader outlooks than 'it's not as good as my PC'. It isn't a PC nor a Mac. I can see this type of device becoming mainstream in enterprise, public sector, retail (not just iPad) in a very short time.

    Flash: - this is a big bug bear for me. If I want to shell out over £400.00 on a coms device why limit it's usability to the point where I cannot even run footage on this very page. If I do not want to run Flash as it may crash or kill my battery that MY decision.

    I understand Apple's policy of tight control to limit malicious attacks within IOS as well as protecting the consumer against shoddy apps (so they say), but I find it very restrictive.

    Been an Apple user for getting on for 20 years and hope to be for the next 20 - but they need to bring down the wall as I fear consumers will start to tunnel under it to get out...

  • Comment number 38.

    I'm guessing this is getting a lot of promotion, because this is the spec Apple originally meant to ship, but wasn't sure the market could bear it, at the price it would have needed, last spring. Economies of scale mean this spec can now be offered, with a fairly certain chance of running the balance sheet in the black, this year.

    Back in 2008 (how long ago that now seems) the iPhone 3G wasn't exactly a blow-away product, compared to the iPhone 1, but it did include a few of the obvious things that were missing from version one.

    I don't think I'll ever own one of these things, but I like the momentum effect, that their existence causes, in other areas of the market (3G coverage in the US was pretty poor before the iPhone 3G, for instance).

    The whole network operator market has been shaken up since 2007. Network providers have been removed from their comfort zones, and have had to do some serious thinking about the deals they will have to cut, in order to hold onto customers, in future. That alone is a good effect. You don't have to love the iPhone, to see that the infrastructure (which makes the Xoom or the Samsung Galaxy worthwhile products in the first place) wouldn't have existed without it.

  • Comment number 39.

    @jr4412 #36
    apologies for lack of referencing, i didn't intend to portray that as my own wording, just rushing before leaving work and forget to put it in quotes. But the point make is still valid.

    Also, @Hexham #38

    Are you implying that apple "invented" or were first to bring smart phones to the market? and that others simply followed. Apple joined when smart phones were arguable in their 4th or 5th generation and were far more capable than the Iphone, especially those based on symbian. Iphone was a poor phone with poor tech and lacking several key features such as video calling, decent camera, low res screen, weak cpu and so. What apple did do is prove that advertising is what creates demand, something i would have thought samsung and nokia and the rest would have realised by now. The iphone did impart that a phone could be saved with a good backing of "apps", but again, BB and nokia and the MS Zune market place were (when the app store launched) far ahead in terms of complexity and delivery.
    I find it funny that when apple doesn't do something it's "a feature they'd never use and don't care the apple iwhatever doesn't have". then 4-5 years after the competition, the iphone/pad/pod get that feature, its new and must have. I'm not saying apple products are simply rubbish, i'm saying they are nothing special, vastly inferior (by design mostly) to other older and current products, and it's just frustrating that they get so much press due to unjustified hype and by media (bbc is guilty here) that are desperate to seem in tune with the viewer but clearly don't actually follow technology, they follow trends or marketing.

    What gets me more, is that companies were pushing technological boundaries, then apple came along and in a sense dumbed it down. It became aimed at the lowest common denominator all the time. And apple seem to maintain an unjustified reputation (rife with viruses, weak computer security, regular itunes/credit card data hacks, yet all unreported).

  • Comment number 40.

    What? No of course I'm not implying that! If you want a straw man, I suggest you go and look in a wheat field.

    Apple took the smart phone mainstream, that's all. In fact, I think anyone who even starts from a position that attempts to portray Apple owners as vacuous self-obsessed losers, is to miss the point in a big way: Apple is a mass-market brand, these days, and a hugely successful one. (In fact, the only obsessives, are often the ones who want to remind us how great the 'Handspring Treo' was, or point out that the 'Kyocera 6035' was the first fully WAP-enabled phone in the US... Yay, WAP phones... Remember how much those little beauties change the world! Even their technology died out... I guess the future isn't what it used to be?)

    Now, since I'm not actually your straw-looking man, baldinie, that mainstream actually continues to flow right past me. I don't own the phone, and I'll probably never buy the tablet, but I'll buy a piece of the world that comes about, because of them. Once assumptions like, say, the idea that a majority of the people in a given location will have use for universal wireless access, for instance, interesting changes start to follow from that. Some developments become obvious, once other things can be assumed, you see?

    And, baldinie, a word of advice. When yours is increasingly becoming lone the voice in the wilderness, it's probably best to take a look around and start wondering why. All those WAP phones? The "lowest common denominator" didn't buy them, because the "lowest common denominator" thought they were rubbish. The "lowest common denominator" took one look at the iPhone and thought "I'll have some of that".

    And if you're not careful, baldinie, the "lowest common denominator" might start thinking that you're a bit of a funny little man, who repeats himself a lot.

    There's no point being first, if you can't make yourself relevant, and there's no point being right, if everyone just wishes you'd just shut up.

  • Comment number 41.


    Baldinie

    Your posts are beginning to appear that you have very little knowledge regarding Apple products and a large chip on at least one shoulder.

    In almost 20 years as a Mac user I have NEVER had a virus/malicious code problem. On my PC it's a pain. An extra issue to get in the way of what I SHOULD be doing along with the almost daily Windows updates. I know as the Mac gains this will probably change, but at least the UNIX underpinnings of OSX make it considerably more difficult for hackers to get in - and why bother when 88% of the worlds computers run Windows that is so easily compromised! That is the reason Apple shift so many Macs currently because savvy users are sick of the Windows security issue. MS to be fair are making great strides to correct this but have a long way to go.

    Your arguments regarding the iPhone are comical:

    Symbian - clunky, irritating - gone

    MS Zune - Never even made it out of the US - ridiculed.

    To suggest that Apple is 5 years behind is banal - the smartphone industry ignited on the iPhone launch and all the better for consumers as it hauled not only the networks from there safe cash cow environment but equally the competition.

    I'm more than happy to poor scorn on Apple's poor decisions but credit where credit is due - the products are good - if they were not the purple patch would have worn off many moons ago.....

    Maybe you missed the Apple lecture - re-installing Windows Vista....

  • Comment number 42.

    What Apple are very good at, and always have been, is keeping the user many levels of abstraction away from what the system is doing; this makes it very easy to use for a very broad spectrum of users. I have a friend who doesn't want things to be complicated or have many choices on how to do the same thing, something Microsoft is very good at, and that's not a compliment looking at it from a usability perspective.
    I see not a single person has replied to my previous criticism, rushed to defend another overstated upgrade and I certainly haven't had anyone defending "Retina display". Do you know what resolution an iPAD would need to be a true retina display? The arguments I've seen on line for the iphone4 are that it is if you have 20/20 vision and hold the device at arms length. I'm guessing that those people are using the euphemisim of 20/20 for perfect vision, in which case check your facts as it is not perfect simply a benchmark.

  • Comment number 43.

    To suggest that Apple is 5 years behind is banal - the smartphone industry ignited on the iPhone launch

    Yes, when did video calling appear on an iPhone to great fanfare? Last year?
    Video calling was on a Nokia N70 in 2005. That'll be about 5 years then, no?

  • Comment number 44.

    Thanks Tengsted.

    And @ neile. I've done my best to avoid the single point, uselessness of Macs, (not to mention the espsnse for pretty basic levels of spec)for anything truly productive. And as for no viruses, if you'd ever bother to actually look, there are more viruses created every day against macs than there are for windows. The saving grace for Macs is that their uptake is so small in comparison, as to limit the spread. Furthermore, it's only in recent years that virus software has become widely available for macs so no one actually knew they had a virus. The security is known to be the weakest, there is a competition every year in which apple always loses, chrome yet to be hacked. There have been 4 incidents this year where itunes servers were tapped and users bank details stolen to which apple said "contact you're bank, not our problem". And the final fact, snow leopard (a poor copy of vista, which i know was poor to start with) actually shipped with a back door Trojan in the box. So, as you can see, if you've had no trouble with viruses, you've been lucky. For me, i've never had a virus get past my free anti virus, unless you're stupid and look at dodgy sites all the time you're safe to an extent.

  • Comment number 45.

    @Baldine

    I don't think there is any denying that the iphone was revolutionary in its design.

    Unless I'm mistaken I don't recall any other phone at the time using a full touchscreen to entirely replace the plastic keypad. Nor do I recall them making web browsing as easy as it was on an iphone. Then the addition of the app store also opened up new avenues of revenue.

    If you look at modern smart phones they are largely based on iphones' design. And apps have also taken off on android in a big way.

    Still that's my problem with the ipad, its like an iphone but bigger. If I want to surf the web, use social media and play videos in comfort I'll have a proper keyboard and mouse/trackpad thank you. Much easier.

    Vive la Netbook!

  • Comment number 46.

    baldinie #44, #various.

    "..snow leopard (a poor copy of vista.."

    there you go again, sigh..

    I suspect you fail to distinguish between user interface and operating system. earlier you wrote you're "..doing a degree in computer systems engineering..". I sincerely hope that you'll attend the lectures and undertake the exercises/work asked of you, with a little luck you'll learn something. meanwhile, remember the old saying: when in a hole, stop digging.

  • Comment number 47.

    actually, nokia were first with full touch screen phones, and the ovi app store, over a year before the 1st iphone, and sony had several phones out at the time. The only real thing the iphone had was an imported desktop-esk browser. and a very substantial advertising and product placement/endorsement campaign.

    and no, i don't fail to distinguish between OS and UI, snow leopard uses a lot of the same (copied if you will) sub commands and prompts in the underlying code as Vista, and all NT based windows OS's for that matter.

    Look, am not telling you that you should all throw your iphones down the toilet, am just saying, they're not that great. They were late to the party and just took everyone else's technology and ideas and didn't pay for most of it, and i think a little more honesty about apple is needed.
    As for my skills on my degree, I just got a 1st in all but one module, so thanks but I'll stick to following lessons from people who know what they're talking about.

  • Comment number 48.


    @ Tengsted

    Yes, I too had it on my old N95 - did it ever get used? No. It was rubbish. Do I use Facetime? - Everyday.

    In 2005 most mobile user's had little or no idea what a 'Smartphone' was and if you mentioned email then it must be a Blackberry (N95 was good for email though the set up was a phaf to begin with).

    The iPhone simply put the usability of a 'tech' phone in the hands of the masses. Ok it may not have had all the bells and whistles from the get go but it defined what we class as a smartphone now. HTC units are superb - but it was the iPhone factor that pushed the space.

    @ Baldine

    Clueless nonsense which proves my point that you have absolutely no idea what you talking about. I have never used an anti virus app on any Mac I have used either at work or at home (nor anybody else I know in our line of work). If I have had a virus but not known about it - what exactly is said virus doing and why?

    You seem to think that Macs have been around for five minutes when it's nearly thirty years and in all the years I have been using them only one has failed (logic board).

    When you get into the real world I suggest some tactical thinking and a more open minded approach to IT may help you in the long run.

  • Comment number 49.

    No thanks - tablets don't do it for me. I've got the Kindle, which is plenty.

    Now...waiting desperately for _any_ Chrome OS netbook......Enough with the wait already!!

  • Comment number 50.

    "There's no point being first, if you can't make yourself relevant, and there's no point being right, if everyone just wishes you'd just shut up."

    Brilliant...

  • Comment number 51.

    Wow the posts have become a bit cutting (as well as not very relevant to the story at hand)

    I didn't see the potential of tablets when the first iPad was released, I can see the potential now. I get the fact that it's different to a PC and a phone. There are things you can easily and naturally do on an iPad that don't work as well on a phone or PC (and vice versa)

    I think it will be an amazing gaming device, a better e-book reader than my phone, great movie viewer. Even for work it has potential for me, I have never liked writing paper notes in meetings, you just have to retype them, if you type them on a laptop the laptop screen creates a physical barrier that's not ideal. A tablet is the great middle ground.

    I don't often agree with Apple but here I do agree that the user experience is more important than the hardware. I think they have got it largely right, apart from still not having flash support. And I really don't care what they say, their browsing experience is never going to be good without it. Rather than fighting with Adobe they should be working together to fix the problem.

    But I might give the iPad2 a whirl

  • Comment number 52.

    Interesting to see the usual amusing comments in the vein of 'my ZX Spectrum is better than your Commodore 64' from when I were a lad - would people chill out a bit about this? - it is only a computer (I'll leave people to interpret 'computer' however you like, and how much the term applies to the iPad). Despite what Apple would like you to believe, their products will not end wars and famine. They do, at least, generate discussion (although the media do award them a disproportionate amount of coverage).

    The point people miss about the iPad (or their 'i' products in general) is the kick up the backside it has given to a floundering or niche market. Only IT professionals and technology journalists remember the miserable tablet efforts that came out a few years ago. Windows as a tablet OS? - it was dismal with XP and, fine effort as it is as a general OS, 7 is still no great shakes on a tablet either. History is littered with consumer tech products that were arguably better than the market leader, but were also-rans in business terms. My wife still has an ancient 1GB Sony Network Walkman that runs a thousand rings sonically around any Apple device, for instance. But it always takes products that capture the imagination of Joe Public to be truely successful. It also helps your product if your CEO is a charismatic showman, in a product launch presentation, at least.

    As for iPad 2, it meets the expectations of all those rumours and leaks, but nothing more (when a company is giving equal status to the 'cool' folding case they designed, you KNOW the main event is slightly lacking). So, people who fancied the iPad but didn't want to jump in last year now have a better product to buy. However, I think I will hold off until 3 before upgrading my 1st gen (on which I am typing this comment on, in bed, in silence - more than the netbook I almost bought last year could do with it's permanently on fan!) Yes, lack of Flash is a pain sometimes, and there is some mileage in the 'Apple dumming down too much' arguement - time will tell if we really turn into pure consumers and not creators using this type of technology.

    P.s. Fully agree with comment re the appearance of Jobs - they needed to quieten investors down over the whole succession issue, iPad 2 launch was a perfect chance to do it - but the product itself is not revolutionary this time around, so Job did not really need to be there for any other reason.

  • Comment number 53.

    Of course if you want a superior tablet then just wait a few days longer for the Motorola Xoom. Larger screen, better resolution, can play full HD video without scaling and blu ray quality too! :)

    Also able to to play the majority of web video (it has flash) and superior Ram 1GHz ( apple are being very cagey about their RAM so presumably it is embarrassing). :) Not to mention the Nvidea dual-core Processor as another edge over Apple's own A5.

    You will be unlikely to hear all this from a BBC tech reporter though, becuase they only tend to like to present the world of technology according to Apple. Anyone else notice how Apple resort to releasing thinner models when they start to lose ground? :)

  • Comment number 54.

    @ Baldinie:

    "if you'd ever bother to actually look, there are more viruses created every day against macs than there are for windows": please can we have a citation for this statement? Of course no operating system can be completely secure, but the notion that there are more viruses being created daily for MacOSX than for Windows is preposterous, unless perhaps your definition of a virus does not include the proviso that it actually work. Please point me to your source...

    "actually, nokia were first with full touch screen phones": I'd be interested to know what you're referring to - my understanding, backed up by what I can find on the internet, is that the first touchscreen phone Nokia produced was the 5800, which came to market in October 2008, over a year after the first iPhone (June 2007).

  • Comment number 55.

    It's interesting, if slightly unfortunate, to observe that the rabid, Gaddafi-like rants are all from the anti-Apple brigade (baldinie and hon3stly), whilst the more reasoned and articulate comments come from those largely supportive of the iPad. I guess on an American blog you would be just as likely to get ill-informed pro-Apple comments, and I'm sure there must be some articulate Android tablet supporters out there!

    It's clear enough that when you take away the inevitable marketing hype, the iPad update represents decent, but not spectacular, progress. I didn't buy an iPad 1, but I'm quite likely to get an iPad 2. The original felt possibly a little heavy for long term use, or even for reading in bed. The reduced weight, and thinner design, should help somewhat in that respect. The faster processor and graphics can only be an improvement. For me, the cameras are features that ought to be there, but I'm unlikely to make heavy use of them. It would be nice to have higher resolution, and better performance in a brightly lit setting, but I can live without those for now. The Xoom resolution is hardly any better than the iPad, and for me the lack of Flash is a non-issue. In fact, it's hard to believe that many people would really switch from non-buyer to buyer if the iPad had Flash.

    Am I the only one that's depressed to hear that someone as delusional as baldinie claims to be heading for a 1st in Computer Science, or that hon3stly thinks that the Xoom has 1 GHz of RAM? The BBC may appear to many of us to have bias in many areas (strikes are always bad, the Royal family is a good thing, global warming is real beyond challenge), but surely not in technology. Yes, Apple gets a lot of coverage, but so does Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Sony etc. And the coverage of all of these is pretty objective.

  • Comment number 56.

    @ SuperG

    No, no, no: you're just not getting it... if I design a website and it works on some browsers but not on others, then I have to make modifications. That's so obvious, that's why I didn't spell it out: but I guess you needed me to. The same applies if you design a game for one platform: you need to make modifications for it to work on others. Sheesh... see what I mean about no imagination? You can't even extend my comments to cover other areas: I shouldn't have had to explain that at all. Besides, that's all completely beside the point, which you seem to have missed by a mile: that it is you and I who have to make the modifications, not the hardware manufacturer, and any criticism for a product that doesn't work on a particular platform/hardware lies solely with the developer/designer, not the manufacturer. So, back to my point: the 'blame' (such as it is), for Flash not being available on Apple iOS lies with Adobe, and their production of buggy software, not with Apple, who just happen to have higher standards than MS or Google.

    As for your argument about business cases, the tablet was a dead duck until Apple picked it up. They clearly saw potential where others had not. OK, I concede that Apple didn't have to go cap in hand to their bank manager begging for an investment loan, but again, that's not the point. Personally, if I spotted a gap in the market where a product is needed, and I knew I could supply that product with my skills, well, hell, I'd work every spare hour I could, for free, to get that product out there, without waiting for the bank manager to agree with me, because I'd know that the potential reward would be far greater than the investment of my free time. I'm saying there's a potential massive use for tablets beyond games and surfing, and if you as a developer can't see that... well... guess you'll stay a developer working for a salary.

  • Comment number 57.

    Come now, let us leave poor old baldinie alone! Anyway, he'll be far too busy getting rid of the viruses on his Android devices...

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-12633923

  • Comment number 58.

    @ Sam Turner
    All iOS products are just toys. It's not naive a bit to call them such. Apple products are great at what they can do within their limitations set by Apple themselves. Nothing wrong with it at all. To me it's a mobile game console. It can display very rich graphics and sound quality just like a PS3 or X Box 360. Just because you can type your email or write a review/ comment on it does not make it a serious tool. That's why Apple advertises it as being "cool". To do any productive work on it you'll have to get the right app for it and then you'll have to hope it's exactly what you need. When it comes to doing work for me I will not compromise. I've seen people comment that they take notes with their iPad, that's cool. In that case it's more of a personal preference what you use to do this simple task. From my experience it's difficult to export my Mac word doc into my work PC, Macs are not nice to PC. So I use a PC for my productivity tool. Flash will still be relevant regardless of personal preference there are plenty of companies that develop new websites using Flash. So you're not really getting the full web in that case. Another thing Apple will not support is bluray. Apple can have the simplest easiest iMovie software to use to edit your home videos but you're limited to only viewing it on Apple products. I'm not bias against Apple at all, because I will be playing my SF4 on my new iPad 2 very soon. iOs is just a toy with a full array very cool apps. It's going to introduce a lot of people to true gaming because it has all the right specs now. The new processor is powerful enough to handle awesome graphics. The app store has several great transfer from console to the iOS devices. Dead Space is a wonderful example of gaming capabilities on these devices.

  • Comment number 59.

    rsriniv #49.

    "..waiting desperately for _any_ Chrome OS netbook.."

    yes, amen to that.



    baldinie #47.

    "..I'll stick to following lessons from people who know what they're talking about."

    right you are; personally, I've learned nothing at all in the last twenty-odd years. ;)

  • Comment number 60.

    Personally I'm still baffled by the amazing sucess of the iPad followed by the swarm of Android tablets in its wake; I work at a school where there are a pile of iPads available for free use and I'm still searching for anything productive (or indeed 'fun') to do with the things. We (at least those of us with our privillaged first-world lifestyles) live in a world of smartphones where we're rarely more than a few metres from a desktop terminal. Where's the space where this form-factor becomes useful? Long-distance bus-rides with constant wi-fi access?

    Touchscreen technology with have to improve a lot before I ever consider trading in my keyboard, there's no way I'm going to watch a video or make a video call on a tablet when there's a larger, better resolution screen on my desk and in my living room a few feet away. The casual gaming sector is just that, casual. Does 'Angry Birds' really improve by quadrupling the screen real-estate?

    I have many of the same critiscisms regarding netbooks; but at least I can take my $250 netbook into a classroom, plug it into a projector and use it to run a Powerpoint presentation or show a video from the internet(even a Flash one!) But then I'm hoping in a few tech-generations I'll be able to do that kind of thing on my phone.

    As for Mr. Jobs; I'm sure the man's a strategic genius, but charismatic? How? Abusing and (hilariously) misquoting other companies and their management just comes across as crass, petty and insecure. It's press events like these that give Mac-fans their cultish, insular, dogmatic reputation; Steve sets a shocking example of how a CEO should behave.

  • Comment number 61.

    @ de rigueur
    I dont actually download many apps, so am safe from that affect. But still, rather have an easy to get rid of virus on android than apps that leak all my bank details and personal data like apple apps do.

    And just for clarification, for Shaun, with windows phone 7 (one i would not recommend just yet, it will be amazing in a few months but its not there yet) or a Tegra or OMAP based android phone with docs to go, you can take you're phone into a class room, plug it into a projector via HDMI and show a power point presentation.

    As for the viruses, it is written, not affective, most viruses for windows don't make it past MS MSRT. If you want a secure and reliable OS, use linux.

    And I am surprised too that the Apple cult have not descended on here, probably because they only go to sites that are openly pro apple, heaven for fend anyone should speak ill of Apple Istuff or Mr Jobs, probably the most dislikeable man in business.

    Regardless, it has occurred to me that all this is doing is creating more traffic for Apple stories. If you like apple stuff because you used it and liked it better than other things, great. If you've bought it based on an advert or because you think it will look flash and help with the ladies/gents (your call) and have never even looked at an anroid, BB or MS phone, I have no time for you.

  • Comment number 62.

    Final comment, also @de rigueur again #57. That's exactly the kind of biased reported you get from the BBC. Huge article bout an android bad point (also, not technically true since some of the 50 were copies of apps in the market that were downloaded from web based clients, not the "official app store"), but when apple has huge leaks, like itunes data hacks, ipad data being stolen, or any bad press or where android has beaten apple at something, you get nothing from the BBC. This is what annoys me, praise apple and others equally when they do well, but knock them as much when they do badly as well, as much as you knock everyone else. I didn't think the BBC was suppose to favour anyone, it's not meant to look for advertising sources. I mean, in this article you've just repeated Jobs' anti everyone else blurb and erroneous comments.

    Also, with regards apple security, look at the pwn2own challenge, Safari loses year on year, chrome and firefox still the best. The biggest security floors are Safari and itunes (especially itunes, on any platform). So if you own a Mac, use firefox or opera instead of Safari and don't install itunes, and you won't get many viruses/malware (but still easy to hack over wifi or networks).

  • Comment number 63.

    First why wasn't the same attention given to the Motorolla Xoom? I'm tired of reading Apple press releases.

    Second this morning I find out Apple aren't supporting iPlayer on Andriod. I've got a Nokia 5800 and enjoy loading it up with iPlayer downloads so I can watch them on the train. You can also stream TV using the Symbian application (something I've done on occasion). I'm told because some Andriod devices support Flash 10.1 the BBC will only provide access through WiFi solution.

    This seems a somewhat useless solution, the only place myself and pretty much everyone I know has access to WiFi is when we are at home. Since I have several PC's a PS3 and a large TV there is no point in using my phone to watch BBC iPlayer.

    I love the iPlayer because it makes watching BBC shows easier than pirating them. Which is the only way the media industry is going to beat piracy. What your now making it better to pirate* your shows because the BBC is too Apple centric to properly support multiple platforms.

    I'm annoyed because I'm looking at getting an Xperia Play (you know the Playstation phone you didn't report on) and losing iPlayer sucks. Also annoyed about the BBC News "app" for symbian which despite being a simple web linking button forces some DRM solution to run in the background that now crashes my phone.

    *I don't suggest people pirate but the reason people pirate is because its usually easier and better than the paid solution.

  • Comment number 64.

    I'm guessing Stevecrox is wishing this place came with an 'edit' button...

    We'll take it as read, I think, steve, that you don't actually think it's Apple's job to support iPlayer... on Android... on a Nokia? (It's quite a spectacular queue of 'wrongs', to have managed to fit into a single sentence, one after another, but I'll let it pass...)

    Your coments about lack of universal WiFi, in your life seem interesting, and highlight my earlier point about how any manufacturer, that can take a class of products out of a narrow privileged niche market, and take it mainstream, can change the assumptions of other service providers. If you regularly rode the East Coast Mainline, you would find yourself with potentially many many hours on your hands in which you had access to free, high speed, WiFi broadband.

    Providing services like that, becomes worthwhile for operators, once there are enough of their customers who could benefit from it. East Coast Trains aren't an ISP, nor have they any vested interest in pressing smart phones into the hands of their passengers, but once enough of their passengers have smart phones in their hands, it becomes worthwhile for them to provide the extra service.

    To assume that things are as they are, because things are as they always will be, is to volunteer for minority status. There are things being included into modern smart phones - like Near Field - that I happily expect will end up being used for vastly different purposes than their original inclusion dictated. It's an interesting and exciting change, and I don't care if Apple kick-started it, because another dacade like last one, compared to the decade just to come, would be a depressing prospect, indeed.

    If some people still want to portray smart phones or tablet computers (especially ones from a particular, single manufacturer) as useless toys for pampered toffs, then I have news for them... The motorcar started out like that (I mean - a form of transport that needs it's own special road surface putting down for it before it can go anywhere? How mad is that?)

    Henry Ford didn't invent the car, but everyone remembers Henry Ford. Fewer people remember De Dion Bouton, or Panhard-Levassor. Yes, it's terribly unfair, but we do have better roads, these days - and that's more because of Henry Ford, than because of Panhard-Levassor.

    China invented the stirrup: Ghengis Khan used the stirrup to invade China.
    Hans Lippershey invented the telescope: Galileo turned it on the night sky.
    Xerox developed the graphical user interface: and just think of all those great computers, you've owned, that had the name 'Xerox' written on the front of them...

    History remembers the ones who help tell the story, not the ones who were first. You can invent as many interesting saddle-fittings as you like, but if (as a nation) you don't generally "do horses", in a big way, you'll end up as part of someone else's cavalry empire.

  • Comment number 65.

    @ Shaun

    So, are all these free iPads at your school sitting gathering dust, or are all your students using them, and you're the only one who can't see what use they could be? If so, that should tell you something:)

    I agree though, tablets are not for everyone. I have no plans to get one myself. As someone who creates more content than I consume, and consequently rarely leave my desktop in the course of my work, there's simply no point in me having one. I may possibly, one day in the future, get one for testing purposes if I ever need to test a product or app I'm working on, but if I could get away with borrowing, rather than buying, I will.

    But that's based solely on what they currently offer, and what they offer (in terms of experience and usefulness) will surely change as time goes by... as I said in an earlier post, if I was an estate agent, and I could have my entire database of housing stock on a tablet, i could be constantly on the move seeing clients and showing them what I've got, complete with video tours of properties, access to Land Registry figures, links to councils, etc, without ever having to go back to my office and fiddle about with bits of A4 paper and badly photocopied photos. In fact, I probably wouldn't even need an office.

  • Comment number 66.

    Once upon a time, the world was populated with big heavy machines that were very powerful, but big and slow. Then a company called Apple created a machine that was quick, portable and easy to use.
    Everyone thought this new machine was amazing and pretty soon people were running out and buying it.
    Unfortunately the makers of the slow powerful machines didn't like this and created their own version of Apples machine. Pretty soon this new machine took over from the machines of old and Apple faded into the background making quirky machines that not many people bought.

    This is not the story of the iPad, but the story of the Apple IIe, which was quickly crushed by IBMs PC 30 years ago.

    It's strange but it seams history is set to repeat itself, but this time who will be the one to crush iPad, if history teaches us anything it will be Microsoft (son of IBM) with there new partners Nokia.

  • Comment number 67.

    I've had an iPad since week one and I like it. I was prepared to shell out for iPad 2.0 but I won't be. Camera, weight, speed and thickness simply aren't compelling enough features for me.

    I do like the iPad but only as a tool for consuming rather than creating. Other than answering the odd email, I've done absolutely nothing on it that is related to productivity since I purchased the iPad. Sure, it's great for the odd game, and it's an excellent toy to have on trains and planes, and it's pretty good although far from perfect for web browsing.

    But try writing something on it, try creating a spreadsheet or editing or creating an image. There are hundreds of apps available that purport to do these things but for me they're not a patch on software that is available for desktops and laptops.

    So I'll carry on using my iPad and will occasionally be tempted to look at what Android has to offer. But I won't be upgrading until Apple can offer me something essential that I haven't already got.

  • Comment number 68.

    @66 Kev

    I agree to a point, in 3-5 years something better will come along.

    But the difference this time is content. Not just software, that was a small factor last time, but digital media.

    Apple have been very smart this time getting people hooked into iTunes and amassing TBs of data that they don't want to move. People like having the same song / app / TV Show / Movie / Podcast /Book on their phone, MP3 Player and TV. It's not just about moving a single desktop anymore.

  • Comment number 69.

    Hexham_Dan

    The wireless service on the East Coast Mainline has nothing to do with smart phones, it has been available since GNER introduced it back in 2003.

  • Comment number 70.

    wow! I'm amazed how some people are so " anyone but Apple" or "anyone but ms".

    I'm not a computer expert but I have used most types of phone, computer and netbook. I struggled to see the need for a tablet when the IPad was introduced. Any of the previous incarnations of tablets were effectively touchscreen pcs and pretty rubbish. I saw no reason to replace my netbook, which does a great job of doing most things I need in business without having to risk my laptop in the wilds of London. In my opinion it was a consumer toy.

    That was until I saw the Ipad being used in schools for education (I'm a school governor so this peeked my interest) and by my clients who used them for their workforces during meetings and seeing reports of how they are being used in medicine. Then my daughter aged 7 even though she quite happily uses a Nintendo DS wanted to play on an Ipad at a Apple store and was able to navigate around it easily in less than 10 minutes.

    I asked whether she found a touchscreen or a keyboard easier to use and her answer was immediately the touchscreen.

    I'm a musician we now have Garageband on Ipad. The iphone has many Apps that can act as a Midi controller for Logic but the phone is just too small for it to be worthwhile. The ipad is just the right size for this use and now there is an 8 track recording facility as well. From a recording musician's point of view that is just awesome.

    Facetime? Videoconferencing on a phone was never any good due to the screen size and lack of pixels until the Iphone 4 came along and reinvented it. I'm still unlikely to use it on a phone but on a Mac or a tablet? absolutely.

    All in all I now get it. Tablets are a compliment to a PC not a replacement. My netbook still does some things better than the Ipad ( I'm not sure about a virtual keyboard for writing documents) but the Ipad can in many ways do such much more. My netbook uses windows 7 and that together with Norton reduces the available RAM massively. The programs I can get for it are fully blown PC ones means it in no way compliments my main computer just replicates it rather poorly at that.

    So here we go If i'm to buy a tablet, which one?

    Android? played with a Galaxy tablet it works well but its clearly a phone OS. I don't need all the various changes I can make to the homescreen or the nifty notification system. What I need is a functional OS that takes up limited amounts of RAM and a bunch of APPs that compliment my computer. Honeycomb seems to be having teething problems and virtually no apps (and no flash at time of writing) so why would I buy a Android based tablet now? Maybe I will in a few years time but not yet.

    Windows 7? absolutely not! again its replication not a compliment, I might as well keep my netbook.

    WebOS? Definitely has potential as HP have the muscle to market as well as Apple but again for me not yet.

    So you can see where I am going with this. The Ipad is the obvious choice for me. IOS is a great OS for a tablet. its functional and stable, difficult to hack due to Apple's closed ecosystem and though its by no means perfect I've no doubt Apple will learn from Android and improve it accordingly. Also the available apps are just great for what I need.

    @ baldinie Thanks for your comments. I'm sure there is some validity in your arguments but in real world scenarios you are wrong. Criminals will always target the most widely used applications and we can never be completely safe on the internet but to suggest that more viruses are created for OSX than any other is frankly ludicrous.

    There were quite alot of touchscreen phones before the iphone but none with a capacitive screen. That was the real innovation and that together with the App store which started a year before Ovi made it a hit despite its limitations.


  • Comment number 71.

    @70 pedroj

    The first capacitive screen was on the LG Prada, introduced the year befor the iPhone

  • Comment number 72.

    @william Palmer Thanks I forgot about that but I did not consider the Prada to be a smartphone in the true sense of the word

  • Comment number 73.

    @68 MyVoiceinYrHead

    True, but then once upon a time all of your 'content' would have been in WordPerfect and Lotus 123, names most people these days have not even heard of.

    These days of course we use Word and Excel, and at some point we went through the pain of converting to these standards.

    At the time I was as shocked as anyone that people were willing to go through this pain just for a more wizzier windows interface, but they did, in their droves.

    iTunes days are numbered, the record industry has realised the mistake it made by making iTunes it's sole online distributor. All it will take is for someone to come up with a better wizzier iTunes and this will be the window into online dominance.

    History is unclear who this will be as it was Microsoft not IBM that rose from the ashes of the Mainframe culture. Indeed Microsoft has already had it's fingers burnt with Zune, the iPod killer that no one has even heard of.

    In all likelihood it will be Google who is the Giant killer, as all it will take will be for Google to get their act together and offer an iTunes alternative and it could be game over for Apple.

    However sometimes something new and interesting will come along that changes everything, like the Internet.

  • Comment number 74.

    @ 58 AccordV6er

    I use my Mac with Office all the time to read and work on PC created docs and spreadsheets (including very complicated formulas in the Excel files from my accountant). If there are incompatibilities this is due to Microsoft software rather than the platform it was created on. The only issue I have with Office docs is when I have to use video in a PPT due to Windows using WMV and Mac using Quicktime as the basis for their "onboard" video.

    I have also used Mac for years to earn my living. I design and code, run a development server, small render farm and media server on my Macs. For me it is all about productivity.

    Bluray has many problems due to licensing, just look at the recent PS3 import ban issues and the small amount of releases available compared to DVD. It is also likely to be the last physical format we see as more and more content is distributed digitally. These are exciting times for the consumer, but we have to wait for the industries to catch up. Look what a mess they made of music online, forcing the idea of DRM investing millions into it only to scrap it. When Estelle's album was released in the states it was a hit, so Warner Bros removed it from iTunes to encourage people to buy physical copies to make more money. That sort of behaviour is unbelievable..... anyway back on topic.

    iMovie outputs to many formats, including DVD (using iDVD which comes with iLife) as well as easily sharing the completed clips via email or YouTube. It does not export movies to be viewed only on the Mac, that is a false statement. And from what I know exporting formats from Windows Movie Maker is even less "open" than iMovie. If you are a professional you wouldn't be using iMovie, you would use Final Cut Studio or Premier.

    I really do not want to participate in a Mac vs PC debate, there are no winners we all know this, you should use what platform you want to use. But I do feel I have to comment when the facts are not presented fairly.

    Enjoy your iPad :)

  • Comment number 75.

    What i dont understand about Steve Jobs is that he spends so
    much time trying to bring down of Tech makers.
    if you are as truly great as you make out to be then you dont
    have anything to worry about.

    What is even worst is Mr Jobs went on to slag Samsung off this is the very same company that has a hand in the A5 Chip that is running the
    Ipad 2

  • Comment number 76.

    I love how they call Facetime a feature. I've been able to make video calls on my phone ever since the Three network launched about ten years ago and always without needing to be in a wifi zone. Apple truly are masters of taking things that other products have done for years and making you pay extra for them and advertising them as "features".

  • Comment number 77.

    The problem for Apple is that Steve Jobs has risen to the point of becoming a god like figure in Apple, the tech world and the market. I am not sure who is even prepared to put him/herself forward as potential replacement for him knowing he/she will be a disappointment from day one.

  • Comment number 78.

    @William Palmer

    Yeah, I think just about everyone knows that GNER brought in Wi-Fi on trains, but theirs was never a complete service aboard all of their Mallards, and was always a paid-for service - thus not satisfying Stevecrox's need for free, universal, access.

    When National Express East Coast took over the franchise in December 2007, it made the service free, and made this fact part of its winning bid. It actually quoted the rise in Wi-Fi enabled handhelds such as the iPhone as the primary reason for making the change. I know: I helped install the system.

    East Coast, who took over in 2009, came under fire last October when they imposed a 15 minutes limit on free access, to standard class passengers, while leaving first class free, but they cited a massive increase in Wi-Fi traffic from handhelds as the reason.

    I don't think this changes the point, though, do you? The rise in wireless handhelds leads to greater efforts, on the part of other providers, to offer better and more unified services, to them (presumably because they are seen as wealthy and socially mobile - and let's face it, in a recession, that's a good kind of customer to have!), but that this effect ultimately leads to a better infrastructure for us all.

  • Comment number 79.

    I've watched the presentation, I've read the specs, and I've read the tech press. I've even read this blog and all the comments.
    I'm STILL trying to work out what an iPad is FOR...

  • Comment number 80.

    64. At 10:30am on 04 Mar 2011, Hexham_Dan wrote:

    I don't expect Apple to do squat, however since the BBC isn't supposed to support one platform other another I expect them to support all platforms equally. In this case BBC keeps going out of there way to create Applications for the iOS platform (BBC worldwide are offering a $10 a month iPad application for people not in the UK for instance) but seem to be treating all other platforms with disdain.

    As I mentioned the besides the iPlayer application all other BBC applications on Symbian (not just my experiences) tend to crash a lot and have the minimum effort put in.

    Because the BBC took so long to get out an Andriod iPlayer application someone else wrote an application which used the output supplied for the Nokia Symbian phones (called BeebPlayer). BBC have now released a restricted piece of junk (see Andriod Market Place reviews).

    I'm annoyed because the BBC are very Apple centric, Rory announces everything Apple does and usually tries to tell us how wonderfull it is. Yet when the Samsung Galaxy Tab was released he only mentioned it when describing the Andriod competition. When the first iPhone was released the BBC spent weeks telling us all about the rumours. Yet we here almost nothing when Dell release a phone, or Nokia has a new flagship phone.

    I'm annoyed because I've seen BBC applications on the iPhone and on other smartphones and its obvious where the BBC is putting all its effort. I'm annoyed because Apples iPhones only have a small amount of market share and yet the BBC spends an inordinate amount of effort supporting the platform.

    Why complain here? Because its the Technology reporters blog.

  • Comment number 81.

    The Federal Aviation Administration has authorised the iPad to be used as an alternative to paper charts for pilots on commercial flights.

    To anyone claiming the iPad is a "toy": remember that next time you take a flight in the US.

  • Comment number 82.

    Wow - lively debate which does seem to be settling into a Pro-Apple and Anti-Apple argument.

    Just wanted to correct a misconception regarding the much maligned Symbian.

    This was the OS that took smartphones into the mainstream (and still commands a sizeable market today). Also, back in the day when Symbian was more than just Nokia, Motorola released a few full-touchscreen phones (A920, A925, A1000) from 2003 onwards. Also the Sony Ericsson P800 was a great touchscreen device that supported handwriting recognition (a feature that still is sadly lacking in todays phones).

    Back to tablets, the biggest challenge for the non-iPad community seems to be producing a comparable product at a competitive price. It pretty much doesn't matter if the Xoom or the Tab 10.1 have slightly better tech if they are more expensive than the iPad which has a nice user experience, and is a good enough device for most people.

  • Comment number 83.

    @ Graphis

    No, no, no: you're just not getting it... if I design a website and it works on some browsers but not on others, then I have to make modifications. That's so obvious, that's why I didn't spell it out: but I guess you needed me to. The same applies if you design a game for one platform: you need to make modifications for it to work on others. Sheesh... see what I mean about no imagination?
    ------

    I should preface this post by mentioning that I am not and never have been a professional web developer or programmer, but I do some experience in both fields.

    I am not sure how you can compare web development to application development. Web browsers are merely applications used to view webpages, pages which must conform to a certain standard otherwise nothing is going to be able to view them.

    When it comes to developing an application there are many more things which must be considered, like the hardware and operating system. Just because the application looks the same on android and iphone does not mean that the code underneath has much in common.

  • Comment number 84.

    I've been reading all the many comments on this post, some good some bad, but I still haven't read any good reason for me owning a tablet pc.

    I don't have the money to buy gadgets for the sake of it so it would have to fill a niche.

    The problem is that my PC is far better for games, my TV far better for movies and I have an iPod touch for music and the odd app.

    If I needed mobile computing I'd far rather have a laptop since it would do everything a tablet does and more. I'd have to sacrifice some portability but it would be worth it for the extra functionality.

    Can anyone actually answer the question of "what can you do on a tablet that you can't do on a desktop/laptop"?

  • Comment number 85.

    Wow, you can use an ipad to display a map, cutting edge technology and no wonder it gained FAA authorisation. Airworthiness is not a sign of modern technology, I've spent enough years in that industry to know that.

    Still opinions vs opinions etc, anyone interested in facts, anywhere, hello?

    Is there room for anyone who thinks that they are mostly much of a muchness of is this entire site commented on by pseudo-politicians, "I couldn't possibly dissagree more..."

  • Comment number 86.

    @ rs990

    Yeah thanks for that. You're right of course. But once again, I didn't feel the need to spell out in great detail the entire sum of my knowledge in a post: I had assumed that all you clever people would understand what I meant without having to spell it all out point by point. Clearly, I was wrong. I think it's something to do with the way our respective brains work... as an example, here's a joke about a software engineer, who's wife asks him to go to the store for a carton of milk. As he's leaving, she calls out "Oh, and if they have eggs, get six!" He comes back half an hour later with 6 cartons of milk. When she asks him why he bought six cartons of milk when she only wanted one, he replied "They had eggs".

    @Paddycool72

    The answer to your question is nothing. They're not really designed to replace the laptop or desktop, but to complement them. They're ideal for people on the move, maybe people whose job involves them standing or walking around, like tour guides etc. On the other hand, they'd be next to useless for an accountant. If you can't see a use for one, then it's probably not for you. Don't feel you have to get one. I won't be getting one either, even though I think tablets are a brilliant step in the right direction for many people, as my job is largely desk-bound. It's horses for courses.

  • Comment number 87.

    @ Hexham_Dan

    The GNER wireless service was free for certain travellers, I certainly never paid for it.

  • Comment number 88.

    Actually I want a phone that is a tablet with a roll out screen please . or a computer in a phone case with connections and a role out screen. Please can I have it for £30 pm on G3 and wi fi.

    Ps please can I have it with an English designed chip and roll out screen...I'm patriotic! .. it not difficult.. it all available. Just need wires and screws.

    PPs'' Flash in a proper browser (Opera tidied up?) would be nice.. then the BBC need not make an app for it and could get on with something more useful.

    PPPs suggestions on things that are more useful to the BEEB please.

    PPPs why don't the Beeb outsource to 'appies' these sort of app toys.

  • Comment number 89.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 90.

    @camyeoerfraefrance

    He said "1GHz RAM" referring to Bus speed presumably, not being ignorant and thinking capacity is measured in GHz.

  • Comment number 91.

    Oh come on! whats wrong with USB and SD cards

  • Comment number 92.

    Basically, it is very, very simple. Tablets are not computers. They are consumption devices. If you have a need for such a thing, you might want to buy one. If you don't have a need, then you're probably best not bothering.

    If you like the way the iPad works, buy one. If you prefer Android, buy one of those instead. Same goes for Xune/Playbook/etc.

    And just because something was first, doesn't mean it was any good. Any argument based on the premise of "but Nokia/Google/Blackberry/etc did it first!" is as ridiculous as suggesting that, because the Ford were the first company to mass produce cars, they are better than Aston Martins.

    And please stop winging about iPlayer not being available on Platform X. I'd far rather the BBC release software as and when they complete them than for everyone to have to wait until absolutely every platform has been catered for. iPhone and OSX users had to wait ages to get any version of iPlayer. Was it an issue? No. They got round to it before too long.

  • Comment number 93.

    Superblackcat28 wrote:

    "What is even worst is Mr Jobs went on to slag Samsung off this is the very same company that has a hand in the A5 Chip that is running the
    Ipad 2."

    All Samsung does is manufacture Apple's chip design. I'm sure there are others that wouldn't mind having that job, which I am sure Samsung realizes.

    All those companies nip at each other. In fact, I would say by far Apple does it the least. Apple is a favorite target now for obvious reasons by competitors so you shouldn't be surprised if Apple and its founder defend and attack others in response every now and then.

  • Comment number 94.

    @Baldinie

    Firstly, there are many reasons why Flash does not run on the iPad. It is not down to power as Adobe had Flash ready to run on the iPhone for the 4.0 upgrade. One of the biggest reasons is that Flash requires too much power (and this was explained by Mr Jobs at the iOS 4 keynote) for what is essentially a mobile device. Apple spend a lot of money on R & D to get the most out of the battery life within their products and they don't want to throw all that away by letting Flash come in and drain it all.

    Secondly this is the whole point about HTML 5. You complain that a plugin is require (even though it isn't), but what I don't think you understand is that this is how flash works. Also, Microsoft Silverlight is client-side technology, so it will run on any browser and once again you need to check your facts out as it does not just run on IE. It also requires a plugin just like Flash.

    So please get your facts right and don't just spread your opinions of brands on here. I have a degree in Computer Science, and there were many people who spoke like you at university. Just because your a student doesn't mean that everything you say is true. Also, many people at university do fail, and normally it's the one full of rubbish.

  • Comment number 95.

    Paddycool72 wrote:

    "I've been reading all the many comments on this post, some good some bad, but I still haven't read any good reason for me owning a tablet pc."

    It's all about portability and battery life. Even the iPad's charger slips into that tiny pocket in your jeans, including the cable. Travel with an iPad and then you really understand what it is all about and how amazingly easy and convenient it is to use compared to a bulky and heavy laptop. You can browse, read books, listen to music, watch videos, play games, work on documents, etc, etc, and on interfaces that are much easier to use and navigate than a site in a browser.

    "If I needed mobile computing I'd far rather have a laptop since it would do everything a tablet does and more. I'd have to sacrifice some portability but it would be worth it for the extra functionality."

    Does your laptop have a 10 hour plus battery life? "Some portability?" No, a lot of it.

  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    I predict another pointless and equally opinionated "debate" based on todays (cant find apostrophe on this german keyboard sorry) open letter and response about apple and flash. Although it is lamentable to say why you have no interest in tablets and to dare to find others justifications pointless it is ok to say who would want flash which according to Steve is a problem because it is "closed".

  • Comment number 98.

    Here is my view on Tablet vs Laptop

    A tablet wins over a laptop because it is always on, and can be woken in an instant, and can be closed in an instant. It's light quick and easy to use and has a decent battery life.

    Laptops (Windows at least) takes an age to load (even from sleep) and age to shut down (especially when going to sleep) and eats through battery like its going out of fashion (2 hours on the average laptop).

    If you want to quickly check e-mail or surf, then a Pad is ideal.

    You still need the laptop to Sync up your Pad and for other things, however this is currently so Apple can sell you a laptop as well.

    I guess in the future the jobs a laptop would do may become more and more Pad territory and syncing may just be to a media server which sits under your TV.

    Or alternatively it could just be a huge fad! lol!

  • Comment number 99.

    @sagat4 I could not agree more. I have never been a big "mobile user" myself. I prefer using a full desktop over a Tablet any day.

    I do like Laptops that can trasform into tablets, however I would rather save my money for something else.

    I assume that Mr Jobs would have planned for his untimly ... demise a long time ago. Also consider this ..... if he wanted to be Bill Gates then he failed, Gates is actually a lot richer (in the Millions)than steve jobs.

 

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