Sunday, April 3, 2011

Operating the systems (or why Apple sucks)

Seeing as Nev hijacked my post, I figured the best payback was to hijack his specialist subject.

Before I start though, I will add the disclaimer:

The following post is written from the perspective of someone who has nothing to do with the IT industry. Nor does she know anything about programming outside some half-arsed HTML coding. As such please take any opinions given with a grain of salt, really, she's just talking out her arse.

Now if you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that Nevyn is a huge Linux cheerleader. Me, I have had to use a Linux based OS before, and honestly speaking, I am much happier with  Windows 7 (lets all pretend that Vista didn't happen, okay?). I do understand his point of view though, that open source leads to a better result for all.

I am being  swayed over to the dork side by the new shiny Android 3 OS. Yes, it is a tablet specific OS but here's where I have a problem: it's a great looking OS but lacks the hardware to support it. For the large part, Apple have cornered the market with the iPad, yes, it has a stupid name, but they were first off the starting blocks.

At the moment, the only non-Apple tablets available in NZ are the tiny 7" Samsung Galaxy Tablet and the Telecom V9 Tablet. Honestly, for the price of the Galaxy, you might as well buy the Galaxy S phone, and be able to make phone calls as well. I hope that Android can get the hardware it deserves, because in any free market there should be choice, and Apple should not be our only one.

It is easy to be swayed by their clean lines, ease of use and futuristic looks, but behind the mac-white gleam a more sinister Apple lurks. One which demands self-censorship of it's contributing magazine content. Or a  prevents you from looking inside your own device. Not to mention my own personal bugbear, where it locks up iTunes until you've updated, which means you can't access any of the music/movies etc that you've legally paid for.

Is it worth trading off an aesthetically pleasing, intuitive device for your basic consumer rights?

Disclaimer: I have not been paid by, or have any affiliations with any of the products/companies I have discussed in this article. Unless Apple want to give me an iPad, in which case I totally change my opinion. Apple Rules!


  1. That's a tiny bit dismissive.

    There's the aPad (still sounds like a sanitary product) available in a 7" and 10" model. The techpad. I'm sure there are others out there.

    The alternatives are out there. However, given the number of reviews that conclude that the hardware just feels... unpolished compared to the iPad, the issue is with the difference in the projects.

    iOS runs on iPhones, iPads and iPods. Android runs on just about everything under the sun. Netbooks, tablets, phones, e-book readers. That's an awful lot of hardware to cover and the vendors seem more interested in throwing in their own branding rather than filling in the gaps between what Google offers and what their hardware needs to make it more seamless.

    Oh and in terms of bribes - Apple - if you want to offer me an Android device (preferably a galaxy) I'll sing it's praises.

  2. Who would want a tablet anyway? Well, maybe I want one a little bit, but only because it's like Star Trek today.
    At the moment tablets seem like an overly expensive toy that sit somewhere between cellphones and netbooks. About the only use I can really see for one is an ebook in colour, which would be great for collecting comics in an electronic format.
    Beyond reading, if I wanted a portable computer, well, that's what I've got a laptop for. Sure, my laptop is on the bulky side, but it's powerful enough as a computer and portable enough for my needs. It's also easy enough for me to fiddle around with such as changing the OS to Linux. My laptop is a useful and flexible tool without too much effort on my part. A netbook would serve as a more portable version of the same type of tool.

    On the other end of the scale are cellphones, the one I have can send and receive text messages, make phone calls and pass as an mp3 player at a pinch. It's more than I need really (doesn't stop me eyeing up some of the shiny new android phones though).

    Between the laptop and the cellphone I'm covered for what I need and pretty much what I want. I know that a tablet would be a just a toy for me, and that a toy that I wouldn't play with that much. To get interested in tablets, I'd want something that I can use to read comics and books. Something where the colour display could be switched to an ambient light black and white (to save power and read text only books).
    Something that's dirt cheap. There'd also need to be a good source of books and comics at reasonable prices in formats the device could read.

    That's what I'm waiting on to get into the tablet world. I'm not going to be holding my breath while I wait though.


  3. This could get interesting. This goes straight into consumerism. Build the product, a use will be found for it later.

    So yes - difficult to imagine a practical use for such a device (though I have to admit, the shiny way of zooming into things using multi-touch does get the juices flowing), but the market will be found.

    Whether it's Apple fan people buying it because it has an Apple logo on it and anything with an Apple logo MUST be good or it's people looking for different more intuitive and interesting way of interacting with ... well.. whatever. The market will form around it.

    What I find really interesting is that back in....2001? there was a huge marketing campaign by MS around tablet PC's and they never took off. They fizzled. I liked the concept - generally a fully fledged laptop with a screen that could be rotated and folded back over the keyboard.

    So blame the timing or the fact that it was running MS Windows where MS have never been trend setters (except perhaps for the concept of selling the OS as a separate product). Either which way, it points to the fact that the market just wasn't ready which counters my point.

    Perhaps we've just become better consumers (or worse communists).