Well it's late Wednesday night and I don't have a blog post topic ready. It's not entirely my fault ... it's been a busy week, and I haven't really felt like doing anything other than sitting on the couch and playing video games. With all that said, the big news today is Apple's iPad announcement ... something that the internet has been collectively holding its breath for. If the internet could hold its breath that is. The iPad? It's basically a big iPhone. At least, that's the first impression, and it runs a lot deeper since the iPhone apps you already have can also be used on the device. So it is an iPod touch with a 9.7" screen with the ability to have 3G connectivity for mobile browsing on the go. Not too shabby. What's interesting about this is Apple really does have a lot of arrows pointing in the right direction. They have a growing user base of users who are able to make purchases in the app and music store, and now they are enabling that same user base to purchase books. Apple's making it easy for people to feel at home with this device. They can use all their existing iPhone apps, and the interface certainly seems similar enough to the iPhone that people aren't going to have to re-learn much.
In one particular scene in the giant movie hit Avatar, one of the characters moves a tablet-like device up to a screen and swipes over an image that they wanted to carry around with them. That scene stuck with me, and it made me think that I am very much looking forward to user interfaces of the future. I'm not saying that the Apple iPad is amazing enough to be the wave of the future. But what I am saying is this trend of making user-friendly and intuitive user interfaces that are ditching some of the mainstays of computing is at least starting to look a little like the future. It's 2010, and we may not have flying cars, but we do have some pretty cool devices. In the demo today, Steve Jobs showed off the New York Times app which lets you read the paper but also show video. That's starting to feel like the future right there.
I'm not sure that I'll buy an iPad right away. It would be a pretty awesome device to have on hand to browse my feeds on the couch. Instead of having my burning hot laptop making sure that my legs feel slightly cooked, there would be this sexy device that presumably did a lot of the same sorts of things I would like it to while I'm browsing the web. That said, my laptop is a pretty beefy machine that can do a lot of cool things -- including a lot of work-related stuff and some serious photo-editing. So I'm not exactly looking for a replacement for that anytime soon.
One thing that does kinda suck though about this whole thing is while the hardware is there and it sure looks awesome, Apple looks to have locked this down just as much as it has the iPhone. On a device like this, I would love to be able to, for instance, play online poker on it. It'd be great to have an iPad and be playing some, oh I don't know, Rush Poker on it. (Not that I can play, but I couldn't resist the urge there). The App store is great. I love it. There's just a few too many quirks to the Apple review process that either a) make particular kinds of apps (like online poker apps) difficult or impossible to get accepted or b) make the cost of developing an involved app a risky proposition if you don't know how Apple will respond to all your hard work.
Anyways, it'll be interesting so see what happens from here. How the market receives Apple's latest brainchild is something I'll be watching ... and who knows, maybe in a couple years I'll pick up a 2nd or 3rd generation iPad for myself.