Monday, March 1, 2010

15 iPad mysteries

Mike Elgan has written a "15 iPad mysteries remain" article, and I think he's stretching a bit. Here's my response to some questions I don't think are really mysteries:

2) When can you pre-order one?
My guess is a little under 30 days prior to when they know they can ship them. If they don't start in the next two weeks, then either they have changed their minds and aren't going to accept pre-orders, OR there's a delay in release. (which is his first question; When can you buy one?)

3) Will AT&T delay the 3G version?
No. His example of tethering being delayed is a different technical/billing issue. If the iPad 3G is delayed, it's more likely a hardware/manufacturing issue, than because AT&T gets cold feet about all that new business.

4) Where will the missing iPhone apps show up?
I'm betting they haven't been rewritten - that's why they didn't make an appearance at the demo - so they'll run as they currently do. Of course, maybe they will have been rewritten to be full-screen apps, but I'm thinking that's unlikely. When you look at these apps, they aren't doing that much; scale them up to full size apps would almost cry out for more functionality, and I can't see why Apple would want to expend effort on that.
His suggestion that the Weather and Stock apps might be available on the 3G version but not the wi-fi only version ignores the fact that those apps are on both the iPhone and the iPod Touch.

5) Will there be new 'gestures' we don't yet know about?
No. While there will be some new gestures we aren't familiar with (I suspect there will be gestures in iWork for selecting multiple things, etc., which we haven't encountered before) I don't think there will be many new gestures for the "mundane" tasks he mentions.

7) Will Apple censor TV, movies and magazines?
8) Will Apple stop censoring apps?
9) Will Apple set up strong parental filters for the iPad?
That's the same question, written three different ways. But he probably didn't want to make this the 13 iPad mysteries.
Clearly, Apple needs to do something about adult material, even if it's just the "R" rated stuff. There have already been reports of Apple putting an Explicit category in iTunes (and then removing it) which suggests Apple is "experimenting" with this issue. But this may not happen at the time the iPad is released; It's an ongoing issue that Apple is wrestling with which is exacerbated - but not created - by the iPad.

11) Will iPhone apps run side-by-side on iPad?
No. This is multi-tasking, and Apple would have made a big thing of that functionality if they were going to support it.

12) Will the iPad have free-floating windows?
No. The way this is written makes it sound like an app can run in it's own window; but why do that? It makes very little sense unless you have multi-tasking.  The iPad isn't going to do it. Multiple windows in an app makes sense, but not windows holding the entire app; not unless they add multi-tasking.

13) Will iPad crash the mobile Internet?
Translation: will it bring AT&T's network to it's knees? New York and San Francisco are already so iPhone saturated, even a little boost from iPad traffic will only make things much worse. But for the majority of the country, I suspect a lot of that extra iPad traffic will go through the wi-fi network.
But this is a question we really have to wait and see, because no one really knows how people will be using the iPad.

14) Will free Internet content cost money on the iPad?
Hulu may be planning to charge for content, but that's not an iPad issue. That's the reality that content publishers are all trying to figure out how to make money from the stuff they are currently giving away. And they'll have to either charge for it on the "free" internet as well, or provide some kind of added-value on the iPad. People are not going to be happy if they can see something for free on their MacBook, but not on the iPad. The question is; if that were the case, who would they get angry at?

15) Will we see Microsoft Office for iPad?
Not this year. Maybe never. Microsoft would have to put a lot of effort into it, and there's big questions whether people will want to spend big bucks for Office on the iPad. As long as Apple offers apps that can open Office files while users are on the road, that may be enough.
And remember, Microsoft has been a little iffy about the Mac market through the years, so they'd need to be convinced there was a big enough install base.

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