By Greg Mills
People do the strangest things. Yesterday the shipping department at Apple's Elk Grove, California, shipping facility got a bomb threat. After evacuating the buildings and doing a thorough bomb squad search, an explosive device was not found. Was someone pissed off about Apple's shipping delays? Hopefully, the cops will catch the hoax perpetrator.
Allegorically speaking, suggestions that iPad 2 was going to "bomb" in the market place have been just as false at the explosive sort of empty threat. The Apple iPad 2 is flying off the shelf around the world. The lines of eager Apple fans are queued up to pay up for the latest tablet computer that seems to be redefining what a computer means to consumers of downloadable digital data. The tablet computers doomed to "bomb" in the market place aren't found at Apple.
Naysayers incorrectly panned the iPad 2 as only a minor update to the iPad 1. Frankly, the iPad 1 was so far ahead of the pack the competition has yet to compete with it, let alone the updated iPad 2, with the new A5 chip, faster processing, dual cameras, etc.
While competitors can beat individual items in the tech specs on iPad 2, the sum of iPad is greater than its parts. Sure, you can get more megapixels in the onboard cameras, more RAM, faster chips, etc., but the combination of the elements in iPad is just right to meet the super competitive price points and create the magic only Apple's iOS has. Actually, the bulk of the magic in iPad is in the software.
Will Apple improve the touch screen to "retinal" specs, someday? Will the "A" series proprietary Apple chip get faster, with more RAM? Will USB or LightPeak/Thunderbolt ports show up on future iPads? You bet, but for now, iPads still rock in any release or configuration compared to any competitive product that has launched.
Yesterday, my insurance man called me regarding insurance on our home and, knowing I am an Apple early adopter, he asked if I had the new iPad 2 yet. I told him that I was going to make do with my iPad 1 for a while, as the cycle of Apple product releases is much faster than the obsoleteness rate. It is sort of like people who felt like they had to have a new car every year. Get over it.
My iPad 1 is still a great slate computer and I use it every day. Apple's periodic system updates will keep sort of a blush of newness on my trusty iPad 1 for some time to come.
The truth is that the marketing "bomb" threat at RIM is likely true. PlayBook is more than likely to be a serious marketing bomb, due to a number of issues in both its hardware and the unfocused platform. The old saying about politicians -- "trying to be all things to all people makes you nothing to everyone" -- is certainly true of PlayBook. Touted early on as a business device, the marketing approach for PlayBook has become so unfocused and contradictory no one knows for sure what it is. "Certs is a breath mint, No Certs is a candy mint" sort of advertising doesn't fly on serious business equipment.
Working hard to overcome major lapses in PlayBook's offering, RIM recently added support for the Android OS, of some flavor, so Android apps will run ... or crash ... PlayBook. The Android phone OS was never intended to run on tablet computers. Google's HoneyComb tablet OS is still locked in for a while at Motorola in an exclusive deal to run the recently launched Xoom.
Things are not going so well for Xoom, so who knows what is going to happen there? Other tablet computers that require HoneyComb to run may have to wait out the exclusive time period Google gave Motorola.
While Nokia has gone with Microsoft for its upcoming smart phones, they have gone with Android HoneyComb for any Nokia slate computers in the works. The intellectual property lawsuits over Apple's touch screen patents may effect both the Android OS and HoneyComb.
Gestures and finger motions used by Apple's iOS are mentioned in patents that have issued and more that are to come out. If Apple can prohibit Google's use of those patented gestures that tell a computer what to do, Android will have to be rewritten to get around that patented technology. Apple is unlikely to license key touch screen gestures. "It isn't over until the fat lady sings" is true of both the Opera and Federal Courts.
That's Greg's Bite for today.
(Greg Mills is currently a graphic and Faux Wall Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. Greg is an Extra Class Ham Radio Operator, AB6SF, iOS developer and web site designer. He's also working on a solar energy startup using a patent pending process for turning waste dual pane glass window units into thermal solar panels used to heat water see: www.CottageIndustySolar.com Married, with one daughter, Greg writes for intellectual property web sites and on Mac/Tech related issues. See Greg's art web site at http://www.gregmills.info He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)