I rarely watch sports on TV. The one exception is for the Super Bowl. Unless the Steelers are playing, I really don’t care who wins or loses. I look at it as a cultural event and a chance to keep up on the state-of-the-art for commercials.
This year’s game was a bit different. I spent the entire game with my iPad on my lap, checking Twitter and Facebook frequently to comment on the game, and see what others were saying too. It turned the passive TV watching experience into an interactive experience, which made it a whole lot more fun. And it should also scare the hell out of every TV maker and cable company who’s not Apple.
Why? Because if the Apple TV can recreate this experience for general TV watching, it will be a massively disruptive technology. All indications are the Apple TV will be based on iOS, so I would expect it to support all the key social media apps. Through one integrated appliance, watching television will go from passive observation to a participatory activity. That will completely change the nature of ratings and advertising, killing a lot of worthless dinosaurs in that space.
The only downside to the Apple TV will be Siri. I hope she learns to master four-letter words, because a lot more people are going to be yelling at their TVs, and expecting the TV to listen.
On its usual springtime schedule, the new iPhone was announced today. I didn’t take the plunge on a iPhone until last year’s 3GS, and I don’t see any reason to upgrade, but the most exciting part of iPhone 4 is what it means for the evolution of the iPad.
First we have the “Retina Display” with its ungodly pixel density. We’re still talking about a 3-1/2 inch display, so the ability to render microscopic text still doesn’t change the fact it is microscopic. It is still too small to read. But I can imagine the next revision of the iPad getting the same screen, which would be incredible with that much real estate.
Next, the front-facing camera for video calls. This is one of those features that should have been available for years, so shame on Apple for waiting this long. On the iPhone, this will just be more of a nuisance. We’ll see stupid teenagers and blondes in SUVs driving around talking in to their phones. Not a good idea. And let’s not even think about the implications with Chatroulette. Ick.
But on a iPad, the same front-facing camera becomes much more usable. I have family scattered all around the globe, and having the camera along with the big screen on the iPad would make it much more pleasant to do video calls. You would actually be able to see detail on the bigger screen. And the iPad would be big enough that you wouldn’t see anyone other than an absolute idiot driving around talking in to it.
Finally, the last major improvement I care about is multitasking. This was one of those abilities that will really allow the iPad to penetrate into what was low-end PC space. No more having to completely load an application from zero when hopping around, and you can have processes running in the background. I really see this as having much more useful potential on the iPad than the iPhone.
While I’ll definitely upgrade to the new iOS 4 on my 3GS, I’ll be keeping the wallet closed until the next iPad picks up these killer features. If we actually see a Google Tablet with a similar set of specs, we’ll really see an acceleration into the next era of touch-driven computing.
What the hell is wrong with Apple? They introduced new iMacs today and completely missed the boat. All them, including the top-of-the-line $2,000+ model, are still on Core 2 Duo chips. Not a quad core to be seen in the bunch. Given you can buy a loaded Dell Studio XPS with Intel’s next generation i7 quad core CPU for $1,400 that completely blows away any of the iMacs , I have a hard time understanding who they want to sell to.
I got over my Apple infatuation last year when it became clear that they wanted to become an even worse monopoly than Microsoft ever was, and were just missing the market share. None of their computers are particularly innovative, and if I want the *nix feel, I’ll just load up Linux. They could have used the new product release to at least show they were competitive, but instead chose to underwhelm. You would have to be insane to buy one of these “new” iMacs when there is so much better hardware to be had for less money.