Archive for February, 2010
My friend Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba was a high school principal in Jos, Nigeria, when I met him electronically, by email five years ago. He connected with us at The Dalai Lama Foundation and his energy and enthusiasm so appealed to us that we immediately began working with him to find ways his students could communicate with other students around the world.
There’s a subtle user-interaction issue related to the iPad that I haven’t heard anyone talk about yet—I believe the “pad” blows away the “clamshell” in meeting environments because it changes the social dynamic. In fact, it returns us to a more “human” interactive framework.
How many times a day are you in a meeting where the group sits down at some small table, opens their laptop computers (on the tiny table) and suddenly you are looking across the tops of the displays (walls of displays!) at the other people around the table? (Um, just think coffeeshop for instance, with several people crowded around a small table and the table filled with laptop computers, not coffee cups.) What do you notice about how the eyes are fixated on screens, and the people aren’t looking at each other over the tops of the screens. Is there more time spent looking at screens, or more time spent looking at each other? (continue reading…)
The thread of his post struck me smack in the face:
Economy has become so powerful because, in the absence of the political ideas to reform government to deal with the real issues of the world, economy emerges as a way to cope with 6 billion people…
Economy has become a form of governance…
The result is a way of life based on dollars and what dollars can buy, which is not so much meaningful goods but stuff…
The result is that we do not really have a governance of society. We have a governance of the society via economy and a governance of economics through the narrow interests of its major participants…
The well being of the people has been replaced by the well being of the economy, which, to make the rich yet richer, has chosen to eliminate people as a cost to the economic engine.
—Douglass Carmichael [excerpted by Sky from Governance and economy]
For 10 years now I have wondered how we expect to both 1) reduce jobs in the US and 2) maintain a functioning economy. I so much want to see people everywhere in the world achieve a good standard of living, and I know that we in the US need to reduce the way we squander our resources, but I don’t see how we can keep eliminating people from the economic engine and expect to have a sustainable economy, let alone a sustainable world. The gears of economy need to function differently—and I firmly believe that the turmoil we see in economic systems right now signals that we will never return to “normal” but instead will have to wrestle with these kinds of questions, and solve these kinds of problems, in order to stabilize our economic and social systems.
How could Steve/Apple ever possibly have topped all the hype the preceded the announcement of the iPad? He was up against a real challenge.
Well, in some ways, Apple did top it—for one, the price is really, really aggressive. In other areas, the announcement was exactly what we expected. And that, in my opinion, is why the iPad is getting poor reviews from so many people, though they haven’t used it yet. Like a kid on Christmas eve, they had just gotten too overwrought in anticipation of all that candy they had hoped for!
I can see how the iPad could knock off the ebook readers and the netbooks all with one fell swoop. Maybe even the TabletPCs (remember, I’ve had a Toshiba TabletPC for 5 years).
First, here’s what I like about it:
- I love the glossy and really bright screens. (I only have one “old” non-glossy screen left in my office.)
- I love the multi-touch gestures. My iPhone is the first device I’ve been able to interact with in the way I really wanted to – touching the screen. My MacBook gets close, though, because of the multi-touch (example: two-finger wipe to scroll up or down) gestures that make it so fast to operate!
- I love the size of the screen (and consequently the device). I read ebooks on my iPhone now, and they’re just a tad too small (that is, I’m having to swipe to turn a “pages” every 1 or 2 seconds), so having 4x the screen real-estate will be wonderful.
- I’m impressed that they were able to put the iWork suite on the iPad. I use Pages and Keynote a lot, and from the demos I’ve seen, these will be pretty easy to use on the iPad. I love the idea of using the iPad to draft presentations and documents while I’m on a flight from here to Delhi.
- Battery life. 10 hours sounds great and we’ll probably get 6 hours in real life, but if I can keep it charged up while I’m in that airplane, then I’m one happy camper. (More and more flights I’m on have power plugs now, and I’m starting to choose airlines and flights based on whether they have a plug under my seat so I can run the computer. One question—can I plug the iPad into the airplane charger?)
- Did I say price? I think $499 is really good as a starting price. I just received, as a gift from its manufacturer, an electronic pictureframe that’s priced higher than that, and it only does pictures. And it’s more than a high-end Kindle, but it does a lot more than a Kindle!
And what’s questionable about it:
- Only running one app at a time. I absolutely can’t stand this on my iPhone. What a pain! But, I don’t think this is going to get fixed any time soon.
- No microphone. They’d better fix this—I want to record interviews and notes, and I want to use the iPad as a speaker phone (thru Skype if not through real 3G phone). Maybe the iPhone headset (which has a microphone) will be usable in the production models—that would be OK.
Will I get one. Yes, most certainly at some point. Certainly not the first or second or even third production models, but I’ll bet you I’ll be working with an iPad before then end of 2010.
Read what I’ve said about my use of ebooks and ebook prices. Also read this note about what Amazon is saying about prices higher than $9.99.