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Steve Jobs, Before the iPad, On Why Tablets Suck

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the that-was-ithen-this-is-inow dept.

Handhelds 279

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Edible Apple: "Apple didn't release the first tablet computer or even come up with the idea for tablet computing itself. If anything, Microsoft, and Bill Gates in particular, were championing tablet computers years before the iPad was released. In this video clip from the first All Things D conference in 2003, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs explains to Walt Mossberg why Apple, at the time, wasn't keen on tablets and more specifically, why Jobs felt that stylus computing and handwriting recognition were inherent failures."

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that guy should play poker (2)

Snotman (767894) | about 3 years ago | (#37278488)

What a misdirection? Besides, styluses are for good nose picking.

Re:that guy should play poker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37278516)

No, a mistake that on reflection he corrected. That doesn't work well in poker.

Re:that guy should play poker (3, Informative)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | about 3 years ago | (#37279304)

What mistake? Handwriting recognition at the time sucked. Hell, it still sucks. Tablets were emphasizing writing stuff rather than typing stuff.

Note the iPad uses a touch-screen keyboard, not handwriting. I don't really see an inconsistency with what Jobs said then and what Apple is building now - and that's coming from a guy who is anything but an Apple fan.

Re:that guy should play poker (2)

hrimhari (1241292) | about 3 years ago | (#37279362)

Me neither. Even the "rich guys" part, that's solved too. At least compared to a mac...

The point is actually how everybody who bet on tablets at that time failed and how Apple didn't do it until it could get it right. Now.

Re:that guy should play poker (1, Insightful)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | about 3 years ago | (#37279526)

Be fair. It's not because Apple magically did something nobody else had thought of to make tablets suddenly the bee's knees. Tablets still aren't that great (although I've got a 2nd-hand nook color I rooted and enjoy fooling around with). The ipad succeeded because... drumroll... it was made by Apple.

I am fully of the opinion that right now, Apple could announce today a slick white electronic toothpick for $300, and there'd be lines outside apple stores nationwide tomorrow morning demanding the new iPic. Apple can do no wrong as far as their fans are concerned.

Re:that guy should play poker (2)

Cheech Wizard (698728) | about 3 years ago | (#37279742)

Jealousy of Apple's success(es) will get you nowhere. I don't have an iPad. I do have an iPhone. I do like Apple products. If your argument had any merit both you and I would each have an iPad because... drumroll... it is made by Apple.

Re:that guy should play poker (2)

WolfgangPG (827468) | about 3 years ago | (#37279802)

I don't agree with that 100% Apple TV seems to have been a bust.

Re:that guy should play poker (4, Funny)

plover (150551) | about 3 years ago | (#37279918)

I am fully of the opinion that right now, Apple could announce today a slick white electronic toothpick for $300, and there'd be lines outside apple stores nationwide tomorrow morning demanding the new iPic.

I just called my Apple Store, and they say they've never heard of the iPic! Where do I have to go to get one? Where did you get yours? Are they on eBay yet? Will they come in black?

Re:that guy should play poker (2)

uglyduckling (103926) | about 3 years ago | (#37279926)

Do you really think people would keep shelling out money for things that don't work and don't fulfil their requirements? People do buy Apple products because they're Apple products, but that choice is based on the fact that their previous experience with Apple products has been good. The concept is known as trust - presuming that previous experience will continue. If Apple started churning out rubbish products that didn't fulfil peoples needs and expectations, then they might last one generation, but they would soon lose their reputation.

Re:that guy should play poker (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 3 years ago | (#37279958)

I guess that's why iOS is the dominant smartphone OS and OS X is the dominant desktop OS, right? And why everyone has an Apple TV?

And they were (1)

molesdad (1003858) | about 3 years ago | (#37278494)

Whats the point they were failures; not that I'm an apple fan boy, just sayin.

Re:And they were (4, Insightful)

Radical Moderate (563286) | about 3 years ago | (#37278566)

Bingo. Rather than just port over their desktop OS (hello, Microsoft), Jobs waited until they had developed something that actually worked on a tablet. And yes, I did own a Windows tablet...and no, I don't miss it.

Re:And they were (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37278974)

Yeah, well Jobs is still dying of AIDS. Sorry about that macfag.*

(*Actually I'm not, fuck that evil bastard)

Re:And they were (1)

Cheech Wizard (698728) | about 3 years ago | (#37279772)

Another post made by a very jealous person whose lack of being a success on the level Jobs has achieved.

Re:And they were (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37279712)

As I counterpoint, I'm someone who currently owns a windows tablet, and it's pretty awesome.

Re:And they were (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37279738)

Bingo. Rather than just port over their desktop OS (hello, Microsoft), Jobs waited until they had developed something that actually worked on a tablet.

Bahahahaha! Apparently you have never heard of the Apple Newton. Huge tablet failure.

Re:And they were (1)

molesdad (1003858) | about 3 years ago | (#37278684)

OK repling to my own thread, Stylus, dead as in dodo; samsung will disagree but its dead. Touch is in, as in six inches in, and it aint comin out. I remember the Newton for its time it was pretty kick ass; now give me a break.

Re:And they were (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37278986)

As an erstwhile grad student who had to doodle lots of diagrams in class notes, I can say you're 100% wrong. Fingerpainting doesn't do it for fluids and physical optics, styluses are mandatory, whether resistive or Wacom. (I won't even entirely rule out capacitive, but in my limited experience, I have yet to find a capacitive screen/stylus pairing that allows drawing nearly as effectively as my U820's resistive screen, let alone my TX2000's Wacom pen.

Stylus+keyboard = effective university/graduate level notetaking. Typing means searchable headings (without the utter mess OneNote's OCR makes of technical matter, especially equations), stylus means readable diagrams. For "everyone else" (surely there's other niches, but maybe not worth speaking of), maybe they do suck, but you can hardly call the stylus dead while that market exists.

Re:And they were (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37279350)

The problem is that the "stylus" and the "keyboard" are two different markets, and you can't serve both of them properly.

I come from the art community, one of the bitching points about the iPad is that the capacitive screen makes it completely unusable for drawing any more fine than fingerpainting.

The flip side is that the on-screen keyboard eats too much of the screen real estate. So the tablet is NOT a desktop replacement, but there is no reason why it can't do either of these better. The iPad can be used with a bluetooth keyboard, that solves one problem, what about the desire to make it graphics-tabletly? Wacom. Wacom owns the patents to every useful graphics-tablet system. And they are expensive. The latest think Wacom has released is the Inkling, essentially a blackbox that you clip to any writing surface, and a pressure sensitive ballpoint pen. Great idea! That proves you can make something small and portable that could be paired with the iPad... only it's not iPad compatible. Maybe next year.

Apple knows the average person doesn't want to add 200$ to the device to make it a real graphics tablet "tablet", but wacom's older patents are due to run out any time now and they could full well include something built into the screen to allow special lightweight stylus's to be used on a higher resolution model.

Like, the super-gadget version should have a keyboard and digitizer stylus, but neither of these are necessary for the vast majority of what the current iPad model is used for... video, books and websites. multitouch/stylus/gyro games are very limited (in fact most PC games from Japan would work nicely on the iPad if they weren't all pr0n.)

Re:And they were (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37279410)

A stylus market does exists but it is minor and the majority is geared for stationary users working on Graphical Applications.

Re:And they were (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37279376)

While I realize anecdotal evidence hardly counts, me and at least 12 other people I know are waiting for sleek tablets to allow them to make notes and draw. We haven't bought one yet because they're either too expensive, too bulky, don't support touch controls, or make the stylus only supported in some of the software.

Re:And they were (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 3 years ago | (#37278910)

They're still failures. Handwriting is still an inferior input mechanism to keyboards, and tablets still cannot replace notebooks or desktops for many purposes. The limitations of the tablet format haven't changed. What has changed is the size of the market for a limited function device. It's not just rich guys who have 2 or 3 computers now.

Re:And they were (2)

EvanED (569694) | about 3 years ago | (#37279824)

Handwriting is still an inferior input mechanism to keyboards...

That's true in most situations, but I strongly feel that it's wrong for note-taking. I've been a grad student for a while -- I've taken a lot of classes. And I've tried the "type notes" thing on a few occasions, and never really liked it. Why? Because while the keyboard is the best device out there at generating text, there's a crapload of stuff that is useful to put into notes that isn't text. A keyboard is awful at diagrams. (Unless you've got an hour to lay it out with PGF/Tikz or something.) An actual mouse would be okay but not great, and the mouse-replacements you get with laptops were bad.

I always went back to pencil and paper because it was the superior input mechanism.

I got a tablet after a year or two in grad school, and it was absolutely excellent for class note taking. In some ways it wasn't quite as nice as paper, but it made up for it in searchability and such. (A little contrary to what Jobs says, MS's handwriting recognition is decent in general and excellent in OneNote. (I might be wrong, but I have some evidence that I think strongly suggests that OneNote's is really good because it doesn't have to commit to any one interpretation. If you search for 'foo' then search for 'bar', and you have a squiggle that looks a bit like each, it can point you at it in both cases. It is much worse if you actually do a handwriting->text conversion.))

If I didn't stop taking classes a year or so after getting the tablet, I have no doubt that I would have continued using it. It's way better.

That being said, it's probably less of a boon in something like a corporate meeting scenario, and "students taking classes" is a relatively nitche and pretty poor overall population -- even if tablets work great in it.

(Yes, I know that some people use laptops to take notes by typing. Most of them don't -- even though they own them. I think that says something. And like I said, I hated it.)

Re:And they were (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | about 3 years ago | (#37279952)

What has changed is the size of the market for a limited function device. It's not just rich guys who have 2 or 3 computers now.

I think Apple is gambling on iPhones/iPads being at least the second computer device people own and eventually their first. Lots of people don't want a computer they want the internet or IM or games. Making the computer invisible as just a means to an end, that's the iPad.

Re:And they were (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37278970)

Sorry to disagree, but they weren't failures. They were essential: the transition from PDA's to Smartphones - combining a computing device with stylus input...Without a market share for smartphones (Nokia Communicator would be a good example, one of the first devices if not the first - 1996, first blackberry device appeared 3 years later, in 1999 - to ressemble a smartphone as we know it... and it had a qwerty keyboard) there wouldn't be any market for iPhone (well, there probably would be a market, just not a clearly perceived one as it was, since it was clear for everyone at the time that smartphones came to stay). And from there to the iPad, with the already proven iOS formula and appstore in iPod and iPhone.

But then again, Steve Jobs wasn't talking about that, was talking about the input method, not that the idea of that device was a failure, just the input method (but there were really good PDA's with keyboards, like the Sharp Taurus... but lacked the software to make it useful for most). Technology moving forward...

Re:And they were (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 3 years ago | (#37279094)

The real failure of tablet computers was not as simple as "hurr durr they used a stylus." Desktop OSes are still designed for computers with keyboards; the mouse is only useful for launching programs and using files created by others. When it comes to writing an email, chatting, etc., the keyboard is still king; Steve Jobs was right on, and the truth of his statements has not changed. Modern tablets are winning because they run software that was designed to be far more graphical and "consumption oriented" -- a physical keyboard is not terribly important, and the software keyboard that is available is "good enough" for what people use their tablets for.

stylus is a pointer (literally & metaphoricall (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 3 years ago | (#37279672)

Microsoft used a stylus because the OS (and all the apps) demanded it: there are too many small controls to manipulate with fingers. The stylus included with every TabletPC was (literally) a pointer to the actual problem.

By the same token, the lack of a stylus on the iPad (and devices based on its design) points out the fact that they are (at best) less-than-optimal for most content-creation tasks. For example, although I really like Apple and iOS, a slate-format TabletPC is a far better tool for drawing than an iPad ever will be, because it has a precision, pressure-sensitive input device.

Re:stylus is a pointer (literally & metaphoric (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 3 years ago | (#37279830)

No MS used a stylus because they never really thought beyond the idea of running Windows on a tablet. They never thought to optimize a tablet for touch. To be fair, Apple didn't solve this problem. They sidestepped the problem by using multi-touch and using a completely different model for UI.

I was against it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37278510)

Then I was for it! Then I opposed it! Then I supported it! And now I'm back to arguing against it!

Yeah well... (4, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 years ago | (#37278518)

That was before he accidentally stumbled into the goldmine that was iOS (remember he didn't want to allow any apps at all at first) and his earlier arguments were made moot by a tsunami of cash.

Re:Yeah well... (1)

timster (32400) | about 3 years ago | (#37278552)

Apple pretending that they had no intention to allow apps on the early iPhone was obviously misdirection in retrospect. At the time they were having enough trouble making the software work at all without crashing, and they didn't want developers/users to avoid it while waiting for the bright app future. Sort of a counter to the Osborne Effect.

Re:Yeah well... (1)

bay43270 (267213) | about 3 years ago | (#37279062)

Its strange to me so many people still fall for that misdirection. The very first time he said 'the web is the development platform for the iphone' he knew he would be releasing a sdk eventually. People act as if he changed his mind, and Apple created cocoa touch, the sdk and the enhancements to xcode in a weekend.

Re:Yeah well... (1)

Andreas Mayer (1486091) | about 3 years ago | (#37279164)

People act as if he changed his mind, and Apple created cocoa touch, the sdk and the enhancements to xcode in a weekend.

Yep, that's just plain ridiculous. Obviously there went a ton of work into the SDK. This, to me, clearly indicates that they planned it all along; it probably just wasn't ready at the time.

Re:Yeah well... (2)

Tharsman (1364603) | about 3 years ago | (#37279682)

Unless you expected them to code in-house apps in old fashion assembly, they needed an SDK from the start to make their apps. That does not mean they ever planned to make the SDK public.

There is no direct evidence of either fact (it being planned or it never crossing his mind) but we can actually look at Apple's behavioral approach to iDevices. The iPod Nano and Video had been running some apps for years, and Apple never made this SDK widely available (they did allow certain entities like Square Enix to make some apps, like the original iPod Video's Song Summoner game.) Despite these few direct partnerships, Apple never before gave any weight to opening up their SDKs.

The only other piece of information we can look at is public statements themselves, but many don't want to believe them just because:

A) Its fun to think of conspiracy theories and misdirection
B) Accepting Jobs meant "Web is the development platform" kills the current wave of opinions that say web standards are being used to stick it to Apple's walled garden.

I personally don't care since its pretty much irrelevant what the original intent was (unless you want to argue about that whole "web standards" killing the walled garden topic.)

Re:Yeah well... (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 3 years ago | (#37279168)

Apple pretending that they had no intention to allow apps on the early iPhone was obviously misdirection in retrospect. At the time they were having enough trouble making the software work at all without crashing, and they didn't want developers/users to avoid it while waiting for the bright app future. Sort of a counter to the Osborne Effect.

Funny, but back in the iOS 1.x days (when rhe only apps were webapps), the jailbreakers had apps, by the dozen. Installer.app was the way (it died out and Cydia came in on iOS 2.x with the Apple App Store). They were pretty good apps, too, and things were fairly stable and robust.

The APIs did change horribly so the jailbroken apps had to be rewritten for 2.x, but 1.x was pretty solid.

It's generally considered that the popularity of native apps demonstrated by jailbreakers and Installer.app pretty much convinced Jobs that there really was a market for native apps.

Re:Yeah well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37279956)

It's generally considered that the popularity of native apps demonstrated by jailbreakers and Installer.app pretty much convinced Jobs that there really was a market for native apps.

It's not really *generally* considered; just some jailbreaking nerds think that.

This is news how? (3, Insightful)

Mensa Babe (675349) | about 3 years ago | (#37278520)

We all remember what Steve Jobs was saying that Apple had "no plans at the current time to make a tablet." We are now 9 years in the future so it is hardly "the current time" that he was referring to. I know it is fashionable here on Slashdot to make fun of Apple but this time there is nothing to laugh at. He was talking about how tablets suck, not that people won't by them, and quite frankly I can only agree with him.

Re:This is news how? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37278794)

Except that the iphone came out in 2007 which is the precursor to the ipad. The folks at Apple supposedly began development of the iphone in 2005 which was only two years after this. Granted that is a long time in tech, but he was quick to realize that there was a market. The difference, though, is that he was able to get his people to find ways to deal with the issues that he rightly brought up. There were a lot of shortcomings with the technology at that time, and Apple put out something much easier to use for the normals (non-techies).

Re:This is news how? (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 3 years ago | (#37278994)

The iPad is actually the progenitor. The iPhone is a shruken Ipad, not the reverse. iOS was developed from day one with tablets in mind.

Re:This is news how? (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 3 years ago | (#37279948)

In terms of design and development they designed an iPad first but when they realized they had the neccesary components for a smart phone, they went to work on the iPhone instead. I can only surmise that cost and technology were factors. See people would pay a lot for a smart phone and with AT&T sudsidies Apple could fund more R&D to get tablet technologies cheaper like the 10" screen in 2007 would have insanely expensive compared to a 4" touchscreen.

Re:This is news how? (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | about 3 years ago | (#37278796)

How the hell is he being made fun of? Clearly he is talking about how tablets at that time were terrible. The cult of Steve is so powerful that you're seeing oppression and mocking where there is none. Relax Francis, no one is taking your precious iphone away.

Re:This is news how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37278828)

It’s really true, if you’ve got a bunch or rich guys who can afford their third computers. You know they’ve got their desktop, they got a portable, and now they got one of these to read with, that’s your market.

Look at the price of the ipad. It all makes sense now, right?

Re:This is news how? (3, Interesting)

jd (1658) | about 3 years ago | (#37278840)

We also know that Apple has some experience in trying to pioneer handwriting technology (the Apple Newton, I think it was) and are therefore well acquainted with the challenges involved (power requirements, error rates, CPU overheads, etc). That knowledge-base has existed for Apple for a long time now. Yes, technology has progressed, but if you can squeeze N% more out of a modern CPU for the same power input then Apple can easily run the numbers to see if N% is enough.

This doesn't mean Apple will always be right. Hell, the fact that they pushed the Newton and the Lisa out into the marketplace before the products were useful is evidence that they can be mistaken. What it does mean is that they've good cause to be cautious and they've actual real-world data to work from. They may be reading the numbers wrong, but I'm confident that they're actually taking the time to read them.

(Compare that to Bill Gates' notion that the Internet was a fad. He had no experience in networking at all, he had no numbers to crunch, he made an arrogant remark without basis and it was obvious at the time that that was what it was. Networking had been emerging for longer than he'd been in computing and was on an exponential growth curve. By the time Microsoft was ready to deal with IPv4, next-generation technologies were already being developed because the sustained demand was too great. IPv6 stacks were actually being released for Windows before Microsoft's IPv4 stack was integrated - and that's even after Microsoft took most of their network code from the BSD tapes.)

Re:This is news how? (4, Informative)

VGPowerlord (621254) | about 3 years ago | (#37279380)

By the time Microsoft was ready to deal with IPv4, next-generation technologies were already being developed because the sustained demand was too great. IPv6 stacks were actually being released for Windows before Microsoft's IPv4 stack was integrated - and that's even after Microsoft took most of their network code from the BSD tapes.

I'm going to have to say you're wrong.

Windows 95, released in August 1995, integrated an IPv4 stack. The first IPv6 RFC, RFC1883 [ietf.org] , was posted in December 1995. It was replaced in December 1998 with RFC2460 [ietf.org] .

Re:This is news how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37279552)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_NT_3.5 --- Integrated TCP/IP, hell it was effectively integrated in 3.1, they just licensed it. Trumpet had the first IPv6 stack for Windows, around late 1998.

Re:This is news how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37279896)

It should also be noted that the newton was originally designed to be available in many sizes including tablet sized (want to say 9.5 x 11 screen size) but the price was way too high. So sorry, but this article is just full of fail.

(or doesn't it count to be into tablets if you develop them but don't release them for multiple decades?)

Re:This is news how? (1)

tom229 (1640685) | about 3 years ago | (#37279412)

He was right then and he's right now. Tablets STILL suck. Especially the ipad.

Tablets still fail... (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 3 years ago | (#37278530)

Tablets still fail as computers, and I don't think Jobs' ideas about them have changed. But there are a lot of people who can afford $500 as their "third" computer (or now "second" with laptops being powerful enough to be a primary). And Jobs said there was a market for that, it's just a lot bigger than it was 8 years ago.

There's a reason there isn't a keyboard accessory sold by Apple. If you want a keyboard, and you're going to type so much you need one, get a MacBook. Unfortunately, I think that's holding back the desire to get a pressure sensitive stylus added to the interface options on the iPad (well, that and probably a ton of patents held by Wacom), which would expand the usability of a tablet quite a bit.

Re:Tablets still fail... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37278656)

>There's a reason there isn't a keyboard accessory sold by Apple.

Uh what?

Bluetooth wireless Apple keyboard.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823101008

Put it in proximity of any Apple tablet or iPhone. Voila, real typing. Don't know if current iPods are bluetooth enabled, so I'll pass on that.

I know it's fashionable to bash Apple, but really.

--
BMO

Re:Tablets still fail... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37278714)

Apple does sell a keyboard accessory, specifically designed for the iPad. The iPad is also compatible with any bluetooth keyboard.

Re:Tablets still fail... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37278776)

If you want a keyboard (offscreen), fire up a Bluetooth keyboard...your new here.

The last thing i want is a stylus...

Re:Tablets still fail... (1)

pinkj (521155) | about 3 years ago | (#37279444)

Fail as computers? It might not be the best word processor, but with a keyboard it could be fine. I don't know since I haven't tried. But 'fail' is definitely too strong a word.

It has a decent web browser (other than no flash!), great games, musical instruments, is a great ebook/comic book reader, has a DAW controller, has GPS, has a constellation map, email, and innumerable utilities for countless professions.

Re:Tablets still fail... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37279776)

In other words it runs existing media pretty damn well, and can do other things passably, particularly in terms of word processing. Take a loot at what most people do with their computers at home...

When you consider that the iPad is most definitely a consumer oriented device, and how little of a PCs capabilities a typical user understands or even knows exists, let alone uses, the iPad starts looking a lot less limited. Slashdot readers are just about universally power users for the purposes of selling a consumer device and quite frankly to say that something is unmarketable or unsellable because it doesn't appeal to power users misses the point of making these things for a profit in the first place.

Re:Tablets still fail... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37279826)

Exactly - whoever still refers to appliances such as tablet as "computer" needs to be spanked. If so, shall we call our phone, vending machine, TV, washer/dryer, how about a router? To the geeks in here all such items they should refer them as "computer". No?

I have the Apple ipad keyboards (1)

bobs666 (146801) | about 3 years ago | (#37279858)

Then tell me how I ordered an Apple Ipad keyboard with my pad on the apple web sight. Its got the same white apple keys, in the same size as does the Imac keyboard, just with the right hand junk pads missing. I think you got your facts a bit off.

Just Walt Mossberg? Where is Pogue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37278550)

Wow, if Pogue had joined in, it would be a good three some.

Sorry, but Walt Mossberg does not deserve any clicks, neither does Pogue.

Then again... (2, Funny)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | about 3 years ago | (#37278558)

That was back before anybody really knew how much money people would throw at a company that makes throwaway electronics with short shelf lives and no user replaceable parts.

Re:Then again... (2)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about 3 years ago | (#37279042)

I am listening to music on a 3 year old iPod Touch (first gen.), and it shows no signs of dying. Battery holds up, and there's not a single scratch on the screen. I use it all the time.

Perhaps you or your acquaintances need to stop throwing stuff at walls.

Re:Then again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37279230)

Never!

Compact Discs were awesome. They'd hit the wall, sink in like, 3 inches, and man...what a rush! Then they had to go and start putting those MP3s on flash drives and iPods... these things just shatter when they hit the wall. Where's the fun in that? Nowhere, I tell you. But I'll be damned if that will stop me. I'm not going to let some needle-nosed pen-pusher ruin my good clean fun, no sir! I will continue to throw these throw-away devices at the wall until they stop making them. Just to prove my point. It's a matter of principle now. Yeah. That's right. You mess with the principle: You get detention, baby.

Re:Then again... (1, Interesting)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | about 3 years ago | (#37279344)

Well my 3rd gen iPod's battery lasted about a year and a few months before I couldn't get more than 30-45 minutes on a charge, just long enough to be out of warranty of course, and of course I didn't buy Applecare so that meant I had to hand over $99 to Apple and wait 3 months for them to send it off to replace it. Of course, I purchased a 3rd party battery online for all of $10 dollars and replaced it myself in a whopping 3 minutes, the majority of which was spent wrestling the case apart since they make it as hard as possible to do this because, uh...buy Applecare? Luckily I did though, since, big surprise, Apple sued the manufacturer of that battery into oblivion not long after.

Maybe build quality has increased as of late (although I doubt it very highly considering the same fucking people make them) but either way, no replaceable battery is a huge failing. Anyone that falls for that bullshit is stupid. There is absolutely no legitimate reason they have for not allowing customers to replace their own batteries when they inevitably stop holding a charge, so fuck them (and anyone else that plays that game).

Re:Then again... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37279720)

Wait, your battery died (I can believe 1 yr and some months, 300-500 charge cycle lifetime of Li batteries and all that), and then you spent $99 (on a $79 service) mailed your iPod in, waited 3 months for a replacement and then when you got it back, went online, bought another battery and then replaced the battery again?

Re:Then again... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 3 years ago | (#37279232)

There aren't to many user replaceable parts on laptops, also the new iPads have less parts that will fail.
I remember it was a big thing when Intel started offered motherboards where you can swap out the CPU and put a new one in. Everyone was yea this is way cool... However what happened was people got the mother board and then got the fastest CPU it could support. If you wanted to upgrade your CPU you needed to upgrade your motherboard because it was maxed out.

You are looking at the Design tradeoffs without valuing in the new technology advancements.

Re:Then again... (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#37279562)

There aren't to many user replaceable parts on laptops

Batteries, RAM, disks, wireless card, possibly GPU. Heck, my first laptop even had a socketed CPU.

Those are most of the things that anyone might want to replace.

Re:Then again... (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | about 3 years ago | (#37279702)

I guess we're supposed to just chuck it and buy a new one, because yay consumerism! Fixing your devices instead of replacing them is anti-American and hurts the economy!

Re:Then again... (1)

CensorshipDonkey (1108755) | about 3 years ago | (#37279838)

When my laptop's videocard died, I was able to replace it myself for $80, which is a hell of a lot cheaper than a new, decent laptop meant for serious work.

Re:Then again... (1)

wsxyz (543068) | about 3 years ago | (#37279676)

I'm typing this on a 2007 MacBook on which battery, memory and hard drive are easily replaced by the user.

Neither feature was included with the iPad, So.... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37278564)

I guess this shows you how clear and consistent Steve Jobs' vision has been on this topic?

Re:Neither feature was included with the iPad, So. (1)

DerPflanz (525793) | about 3 years ago | (#37279306)

I guess this shows you how clear and consistent Steve Jobs' vision has been on this topic?

Being able to change your views and business focus makes you survive the next crisis or get rich on the next boom.

Stick to your ideas, views and principles and your business will fail or stay niche at best.

Re:Neither feature was included with the iPad, So. (1)

hitmark (640295) | about 3 years ago | (#37279936)

And throwing misdirections to lull the competition into complacency also helps. At this Jobs have been a master. It is almost as if one can make the claim that the more Jobs decried something, the closer Apple was to launch a product in that segment.

He lacked vision (4, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | about 3 years ago | (#37278596)

he's right about handwriting, and keyboards, and email

but email wasn't the killer app

the phone was. when Apple skipped tablets and turned phones into computers (i mean, when it decided Palm's ideas could be slightly improved and packaged in boner-inducing ways), it dived right in.

and email started to decline and texting grew. because texting is just email you can tolerate to write at 2 cps, and was already on phones.

and, interestingly, phone calls have died as well. because the phone-computer idea wasn't about calling people, it was about having that whole package of computing and connectivity in one pocket instead of two or three.

then, once the small-form-factor touchscreen interface device got popular, it was a natural transform to pull on its edges to make it, simply, a bigger version of the same thing. hence we're back to tablets. which aren't notebooks without keyboards; they're smartphones with extra spatial extent.

and i doubt that jobs saw this coming in 2003. all he saw was that tabletized notebooks were bollocks. which they were.

Re:He lacked vision (1)

sunfly (1248694) | about 3 years ago | (#37279570)

Apple skipped tablets and turned phones into computers

Interestingly enough, they developed the tablet first, but ended up shipping the phone first.

Re:He lacked vision (1)

hitmark (640295) | about 3 years ago | (#37279894)

We only have Jobs word for that (unless there have been some named Apple engineer that have come out and confirmed it), and the guy is a savant spin doctor. One year he claims people do not read, the next Apple launch ebooks for iphone. And never do we see the guy confess to a mea culpa or anything even close to that. It was almost as if the more Jobs decried something, the more likely it was that Apple had some project in the lab that was about to launch that aimed directly at that topic.

Re:He lacked vision (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37279620)

You mean Apple were caught with their pants down and waited until other designed the technology. Apple do not manufacturer anything, their engineers use off the shelf components, or when asking for a big run, ask for custom tweaks. That's nothing new, companies buy proprietary versions of standard ICs all the time, I've used them since the 1983, and I doubt other far bigger companies weren't doing it too, and earlier.

Re:He lacked vision (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 3 years ago | (#37279768)

and email started to decline

Email is currently running around 90 TRILLION messages a year, and continuing to rise.

Text messaging has a ways to go before getting even close.

Sorry, You're Wrong (2)

eris0xff (1871826) | about 3 years ago | (#37278606)

Get your facts straight. Misc comments on styluses and handwriting aside, Apple fellow Alan Kay came up with the first known concept design for the tablet back in the 1960's with the Dynabook. At the time he was working for Xerox PARC, the facility's researchers came up with the first Windowed Graphical User Interface and the first Ethernet controllers. Granted Apple ripped them off mercilessly for the original Mac design, but Xerox signed a released that allowed them to have it. Go figure. Ironically the Xerox Star (prototype of the Apple Lisa, forerunner to the Mac) was the smallest version of a dynabook possible back in early 70's. In any case, Bill Gates was not a player in this game beyond creating a hackneyed attempt. Much earlier attempts were made in micro-sized PDAs from all fronts. Wake up and smell what you're shoveling.

Re:Sorry, You're Wrong (1)

gubers33 (1302099) | about 3 years ago | (#37279132)

I don't think anyone will diagree that the Dynabook was the first Tablet, but it was produced by Kay while at Xerox not Apple. Kay worked for Apple for a little more than 10 years...during that time Jobs was not at the company and Kay was let go when Jobs returned and closed the R&D dept. Kay was part of. I wouldn't give credit to Apple for pioneering just innovating into something consumers wanted to buy thanks in part to the iPhone.

Re:Sorry, You're Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37279328)

Sadly, he was about 10 years too late. Tim Dimond and the Styalator/RAND beat him to it. :)

Did someone forget the Newton? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37278622)

To say Apple didnt invent the tablet and then point to Microsoft seems indifference to that toy that Apple released so long ago called the Newton... before Palm..

Re:Did someone forget the Newton? (0)

macs4all (973270) | about 3 years ago | (#37278708)

To say Apple didnt invent the tablet and then point to Microsoft seems indifference to that toy that Apple released so long ago called the Newton... before Palm..

That "toy", like the later "toy" (the iPad), launched entire new breeds of products. So apparently, you are in the minority in dismissing those groundbreaking products (yes there were other "tablets" before the iPad; but none were more than annoyingly cringeworthy).

But of course, like all haters, you are too pusillanimous to subject your Karma to the drubbing it so richly deserves.

Re:Did someone forget the Newton? (1)

sribe (304414) | about 3 years ago | (#37278990)

...but none were more than annoyingly cringeworthy...

Bullshit. Some were massively cringeworthy ;-)

Re:Did someone forget the Newton? (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 3 years ago | (#37279142)

To say Apple didnt invent the tablet and then point to Microsoft seems indifference to that toy that Apple released so long ago called the Newton... before Palm..

That "toy", like the later "toy" (the iPad), launched entire new breeds of products. So apparently, you are in the minority in dismissing those groundbreaking products (yes there were other "tablets" before the iPad; but none were more than annoyingly cringeworthy). But of course, like all haters, you are too pusillanimous to subject your Karma to the drubbing it so richly deserves.

I have a Newton - the second generation. I used the last generation as well. Groundbreaking? Yes. Toys? Also yes - because they always seem to be more promise than actualization, but they were fun to play with. The last generation Newt came out at the same time the PalmPilot was taking hold and WinCE (the best acronym I've seen in a long time) was coming out with clamshells and handhelds. It had a lot more promise than the WinCE machines, but the PalmPilot really showed the way for what a PDA should be. Apple eventually took Palm’s idea and ran with it to create the iPhone while learning from the mistakes made with the Newt.

Calling something a "toy" doesn't dismiss them as not being groundbreaking or influential in planting the seed for far better follow-ons.

IMHO, the best clamshells of the era was the old HP 95/100/etc series and the Psions. Both were really useful as basic laptops for typing and doing small spreadsheet work.

Re:Did someone forget the Newton? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 3 years ago | (#37278712)

Phew, Newton was just a cheap copy of a PADD that fell into the Apple HQ through a wormhole from the 24th century!

Re:Did someone forget the Newton? (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | about 3 years ago | (#37279644)

Maybe you've heard of the IBM ThinkPad?

Did you know that the original ThinkPad (700T) was a stylus-based system... that came out in 1992, a year before the Newton?

Oh, right, it was too large to be a PDA, so that would make it a tablet...

Apple enlarged a cellphone; MSFT shrunk a PC (4, Insightful)

peter303 (12292) | about 3 years ago | (#37278766)

The user interface is more compact on a cellphone, not bloated like on a PC. A fortuitous discovery Steve probably made after 2003.

Re:Apple enlarged a cellphone; MSFT shrunk a PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37279032)

Except Steve has stated that the iPhone was derived from an ongoing project to build a tablet. So they didn't enlarge the phone; they set out to build a UI right for the form factor (as opposed to just shrinking a PC).

Probably shouldn't listen to ... (1)

ddd0004 (1984672) | about 3 years ago | (#37278802)

anyone with the title of CEO. That title is roughly equivalent to business politician.

Re:Probably shouldn't listen to ... (1)

twotommylong (794494) | about 3 years ago | (#37279290)

That's why I only listen to RIM's CEOs. That way at least it's stereophone. Steve is the antithetical CEO, however. While he's CEO in title, He acts as if he's the ProductManager. The number of patents he's referenced as [co-]holder shows that he does get down into the details (and cares enough to put his name on it).

Jobs is right (1)

tooslickvan (1061814) | about 3 years ago | (#37278856)

This should come as no surprise to anyone. Jobs says the problem with tablets is no one wants to handwritten input. He later builds a tablet that does not use handwritten inputs; it sells well and people are not asking to write on it.

selective interpretation (1)

dfghjk (711126) | about 3 years ago | (#37279082)

He also said that people need a keyboard and that Apple believed tablets were going to fail. Apple is now banking on tablets to succeed without keyboards.

Re:selective interpretation (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 3 years ago | (#37279810)

No, the iPad has a keyboard. The fact that it's flat* and vanishes when not needed doesn't change the fact that it's an input device with which you tap out letters and numbers with your fingers.

*So was the keyboard on my Atari 400 computer back in the Middle Ages. :)

Input (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37279048)

I worked on one of the input methods Microsoft licensed. They were working really hard at trying to solve the tablet input problem.

The key insight is what Walt Mossberg brought up about the tablet being a good content viewer.

An alternative content viewer is a tablet is good for, and the market size is really defined by the price since everyone can use yet another content viewer at some price. At $1500 very few people could justify the splurge on a tablet so it was a niche market, at $500 I have one, at $100 to $150 they will be everywhere.

MS hardly the first. GRiDpad, GO, even Wang Labs (3, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | about 3 years ago | (#37279098)

Microsoft doesn't deserve much credit, either. Microsoft was thought to be late to the tablet party. Conceptually, the credit should go to Alan Kay for the "Dynabook." The 1989 GRiDpad was the first real product, and there was an immense amount of buzz around GO! Computing's 1992 PenPoint. Microsoft really just genned up "Windows for Pen Computing" as a sort of me-too response to PenPoint. Wang Labs had something called "Guide" (after the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) which got lost in the collapse of the company; the people working on it went on to found a company called, if memory serves me, Arthur Dent, but I don't know what happened to it.

Apple deserves credit for the iPad in much the same way as it deserves credit for the GUI... and Edison deserves credit for the electric light, and the Wright Brothers deserve credit for the airplane. None of them really "invented" these things, none of them were really the first, and most of the technology was in the air waiting to be commercialized. But in each case they were the first to make it to market with something that didn't suck--with a finished, usable, "perfected"--to use an old-fashioned word--product.

Re:MS hardly the first. GRiDpad, GO, even Wang Lab (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 3 years ago | (#37279432)

"Arthur Dent" as in The Late Dent, Arthur Dent? A bit of a pun, you see.

Re:MS hardly the first. GRiDpad, GO, even Wang Lab (1)

darkgrayknight (1679662) | about 3 years ago | (#37279616)

Apple took the GUI from Xerox.

Not just for the rich... (1)

odirex (1958302) | about 3 years ago | (#37279100)

The last quote in there is still just as accurate today: "You know they’ve got their desktop, they got a portable, and now they got one of these to read with, that’s your market." The purpose of a tablet hasn't changed at all, the market is what changed to make it possible. Prices of desktops and laptops went down and they became ubiquitous. Everything just became cheap enough so that everyone could afford to splurge on a 2ndary or tertiary device. The majority of tablets are bought as 2ndary devices to complement larger computers/laptops. I have yet to meet anyone who does significant volumes of work on a tablet, and the ones that come close always have a real keyboard attached to their tablets.

Re:Not just for the rich... (1)

Graymalkin (13732) | about 3 years ago | (#37279904)

You're off by a few years, PCs started becoming readily available and ubiquitous by about 1998-99. Not only did they appear in more homes but more and more businesses. By 2003 acceleration had begun to slow since the market was fairly well saturated. It wasn't price that allowed households to have secondary machines but saturation. It's not splurging when the needs increase to demand a second or third machine. Families grow and a single machine no longer suits everyone's needs. Businesses expand or just replace old equipment they were leasing anyways.

I don't think you're really correct about the market having changed to make room for tablets. I think people have always wanted something like the iPad even if they didn't envision the iPad itself. Something lightweight whose battery lasted all day and allowed them wireless network (internet, intranet, etc) access. Basically the desire has always been for something like what you'd see on Star Trek.

These desires have always been tempered by practicality and affordability. A $2k tablet was never going to sell and neither was one that just ran Windows or MacOS with a pen interface. Before the iPad was released everyone assumed it was going to be at least $1000. Had it cost that much I doubt it would have taken off. However at $500 it meets the affordability and practicality desires for a tablet along with the "oh shit I want a tablet" desire. It's not about slurging but the fact there's something worthwhile on which to spend the $500.

Pro tip: Learn to spell the word "secondary", typing 2ndary makes me assume you've got a learning disability.

Didn't really contradict himself (4, Insightful)

mewsenews (251487) | about 3 years ago | (#37279112)

Microsoft and Gates' vision of tablet computing back then was a full desktop operating system with a stylus and handwriting recognition.

Steve Jobs pointed out in 2003 that even done very, very well, handwriting recognition still sucks.

The iPhone, a mini tablet released in 2007, had an operating system built ground up with a touch interface (no stylus), and when it came to text input it popped up an on-screen keyboard (no handwriting recognition).

The article closes with Jobs acknowledging that tablets would be good for reading articles (I saw a project on hack-a-day where someone built an iPad bracket into their kitchen so they could read recipes), and joking that tablets are a niche market.

Microsoft's tablet efforts in 2003 were worse than niche market, they were failures. Apple blew the market wide open by not following the same path.

Steve Knew I was Coming (-1, Offtopic)

MatthewEarley (2451600) | about 3 years ago | (#37279596)

How true and insightful. I had the pleasure of working with Steve Jobs at Nextstep as a contractor doing driver development for clients. While I have moved onto computer networking, the perspectives which I have gained have enabled me to start many ventures. It is very hard to start any one of them without referencing the Steve Jobs way of thinking and being. The embodiment of thought from the perspective of others leads to his ability to judge markets and as a predictor of the future.

Despite my fascination with Steve, I have not been an Apple user, as I am a practical network geek which until very recently screamed for the most part “Windows PC”.

The other day I picked up a tablet for my wife as a surprise gift. The gravity of the iPad 2 is undeniable, for it’s critical mass of applications, ease of use and so-on enabled me to pay double what the competition goes for. It makes sense at this time, and I have become well-off enough to be that “rich guy with the 3rd computer”. Fortunately it is all relative, and I was able to enter this market at a price that is approachable, and the value is realized in usability.

Steve is rich because he knew he could win me over at some point, and it was up to me to reach that point. We collided in the retail sector, and it was he who knew it all along, while I did not. Stil, thank you Steve ;-)

Chubby (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | about 3 years ago | (#37279888)

Wow, looking at the picture, he was a chubby guy not too long ago... damn... Hope his treatments are working out for him.

they *were* failures (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 3 years ago | (#37279910)

> "[...] why Jobs felt that stylus computing and handwriting recognition were inherent failures."

Well, yes, they *were* failures. This is why currently successful tablets (a) do not use styli, and (b) do not depend on handwriting recognition for primary text input.

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