Why is Fragmentation Bad?

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
I spent 30 minutes with the Kindle Fire last week and was taken aback by its puny screen. I'm glad Steve Jobs was so vehement against releasing such a thing. While it's pretty good for movie viewing (most movies only take up about 45% of the iPad screen anyway), it's not suitable for most other things, and it doesn't have the psychological advantage of feeling like a large smartphone. One is unable to get over the fact that it's just a puny tablet.



My question, though, is in regards to fragmentation. Steve Jobs seemed to express the idea of fragmentation as the most important reason not to release a smaller tablet and to not release a larger iPhone. Why is this so important?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 3
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,219member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ProjectedLight View Post


    ...



    My question, though, is in regards to fragmentation. Steve Jobs seemed to express the idea of fragmentation as the most important reason not to release a smaller tablet and to not release a larger iPhone. Why is this so important?



    Apple has a smaller version of the iPad. It is called the iPod touch. It also makes a larger version of the iPod. It is called the iPad 2. You seem to know this already.



    Apple has developed a multi-touch technology in which the function of each device based on it is determined by its size. A phone must be small enough too fit in your pocket but large enough to fit your face. A larger iPhone makes no sense. An iPad must be large enough to be a credible replacement for a printed page. It must also be a credible substitute for a conventional computer display. What would be the point of a smaller device that targets the exact same functionality of an iPad?



    Then there is the issue of cost. Apple spent $10 billions to conceive, market, and develop each of its products. Except for the occasional one-off glitch, Apple's devices just work when they reach the customer. This is one of the reasons why customers queue-up to buy the stuff. Customers get amazing sh!t. Apple gets 30-40% margin on sales. If Apple ads a product splitting device, then it must spend additional $10 billions to get it from concept to customer. It will not work as well as either the iPhone or the iPad. You have the worst of both worlds--less satisfied customers and less profit margin. Does this mean that Apple will never release a device that fits between the iPod touch and iPad? No. It means that such a device will have a different target function than either existing device. If Apple conceives of a device for which the larger iPod touch form factor is appropriate and if it determines that it will increase sales without confusing the market, then Apple will develop and release such a device. However, it will not be called iPod, iPhone, or iPad.
  • Reply 2 of 3
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,213moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ProjectedLight View Post


    My question, though, is in regards to fragmentation. Steve Jobs seemed to express the idea of fragmentation as the most important reason not to release a smaller tablet and to not release a larger iPhone. Why is this so important?



    A 7" tablet is about half the size of a 10" tablet so the resolution would likely be quite a lot different. Apps use bitmap graphics so to avoid blurring, they like to use whole pixel ratios from one model to another.



    What they could do though, is make a 7" iPad at 1024 x 768 and a 10" at 2048 x 1536. I think they can already produce these resolutions.



    I think the bigger screen the better but 7" tablets aren't too bad. I do think that a cheaper 7" iPad would almost destroy the 10" model though and not because it's what people want but because it's just cheaper.



    If they produced a 1280 x 1024 iPad, this causes fragmentation as software developers have to rework their graphics just for that device. It shouldn't cause fragmentation though. Apple's iOS eco-system should have been designed from the outset to be scalable. Nobody wants to have to pay for the same app twice for your iPhone and iPad just like you wouldn't expect to pay twice to run Photoshop on your 11" Air and your 27" iMac.



    All iOS apps should be single apps that run on all iOS devices and select different textures/UI files internally or scale appropriately.



    This doesn't prevent every kind of fragmentation but it helps. There will always be performance fragmentation, which is unavoidable. The first iPhone simply doesn't have the hardware to run the latest system and games. Apple also forces their own kind of fragmentation - blocking Siri from older iPhones for example.



    Fragmentation is good for the manufacturer as it helps sell new models. It's bad for consumers as you have to keep buying new models.
  • Reply 3 of 3
    I think you're taking fragmentation in the wrong context. Apple doesn't want fragmented software. They could come out with a 7'' iPad and it wouldn't be fragmented. Fragmentation in today's general and more modern sense has only recently been brought to life by the Android OS. This started to happen when different manufactrers had different versions of the OS (HTC Sense Vs Touchwiz). Then there are different processors (Orion vs SnapDragon vs Tegra) that could mean one app will run on your phone and not on your friends....even if released the same day.



    If you just think because a product is different and that's fragmentation, then we can only assume that Apple's iPhone is....in the sense we have the iPhone, 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S. But that's only a natural product progression and you have at least 2 years of support. Android happens much too often, too fast.
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