Really big iPod to lend new meaning to human existence

posted at 2:59 pm on January 27, 2010 by Allahpundit

The liveblogs by the Times and, especially, Macworld are the way to go for details. I thought it’d be nothing more than an iPod Touch with Kindle support built in, which would have doomed it to be merely a supplement to one’s laptop or desktop. (Why not simply get a Kindle instead?) Turns out it is an iPod Touch with Kindle support — they’re partnering with Amazon on something called “iBooks” — but it also includes the iWork suite to let you do things like word processing and spreadsheets. That makes it less of a supplement than a full-blown replacement device. Intriguing.

Price? That’s the big news. Macworld:

$499 for 16GB is the base model. For 32GB it’s $100 more, for another $100 you get 64GB of storage. The 3G models cost an extra $130 to build in radios. $629, $729, $829. These are the six models. The most expensive model is just $829. Unbelievable price.

Worried about having to type at length on a touchscreen keyboard that isn’t necessarily conducive to thumb-typing? Don’t be: The docking station comes with a standalone traditional keyboard built in. (The Times’s liveblog has a photo of it.) They saved that detail, plus the news about the price, for the very end to reassure people that this is in fact being marketed as a really cheap alternative to the home computer rather than a really expensive glorified leisure device like the iPod or Kindle. In fact, have a look at the movement in Apple’s stock as the presser wore on and it became clear that they were going for something more ambitious and widely marketable than was previously thought. A 10-dollar swing in the span of 90 minutes.

So why won’t I buy one? Well, (a) I have no need for portability, (b) trying to blog all day on a 10-inch screen would leave me blind after a few months, and (c) ain’t no way I’m giving up my cable modem for 3G. But your mileage may vary. Plus, check out the photo of the MLB.com app display at Macworld. Interactive onscreen game features while you watch? Dude.

Update: A good point from Andy Levy: How easy will it be to read books for hours on end on a backlit device?

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now all you need is a really big pocket to put it in. What happens when you drop this?????

Neo-Chase on January 28, 2010 at 6:51 AM

What happens when you drop this?????
Neo-Chase on January 28, 2010 at 6:51 AM

At least it’s solid-state — no drives to break — so you’re looking at dings, scratches & cracks. Would 4 spongey rubber corner protectors help the typical 4-ft. drop? (3rd-party aftermarket add-ons?)

RD on January 28, 2010 at 8:14 AM

I don’t get it. Does anyone need this?
Dorvillian on January 27, 2010 at 3:23 PM

Unfortunately, yes.

Rank personal opinion, but I think the “killer app” for this will be folks working in buildings and client sites with increasingly paranoid corporate or gov’t networks that do not even allow workers to check their personal or corporate e-mail via the web. That includes opening and manipulating attachments during the course of the work day, with enough screen real estate to work with them decently.

That kind of work is just not suitable for an iPhone-size platform. Nor is it particularly convenient to lug around a personal laptop case to/from the office every day. So expect these to show up at your local office or cubicle as a side-by-side companion to the ordinary workplace desktop.

RD on January 28, 2010 at 8:22 AM

Nor is it particularly convenient to lug around a personal laptop case to/from the office every day.

Not to mention, the iPhone and iPad have better integration with a wireless phone/network carrier like AT&T than your typical laptop, which is more or less a ‘silo’ without some kind of phone/network add-ons.

RD on January 28, 2010 at 8:25 AM

:lol You know there are already tablet computers like the ipad coming to the market that will be faster, have better features and be cheaper. There always is…..something better. The Droid and Nexus one are already dueling with the iphone with better performance.

dec5 on January 28, 2010 at 3:23 PM

A giant toy…think laptop but with a screen more easily damaged…

JIMV on January 28, 2010 at 4:43 PM

At least it’s solid-state — no drives to break — so you’re looking at dings, scratches & cracks. Would 4 spongey rubber corner protectors help the typical 4-ft. drop? (3rd-party aftermarket add-ons?)

RD on January 28, 2010 at 8:14 AM

Ummm….the screen….Can we say accident waiting to happen?

JIMV on January 28, 2010 at 4:45 PM

Only one app runs at a time. That’s really ridiculous. Apple added multitasking to the Macintosh in 1987. Why are they leaping backwards?

Al in St. Lou on January 28, 2010 at 6:18 PM

expect these to show up at your local office or cubicle as a side-by-side companion to the ordinary workplace desktop.

RD on January 28, 2010 at 8:22 AM

Only in a VERY small number of companies.

Remember, Microsoft OWNS the “Corporate Network” space. If it’s MS, that means Active Directory, which Macs don’t (natively) mesh all that well with. No CIO worth his salt would ever allow an uncontrollable device with as much power as this into his network. I know I wouldn’t.

Besides, for less money you could have a Win 7 Netbook, many of which are now starting to have the “flip screen” tablet thing going for them, with a proper keyboard and fully integrated (and controllable) with Active Directory. Expect THOSE to fill the space you are expecting the iPad to drop into.

I’m sorry, but this is a solution looking for a problem. Much like the Macbook Air it’s also just an inferior product in a sexy package. I expect this to be about as successful as the Air. In other words: Not at all.

wearyman on January 28, 2010 at 6:23 PM

Jobs holding up that thing looks like an old person holding up an iphone that was specifically build for old people:

a bigger screen and a bigger button, just like that rotary phone for them with bigger buttons.

May be next time Jobs can also do the commercials for old-people diapers and stuff.

(full disclosure: I will still buy it –secretly… )

mooseburger on January 29, 2010 at 12:47 AM

expect these to show up at your local office or cubicle as a side-by-side companion to the ordinary workplace desktop.

RD on January 28, 2010 at 8:22 AM

Only in a VERY small number of companies.

Remember, Microsoft OWNS the “Corporate Network” space. If it’s MS, that means Active Directory, which Macs don’t (natively) mesh all that well with. No CIO worth his salt would ever allow an uncontrollable device with as much power as this into his network. I know I wouldn’t.

wearyman on January 28, 2010 at 6:23 PM

I’m not talking about meshing the two together. That’s precisely the point — in many places you can’t do that anymore, even if you had a Windows machine.

I’m talking about a completely separate network appliance that uses its own built-in 3G/4G networking capability to access the Web, outside the reach of the typical corporate firewall.

Make sense now?

RD on January 29, 2010 at 5:16 AM

Interactive onscreen game features while you watch? Dude.

Macs don’t play games. Unless you count Tetris, and Bejeweled, which will run on a Commodore 64.

This is a great marketing product, but I guarantee you it’s a really sucky computer.

Squiggy on January 29, 2010 at 6:39 AM

One other thing: this is supposed to be a Kindle-killer, but the Kindle has a couple of MAJOR pluses – The E-ink screen uses so little electricity, the batteries will last for weeks. And even when turned off, the last page shows and won’t go away, until replaced with another page. Truly a “book” experience, not at all like reading a laptop screen.

Maybe the Ipad does more than the Kindle, but I doubt any of it’s functions are truly elegant, like the Kindle. One-trick ponies most definitely have their place.

Squiggy on January 29, 2010 at 6:45 AM

I’m talking about a completely separate network appliance that uses its own built-in 3G/4G networking capability to access the Web, outside the reach of the typical corporate firewall.

Make sense now?

RD on January 29, 2010 at 5:16 AM

So.. You’re going to have a separate, uncontrollable device, on a separate, uncontrollable network, and put company data on it?

What are you smokin’ son?

These things have a VERY limited use, and they will see very limited sales. Again, it’s a solution looking for a problem. Don’t let the excitement of a new product blind you to the product’s inherent flaws.

wearyman on January 29, 2010 at 8:21 AM

RD on January 29, 2010 at 5:16 AM

And AAPL is well on the way to owning the corporate smartphone market with 70% deployment in the Fortune 500.

Also when the iPhone does multitasking so will the iPad – look for that in June when iPhone OS 4.0 is released.

The number of negative comments is in direct proportion to the number of people who have actually palyed with the demo iPad. Almost all the people who actually handled the demo, love it; almost all the people who never handled it, hate it.

Friendly21 on January 29, 2010 at 2:52 PM

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