Apple iPad: Glorified iPod Touch? Still Waiting for the iLap

Thanks to Peter Kirn at CDM for his opinion on the iPad. I tried hard to ignore the hype about this device, but gave in and listened / watched live blog footage of the event. Peter has eloquently stated his views on the device, and I have to agree with him. TouchOSC will be great on the iPad, turning it into a budget Lemur, but ultimately not much more satisfying than it is currently on the iPod Touch, unless significant updates are made specifically for the device. The two things that disappoint me the most are:

1) Apple seems to be enforcing a ridiculous patent on multitouch with plenty of prior art examples (Lemur, etc.). Google should straighten their backs and just put multitouch into Android. Multitouch belongs there, like it does on normal computers, playing piano, making love, etc. This is slowing down the pace of development and hurting the industry. A corporation shouldn’t be able to patent “multitouch” (whether it’s for mobile devices or not) anymore than it should be able to patent fingers. Multitouch is a human sensory capability. We have built-in multitouch. Are human beings inherently violating Apple’s patent? I wouldn’t be surprised. I am a mobile device after all.

2) As Peter mentions in his article, it’s a closed device. No running existing applications like Ableton Live, or MaxMSP unless stripped down versions are developed for it and sold on iTunes. I might have been interested in this if it was a multitouch device that I could use in the same way I use a laptop with the same tools available now. Imagine being able to move ten sliders in your DAW right in the interface; no external device required.

I might change my mind, but presently I see the iPad as a very pretty, but bulky iPod Touch / Kindle great for Facebook, movies, and e-books, but not something that’s likely to become a significant platform for music or sound design. I’m still waiting for the iLap. Perhaps, once the iPad is cracked and people start putting Android on it, things might get interesting. No one has registered yet, but it’ll be amusing to see that happen down the road.

UPDATE: Apple claims these types of alterations to be a criminal offense. Checkout the Free Software Foundation view of the iPad – iPad is iBad for Freedom.

11 thoughts on “Apple iPad: Glorified iPod Touch? Still Waiting for the iLap

  1. It certainly will be interesting to see how this all pans out. I’m sure it will sell a lot of units but as for whether it will fundamentally change how we believe we should interact with computers, I’m not sure. At any rate, I’m not THAT surprised at iPad’s capabilities and/or shortcomings. It’s not much of a device for creation aside from keynote presentations and small things like that. Even for Apple, the ability to pack the computing muscle required to create/edit audio, video, graphics, etc into that small a form factor is still quite a ways off.

    Think Star Trek’s ubiquitous PADD. More an aggregator/repository for media with some office-y abilities (email, calendars, etc). It certainly is a lovely device, Apple has industrial and UI design pretty much nailed, and I wouldn’t mind having one because it looks pretty remarkable, but I just don’t think I have the need. My iPhone works fine for media consumption while riding the bus and call me crazy but but I still prefer reading paperbacks because I find reading that much copy on a screen irritating.

    At this stage in the game, I imagine that the vast majority of people don’t really have a need for this. But that is one thing Apple does. They create a need. They develop a new product that address old(er) ideas and they make it cool as hell. But even they can’t win all the time.

    I agree 100% with your idea of a patent on multitouch. That is bullshit. If you develop a specific technology that uses multitouch, okay, go ahead and file for your patent on that specific thing, but a blanket patent “multi-touch” is ridiculous. I’ve heard that people at Apple actually talked to people at Google and asked them not to include multi-touch in Android so that they, basically, would not have to defend their weak-ass patents. That was just hear-say from some tech podcasts and stuff so I don’t know how much truth there is in.

    We live in the future!

  2. Patent issues are really frustrating. As a new Android user via the Nexus One, the lack of multi-touch in the OS by default is just silly, especially when it’s supported by the hardware. Sure, I can get it in the browser if I root the device and void my warrantee, or download a sub-par aftermarket browser, but it should be integrated into the OS. Call me a socialist, but these general CHI concepts need to be free and available for developers to use as they see fit.

  3. Sound very interesting though I don’t think I will be getting one. If I was to own something big as ipad I might as well carry a touch screen laptop.

  4. Seriously? entry level is $499 for this glorified IPod Touch (that was the phrase the first entered my mind after hearing about it, glad to see others see it from what it is as well). The gorified IPohne version is $650 at entry level.

    Apple must be hurting for money badly, I would maybe buy this if it were around the $200-$300 mark, I don’t see how it could be much different from an IPod Touch/IPhone. Its got the same parts, same features, maybe a few Os upgrade, its just as big as your head and thinner then either of its predecessors.

    That’s not what I would call entirely mobile anymore, in truth you would need a specialized bag to carry it around (can’t pocket it that’s for sure], unless that distinction is now based on how thin something is compared to the total overall size.

    Apple has come out with some really ingenious stuff in the past, this is not one of this devices.

    I do not think it will sell very well.

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  6. Yesterday I pictured this more lik the modern version of the ghetto blaster. Like people are saying its a glorified iPod touch, so why not carry it around on my shoulder rockin out to some to some sweet hip hop? Perhaps we could even build a case so large for it to make it look like an authentic ghetto blaster. Anyways, its really useless without actually being able to put some real programs on it for instance as John mentioned daw controls or even using some design programs on it would be nice.

  7. I love your issue #1, on multitouch. I’ve always thought that Apple’s proprietary bent is something to be wary of supporting, and your notion cements it for me in a way I hadn’t considered before.

    Now if they’d just stop making their stuff so glossy and tight, I might stop actually consuming it.

  8. They certainly do have a knack for making one roll over on one’s back, paws in the air in fanboy submission. Hell, I must admit to an unhealthy techno-lust for the iPad. Having become quite fond of TouchOSC, the potential for smooth, fast, accurate, and customized multi-touch control via the device is alluring. However, had the ideals of a multi-touch Mac been realized, the potential would have been exponentially higher. Perhaps this is a stepping stone to the “iLap”, as I like to call it. For now it remains a fantasy.

  9. The article title I found by actually typing into google “ipad over glorified iPod?”. So I guess I’m not the only one who thinks this. So, I can basically only run games made for the iPod and iPhone? Do I want to carry a $599 iPod in sketchy areas just so I can sit at Starbucks and chat online and watch some dog surfing on youtube? Hell no! 1 ghz is enough to run Reason decently. I’d pay for that alone. Oh, let’s not forget that it IS NOT FLASH compatible. In the keynote, hey said it has to be a better browsing experience. I’m sorry but the ONLY time I whip out my iPod (assuming there is public internet access, which since this is not a phone you won’t have access to the internet everywhere you go…..) is when there is a heated discussion about how something works and we look it up on the web from the iPod in my living room. If I wanted a web friendly netbook, they better give me free internet access somehow, which is impossible unless your city supports it. What the hell are they thinking? Back to the Flash not included part of the argument. I cannot watch video game trailers on ign because flashplayer is not available for download and there are no talks of including it officially. That rules out about 80% of the websites I visit who still view Flash as their primary resource for incorporating video into their websites. Hell, I work for a company that ONLY uses Flash as their output for video because it’s cheap on resources; looks fairly decent; is easy to program into your flash website.

    Furthermore, what pissed me off the most was that Steve Jobs HIMSELF said we are starting to become a mainly mobile company. So that sweet ass Mac Pro with 8 cores and the ability to expand to 16GB that I paid 4,000 bux for in 2007 is going to be dust in the wind in the coming years. I’m already having terrible support with their Snow Leopard operating system and no help from Apple. I love OS X because I don’t get viruses……….yet neither does Linux, and Ubuntu already has more support from vendors than for OS X.

    I’ve been a mac owner for 3 years. I LOVE my mac pro and the os x operating system (only 10.5.2 because Maya won’t run on SL or 10.5.6 or above((on all models 2007- early 2008 of mac pro) and I’m getting NO support from apple. Looks like my next system will be a self built system that runs Linux because, apparently, shit like the iPad is where Apple is heading……………………….

    -Gene Wilder ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’

  10. i’m genuinely excited at the prospect of a touchscreen mac. too bad that’s not what this is. i understand what apple is going for. book-reader, photo-viewer, web-browser, gaming platform, and awkwardly sized PDA. for that, the price-point is not bad, but i was disappointed with this product as soon as i saw the OS boot up. the optional 3G connection is a nice (but expensive) touch.

    there’s no disputing that it’s a beautifully designed little box, but it lacks the functionality/openness/expandability that i require from a sound tool. ultimately this device’s utility for any sort of sound work or computer music will be decided by the people that design apps for it.
    (got the iPad SDK yet keston?)

    honestly i would pay loads if apple just took my macbook pro slapped a multi-touch display on the top of it and called it a day. i could care less how thin and sexy it is. if i could run LIve with my fingers i’d be sold.

    i think i’ll be waiting for the ‘iLap’ too.

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