The Slate Race is Official

Gizmodo has a couple of interesting articles illustrating how the race to release a multi-touch slate device is heating up. First up is Slate Showdown. In this article specs from a broad collection of upcoming slates have been compiled and compared. Devices running Android and Windows 7 will be the most prevalent competitors to Apple’s iPad.

Another impressive development are new details regarding Notion Ink’s Adam Tablet. Reportedly the Android device will output 1080p video via an HDMI output, has a 10.1″ capacitive touchscreen capable of recognizing six simultaneous points of contact, and supports Flash.

Love or hate the iPad, it has certainly stirred up the pot. Most of these devices were under development long before Apple’s announcement, so what we’re seeing is not necessarily a “jump on the bandwagon” effect, but more of a “hey look, over here, we’re already working on that!” reaction.

The alleged fear of litigation over Apple’s supposed multi-touch patents has seemed to evaporate as more and more devices are announced. And let’s not forget Jazzmutant’s beloved Lemur. Take a look at Peter Kirn’s article What’s Next For Lemur for a lively discussion about the controller, it’s future, and competitive products.

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.