What you don’t get about the iPad
Posted 3 February 2010 @ 2pm in analysis
The iPad is not a general purpose device. It is not a smaller version of a regular computer, and it should not be.
It doesn’t run all my programs! So what? I’ve seen netbooks running Windows on their tiny screens – the user experience is awful.
General purpose apps run on a smaller screen just don’t work. You’ll spend more time squinting at the screen than getting anything done.
It doesn’t multitask! I’ve had a phone in my pocket for the last year that doesn’t multitask.
Let me tell you something else: I agree with Joe Hewitt – using Facebook on the iPhone is already a better user experience than the site itself, and on the iPad it will be significantly better.
Reading feeds on the iPhone with the NetNewsWire app – a better experience than my desktop NetNewsWire, or Google Reader.
I know, for example, I can’t read feeds on my laptop, I’m distracted after 5 minutes. When I read feeds on my phone, I am engaged, I am interested, I am learning things.
Generally, the UI for apps on the iPhone: reading email, browsing the web, watching video, looking at photos — focusing on one thing at a time — are all more pleasant, and mostly more productive than the laptop counterparts.
The only thing that’s lacking is the screen size.
So let’s really consider. Does it make sense to take a general user experience like Mac OSX and shrink it down to a smaller screen, so that the user experience sucks?
Or do we take a user experience optimized for small mobile screens, like iPhone OS, and expand it, enlarge it and make it better?
Which is really the smarter choice in moving forward in experience, happiness, productivity? I’d rather have a device that does the 10 things that make me productive really well, than one that does 1000, and all poorly. Because for all the apps, and crapps, and software that’s out there, I use about 10 of the same apps and pieces of software per day. Choice seems like a good thing, but choice actually makes you less happy.
P.S. Apple not supporting Flash on the iPad is a bold and correct move. Just like the web developers who are finally standing up to IE6 and dropping support, we must make aggressive moves to drop technologies like IE6 and Flash. They are holding back the progress of the web, and the only way to deal with them is to quit cold turkey. When the iPad gold rush hits, developers will be forced to move away from Flash, and thus the revolution will have begun.