or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Future Apple Hardware › Former Google China president reveals details on Apple's tablet
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Former Google China president reveals details on Apple's tablet - Page 6

post #201 of 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

So can the computer be "re-thunk" for a non-professional market? Can you design a device for a market that cares more about consuming media than creating media. If you see kids with laptops, they watch movies, send text-like messages on facebook - they never open a file-system. They don't want to.

Perhaps there is a demand for a consumer-oriented computer appliance?

Very nice thoughts Carniphage, well done.

I still wonder if it'd be capable of running a full (redesigned) iPhoto, iMovie, Pages....
post #202 of 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregAlexander View Post

Very nice thoughts Carniphage, well done.

I still wonder if it'd be capable of running a full (redesigned) iPhoto, iMovie, Pages....


Thanks. Bit over-long wasn't it?

I doubt whether the device will come out with something like Pages or iMovie. That kind of functionality, to my mind, falls on the content-creator side of the divide.

I would like to see iChat overhauled so that it does not require a degree in network engineering to make work.

C.
post #203 of 227
Yes, nice run down. Media consumption rather than creation. Dead-simple. Just like the iPhone. There'll be some creative stuff, but the iSlate will be an *expansion* of the iPhone.

That "split" you mention is where the iSlate will gain traction. But... there is one more thing about the iSlate we're still not getting info on...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

I have been trying to work out what the justification of an iSlate is. Where is the market? After all, all previous tablet computers have been dismal failures.

Sorry, it's a long post, but here's my guess....

Computers, desktops and laptops are not really consumer products and never have been. Their origins date back to professional computer uses like Word Processing and Spreadsheets.

Despite attempts to make them easier to use. Personal Computers remain tools for professionals, which have only made a handful of concessions for non-professional usage.

The "professional tool" PC is not bad thing. We professionals like to create content. We want keyboards, and we want an exposed file system, and we want to plug stuff in. These are essential aspects to the personal computer and can never be dropped.

But these requirements come with three unavoidable problems.

1) The form factor. Physical bulk. Professional computers simply must have keyboards. They are useless without them. And even the slimmest computers are bulky when opened.

2) Power. You need a desktop-like CPU to run desktop apps. This means a low batter life.

3) Complexity. The desktop experience demands a windowing WIMP interface. With file systems, and settings and all.

For us technophiles, a full OS and GUI is something we hardly think of. It is a given. But such systems requires a lengthy boot process, and a level of technical expertise which is not universal. Some basic tasks are ridiculously difficult.

The flexible nature of software also brings with it the risk of viruses or configuration nightmares, which non-technical people just cannot solve. Your Granny can still not use your Mac. Your uncle can, but he has to trade it in every 18 months because it is "broken".

So can the computer be "re-thunk" for a non-professional market? Can you design a device for a market that cares more about consuming media than creating media. If you see kids with laptops, they watch movies, send text-like messages on facebook - they never open a file-system. They don't want to.

Perhaps there is a demand for a consumer-oriented computer appliance? It would offer all those computer benefits, we get on the notebook, but without these problems.

So the a CE computer would
1) Have a form factor which lends itself to media-consumption, reading, portability, bagability. A robust, slim, screen format which would take-up less space than a magazine. This means dumping the rarely needed keyboard. This means a chamfered edge. This means a scratch-proof screen. A round-edged slab that can take abuse.

2) Switch to a processor and GPU designed for portable hardware. Offering long battery life. Good performance, and offload heavy lifting to the GPU where possible. 8 hours use would be good. A couple of days stand-by would be handy too.

3) Create a user experience around media consumption and not media creation. This means a brain-dead easy UI. We are talking chimpanzee-level intelligence to operate. Want to Facebook. Poke Facebook. Want to watch a movie. Poke the movie. Want to videochat with the grandkids. Poke the grandkids pic, or the camera pic. Either will get you there. And it should not only be simple, it should be fun. Every action would be rewarded with clear visual feedback.

The market is full of people who already want to do this stuff, but currently are compelled to buy a pro device that offers too much. Too much complexity. Too much bulk. They buy notebooks but secretly they are confused why the screens are blank, and the useful stuff is hidden in a menu. They don't know why sometimes it does not work. Or what some of those settings do.

A consumer-targetted device has the potential to split the computer market in two. With professional media-creation computers on one side, and consumer media consumption computers on the other.

Done well, and priced like a netbook, such a device could get to consumers who previously would never consider buying a computer. It could sell into schools to replace textbooks. It would make the Kindle look dull. It would make netbooks look like something from a previous century. Granny would have one as a photoframe that lets her Skype the grandkids.

And for us professionals who love our notebooks. We will keep on buying them. We demand the flexibility. But when we are on the commute, we might look enviously at all those dullards reading the newspaper on their tablets.

C.
post #204 of 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregAlexander View Post

Very nice thoughts Carniphage, well done.

I still wonder if it'd be capable of running a full (redesigned) iPhoto, iMovie, Pages....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

Thanks. Bit over-long wasn't it?

I doubt whether the device will come out with something like Pages or iMovie. That kind of functionality, to my mind, falls on the content-creator side of the divide.

I would like to see iChat overhauled so that it does not require a degree in network engineering to make work.

C.

Well, Apple will pitch and ship with the media consumption, ease-of-use, chill-out, read e-books and sexy-thin-whatever angles.

However. The iSlate Apps from the App Store will ultimately determine it's use and success, just like the iPhone.

So we won't get iPhoto, iMove and Pages but apps, both from Apple and third-party, that will try and fill in for them in various ways. How much Apple will do and how much third-parties will do remains to be seen.
post #205 of 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

iSlate apps will not run on anything other than iSlate. However iPod touch and iPhone apps will run on iSlate.

Mac apps will run only on the Mac.


Reasonable prediction.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage

Putting Mac OS X on a tablet is like putting a steering wheel on a motorcycle.
Reply
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage

Putting Mac OS X on a tablet is like putting a steering wheel on a motorcycle.
Reply
post #206 of 227
Quote:
I doubt whether the device will come out with something like Pages or iMovie. That kind of functionality, to my mind, falls on the content-creator side of the divide.

I would like to see iChat overhauled so that it does not require a degree in network engineering to make work.

Pages and iMovie do fall into the content-creator side of the divide, though I was reading your idea as a general basis/target to the device.

An iMovie Express (and an iPhoto/photo management tool) IS something of high interest to those facebook users you propose are targeted by the new device.

There is also something to be said for offering word processing technology, for the odd time it's ever needed. People remember using Word, even if it hasn't been for years , and it could align quite nicely with iwork.com.

Of course... in general Apple avoids putting in such options unless they add real value.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

Thanks. Bit over-long wasn't it?

There is always a trade off - how much do you describe an idea/thought. Longer will clarify better but more and more people will skim as it gets longer.
post #207 of 227
I have my suspicions about iMovie-- the last iteration confused a lot of people by seemingly dropping a lot of functionality at the expense of a radically redesigned UI. If you think in terms of touch friendliness, however, it makes sense. Anyone with iMovie '08 should fire it up and think about using it with your finger on a tablet-- not really much of a stretch.

You'll also notice a gradual increase in side scrolling selection panes that work with MacBook trackpads, ala the recent redesign of iTunes, or the category selection at the Apple store (which was always side scrolling but didn't used to work with the track pad). Or the proliferation of finger friendly Cover Flow implementations all over the place. I think Apple has been laying the foundation for this device for a while.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
post #208 of 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

I have my suspicions about iMovie-- the last iteration confused a lot of people by seemingly dropping a lot of functionality at the expense of a radically redesigned UI. If you think in terms of touch friendliness, however, it makes sense. Anyone with iMovie '08 should fire it up and think about using it with your finger on a tablet-- not really much of a stretch.

You'll also notice a gradual increase in side scrolling selection panes that work with MacBook trackpads, ala the recent redesign of iTunes, or the category selection at the Apple store (which was always side scrolling but didn't used to work with the track pad). Or the proliferation of finger friendly Cover Flow implementations all over the place. I think Apple has been laying the foundation for this device for a while.

Excellent point.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #209 of 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

*sniped*

And for us professionals who love our notebooks. We will keep on buying them. We demand the flexibility. But when we are on the commute, we might look enviously at all those dullards reading the newspaper on their tablets.

C.

I think you have it. A simple computer for the average person to use for consuming all forms of media. I imagine the new iTunes LP will be a big part of it.

I do think there will be SOME ability to create. No, not media. This isn't the computer you use with iPhoto or iMovie. Not even Pages or Numbers. But the iPhone has a note pad. I think the iSlate will have something expanded on this. An underpowered word processor, something that you can type out text on, then send to your Mac/PC and work out. I also imagine a way to send your text from your Mac/PC to your iSlate and reread, make notes and corrections. This could happen through, say Mobile Me.

I can see myself sitting on the train on my way to work. I am watching a movie on my iSlate when I am hit by a sudden idea. I pause the movie and bring up...say iWork mobile/lite/cloud/whatever. I create a new document and type out my idea really quick. I send it to the cloud to work on when I get home. I return to my movie.

There is also the possibility (though I freely admit this is more wishing than an honest expectation) that this device will have Multitouch 2.0 In the patent for that, there was mention of the ability to write as if with a pen by holding your thumb and index finger together and writing (or even holding a stylus of some sort). A student in class could take notes in the margin of their textbook apps. They can also jot down diagrams and graphs. Maybe an Alias Sketchbook like app that will allow basic drawing and coloring. You wont do a digital painting but you can sketch your idea, save it, send it the cloud and then sit down with Photoshop/Painter and finish it up.

An example of this usage for me. My wife and I are at the Zoo (a favorite annual date location). I see an animal that catches my attention. After taking a few pictures for future reference, I do a quick sketch. I save it and send it to my home computer so I can work up a painting, using my photos for color reference.

Again, to stress this, that last idea is more my wishing and hoping than an honest expectation.

So, to recap, I see the tablet appealing to basic computer users as a main computer and to students and to creative/professionals as a secondary "slave" computer.

Needless to say, whatever this may be, I am very excited for the end of this month.
The iSlate cometh
Reply
The iSlate cometh
Reply
post #210 of 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

I have been trying to work out what the justification of an iSlate is. Where is the market? After all, all previous tablet computers have been dismal failures.

Sorry, it's a long post, but here's my guess....

Computers, desktops and laptops are not really consumer products and never have been. Their origins date back to professional computer uses like Word Processing and Spreadsheets.

Despite attempts to make them easier to use. Personal Computers remain tools for professionals, which have only made a handful of concessions for non-professional usage.

The "professional tool" PC is not bad thing. We professionals like to create content. We want keyboards, and we want an exposed file system, and we want to plug stuff in. These are essential aspects to the personal computer and can never be dropped.

But these requirements come with three unavoidable problems.

1) The form factor. Physical bulk. Professional computers simply must have keyboards. They are useless without them. And even the slimmest computers are bulky when opened.

2) Power. You need a desktop-like CPU to run desktop apps. This means a low batter life.

3) Complexity. The desktop experience demands a windowing WIMP interface. With file systems, and settings and all.

For us technophiles, a full OS and GUI is something we hardly think of. It is a given. But such systems requires a lengthy boot process, and a level of technical expertise which is not universal. Some basic tasks are ridiculously difficult.

The flexible nature of software also brings with it the risk of viruses or configuration nightmares, which non-technical people just cannot solve. Your Granny can still not use your Mac. Your uncle can, but he has to trade it in every 18 months because it is "broken".

So can the computer be "re-thunk" for a non-professional market? Can you design a device for a market that cares more about consuming media than creating media. If you see kids with laptops, they watch movies, send text-like messages on facebook - they never open a file-system. They don't want to.

Perhaps there is a demand for a consumer-oriented computer appliance? It would offer all those computer benefits, we get on the notebook, but without these problems.

So the a CE computer would
1) Have a form factor which lends itself to media-consumption, reading, portability, bagability. A robust, slim, screen format which would take-up less space than a magazine. This means dumping the rarely needed keyboard. This means a chamfered edge. This means a scratch-proof screen. A round-edged slab that can take abuse.

2) Switch to a processor and GPU designed for portable hardware. Offering long battery life. Good performance, and offload heavy lifting to the GPU where possible. 8 hours use would be good. A couple of days stand-by would be handy too.

3) Create a user experience around media consumption and not media creation. This means a brain-dead easy UI. We are talking chimpanzee-level intelligence to operate. Want to Facebook. Poke Facebook. Want to watch a movie. Poke the movie. Want to videochat with the grandkids. Poke the grandkids pic, or the camera pic. Either will get you there. And it should not only be simple, it should be fun. Every action would be rewarded with clear visual feedback.

The market is full of people who already want to do this stuff, but currently are compelled to buy a pro device that offers too much. Too much complexity. Too much bulk. They buy notebooks but secretly they are confused why the screens are blank, and the useful stuff is hidden in a menu. They don't know why sometimes it does not work. Or what some of those settings do.

A consumer-targetted device has the potential to split the computer market in two. With professional media-creation computers on one side, and consumer media consumption computers on the other.

Done well, and priced like a netbook, such a device could get to consumers who previously would never consider buying a computer. It could sell into schools to replace textbooks. It would make the Kindle look dull. It would make netbooks look like something from a previous century. Granny would have one as a photoframe that lets her Skype the grandkids.

And for us professionals who love our notebooks. We will keep on buying them. We demand the flexibility. But when we are on the commute, we might look enviously at all those dullards reading the newspaper on their tablets.

C.

Excellent post!

I agree that due to their lack of efficient text entry/manipulation, tablets will not be productivity tools for most professionals. That leaves the consumer realm.

But I'm not so sure that the need for simpler consumer computers is best met by a tablet. A keyboardless computer isn't inherently easier to use. In fact, the tablet form isn't what makes a touch interface possible. Tablets don't provide an interaction methodology not available elsewhere. Instead, the opposite is true, it precludes (by common definition) the inclusion of a real keyboard or mouse. Thus, any simpler interaction schemes devised for a tablet could also be implemented on a laptop or desktop. If the schemes have merit, they'll be available on all form factors.

Touch screens have been around forever but the mouse remains ubiquitous for stationary computers. The reason? The mouse is far better for most tasks. That is why Apple hasn't brought iPhone interaction techniques to the Mac. It isn't that it was hard, but rather it was undesirable. Touch screens are actually harder to use than a mouse.

I'm not saying the tablet won't be simpler. But it won't be because the tablet form makes simplicity possible, but rather because the tablet form is not suited to complexity.

In my opinion the alleged apple tablet will be popular among geeks and techies but not among less advanced computer users, at least initially. Even the least savvy computer users still wants to be able to easily type text. They want reduced complexity, not reduced functionality. Where tablets will shine is as an auxiliary device for people who are already heavy computer users.
post #211 of 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

Excellent post!

I agree that due to their lack of efficient text entry/manipulation, tablets will not be productivity tools for most professionals. That leaves the consumer realm.

But I'm not so sure that the need for simpler consumer computers is best met by a tablet.

The mouse is far better for most tasks.

The mouse provides fast, pixel-precise pointing. Mice are great although I use a stylus on a Wacom pad because you can not draw with a mouse any more than you can draw with a bar of soap.

This illustrates my point. The fitness of an input-device depends massively on the tasks you want to do with it.

If your goal demands the precise manipulation of a cursor (as required in word-processing) then a mouse-like input device is essential. And if your goal demands pen-like drawing ability, a stylus is even better.

But if your entire device is targeted to simple browsing and selection of on screen entities then the immediacy of an ultra-responsive touch screen seems to be the most immediate interface method.

Have you ever seen this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrVt2ZcrWUY


If you have ever tried to teach a 70 year old how to use a mouse. It's painful to watch.


C.
post #212 of 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

The mouse provides fast, pixel-precise pointing. Mice are great although I use a stylus on a Wacom pad because you can not draw with a mouse any more than you can draw with a bar of soap.

This illustrates my point. The fitness of an input-device depends massively on the tasks you want to do with it.

If your goal demands the precise manipulation of a cursor (as required in word-processing) then a mouse-like input device is essential. And if your goal demands pen-like drawing ability, a stylus is even better.

But if your entire device is targeted to simple browsing and selection of on screen entities then the immediacy of an ultra-responsive touch screen seems to be the most immediate interface method.

Have you ever seen this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrVt2ZcrWUY


If you have ever tried to teach a 70 year old how to use a mouse. It's painful to watch.


C.

That's precisely it, the task dictates which pointing device/method is optimal.

While touch interfaces do have their uses, they're not terribly suited to most tasks we do on a computer. They're great for kiosks where all on-screen widgets are sized properly for finger based interaction. Similarly, styluses are great for drawing or tracing.

Yet for web browsing, a mouse is superior. The reason is that human visual acuity is far greater than the positional accuracy as communicated by the mushy tip of a finger. The same is true for tasks in the physical world. We can see things far smaller than we can manipulate with our bare hands. Needle nose pliers, forceps, tweezers, and quite a few other hand tools. Heck, even our fingernails are needed to interact with small things.

So how does this specifically apply to web browsing? The size of text that is optimal for reading is too small for clicking on reliably with a large pointing device such as a finger. The links to pages 1 2 3 4 5 of this thread are a perfect example.

This isn't to say that web browsing on a tablet is completely undesirable. Just that it comes with tradeoffs. Web pages designed specifically for a particular form factor can somewhat overcome this type of limitation. But once again, there is a tradeoff. Pages would need to render properly in a variety of formats. Ironically, one of the draws of the iPhone is that it provides access to the "standard" web, and doesn't require a mobile version of websites.

As for the 70 year old learning to use a mouse. That can be difficult. But that same 70 year old will also have difficulty clicking on small, tightly spaced links. The concept of a mouse can be learned while the size of our fingers will always be larger than the most legible font size.

Apps specifically built for a touch interface can have appropriately sized widgets. Unfortunately, that won't include the content on normal websites.

Edit: While the above refers to just the "mouse", it also applies to other pointing devices such as the trackpad, trackball, or mouse stick. It's just simpler to say "mouse" instead of "input devices that operate via relative rather than absolute positioning". Relative positioning is what makes precise pointing possible. While precision is achievable via an absolute positioning device, it necessitates that the touch pad be larger than the screen it corresponds to and would rule out overlaying that touch pad over the screen. It is interesting to note that the iPhone GUI relies on a mixture of the two modes. Absolute positioning is used almost exclusively. The exception being when fine precision is needed for positioning the caret in between individual letters. That's when the iPhone switching to relative positional interaction.
post #213 of 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

That's precisely it, the task dictates which pointing device/method is optimal.

While touch interfaces do have their uses, they're not terribly suited to most tasks we do on a computer.

They are not particularly well-suited to content creation tasks. But I think they are optimal for content browsing tasks. Including web browsing. The benefit of touch interfaces is the lack of a intermediary between finger and content. The mouse is a third party which separates the two.

Apart from heavy text input, I don't believe that web browsing demands a mouse. I am pretty certain that I would *prefer* to browse websites on my iPhone, if it were faster, and if the screen were large enough. Scrolling, in particular, is a weakness for mice interfaces.

Have you seen some of the touch-based browsing concept videos?

They suggest that content specially authored for touch interfaces could be richer and more dynamic than the old-school web sites designed for those 20th Century input devices!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntyXvLnxyXk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHRSD...eature=related

And while I say that touch interfaces are not great for content creation. I should point out what you can do with one of my favourite iPhone apps:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1wJ8384yvM

C.
post #214 of 227
I think it is incorrect to view the mouse as a device which gets in the way of interacting with on-screen content. Quite the contrary is true, it is a tool that facilitates interaction. Consider this analogy, finger painting vs painting with a brush. Sure, using only your fingers gets you closer to the canvas and eliminates an intermediate tool. Obviously though, the use of an intermediate tool is preferable in most situations.

Certainly touch screens would be great for browsing content specifically designed for touch screens. But that comes with a tradeoff. It would necessitate a minimum font size and character count for hypertext links. Clickable regions of the screen would also have a minimum size and spacing requirement. This is somewhat at odds with the font size and line spacing that is optimal for reading.

These requirements also exist for mouse driven GUIs, but are less strict for mouse GUIs. It's quite an interesting topic to speculate about... If tablet based browsing explodes, it'll cause a huge shift in how content is authored and even structured under the hood. Web standards support this to some extent, abstracting content from layout and formatting via technologies such as xml, css, xslt, etc. Yet in real world usage, it is almost always necessary to carefully craft content for the destination device. As of yet, this has never been widespread. Mobile versions of websites aren't too common. It could happen, but it really does entail a dramatic increase in labor associated with running a website. Now that pocket computers are becoming popular (like the iPhone), mobile versions of websites have become somewhat more common. But they're not common yet.

What it boils down to is, will tablet usage be enough to justify additional work for the majority of content authors? My guess is no, probably not. At least not this decade. We'll likely just have to live with the browsing difficulties that already exist on touch devices such as the iphone. They're not show stoppers. But they are enough to make it preferable to browse on more full featured hardware when that hardware is present. Larger screen, improved click accuracy, no accidental clicks when attempting to scroll, no needing to zoom to click a small link, quicker text entry, etc. With that said though, tradeoffs such as increased mobility can justify those limitations in certain scenarios.


I'll also have to disagree that scrolling is a weak point in mouse based interfaces. Scroll wheels support the exact same interaction technique used to scroll in touch based interfaces. Put your finger on it and drag or fling in the desired direction. Granted, not all implementations are that great. But compare this to scrolling on the iPhone. It is quite common for users to accidentally scroll when attempting to click or vice versa. Touch interfaces, even multi-touch, tend to overload interaction techniques, producing different results in different scenarios. Hmmm, maybe we should embed tiny transponders in each of our fingers so that each finger or combination of fingers could be linked to a particular function, index-finger = click, index+middle = scroll ... etc.
post #215 of 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

I think it is incorrect to view the mouse as a device which gets in the way of interacting with on-screen content.

I think we will have to agree to disagree.

This video is from the iPhone app "Brushes"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1wJ8384yvM

But if you want to win your argument. Please watch this - and then try to replicate such "finger painting" with a mouse. Being able to interact with a screen like this is much less indirect that poking around a block of plastic, with the secondary goal of moving an on-screen pointer.

C.
post #216 of 227
You'll get no argument from me about the mouse not being suited to drawing/painting. That task is obviously easier and better served by a touch screen or stylus/tablet.

[Edit: re-reading my previous post I see that my analogy was poorly chosen and definitely ironic. Painting on a computer is not best accomplished by a mouse. Though the analogy still holds for showing that intermediate tools aren't inherently bad. It is necessary to look at each task individually to see if it is best accomplished by a bare hand or with the assistance of a handheld tool.]

The question is, what percentage of people need or want to draw and how frequent is that need/desire? Despite the huge number of designers and artists in the world, they still comprise a tiny percentage of computer users. And that's the primary reason why notebooks and desktops are ubiquitous while tablets aren't. Most users frequently have tasks which are better served by the laptop, desktops, and their standard input hardware. Those that do need to draw, are the ones currently buying wacom products.

This is why I keep harping on tablets being supplementary or complimentary computing devices. People will continue to use more full-featured hardware for tasks that demand it. Tablets will offer an alternative for tasks which don't suffer too badly from the limitations inherent to the tablet form factor.

Which brings us to the second point that I've been harping on, price. If touch screens were incredibly cheap, everyone would want one to supplement the capabilities of a mouse. The same goes for tablets. If cheap enough, everyone will want one as one more tool in their toolbox. If price is prohibitive, users will continue to stick by their multi-purpose tool that is optimal for 99% of their daily tasks.
post #217 of 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

If price is prohibitive, users will continue to stick by their multi-purpose tool that is optimal for 99% of their daily tasks.

The current personal computer is a tool from the past. It evolved as an office device.
It was created to write documents or add figures. It developed new skills like painting, gaming and so on.

Yes the PC is multi-purpose tool. But it is optimal for 99% of office tasks.
I'm going to suggest that as a personal mass-market appliance - It's not optimal at all.

The problem is, we are so used to using personal computers. We forget how ridiculously complex they are to use for the simplest tasks. We don't question why the main functions are hidden in a menu. Or why non-expert users have the freedom to change such a panoply of settings they can render the device inoperative.

Watch how young people use computers and you'll see what I mean.

If I am right, Apple is going to create a fundamentally new class personal computer. One that really is optimal for the 99% tasks that most people now use computers for. That's not productivity applications or file management or email. It is entertainment, media consumption & social networking.

Don't worry! We professionals will be free to use our old-style personal computers for that officey stuff.

C.
post #218 of 227
It is a mistake to assume that someone is ignorant simply because they disagree with you. While your tone is pleasant, you can make a far better case by not resorting to that argument. (Let me also say that this is an enjoyable and civil discussion, much better than is typical on these boards. )

You'll just have to trust me that I'm not blind to non-professional uses, nor blind to how age factors into computer usage. We simply disagree about what input technology and/or form factor is best suited to those tasks.

It is true that the PC is non-optimal. But in my opinion, it isn't due to the mouse or keyboard. Switching to less capable hardware will make it even less optimal for most tasks.

Which tasks in particular are you saying are worse with a mouse and keyboard? (other than drawing) The tablet form has advantages, but lack of a mouse/trackpad and keyboard is not one of them, or at least not directly. The size and shape can be an advantage, but lack of efficient interaction hardware is clearly a disadvantage. It is the trade off between these characteristics that governs what a tablet is suited for.

If you're thinking of web browsing, could you address my prior comments about downsides of touch screen interaction and web browsing? These include accidental clicks when attempting to scroll, accidental scrolling when attempting to click, required spacing for clickable regions both in regard to text and graphic links, relationship of optimal font size for legibility vs optimal font size for a click target... etc)
post #219 of 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

It is a mistake to assume that someone is ignorant simply because they disagree with you. While your tone is pleasant, you can make a far better case by not resorting to that argument. (Let me also say that this is an enjoyable and civil discussion, much better than is typical on these boards. )

I apologise if I in any way implied you were ignorant. I simply disagree with you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

If you're thinking of web browsing, could you address my prior comments about downsides of touch screen interaction and web browsing? These include accidental clicks when attempting to scroll, accidental scrolling when attempting to click, required spacing for clickable regions both in regard to text and graphic links, relationship of optimal font size for legibility vs optimal font size for a click target... etc)

I don't think web-browsing by mouse is nearly so intuitive as browsing by touch. Web pages are organised as tall documents with more content than a screen can display. So scrolling is necessary. Basic mice are bad at scrolling. So the mouse needs an additional control (a scroll wheel) to facilitate this... And the lack of kinetic scrolling makes that clunky and slow.

Apple's new mouse is an improvement on the scroll wheel, because it simulates the immediacy of a touch screen by gluing one on the back of the mouse.

Touch screens offer immediate and unambiguous gestures.
scrolling/dragging gestures (sliding the finger - or sliding two fingers) is different to...
clicking (single static tap) which is different to
auto-zoom (double static tap) which is different to
manual zoom (unpinch)

Once I figured that out, I can not recall ever accidentally clicking when I intended to scroll.

Mice and trackpads also compromise portability.

When trying to operate my living-room Mac, I resort to using my knee as a mouse-mat for the bluetooth mouse. It feels as clunky and awkward as it sounds.

Now imagine skim reading a long newspaper-style web article on a train. On a touchscreen this would require kinetically skimming the article by making brief speed-sensitve screen gestures. With a single touch I convey much more information. How fast to scroll. Where to stop.

This is much more immediate (and far less blister-generating) than frenetically rotating a rubberised scrollwheel. In my opinion.

C.
post #220 of 227
While touch is more intuitive for scrolling, mouse use is so mind bogglingly simple that intuitiveness should be disregarded entirely except in rare situations.

The skill required is completely obscured by other differences inherent between the two types of interaction. This type of attitude often stems from computer geek arrogance. But the line has to be drawn somewhere and mouse use is well, well behind that line. Only people with severely diminished mental capacities would benefit from the more intuitive interaction technique here. These people typically live in assisted living situations and require near constant monitoring. For them I'll agree a case could be made for a mouse being too complicated.

You mention that basic mice don't have a scroll wheel. To me that seems like a real stretch for criticism. Basic screens don't have touch interfaces either. But what's the point of either of those two statements?

True, scroll wheels can be improved, adopting more of the feel of iPhone scrolling. Though a good scroll wheel is leagues above a mediocre one just as not all touch screen scrolling works as well as the iPhone.

I'll even grant that scrolling is better in some instances via a touch screen. Where it currently fails, on top of the issues mentioned in previous posts, is with extremely long content areas. I suspect that this will be improved in the future, but addressed by a widget rather than direct manipulation as is used for touch scrolling.

As for zero accidental clicks when attempting to scroll. Are you honestly going to make that claim, even for yourself? No matter what you say, I will admit now to not believing that claim. Nothing against you personally, but even the most skilled users make errors, especially when being jostled around on a train.

Then there is also the issue that touch scrolling makes a much higher percentage of the screen active or susceptible to inadvertent interaction. Good interface design incorporates spacing of widgets for easy interaction and providing dead regions around and in between those widgets. When every pixel is open for interaction, error rates go up. This is precisely why scroll bars exist. It would have been easy to use the entire window content area as the scroll thumb, but a separate region was intentionally allocated.

The second thing i'll grant is that reading on a train is a good use of the tablet form factor. Tablets don't require a work surface so they are perfectly suited to this environment. People will continue to buy kindles or tablet like devices at an ever increasing rate for exactly this purpose, with price being the governing variable.

The thing is though, people, even the most novice of users, also need to truly interact with computers, not just read and scroll.

[edit: changed "tablets" to "computers" in last sentence]
post #221 of 227
Microsoft/HP tablet announced. "Sometime this year". Mmmm smell that vapor.
post #222 of 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage
I have been trying to work out what the justification of an iSlate is. Where is the market? After all, all previous tablet computers have been dismal failures.

Sorry, it's a long post, but here's my guess....

Computers, desktops and laptops are not really consumer products and never have been. Their origins date back to professional computer uses like Word Processing and Spreadsheets.

Despite attempts to make them easier to use. Personal Computers remain tools for professionals, which have only made a handful of concessions for non-professional usage.

The "professional tool" PC is not bad thing. We professionals like to create content. We want keyboards, and we want an exposed file system, and we want to plug stuff in. These are essential aspects to the personal computer and can never be dropped.

But these requirements come with three unavoidable problems.

1) The form factor. Physical bulk. Professional computers simply must have keyboards. They are useless without them. And even the slimmest computers are bulky when opened.

2) Power. You need a desktop-like CPU to run desktop apps. This means a low batter life.

3) Complexity. The desktop experience demands a windowing WIMP interface. With file systems, and settings and all.

For us technophiles, a full OS and GUI is something we hardly think of. It is a given. But such systems requires a lengthy boot process, and a level of technical expertise which is not universal. Some basic tasks are ridiculously difficult.

The flexible nature of software also brings with it the risk of viruses or configuration nightmares, which non-technical people just cannot solve. Your Granny can still not use your Mac. Your uncle can, but he has to trade it in every 18 months because it is "broken".

So can the computer be "re-thunk" for a non-professional market? Can you design a device for a market that cares more about consuming media than creating media. If you see kids with laptops, they watch movies, send text-like messages on facebook - they never open a file-system. They don't want to.

Perhaps there is a demand for a consumer-oriented computer appliance? It would offer all those computer benefits, we get on the notebook, but without these problems.

So the a CE computer would
1) Have a form factor which lends itself to media-consumption, reading, portability, bagability. A robust, slim, screen format which would take-up less space than a magazine. This means dumping the rarely needed keyboard. This means a chamfered edge. This means a scratch-proof screen. A round-edged slab that can take abuse.

2) Switch to a processor and GPU designed for portable hardware. Offering long battery life. Good performance, and offload heavy lifting to the GPU where possible. 8 hours use would be good. A couple of days stand-by would be handy too.

3) Create a user experience around media consumption and not media creation. This means a brain-dead easy UI. We are talking chimpanzee-level intelligence to operate. Want to Facebook. Poke Facebook. Want to watch a movie. Poke the movie. Want to videochat with the grandkids. Poke the grandkids pic, or the camera pic. Either will get you there. And it should not only be simple, it should be fun. Every action would be rewarded with clear visual feedback.

The market is full of people who already want to do this stuff, but currently are compelled to buy a pro device that offers too much. Too much complexity. Too much bulk. They buy notebooks but secretly they are confused why the screens are blank, and the useful stuff is hidden in a menu. They don't know why sometimes it does not work. Or what some of those settings do.

A consumer-targetted device has the potential to split the computer market in two. With professional media-creation computers on one side, and consumer media consumption computers on the other.

Done well, and priced like a netbook, such a device could get to consumers who previously would never consider buying a computer. It could sell into schools to replace textbooks. It would make the Kindle look dull. It would make netbooks look like something from a previous century. Granny would have one as a photoframe that lets her Skype the grandkids.

And for us professionals who love our notebooks. We will keep on buying them. We demand the flexibility. But when we are on the commute, we might look enviously at all those dullards reading the newspaper on their tablets.

C.

An excellent post. 100% nailed on. That is what 'I' think the iSlate is for. Primarily can easy to to consumer media. Computers are pretty complex tools to 'merely' view media.

A 'chimp' media viewer for movies, check emails, play music, games, make a skype call...'poke' (how C64...) things around the web. It's all about being passive. Not much creation of data...but all about the consuming of media.

Want to create? You'll still use a Mac desktop/laptop...for now.

I remember sitting on a couch browsing the web with an iPod touch...I recall how liberating it was. I didn't need a Mac for that or a full OS for that. Given the things we do 99% of the time on a computer, certainly re: things that are passive...the iSlate is going to be pretty amazing to me even if it is merely a big iPod touch, which, knowing Apple, I suspect it won't be.

Another note, I remember having a debate with my friend who felt that a keyboard and mouse were essential for 'grown up' games (har...) And I said to him, 'Don't you remember playing far better, more fun, harder and more addictive games on the C64? And didn't they use a a simple joystick with a firebutton?'

The note of irony? We C64 owners barely ever used the keyboard most of the time. (Only really used it for 'Elite' computer game with it's sprawling controls...)

It's ironic this debate is coming around. Evolving the 'human' desktop 1984 gui into one with 'chimp' like simplicity.

I like it. But we'll have to wait and see? 'Ok, OK?'

Lemon Bon Bon

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #223 of 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. View Post

An excellent post. 100% nailed on. That is what 'I' think the iSlate is for. Primarily can easy to to consumer media. Computers are pretty complex tools to 'merely' view media.

A 'chimp' media viewer for movies, check emails, play music, games, make a skype call...'poke' (how C64...) things around the web. It's all about being passive. Not much creation of data...but all about the consuming of media.

Want to create? You'll still use a Mac desktop/laptop...for now.

I remember sitting on a couch browsing the web with an iPod touch...I recall how liberating it was. I didn't need a Mac for that or a full OS for that. Given the things we do 99% of the time on a computer, certainly re: things that are passive...the iSlate is going to be pretty amazing to me even if it is merely a big iPod touch, which, knowing Apple, I suspect it won't be.

Another note, I remember having a debate with my friend who felt that a keyboard and mouse were essential for 'grown up' games (har...) And I said to him, 'Don't you remember playing far better, more fun, harder and more addictive games on the C64? And didn't they use a a simple joystick with a firebutton?'

The note of irony? We C64 owners barely ever used the keyboard most of the time. (Only really used it for 'Elite' computer game with it's sprawling controls...)

It's ironic this debate is coming around. Evolving the 'human' desktop 1984 gui into one with 'chimp' like simplicity.

I like it. But we'll have to wait and see? 'Ok, OK?'

Lemon Bon Bon

Speaking of chimps the slate Ballmer introduced a several hours ago is pure baboon bollocks.

Time to F** off all this gadget bullsh1t and get in a few good rounds of Dirt2. YEAHHHHHHH

BTW. Torrents would be a KILLER APP on the tablet. While it is "docked" to the charging station or something. Or to control the main torrent app on your Mac or PC. Then easily sync/stream to the tablet if need be.

The proper iSlate would be useful for things you check quite frequently like Facebook and how your torrents are doing.

Bonus points for Solar Charging on the back and front side of it.

Bonus points for HOME AUTOMATION. Picture a slider panel of music, lighting, audio system control on the tablet. How slick would that be? Very. Come home with a lady friend (or guy, however you fly), while pouring some wine, you glance at the svelte, slick panel on your marble kitchen counter top as it sits quietly. In between a few dangerous whispers with your companion you run your fingers over the tablet, dropping the lighting a little, and gently easing a bit of contemporary-yet-not-too-wankish chillout music into the ambience. She brushes her hair gently. The wine is not too dry, yet firm enough on the palate. Seven summers ago all this would be unthinkable. The girl and the tablet. But we've come quite far.
post #224 of 227
Yes...Carn'. That was a post worthy of Mactripper himself. Nice to see some creative and intelligent postings around here that have been given some...actual thought.

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #225 of 227
Quote:
Speaking of chimps the slate Ballmer introduced a several hours ago is pure baboon bollocks.

Time to F** off all this gadget bullsh1t and get in a few good rounds of Dirt2. YEAHHHHHHH (LOL)

BTW. Torrents would be a KILLER APP on the tablet. While it is "docked" to the charging station or something. Or while controlling the main torrent app on your Mac or PC.

The proper iSlate would be useful for things you check quite frequently like Facebook and how your torrents are doing.

Bonus points for HOME AUTOMATION.

Bonus points for Solar Charging on the back and front side of it.

Heh. 'Baboon bollocks.' Got to 'love to hate' Ste Ballsmer. I hope he stays at the top until teh 'job' is done at M$

What is torrents? It's a big world outside of my small room...

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #226 of 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Picture a slider panel of music, lighting, audio system control on the tablet. How slick would that be? Very. Come home with a lady friend (or guy, however you fly), while pouring some wine, you glance at the svelte, slick panel on your marble kitchen counter top as it sits quietly. In between a few dangerous whispers with your companion you run your fingers over the tablet, dropping the lighting a little, and gently easing a bit of contemporary-yet-not-too-wankish chillout music into the ambience. She brushes her hair gently. The wine is not too dry, yet firm enough on the palate. Seven summers ago all this would be unthinkable. The girl and the tablet. But we've come quite far.

Do you think this guy below could sell something like what I described?

WHAT IS UP WITH THE RED SWEATER???

post #227 of 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. View Post

Yes...Carn'. That was a post worthy of Mactripper himself. Nice to see some creative and intelligent postings around here that have been given some...actual thought.

Lemon Bon Bon.

<Blush>
Gee Thanks
</Blush>

C.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Future Apple Hardware
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Future Apple Hardware › Former Google China president reveals details on Apple's tablet