For now, the iPad rolls over and goes to sleep

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ipad Echo For now, the iPad rolls over and goes to sleep
Whether you’re basking in the afterglow or fretting unfulfilled, the tumultuous excitement of the iPad announcement has come…and gone. The reactions seem evenly mixed between the rapture and the crapture, with tech site grumbles loud and clear. Annalee Newitz at io9 has a well thought out complaint:

The iPad promises to be just as revolutionary as its predecessors, for one reason. It embodies, as much as possible, the mythical convergence device that technophiles have been craving for almost two decades. The convergence device, which people began to discuss seriously in the 1990s, would be a unified gadget where you could consume many kinds of media, especially TV and the web, with the same gadget.


In the end, she argues, the iPad is more of a dedicated device, as opposed to the amazing Tricorder: lacking multitasking, like a TV, it tunes into one function at a time. In that regard it is certainly not the be-all and end-all.

The mood is more hopeful among Big Media types, probably because they are fucking desperate for a white knight at this point. They want someone –anyone — to rescue themselves from the black hole they have gotten into.

Hope that paywalls — increasingly erected by such newspapers as the WSJ, with the NY Times following suit eventually — would be a solution were firmly dashed by the horrifying results of the Newsday experiment. The “fourth” daily in the New York Area, Newsday is known as the daily paper of Long Island. After putting their content behind a paywall for three months, the total number of paid subscribers at $5 a pop?

35.

35.

35 2 For now, the iPad rolls over and goes to sleep

You can bet that number is haunting a lot of people. You could literally have made more money with a dinky display ad for a week. Of course there is a caveat:

The reason for this awful performance, according to Newsday, is that the website’s offered for free to “Millions of Cablevision customers in the New York tri-state area and 75 percent of Long Island households, including all Newsday home delivery subscribers, now have exclusive access to newsday.com at no additional charge,” Newsday said in a statement reported at Paid Content.

Watching the listed reasons why Newsday got only 35 people in three months is totally funny, and shows to what lengths people will go to protect a dumb idea. All of the points made miss a common fact of Internet life: people pay to be entertained, not informed. It’s easy to click from one site to the other to get what the user considers is the same information.


While Apple seems eager to be the middle for saving Old Media, despair over these kinds of figures isn’t helping any.

I, for one, am not champing at the bit to get an iPad — a feeling I’m sure will change once I actually see one, but for now, I’m happy with my wee little iPhone. And, perhaps oddly, I see the lack of multitasking as more of a benefit for the iPad/iPhone appliance. If this is the gadget that will save books, why the hell would I WANT to be doing 20 things at once? The appeal of “Curling up with a good book” is part of why e-readers have comfy cozy “K sound” names: Kindle, Nook. I do not want to read Wuthering Heights, answer my email, retweet, look at the temperature, write a a blog post, edit ringtones and play Zelda all at the same time. I do enough of that on my computer as it is….and it’s psychologically taxing! I think we need a little bit MORE attention focus, not less. A lot of us would love to snuggle up with something that doubles our attention economy.

Anyway, do you really think the Tricorder could really analyze alien blood samples and look up hailing frequencies on Wikipedia at the same time?

Comments

  1. “I think we need a little bit MORE attention focus, not less.”

    AMEN to that!

  2. Not Uhura’s tricorder. But Spock’s, for sure!

  3. Tricorder? No.
    PADD? Yes.

    http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/PADD

    (And was anyone else surprised that, when Start Trek’s 40th anniversary was celebrated, nobody noticed how much of that future exists today? People walking around with earpieces, portable communicators, multi-ethnic workplaces…)

  4. Remember, Newsday = The Dolan family. What did you expect?

  5. The most common example of multitasking people seem to be bringing up is listening to music at the same time as doing something else, whether that’s reading, reading e-mail, writing a document, etc. It seems just very bizarre that you are going to need a secondary device to listen to music while using the iPad.

    However, all the faults people have with the iPad leaves plenty of room for competition for other tablet devices like the HP Slate. Unlike the iPhone where it took years for other companies to catch up, there seemed to have been a number of planned tablets for a while now. By the end of 2010, there’s likely going to be all sorts of tablets out there, with all different operating systems, leaving a lot of choice for consumers.

  6. The most common example of multitasking people seem to be bringing up is listening to music at the same time as doing something else

    This is, in fact, one of the only real multitaskings the iPod touch and the iPhone can perform (the other is the ability to continue talking on the iPhone while you open another app). And that’s only for iTunes, not if you wish to listen to a third-party radio or audio app. So without having seen or played with an iPad yet, I’m just guessing that multitasking, it will include.

  7. I don’t need to do 20 things at once, sure, but listening to some music while working, surfing or reading comics, that would be a good idea. As always, I think that it’s not the tool that gives bad habits but the user. :)

  8. I’m actually more interested in the other, competing devices the iPad inspires than the iPad itself.

  9. @Torsten: that’s all sorta mitigated by the fact that we’re not cruising in space at warp speed on giant spaceships yet. I mean, PADDs were cool, but it’s not like anyone thought that technology was impossible… only inevitable. (Like that communication thingie jammed in Uhura’s ear? I’m pretty sure Air Force pilots were flying around with similar things in their ears in those days as well.)

  10. Synsidar says:

    MSI Touchscreen tablet

    Above is MSI’s touchscreen tablet, which uses the Google Android OS and has multitasking, planned for release this year. That’s why negative reactions to the “iPad” name are significant. Consumers will always have alternatives.

    SRS

  11. I don’t think Apple is interested in multi-tasking simply because they want consumers to keep buying their other devices. Since Apple owns both hardware and software they are dependent on people buying an iPod, a iTouch, an iPhone, AppleTV, a laptop and now the iPad.

    To combine many of those things together, or allow multi-tasking on some, would simply shoot their sales in the foot on others. Apple’s attempt to niche so many devices has made them their own enemy. Especially nowadays when convergence is so high among consumers.

    I like what Synsidar is saying. That we have alternatives now. This will be key. The days of world domination might be a thing of the past (as seen in so many other arenas).

  12. I think the WSJ has always had a paywall. And made money off it.

  13. Danny Fingeroth says:

    I salute you for using the phrase “champing at the bit” correctly. Thanks, Heidi!

  14. Tommy Raiko says:

    @Torsten:
    “And was anyone else surprised that, when Start Trek’s 40th anniversary was celebrated, nobody noticed how much of that future exists today?”

    I seem to recall a fair number of fiction-Trek-tech-becomes-real stories over the years. For example, wasn’t that “How William Shatner Changed the World” Discovery Channel special aired around the 40th annivesary, even if not directly tied to it?

    @Chad:
    “I think the WSJ has always had a paywall. And made money off it.”

    The WSJ’s success at getting users to pay for its content seems to be recognized as something that not many other papers would be able to replicate. Basically, it’s got unique, specialized content that folks are willing to pay for, which, frankly, is not something that many other papers can claim. (At least not to the same degree…)

  15. I’d also suggest that a lot of those WSJ e-suscribers either write it off as a business expense, or bill it to their employers.

  16. The Beat says:

    Danny: I have seen a horses teeth up close.

  17. The WSJ’s success at getting users to pay for its content seems to be recognized as something that not many other papers would be able to replicate. Basically, it’s got unique, specialized content that folks are willing to pay for, which, frankly, is not something that many other papers can claim. (At least not to the same degree…)

    They wouldn’t be able to replicate it now, probably, but if quality outfits such as the New York Times and the Washington Post hadn’t thrown everything out there for free when the Internet hit, who knows what things would look like now. But the genie is out of the bottle now for sure.

    That said, it’s also worth noting that TimesSelect, the New York Times’ last attempt at a paywall, was making money before they abandoned it.

  18. @JH: That’s probably true. The university paid for my subscription when I was in business school. Though I paid for it willingly for a year after graduation because there really are some good, business-related articles there.

  19. It looks really nice but I was actually hoping for something a little bit larger (about an inch all the way around) and with a little more than 1024×768 resolution. I think we need a slightly larger device to make a great comics reader. Also they really are charging TOO MUCH for the RAM level upgrades.

  20. “The most common example of multitasking people seem to be bringing up is listening to music at the same time as doing something else, whether that’s reading, reading e-mail, writing a document, etc. It seems just very bizarre that you are going to need a secondary device to listen to music while using the iPad.”

    It’s bizarre because it’s NOT TRUE.

    Spend two minutes fiddling with an iPhone and you’d know this. You CAN listen to music while browsing the web. You CAN jump from the web browser to your mail to your notepad etc without losing your place. Yes, the iPhone (and iPad) puts some *limits* on multitasking, which is what the OCD technerds complain about. But it does the most-wanted forms of multitasking (music while surfing, incoming calls while playing Tetris), and it handles basic task-switching rather nicely, and that’s what most people really want the iPad to do.

    This whole “the iPhone doesn’t multitask” meme is nothing more than anti-hype propaganda started by Palm, to spotlight the one feature that their OS does a little better at than Apple’s. If you swallow the anti-hype without questioning it, you’re just as bad as the Apple zealots who were sure this was going to be the JesusPad.

  21. “Also they really are charging TOO MUCH for the RAM level upgrades.”

    Those aren’t RAM upgrades; they’re flash storage upgrades. That’s completely different technology, so judge the pricing accordingly.

    Please, people: Try to know what you’re talking about before you start talking.

  22. “The WSJ’s success at getting users to pay for its content seems to be recognized as something that not many other papers would be able to replicate.”

    They also have an audience who were mostly raised in the Church of the Marketplace, where paying a fee for a service isn’t just a practical necessity… it’s a sacrament. :)

  23. Jason A. Quest-

    I know the difference between RAM and FLASH…not sure why I typed that. I do PC repair and have handled hundreds of RAM modules over the last 10 years. So I know what I’m talking about….and FLASH tends to be CHEAPER than RAM so they are still charging way too much for the upgrades.

  24. Brian Spence says:

    That “35” number has been tossed around a lot, but that’s because most people can get newsday online for free. Print subscribers get it, certain cable outlets give it for free, and only 35 wanted to pay just for the online component. When you get it free with a print subscription, why even 35 pay for it is a miracle. Even Newsday says so, who are not freaked out by that number. Read that article again Heidi.

  25. Here’s a site comparing 8 different tablet computers coming out soon:
    http://gizmodo.com/5459308/slate-showdown-ipad-vs-hp-slate-vs-joojoo-vs-the-android-tablets

    By the time 2010 is over I imagine that comparison chart they have will expand. Which I think further backs up my point that the iPad likely won’t dominate the tablet market like they did the phone market with the iPhone, where it took competitors years to catch up.

  26. The Notion Ink Tegra Android smartpad has a really sleek form.

  27. Joe Krolik says:

    Keep in mind that this is just the first iteration of the iPad. When the iPhone first came out the grumbling was essentially the same. You can see how poorly (he said sarcastically) that device has done and will continue to do. As more sophisticated models have arrived and new versions of the OS have been made available (OS versions 4.x will be available shortly), more and more people have flocked to the device. The same will be true of the iPad. There are many further innovations for this device yet to be implemented. The best advice I can give any of you is, if you can do it, buy as much Apple stock as you can, especially after the recent market declines vis a vis the SOTU speech and the President’s apparent anti-business bent. You will be very glad you did when the current fiscal year wraps up.

  28. “35”

    Ouch.

  29. Yes, the iPhone *has* done well… but it was a phone with added gizmos. It replaced an existing device, namely the less-good mobile phone. As near as I can figure out, the iPad offers some of the features of a smartphone, and some of the features of a laptop. But it can’t replace the phone and it doesn’t sound like it’s powerful enough to replace the laptop. So you’re going to end up buying a third device to replicate the functions of two other devices that you’ll still need to own. That’s going to be a tough sell.

    I can kind of see the appeal of having something like the iPad for web browsing on the sofa or, I guess, reading in bed. But I don’t see myself buying one just for that.

  30. You’re right. Even as the U.S. economy dries up, there’ll be plenty of insourced foreign skilled professionals to buy technological frippery such as the ipad. The professional class, foreign born or American and its offspring, the urban hipster, are Apple’s demographic. In return, Apple products are socioeconomic status symbols for the groups mentioned earlier.

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