What will make or break the iPad


OK, I have all these links that I’ve been meaning to assemble into a weekendly clickables post for like a month now, but the fact is that they’re like 99% stale at this point. And what’s interesting is that it’s my iPhone’s fault — I do so much of my web consumption on that thing these days, and it’s — just — hard enough to turn around and create blog posts on that it frequently doesn’t happen.*

Which brings me to the iPad. Which, first of all, but correct me if I didn’t predict it almost a year ago? Yes, I did. The big difference between between the iPad and what I predicted is Mobile Safari, which I think is also going to determine whether the iPad will work for me (and, by extension, the billions of people who are LIKE ME). I currently use Perfect Browser, which is an improvement over iPhone’s built-in Safari, but uses the same rendering engine and is in many ways tied down in the same way. All sorts of little things are difficult or impossible to do.

Just by the nature of its larger screen, the iPad alleviate some of these pains. And we’ve seen that the Apple apps will be custom-tailored to the device, and more powerful then their small-screen rivals. But whether this turns out to be enough to make the device useful enough to earn its $500 price tag remains to be seen. We don’t need that much, really. But I think that it’s going to take opening up the platform to some true alternative browsers. I want Chrome and/or Firefox, otherwise I’m going to be spending lots and lots of time at the Apple store playing with this thing before I put my money down.

* If you want to be bored with the details, it’s just hard grabbing URL links from all sorts of places and jumping to my web-based blogging window and pasting them in, then jumping somewhere else and being able to return. Plus there are scores of little inconveniences everywhere, wherein websites recognize that you’re on an iPhone and put you, in one fashion or another, into a sandbox. Show me how to get to ask.metafilter.com’s search box in mobile safari. Show me how to post an embedded video to tumblr. The list goes on…

6 thoughts on “What will make or break the iPad

  1. I could be wrong, but I just really, really don’t see them opening it up to alternative browsers. Their motto is increasingly “The web we want you to see, the way we want you to see it.” Apple’s incentive is to keep everything in custom-built and device dependent apps so they can control as much of the user experience as possible, to maximize stockholder value.

  2. I fear you are correct. I am trying to stay optimistic on this one though, and I am comforting myself with Apple’s turnaround on having apps on the iphone at all.

    From a technical perspective, do you think it’s even possible for, say, them to allow an app like an iphone version of a Chrome browse, but still somehow credibly keep Flash out of the browser?

  3. > Show me how to get to ask.metafilter.com’s
    > search box in mobile safari.

    ask.metafilter.com defaults to the mobile version when it detects mobile safari. metafilter.com must have decided not to put a search box in the mobile version for whatever reason.

    There’s a link at the bottom of the page though that allows you to switch to the standard site which provides the search box at top. By pinching and expanding you can access the search box.

    By embedded video are you referring to unviewable flash video or embedded youtube videos?

  4. oh snap you’re right. However, not all sites give you the “standard site” option. The point stands.

    I’m talking about posting videos to Tumblr. For some reason on the moblile version of their site it doesn’t let you do it. Yeah, you wouldn’t be able to see them unless they were YouTube.

  5. I am a geek and so cannot help myself but love all thing “i” at the moment. I must admit to having the ipod, iphone and maybe in time the ipad. I am slightly lost though to its place in the world currently. That said I am sure we thought the same about the ipod as it came out before mp3 were so accessible. The problem I think they have now is that this does nothing really new over a notbook or even an iphone and with the no background tasks it is worse although I am sure someone will hack it to sort that problem out such as done with the phone.

    The main thing to remember is that each time one of these tools has come out we have thought it is a bit of an extravagance and inlikly to take off but in the end we have been proved wrong time and time again.
    Finger crossed from me that it will fill a nieche that the rest of us just have not noticed yet!!

  6. Yeah, the more I think about it the more I think i want one. I might be the fool sitting there next friday with a credit card for the pre-order.

    I just notice that I use my iPhone more and more to browse the web, even when I’m at home, right next to my “real” computer. There really is something to the “intimate” thing about holding something that size and shape in your hand.

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