Stop and Smell the Roses Computing

In my original iPad piece i talked about how the couch surfing Internet device is something I'd wanted ever since i started AnandTech 13 years ago. It's sort of ironic that when the day finally came that a company made what I wanted, I don't have the time to actually sit on my couch and browse the web. Such is life.

Since my job revolves around doing a lot online I rarely get the opportunity to chill and play online. Something the iPad is great at. That's not to say that it's totally useless for someone like me. In fact, despite the ergonomics issues I found myself typing a lot of this review on the iPad simply because it's nice to step away from the desk and more overwhelming computing interfaces.

When I'm writing sometimes a simple change of scenery helps clear my head. Using the iPad for writing, responding to emails or even browsing the web is like a virtual change of scenery. It forces you to take a slower and more focused pace. It's stop and smell the roses computing, but without being frustrating. You lose the stress of a more overwhelming compute experience, which if you spend most of your day working on the computer is nice. I don't want to get too flowery with language here but it is a more intimate setting. The screen can be closer to you and you interact with it directly. This is particularly evident in web browsing. The line between browsing for work and fun for me is very blurry, so my browsing experience is rarely relaxed. The iPad fixes that.

The iPad is a double entendre of computing. On the surface it's a clear option for folks who only do the simplest things with computers. Look a little deeper and there's actually use for those of us who don't fall into that category. It's your computer away from computers. An analogous duality actually exists with the Mac OS and it's easy to use vs. powerful nature.

It's actually this relaxed computing aspect that I feel most tablet makers will get wrong. These devices aren't notebook replacements but in the quest to enable things like multitasking and more usage scenarios I'm afraid that the simplicity will be lost. This is the Android vs. iPhone debate I brought up in my Nexus One review. Apple has the simplicity part down pat, so it's competitors use features to differentiate. In doing so you often lose one of the major selling points of the Apple offering.

Part of the relaxed experience does have to do with the total lack of multitasking on the iPad. Short of playing MP3s while you work, you pretty much can't do more than one thing at a time with the iPad. This is not as frustrating as you'd expect partly due to the faster-than-iPhone speed of the device. But it is a problem, something I believe Apple will address in tomorrow's iPhone OS 4 preview.

The iPad is relaxing to use. The interface is clean and not overbearing, and by virtue of the touch interface it acts more as a natural extension of you than a separate computing device. Maintaining those things while addressing core problems of the iPhone OS (e.g. Notifications, multitasking) will be challenging for Apple.

A Testament to UI Efficiency, Distinctively Apple Spending Money Where it Counts: The Display
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  • vol7ron - Wednesday, April 07, 2010 - link

    There's been rumors the iPhone 4g will be talked about tomorrow by Apple. Do you have any insight into this?

    vol7ron
    Reply
  • Griswold - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4g Reply
  • vol7ron - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    I don't understand the point of this link?
    Perhaps you want to look at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone

    Data Network Technology and iPhone technology are not synonymous.
    Reply
  • A5 - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    Unless AT&T has suddenly deployed a 4G network (or they're going to Sprint), then this new phone isn't going to be called the iPhone 4G. Also, the stuff they're announcing tomorrow are the features of iPhone OS 4.0, not new iPhone hardware. Reply
  • vol7ron - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    I'd rather not hear about the hardware at this point, but it'd be nice to say that Apple would up the clock on the 3GS (what I have). Hearing about the OS 4.0 is nice.

    I thought the "G" has nothing to do do with the wireless technology network. While they both stand for "generation", Apple's iPhone/OS pair will still be called the iPhone 4G, regardless if it runs on 3G Network or CDMA technology, or if the OS is upgraded afterwards; if this is confusing, think about the iPhone 2G - it runs on the 3G network and can be upgraded to OS 3.0, but it is still a iPhone 2G due to the initial hardware/OS release.

    -----

    The developer meeting was actually quite nice. There were a few surprises, but nothing huge - just a bunch of much-needed updates :) There will more-than-likely be a few more OS4.0 goodies come June with the official iPhone 4G release.
    Reply
  • Internet User - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    That's incorrect. The naming conventions that Apple typically uses were thrown out the window. The first generation iPhone runs on the 2G EDGE network. The 3G (second gen) and 3GS (third gen) both run on the 3G network. We don't know what the fourth iteration will be called. It won't run on a 4G network, but it will be the 4G iPhone. Reply
  • vol7ron - Friday, April 09, 2010 - link

    Perhaps you are right, but I thought I remember hearing Jobs talk about the naming that went into the iPhone.

    Technically, I think that what happened supports your argument, but we've all seen companies change their logical naming patterns. The first iPhone, as with any first generation, was called the "iPhone", with no suffixed 1G or 2G. It wasn't until the 3G came out (on OS 2.0), where there was question about its name. I think what was talked about was that the beta versions were considered 1G; the first retail release was considered 2G; and the second was 3G.

    The 3GS is where it really breaks that argument, because the 3GS was released with 3.0, so technically it would be called the iPhone 4G. Instead they stuck with the "3G" and added the "S", which they said stands for "speed". However, those "2G" phones that were upgraded to OS 3.0, still work with the 3G network, but are still considered "iPhone" (w/o the suffix, but still unofficially: iPhone 2G).

    In either case, I'm willing to say that I'm wrong, since a lot of it is vague memory. That, and the fact that this article is about the iPad and not the iPhone :) I was just a little curious about OS 4.0, but I was offered an exclusive direct link on the developers briefing, so I found everything out anyhow.

    vol7ron
    Reply
  • nilepez - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    I don't know about AT&T, but Verizon began testing LTE last year and is deploying LTE in some markets this year. Until Apple announces they're partnering with Verizon (or Sprint) or we see FCC submissions, I'll assume it's vaporware....and frankly, I'm not switching from my Sero plan for a phone. Reply
  • vol7ron - Wednesday, April 07, 2010 - link

    Page 2: Since this isn't the 1980s, the iPad only has three four physical buttons on the device.

    I might be reading it wrong but the "three four" seemed out of place. Maybe that was supposed to be a "three or four", or perhaps you were going to come back to it?

    vol7ron
    Reply
  • vol7ron - Wednesday, April 07, 2010 - link

    Page 5: "Tap it twice while you're playing music and playback controls appear, Also when..."
    Perhaps there should be a period where the comma is and a comma after "Also"?

    BTW, not purposefully checking for errors, just looking out for ya.
    vol7ron
    Reply

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