Computing pioneer Alan Kay calls Apple's iPad user interface 'poor'

1235712

Comments

  • Reply 81 of 228
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,806member


    Hard to argue that with the screen real estate of an iPad it could be used a little more wisely than currently. I wouldn't want iOS to fork into separate iPhone and iPad versions but it would be nice for Apple to come up with an innovative way to unleash the potential of the iPad while not breaking app compatibility. Far too much blank space. Scrolling long websites to the very bottom could also be smoother and quicker with less movement. OS X has received a lot of iOS influence the last few years I think it is time for iOS to get some OS X love in terms of some added functionality. Perhaps a modified finder for example optimized for touch where we could create folders for games, utilities, etc.. with quicker access and a sort function based on app size, when downloaded, last opened, list view alphabetically for example. When you know the name of an app it is easy to find, but if you don't know the name it can be a PITA to locate one if you have over 300 apps like me.  

  • Reply 82 of 228
    mariomario Posts: 348member
    The ignorance in these comments is astounding:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Kay

    He is one of the pioneers of the industry, a computer scientist, inventor, mathematician, innovator. He invented the object oriented programming and is the architect of the modern overlapping windowing graphical user interface (GUI). He even worked at Apple in the early days.

    If people here achieved 1% of what he did, world would be a better place.
  • Reply 83 of 228
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,273moderator
    Kay says, it lacks the capacity to enable "symmetric authoring and consuming."

    Kay continued, calling Apple's restrictions on content creation and sharing on the iPad "mostly bogus," and saying that any potential security issues were the result of flaws in the OS. He also expressed disappointment in the progression of the human-computer interface since the development of the Graphical User Interface.

    "The current day UIs derived from the PARC-GUI have many flaws," Kay said, "including those that were in the PARC-GUI in the first place... even though multitouch is a good idea (pioneered by Nicholas Negroponte's ARCH-MAC group in the late '70s), much of the iPad UI is very poor in a myriad of ways."

    iOS is certainly lacking when you compare it to a Mac (although in some regards is better e.g no beachball). No ability to see the UI of two applications at once for example and restricted access to files, which limits its potential as a productive or authoring platform. It is categorized as post-pc and yet unless it can replace a PC in its entirety, PCs will still be required.

    The issue of security is entirely valid to justify some restrictions though. It's easy to think of it in terms of an individual buying one iPad or iPhone but the reality is that 100 million people per year buy them. When that happens on the PC, they become a huge target for malware and that's why they have restrictive app stores and sandboxed operating systems. It's very difficult to make an OS flexible enough and secure enough for hundreds of millions of people and given that Apple has driven the choices of companies that have no reason to follow them, chances are they are the right decisions.

    There are instances of symmetric authoring and consuming in spite of this. Someone can record and compose audio, video, images and author to the web on iOS and allow other iOS users to consume that. It can't run dynamic code but it can run a remote session on a server and do it there.

    The fact that children can use the iOS UI without training is testament to how powerful it is as a human-computer interface.
    "One way to think of all of these organizations," Kay said, "is to realize that if they require a charismatic leader who will shoot people in the knees when needed, then the corporate organization and process is a failure. It means no group can come up with a good decision and make it stick just because it is a good idea."

    Jobs dismissed that assertion in one of his interviews - he said 'ideas always have to win not hierarchy, if they don't then people leave'. That doesn't mean the ideas of the higher ups wouldn't be given a higher level of importance but they wouldn't have the products they have now if the ideas were dictated by only a handful of people at the top.
    "The education establishment in the U.S. has generally treated the computer as sort of like a typewriter," Kay said. "I've used the analogy of what would happen if you put a piano in every classroom. If there is no other context, you will get a "chopsticks" culture, and maybe even pop culture... 'the music is not in the piano.'"

    I don't think that's true. Film editing, music composition, animation, photography and so on are taught using computers. It's not restricted to programming and typing. It could be argued that a keyboard and mouse controls all of this for the most part and is unsuitable for it in a lot of cases. That's where the multi-touch UI can evolve and it is evolving on iOS as well as other platforms.

    There has to be a recognition that there are inherent problems with making a productive machine with an entirely flexible human-computer interface though. Dealing with windows is one of the biggest problems and as mentioned the balance of power and security.

    Despite the credentials, I'd agree with a lot of the criticism of his assertions. It's the easiest job in the world to find faults with the work of other people, the hard part is fixing them. Alan Kay should design a multi-touch UI that improves on the problems. It sounds like he'd put a desktop OS into a multi-touch computer with no sandboxing.
  • Reply 84 of 228
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,527member
    mstone wrote: »
     A former Apple Fellow, 
    How do you become a former Apple Fellow. Is the award taken away?

    I think it involves a medical operation :)
  • Reply 85 of 228
    macinthe408macinthe408 Posts: 1,050member
    There's theory (what Kay's preaching) and there's practice (what real companies are making and what real people are using).

    Similar arguments are made in the web UI world, where Jakob Nielsen is one the "leaders" in what constitutes proper user interface design in websites.

    Have you ever seen a Jakob Nielsen-approved website?

    Neither have I. Some stuff made in a lab, should never leave said lab.
  • Reply 86 of 228
    ankleskaterankleskater Posts: 1,287member
    I'm not as emotional as some might be. But if the measure of a man is based more on his ability to commercialize than his brilliance at conceptualizing, then the Busch clan or the Gilette family is more deserving of our awe and admiration than Da Vinci, Einstein and Newton. If this is what the majority here believes, then that is the measure of the collective intellect here.
  • Reply 87 of 228
    takeotakeo Posts: 445member


    After reading the headline I was very curious to hear what Alan had to say. Then I read the article and found out he said nothing. Lots of vague of complaints with no explanation or examples of what he would be the better way. Please give us some examples of how the iPad inhibits creativity and what you would do differently. And what are these problems with the desktop GUI. He doesn't really explain any of this criticisms. I'm not saying he's wrong. I'm saying I'd like to hear more. Explain yourself. I'm curious!

  • Reply 88 of 228
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post



    I think it involves a medical operation image


    I did find the answer. I probably should have edited my post with an update.


     


    He was a Fellow within the Advanced Technology Group which was discontinued, hence no Fellows. Same thing when he was a Fellow at Disney. Disney discontinued their Fellows program, therefore he is a former Fellow.

  • Reply 89 of 228
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,217member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jguther View Post



    He's like a socialist: disappointed that his ideas don't work because people are not the way he thinks they should be.



    Since he obviously can't change people, he tries to change the technology that works just fine for all those people. Wrong approach - he has put himself in a corner where he is no longer relevant.


     


    In a nutshell yes. It isn't his idea, his way of thinking. So it's bad. He must really loathe that Steve Jobs was publicly on the record saying that he didn't view this as a zero sum game. That for Apple to 'win' doesn't mean everyone else has to lose. ie, other ways are valid and can be just as good. 

  • Reply 90 of 228
    igrivigriv Posts: 1,177member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post



    "One way to think of all of these organizations," Kay said, "is to realize that if they require a charismatic leader who will shoot people in the knees when needed, then the corporate organization and process is a failure. It means no group can come up with a good decision and make it stick just because it is a good idea."



    What an idiotic statement. Yeah, SJs leadership style clearly failed. It's why he was able toresurrect Apple from the dead and make it the most successful company on the planet. It's why under his leadership Apple was able to reshape multiple industries and introduce concepts which are now standard across the entire tech landscape. It's why almost every company on the planet have tried to emulate pretty much every management philosophy he ever had.



    I'm glad that Kay has enlightened us about how Apple has a failed corporate organization. I wonder what a successful one looks like.


     


    I don't think Kay is the idiot here. What he is saying is that while the company might be making successful product, the ORGANIZATION is a failure, so if something were to happen to the charismatic leader (like death, or just fatigue) things start falling apart very quickly -- think Alexander the Great -- a great empire which survived him by about a week.

  • Reply 91 of 228
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,527member
    ireland wrote: »
    That's not the best counter-argument.

    I'm all for him criticising the iPad, but I'd like to see what he'd change, specifically.

    The guy does not have a single constructive thing to offer.

    Nor do you (in your berating of other posters). Why don't you tell us why you're "... all for him criticising the iPad"? What specifically would you criticize?

    I'll give you one...

    I would like to be able to easily write simple apps for the iPad -- on the iPad.

    Possibly, something like HyperCard. Likely, the capability would have to come from Apple because it would need to access the underlying system functions and APIs (including those not exposed to 3rd-party developers).

    Ideally, it would be both simple and robust -- learn the basics in a few minutes and match your needs as your knowledge and experience grows.

    Yes, a 2-year-old should be able to use it (as well as a frustrated 73-year=old dilettante).
  • Reply 92 of 228
    iobserveiobserve Posts: 96member
    More successful Computing pioneer Steve Jobs calls Apple's iPad user interface 'excellent'.

    posthumously calls Alan Kay a 'coward'
  • Reply 93 of 228
    flippyscflippysc Posts: 34member


    Kay's analogy of a computer as being similar to a piano in a classroom has a ring of truth. I have been in many classrooms where typically there is a couple of computers sitting in the corner gathering dust and with little to none educational use and purpose.


     


    However, the iPad has changed everything about computing in the classroom -- where each student has their own device and the teacher is trained in how to incorporate the technology into their lessons. In this scenario, I have witnessed incredible things 3rd graders have learned, solved, created, and produced with their iPads.

  • Reply 94 of 228
    igrivigriv Posts: 1,177member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post





    iOS is certainly lacking when you compare it to a Mac (although in some regards is better e.g no beachball). No ability to see the UI of two applications at once for example and restricted access to files, which limits its potential as a productive or authoring platform. It is categorized as post-pc and yet unless it can replace a PC in its entirety, PCs will still be required.



    The issue of security is entirely valid to justify some restrictions though. It's easy to think of it in terms of an individual buying one iPad or iPhone but the reality is that 100 million people per year buy them. When that happens on the PC, they become a huge target for malware and that's why they have restrictive app stores and sandboxed operating systems. It's very difficult to make an OS flexible enough and secure enough for hundreds of millions of people and given that Apple has driven the choices of companies that have no reason to follow them, chances are they are the right decisions.



    There are instances of symmetric authoring and consuming in spite of this. Someone can record and compose audio, video, images and author to the web on iOS and allow other iOS users to consume that. It can't run dynamic code but it can run a remote session on a server and do it there.



    The fact that children can use the iOS UI without training is testament to how powerful it is as a human-computer interface.

    Jobs dismissed that assertion in one of his interviews - he said 'ideas always have to win not hierarchy, if they don't then people leave'. That doesn't mean the ideas of the higher ups wouldn't be given a higher level of importance but they wouldn't have the products they have now if the ideas were dictated by only a handful of people at the top.

    I don't think that's true. Film editing, music composition, animation, photography and so on are taught using computers. It's not restricted to programming and typing. It could be argued that a keyboard and mouse controls all of this for the most part and is unsuitable for it in a lot of cases. That's where the multi-touch UI can evolve and it is evolving on iOS as well as other platforms.



    There has to be a recognition that there are inherent problems with making a productive machine with an entirely flexible human-computer interface though. Dealing with windows is one of the biggest problems and as mentioned the balance of power and security.



    Despite the credentials, I'd agree with a lot of the criticism of his assertions. It's the easiest job in the world to find faults with the work of other people, the hard part is fixing them. Alan Kay should design a multi-touch UI that improves on the problems. It sounds like he'd put a desktop OS into a multi-touch computer with no sandboxing.


     


    The criticism of Kay is absurd. He has done enough really cool things to give him the street cred to criticize other people's work. Building a machine requires a huge organization and a lot of work, and at this point Kay is done building things, but he is not done thinking about them, and telling people his opinion. Should he provide more detail? Well, maybe he has elsewhere, have you looked?

  • Reply 95 of 228
    igrivigriv Posts: 1,177member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by flippysc View Post


    Kay's analogy of a computer as being similar to a piano in a classroom has a ring of truth. I have been in many classrooms where typically there is a couple of computers sitting in the corner gathering dust and with little to none educational use and purpose.


     


    However, the iPad has changed everything about computing in the classroom -- where each student has their own device and the teacher is trained in how to incorporate the technology into their lessons. In this scenario, I have witnessed incredible things 3rd graders have learned, solved, created, and produced with their iPads.



     


    Would you care to share some of these incredible things with us?

  • Reply 96 of 228
    igrivigriv Posts: 1,177member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by iObserve View Post



    More successful Computing pioneer Steve Jobs calls Apple's iPad user interface 'excellent'.



    posthumously calls Alan Kay a 'coward'


     


    You underestimate Steve Jobs.

  • Reply 97 of 228
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,217member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post


    Wow.  Lots of vitriol of AI's enemy du jour.


     


    How many of you who've criticized Kay know who he is?



     


    Hes a guy who was once a visionary but now the reality has moved past his visions and he's not happy with reality but doesn't offer any real comment other than 'its bad'. If he thinks it sucks so much and he's so smart where is his alternative version. 


     


    No where is where. Because he won't bother making it, to prove his point. he's like Steve Woz, not doing anything these days but getting treated like a god because of what he did ages ago.

  • Reply 97 of 228
    mudman2mudman2 Posts: 54member
    Wow what does he think of Android then

    I would love a failure like the iPad
  • Reply 99 of 228
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,217member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by NelsonX View Post


    You are a bunch of Apple fanatics! You don't even know who Alan Kay is:


     


    "In 1970, Kay joined Xerox Corporation's Palo Alto Research Center, PARC. In the 1970s he was one of the key members there to develop prototypes of networked workstations using the programming language Smalltalk. These inventions were later commercialized by Apple Computer in their Lisa and Macintosh computers.


    Kay is one of the fathers of the idea of object-oriented programming, which he named, along with some colleagues at PARC and predecessors at the Norwegian Computing Center."


     


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Kay



     


    No we know who he is. A guy what did something really cool end awesome in the 70s. What has he done lately. Other than gripe

  • Reply 100 of 228
    igrivigriv Posts: 1,177member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


     


    No we know who he is. A guy what did something really cool end awesome in the 70s. What has he done lately. Other than gripe



     


    And who the **** are you to dump on him?


     


    Here is his current project:


     


    http://www.squeakland.org/


     


    Like it or not, he is doing pretty interesting stuff.

Sign In or Register to comment.