Tablets, Apple, control, and the future of casual pixels.
So pardon this wordy ramble.
I'm optimistic. Not converted per say, but i recognize the Ipad's significance. There's no denying it presents a viable way out for big segments of the print media. Not to be what they were maybe, but to be something? As a comic artist looking to improve the way i can get my work out there, i see a lot of potential in these things. And from the list of things not allowed...
...well unless i want to make porn i don't see that affecting me too badly. I don't really care to make porn no.
I can see how it chafes if you do, but we're not talking about the entire digital market here. More like one outlet store chain? And I doubt the device is perfect at all. For a breakdown of the IPads flaws far more informed than i could offer, i like the thoroughness of Cory's at boingboing - and he links to some others worth looking at as well.
Many users are going to love it just the same - but if you're root, a creator or maker, you're going to want more. I do.
Those with the spare $ for a IPad as a casual device will get one anyway - heck the thing can last 10+ hours on a charge and do VIOP, kicks my old N800 all to hell and that was pretty nice. If i have the spare change in the future i'm there. But it's not going to work for everyone all the time. And i don't think that's their idea. That might be what YOU wanted, but not Steve. Xeni Jardin's first blush reaction to it shows how something like this was always a great idea with a waiting and ready market. It's clear this thing is a Win for them, and i think for me too as a comic artist and illustrator. And I think it's going to be a perfect brick for wedging the door open on digital media devices with the same kind of practical form factor.
A market leader, a trend setter, but the long run owner of the game?
Someone finally getting the hardware this right though, is going to make the future brighter for this kind of machine. And that's going to make any free market or speech concerns mute as more and more of these devices come into play. Eventually someone has always matched a mac with an open platform if not in market shares. It's only a mater of time.
If you really want to push the issue of market or speech, then do it in the community and the court, and even use the device to make a statement. But don't expect a device and it's support infrastructure to be the root of liberalizing culture. People do that, not machines. If i draw an X rated comic in print today, i have to deal with the same things app makers are, in brick and mortar retailers all the time. And customs! I don't hear extreme examples in the stories about Apple's shop and if that's all i had to contend with, i think it's quite possible to manage a new booming market for magazines and comics there. Not saying don't critique Steve, he does read Penthouse it seems. But lets keep it in perspective?
I don't want shops to stop being able to have a say about what they sell on their own shelves for the sake of free speech, be they made of mater or pixels. That's just trading intolerances.
Not even a question of capitalism to me. The change that means anything, is that of the cultural standards that inform the consumers who influence retailers.
The best way there is not in their face, but through the back door, via content they will listen to.
So i think the IStore is overblown as a censorship threat - They just reflect the middle moral ground of the american market - There lays the problem, not at apple.
And really I don't expect to see vibrators and blow up dolls at Toys'R'us either. Or less extreme - a larger mens section in a women's clothing store. Not going to happen is it? It's not practical.
Apple may be chasing the largest market there is, but it's not the whole market is it? And so? Just leaves what, 90% of what dominates the internet open to being exploited still? This is bad how? For who? And that i can go somewhere digitally and not have to wade through stuff like this? I like brick in mortar shops like that i have to say. Bit less crass is not always so bad you know. Not my favorite part of the internet exactly. Not the worst, but hey.
Hardware wise, i think the Ipad is a case of low hanging fruit, and they were able to pick it first with the usual apple flair. The touch screen tech and limitations in thinking regarding interface were holding tablets back the last 10 years - geeks loved keyboards, Gates only just flipped on the question - but since before Star Trek sleek slate computers have always been a dream desire. And because of that this has been one of the more thoroughly explored format ideas. We've had our model T and a few more since. The larger hybrid tablet laptops and IPhone have both explored the possibilities here more than tentatively. So while the reality of it may be a little mind blowing, it's not quite something all together new.
The control Apple exerts over it is pretty fragile too. More of an evelitonay influence than a regime. The Iphone OS being the system means not just a built in sweet of apps from the smaller cousins ready to go out of the gates.
It also means the Ipad is all but already hacked 6 ways to Sunday. There are going to be keen geeks who will train their little tablets to dance and say mama just for the bragging rights.
More than a few companies are cracking the technical problems of battery life, leaner OS's, and touch based interfaces with different approaches. Others with less interest in tightly controlling content, or even having a 'store' will be the rest of the market in the long run - Apple itself is bound to come up with a souped up pad running OS X, the HP Slate specs and price point almost guaranties it. Why leave that part of their less casual market completely unexplored?
The IPad looks to me like a fantastic dynamic proof of concept you can own today - sounds like a sales pitch don't it?
But i have to roll my eye's when the drama gets overplayed. Some rather intense arguing going on about it from what I've seen. From the Coming of the Tablet to dark talk of Fascism and Monopoly, like they have already cornered and own the market or something? The market is still just being invented here - I think they are still just one player with fairly modest goals in terms of what they want this device and it's a 1.0 for them.
It's a cheep stripped down version of what's to come, that has a pretty secure income stream built in - and that IS something people have been wanting. It looks like it does what it said it would do really really well. Most people will be able to afford to take one for granted.
But i'd put money on Cory being right. That the real fun is going to be the open format versions of what follows. Where we will really see what tablets can do. Simply because that is where the experimentation is naturally going to be.
That the IPad is such a 'perfect' performing little bastard will make the game all the more fun. Like the left needed Bush, geeks need IBM and Apple's to retaliate and one-up against. Working so well, the first thing hardcore users will see are all the things it might do, once cracked. :)
Apple will likely continue to be good at offering luxury goods to people who don't really care much about or want to know how it operates unless that = simply. I'm not being condescending, many believe in and pursue push button convenience and the freedom to conform. I don't think it's that they are incapable of more. No. Being lazy is a state of mind, not of nature. I've been lazy and so have you. Question is just how lazy and when. And then Apple has you covered in the modernist clean inoffensive style of the minimal. The slickest of cutting edge recycled electronic goods. For now, for that game - they are the Kings of it - all hail apple.
Whatever, I converted to a home built PC in the 90's and never looked back yet. :P
But as a content provider, when it comes to a broadly commercially viable comics market, taking root 'online' POST collector era that will support a salary? In a post pirate bay world? it's a good platform to start with i'm going to bet.
posted by max at 4/09/2010 10:12:00 PM