Thursday, January 28, 2010

5 More Thoughts

Dang, I jumped in the shower and came up with 5 more thoughts.

$15 Data Plan

The iPad could be -- and I actually hope it is -- a trojan horse to bring a $15/250 MB plan to iPhone. If they offered it, I would take it up in a heart beat. I could then easily justify another $15 monthly plan for my iPad. I upgraded to an iPhone 3GS in the middle of September. That was 4.5 months ago. I have used 1.2 GB of data, or just a hair over 250 MB per month. I am frequently in WiFi range, but because of the hassle BYU's WiFi login, I never ever turn my WiFi on. That usage number also includes some heavy tethering action during CES.

What I am saying is that I could easily get away with 500 MB of data shared between 2 mobile devices for my $30 a month.

What I would /really/ go for, on top of a $15/250 plan, is a setup whereby AT&T would automagically upgrade me to unlimited on any months that I exceeded 250 MB. It could even pop up a notification or something.

Lastly, every time I'm with my sister and brother-in-law, my sister says "I want an iPhone" and my brother in law says "I don't want to pay $30 a month for an unlimited data plan." If they introduced a $15 data plan tier, I think iPhone sales would grow even more.

Excuse me, there's a SIM slot in your iPod Touch

I don't think it would be beyond the realm of possibilities to see a SIM slot *and* a camera show up in the iPod Touch come November. Of course, there's always the chance we'll get a camera and an empty space inside the iPod Touch where a SIM would fit -- but we can dream, right? Seriously though, same SIM slot, same data plans. iPod touch sales have now far surpassed iPhone sales. I'm sure AT&T would love to be making a little REVENUEEEE off that.

Speaking of 3G

If I've read it right, the iPad will do 2100Mhz 3G, which is the frequency of TMobile's 3G in the USA. The iPhone does not do 2100Mhz 3G. This opens the door for TMobile to provide iPad service, if they choose, and potentially iPod Touch data service come November.

In using the new Micro SIM standard, Apple gave AT&T a little bit of lead-time to grab customers, but left the door open for TMobile if they want to join in the party.

In using the Micro SIM standard in the iPad (Which has plenty of room, it would appear, for a larger SIM), Apple is ensuring that carriers all over will be ready to support MicroSIM for the iPod Touch, when it comes out in November.

So I have to pay for everything 3 times now?

I have some apps (Like InstaPaper Pro and LDSScriptures) that are great on the iPhone, and I was happy to pay for them. I'm not sure how the up-scaling works, but I hope that if they make a Pad optimized version of these apps, which are really no different than their phone counterparts, that Apple gives them a way to bundle the iPhone and iPad apps under 1 purchase price. It wouldn't be fair for them to charge for the Phone version and then give the Pad version away free, but I don't want to pay twice for an app if the only difference in the Pad version is that they checked "Compile for iPad" in XCode.

That said, some apps can be completely different with the increased screen space -- like the Brushes app they demoed. For those apps, I'd be happy to pay again. I like supporting developers.

Speaking of gateway drugs...

I wouldn't be surprised to see the iPad sold through the iPod sales channel. This means you could pick up an iPad at places you wouldn't be buying a MacBook at -- like WalMart and Radio Shack.

What about printing?

If I'm running Pages and Numbers, I'd better be able to print

What about loosening API restrictions?

The thought of controlling a Keynote presentation on the iPad from my iPhone kind of boggles my mind, and you know it's coming.

Last but not least...

Take note:

Apple's small touch-screen device, sans phone, is an iPod Touch, not an iTouch.

Apple's large-screen touch device is an iPad, not a big iTouch, not an iTouch Pro.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why the iPad will be a success

As an Engineer, I have come to accept that the design of any product is a byproduct of the tradeoffs you're willing to take to make something. This is a blog post on the tradeoffs Apple made in making the iPad.

First I have to confess, my fingers are motor programmed -- It's nearly impossible for me to type iPad without typing iPod first. Thanks goodness the "A" and "O" are on opposite corners of the keyboard, otherwise I'm sure I'd forever be fighting my iPhone over that one.

So it's here. Like it or hate it, the box is open, iPad is here. I'm already getting some mixed reviews. I've seen some that think it will be awesome, some who think it's lame. Interestingly, this isn't "split along party lines." I've seen Apple fans excited for it. I've seen Apple fans less than excited for it. Same for my Windows-using friends. Some are excited for it, some are not impressed at all. Me? I'm with John Gruber -- the iPad isn't the end all (Which is how the haters are looking at it -- I don't get this thing, so it's stupid), it's just the beginning of something much larger.

So, let me tell you why the iPad will be a success.

1 - First of all, none of this is new.

I have been in the Mac community for about 6 years now. Some of you have been using Mac's since 1984, to you, I seem like a young-tot -- but Apple has gained a TON of popularity in the past 2-3 even though I have only been in this for 6 years (As opposed to 26), I've seen a few things. I remember OS X before Spaces. Or Exposé. I remember Safari with brushed metal and Finder with Pinstripes. I remember when Bonjour was called Rendezvous, when Airport wasn't extreme, and when a PowerBook G4 with 512 MB of RAM was thin and powerful.

Off the top of my head, I can remember the introduction of the G5, the Aluminum PowerBooks, iMac G5, iPod Mini, iPod Nano. I was on my mission when iPhone came out, but I was back for MacBook Air.

EVERY time Apple releases something, tons of people complain.

At $249, only $50 cheaper than the third Generation iPod, everybody said the Mini was sure to fail. Instead it was a smashing success, quickly surpassing sales of it's bigger brother.

Many people said the MacBook Air was too expensive, and would be a market failure. While I will admit I don't see them often, I see 10 or 20 MacBook Airs for each Dell Adamo (Oh wait, I've never seen a Dell Adamo. Ever.) or Lenovo X-series laptop.

I'm not immune to this. When I first heard about the iPhone, I laughed out loud, and wondered out loud who would want to spend $500 on a phone with a glass front. Just over a year later, I would purchase my first iPhone -- for $249, or a whopping $100 cheaper than my first iPod.

About the only thing I can remember Apple announcing that brought universal praise was the switch to Intel chips -- and I'm sure the only reason I recall that bringing universal praise is that the details have faded over time.

This armchair's not new. Apple is not a company motivated by fear, they do what they want, and they only do things that they intend to do well.

2 - But what about the price. For $499, I could have a Netbook, or even a small laptop with some kind of Celery processor.

Have you ever used a NetBook? They are impossibly small, and having such a small computer is something very awesome -- don't get me wrong...but you can't get as much done on a NetBook as you can on a real laptop. This is where it gets very interesting. People want to compare the iPad to NetBooks, saying that NetBooks can do more. To some extent that's true, but I would say that 98% of what a netbook is going to be used for, the iPad can do just as well. If not, in many cases, better. This brings me to my next point.

3 - The experience will be awesome

I'm seeing a lot of people grumbling that this runs iPhone OS. Let's address this, shall we?

I already know what you're thinking, but do me a favor and ignore the fact that iPad doesn't multitask for just a minute. Will you do that for me? Thanks. I promise we'll address that, just set it aside for a second. Apple is claiming 10 hours battery life on that thing. 10 hours! Apple is not a stupid company. Apple had a skunkworks team running OS X on intel chips for years before they decided they had to make the jump. If you think they made a "selection matrix" (Which is engineer-speek for a spreadsheet) weighing the Pros and Cons of running a watered down Snow Leopard vs a beefed up iPhone OS, you can stop thinking that now. We may never know for sure, but I'd be willing to bet the farm that Apple has been running iPhone OS-based tablets side-by-side with Intel/OS X based tablets for months, even years. Obviously they were getting a better experience running a beefed-up iPhone OS.

Remember when I said Apple doesn't intend to do anything unless it can do it well? I know people were wishing for MacBook Pro sized power in a MacBook Air package for iPod Nano pricing. Those people will never be happy.

Seeing the direction they took with the iPad, I can see why a watered down OS X just wasn't the answer. You'd need a more powerful CPU in there, that would mean a bigger tablet, less battery life, more heat, and fans. Even at that, you'd probably be stretching the CPU pretty thin. You'd get an experience that was ok, but with little headroom.

By using iPhone OS, they traded a theoretical better experience (In using Snow Leopard) for a truly better day-to-day experience, and one with a lot more headroom. If there's one thing the press has already noticed, it's the speed of this thing. Quote John Gruber:

But: everyone I spoke to in the press room was raving first and foremost about the speed. None of us could shut up about it. It feels impossibly fast.

I had an original iPhone. It worked great, but they were on the bleeding edge with that thing, and there wasn't a lot of headroom. This was most evident when, say, you'd have music playing, you'd be in Safari, and a new email message would come in. Your music would sputter to a stop (and the keyboard would become unresponsive) so that the phone could muster up the "bling" sound for new email. Then everything would go back to working. The iPhone 3GS has none of that. It's snappy and responsive all the time. Even when your music is playing.

Instead of stretching something to it's limits, Apple put the iPhone OS on a processor that' more than capable of handling it. A snappy and responsive UI is the result.

Finally, as great as OS X is, it's not designed for touch. iPhone OS is. I used some tablet PC things at CES. If you're going to be using touch, you want an OS designed for touch. For example, cramming stuff into corners (Like the spotlight search) makes sense with a mouse interface. You can whip your mouse up there really easy, and even if you overshoot, your mouse is stopped by the edge of the screen. If you don't believe me, just activate the hot corners on your Mac, and then sit a stranger down at your computer and watch them flip out when they accidentally activate exposé and Dashboard.

In touchland, however, corners are a terrible place to cram things. On the crappy tablet PCs running Windows, bezel gets in the way of you touching the inset screen. Apple flush-mounts their touch surface, thankfully, but any kind of case with a lip makes the corners harder to touch.

iPhone OS is already designed for touch.

I am displaying a gross hindsight bias here, but I have to say, iPhone OS just makes a lot more sense.

4 - The experience will only get better

The iPhone went for over a year without copy paste. It eventually got it. iPhone OS will eventually get multitasking. This I am sure of. Apple can only do so many things at once, and to them it was more important to get the iPad out to market than to add multitasking to iPhone OS. Give it time. It will come.

5 - iPad will be a compelling extension of your desktop Mac (Heck, my mom could have one)

At CES we saw a lot of interesting things. One of them is that the iPhone/iPod touch is becoming an extension of everything. It controls TV setup boxes, home automation systems, even your car.

ProRemote is a $149 app that replicates a portion of the functionality of a $1499 control surface on an iPhone/iPod touch. It becomes an extension of your computer when running a program like Soundtrack Pro, because moving virtual sliders on your iPhone is significantly easier than point point point click click clicking on your Mac.

While it would be nice to run Final Cut Pro or Lightroom or Photoshop on the iPad, the computing power just isn't there yet. I can see lots of applications where the iPad becomes an extension of your computer. Imagine having a photo on your MacBook Pro's screen in Lightroom, and all the sliders to make adjustments on the photo down on your iPad. Your MacBook Pro would still be doing all the heavy lifting, but using the iPad would both clear up screen real estate so you could see your photo larger, and give you a much easier way to make lots of minute adjustments.

Imagine having Final Cut Pro running on your Mac, and FCP Remote on your iPad. On your Mac's screen? A split view of the viewer (Where you preview video clips) and the canvas (Where you preview the actual project you're working on). On your iPad? You'd have all your other FCP stuff, like the timeline and clip bin.

The other thing that really makes sense for these is that, in both cases, doing hours of photo or video editing while looking down in your lap would strain your neck. Having a touch-screen desktop screen sounds nice, but would strain your arm. This dual-screen setup, where the iPad becomes a literal interactive extension of your Mac, gives you the best of both worlds. You're still looking where it's comfortable -- at your computer screen -- for the most part, but you can pull the iPad down into your lap where it'd be most comfortable to use.

If I had $3,000, I could drop $1,500 on a Mackie Universal Control to help speed things up in editing in Final Cut Pro and another $1,500 to drop on a Euphonix to help in the color correction process. In the scenario I've outlined above, I'd need nothing more than an iPad. What's more outside of Final Cut the Mackie does me no good, but outside of Final Cut I can still do a lot with the iPad.

6 - It really does make a compelling desktop alternative.

Also, thinking back to CES, I took my 15" Laptop -- and what did I use it for? Practically nothing. We didn't want to pay $17 a night for WiFi, so we just used our iPhones instead. The iPhone worked great, it just felt a little cramped after awhile. An iPad would have felt even better, and instead of paying $17 for hotel WiFi, I would have just fired up $14.95 for a month of 3G service.

As a student, I still do way too much mobile to give up my MacBook Pro. For example, just this morning, I was editing video on campus, in the library, with my MacBook Pro and a 2.5" FireWire hard drive, which is powered from my laptop and needs no extra power brick. It was a beautiful thing. That said, under normal circumstances -- that is, when I'm not a full time student -- I hardly ever use anything close to the potential of my MacBook Pro when I'm away from my desk. A MacBook Air and an iMac is too expensive of an alternative for me, but an iMac and a iPad? That's a combination I think I could (eventually) pull off.

Especially, the iPad will work with any Bluetooth keyboard. I keep having these visions flash up in my head. Something like this (Hopefully a little cheaper though!), but with room for my iPad on the right, and a bluetooth keyboard build into the left side, with a stiff hinge in the middle so that, if I want, I can use the iPad just like a 9" laptop.

My mom has my old computer, a PowerBook G4. She does eMail and Web. She does word documents sometimes. She doesn't understand how to use a filesystem. For mom, I can totally see her using an iPad as her primary computer. I'd give her the little camera hookup thing so that she could bring her photos onto the iPad when she was on vacation, and we could sync her iPad to my dad's MacBook for backup.

Did I mention that the $99 iPhone 3G sells like hotcakes, even though you can do a lot more with the $199 iPhone 3GS? Did I mention the iPad 16 GB is only $20 more than a Kindle DX.

Frankly, I think this thing is going to be a huge success -- if not in it's first revision, in it's second revision for sure. You can count on it.

Apple's January 27th Event -- my running commentary.

Today at 11 AM Mountain time, Apple's big event was starting. I had Book of Mormon. AS much as I love these events -- half the fun is to have Steve Jobs guide you through the journey, all RDF style. If I can follow a live blog, that's fine -- you're refreshing every 20 seconds and stuff, and getting the info spoonfed to you. But getting it all at once? That's anticlimatic.

So since I was already missing the opportunity to watch it happen in realtime, I decided to camp out, live in a bubble, and do *NOTHING* until I could watch the Apple event.

The funny thing was, when I camped myself out in the Library, I felt ok -- but when I made a run to Target and out for dinner, this thing has been so hyped, I thought for sure there would be a billboard or something spoiling the fun. Thankfully, there was not.

If you haven't watched the video yet, and you plan to, and you want me to watch it along with my running commentary here and we'll watch it together.

12:20 PM - I'm sure the whole world knows by now. It is starting to kill me all the sudden. Maybe I'll cheat and look on Apple Rumors after class.

12:55 PM - I'm walking to the Library, and I'm trying not to look at people's computer screens in case they are on Apple's website.

1:02 PM -- Are you kidding me? The stream isn't up yet? I don't even dare venture out onto the internet. Hopefully I can get some homework done…but make no mistake…my attention is already shot for the rest of the day. (I planned ahead and got ahead on my homework. I knew this would happen.)

1:03 PM -- Still not up.

1:18 PM -- Still not up. Must have been BIG. Maybe they're waiting for their servers to recover from people visiting

1:38 -- Still not up. I'm calling 3:00 my official "Uncle" time. Of course, now that I have a value to erode...

1:49 -- Still not up. The trading day closes at 3:30. I wonder if there's some relation to their stock price and when they let the video it. I'll extend my "uncle" time to 4:00. That should be enough time for the market to close, and Steve to appear on CNBC. He always appears on CNBC.

1:52 -- I kind of wish there were a way to send out a flare, but I know if I turn my phone on or anything like that…the surprise will all be over. I've waited this long for the surprise, I can wait a little longer.

1:52 -- PS -- Still not up.

2:04 - Still not up. But this Ray Charles is pretty bomb.

2:14 -- Come on Apple web team! Stop playing with your tablet and get the stream posted!

2:15 -- I saw a red badge in my task switcher and thought I had open. It was the number of overdue tasks I have in OmniFocus (4)

2:15 -- Turns out I already completed 2 of the 4 tasks.

2:15 -- Still not up.

2:22 -- Listening to the Apples in Stereo off somebody's shared iTunes. Googling to see what' on Wikipedia. I'm listening to Apples in Stereo post the departure of their longtime drummer. I'm sure long time fans don't like the band with the new drummer, but it sounds good to me.

2:23 -- UP! Ok it's not, but I thought maybe if I wrote that before I actually checked…

2:29 -- Exploring this person's library some more. Note to self: Make sure that if iTunes library is shared, the Voice Memos playlist is not shared. Somebody uses their iPhone to record concerts…too bad it way overloads the Mic. What's up with the Dead Cab For Cutie in here? Does he think this is a regular playlist to put songs in?

2:30 -- No Miley Cyrus in this library. That's too bad. How am I supposed to have a party in the Library-U-A?

2:31 -- Still not up.

2:32 -- Unfortunately his rip of this CD breaks up at this point. Apparently this is one that somebody ripped and never got around to, you know, actually listening to. Time to find a new album.

2:34 -- Architecture in Helsinki? Sounds interesting…

2:42 -- Still not up.

2:51 -- SNU

3:03 -- Still not up, but I notice -- looking at my dashboard -- that AAPL stock is just slightly ahead of the market. Up .94% vs .79% for QQQQ. That's good…but I'm not sure how to read it. It could either be really good -- people were so impressed that Apple's stock didn't drop -- or really bad…people responded with a "Meh"

3:18 -- Nothing

3:32 -- Nothing. 28 more minutes…

3:52 -- Nothing…

3:55 -- Oh dear. It's not going to be up by 4. I have come so far though…I'm sticking this one out. I'm afraid that when I turn my phone back on…the whole world will have ended, and I will have just been chilling in the library the whole time.

4:55 -- I just did a lap around most of the whole floor of the library. This is a big place. Still nothing.

5:25 -- I give up. Phone is on (But notification for SMS is off…so hopefully that won't spoil anything). I'm going to dinner and run some errands.

5:26 -- 14 emails. I should take a communications holiday more often.

7:12 -- Back on campus. Let's see what's up.

7:13 -- YUSSSSS

---From this point the time will refer to the time into the movie.

0:22 -- Woah, that chair looks worn out. I think it must be the chair right out of Steve's office. They don't usually put big fatty leather chairs on stage…and I don't see a computer at all. very interesting.

1:00 -- Woah…no beating around the bush. Right into it. Oh, updates first. Of course.

2:21 -- Apparently Steve admires his stores empty more than full.

3:48 -- $15.6 B of revenue is a lot of money. It's cool that Steve says he doesn't think about that. I'm sure he thinks about it a little.

5:00 -- I don't know if I'd count Laptops as mobile devices…but ok Steve. I'll give it to you.

5:15 -- Are they going to change their name to Apple mobile?

6:00 -- PowerBook on the screen. I wonder if they had that photo lying in the archives somewhere, or if somebody had to go dig that laptop out of the archives so they could take a Keynote-worthy photo.

6:45 -- "Everybody uses a laptop and a smartphone" HA. It does feel that way sometimes.

7:00 -- He's talking about what lies in the middle. I'm curious too -- it seems like some people I have talked to want MacBook Pro power in a package smaller than a MacBook Air. With a touch screen. Oh there he goes *watching* videos he says.

7:15 -- Oh interesting. "Reading eBooks."

8:19 -- Uh oh…Steve's gonna rip Netbooks apart big time.

9;00 -- iPad. That's kind of a ugly name I think, but I'll take it.

9:12 -- Woah woah woah…it's got a HUGE…MacBook dispay-style bezel. I wonder if it has a rubber bumper around the front so you can lay it down face-down.

10:00 -- I'm not sure about this iPhone OS thing. I guess we'll see.

10:13 -- "Unbelievably great…"

10:50 -- Oh hi giant onscreen keyboard. "It's a dream to type on" -- that's what he says about the iPhone's keyboard too…I don't know that I'd call the iPhone a dream, but it's quite nice.

11:30 -- "Maps works with Google's back end…"

12:00 -- Youtube -- I wonder if iPad does flash.

14:00 -- There's a big "Plugin Missing" thing on part of the NY Times. That's not a full web browsing experience Steve…

14:38 -- "Want to buy some tickets…? Grab the pad that's in your kitchen…" -- Apparently he dreams of multiple Pads in each home. I don't think that's exactly far-fetched.

15:25 -- He sure is saying "and again" a lot

16:25 -- Metro paris map…because nobody on the Metro is going to mug you for /that/

17:11 -- I wonder how much practicing he's been doing…even after close to 2 years, I still can't type on my iPhone when people are watching!!

18:00 -- I finally just noticed how they're running the display off this thing…he hid a charger cable in his comfy chair. I didn't know Apple made black cords!

18:40 -- The audience is just eerily quiet. That's the only thing I'm not liking at all. Maybe we need the german guy on stage to talk about "Snow Leopard"

19:00 -- Griffin (and every other accessory company) is already working on a wall-dock for this thing. Show your photos while it charges! In that respect, I think it's actually more practical than a digital photo frame.

20:40 -- Hey, we see a shot of the control booth. That's cool.

21:15 -- To tell you the truth, I can really envision this being like another iPod. Nobody quite gets it right now, and it might not even take off for a year…but I think several years from now it will be big, and I also think EVERY manufacturer will have "Pad devices" on the market.

22:10 -- Still waiting for week calendar view in iPhone. Please please please.

23:30 -- Sushi Boat better double up their staff for lunch today! I'm sure they'll be sending Steve a TY card after the event.

24:30 -- WHY is nobody clapping or excited?? Did the RDF wear off, or do we just have a lame audience?

25:50 -- Don't show this sequence from UP -- I'll cry.

26:20 -- Audience: When Steve says "Isn't that wonderful?" you're supposed to applaud.

26:40 -- Tons of screens and backlit keyboards visible on the audience floor. Ha.

27:20 -- IPS -- super happy about that.

27:50 -- Hello FA Semiconductor.

28:10 -- I wonder how much they'll charge for each memory step up.

28:40 -- What is the battery life of this remarkable device?

29:00 -- The REAL good news is, with a dock connector, it'll be painless to add a little extra battery capacity if you need to. I'm looking at you Monoprice…

30:00 -- I don't know…I'm not sure the walled-garden approach of the App store is the right way to run the iPad. I want to do whatever I want on my iPad, not what Apple wants me to do.

30:35 -- "Right out of the box." -- Audience…that's another missed cheering cue. Gosh this audience is LAME. LAME LAME LAME.

32:00 -- This "Play the game tiny in the middle of the screen" is vaguely remnicient of all those years in PC gaming when display technology was far outpacing graphics card technology.

33:50 -- WE give you this GIANT screen, and STILL only 16 pixels per screen :-D

34:45 -- "Today!" silence…….clap clap clap…they were a little slow, but at least they didn't totally miss that clap cue.

36:06 -- Man, if you're a developer and Apple calls you…better clear your schedule for 2 weeks and hope you're all caught up on your sleep.

36:50 -- Apple is demoing a FPS game. Wow.

37:40 -- Whoops…that 2-finger swipe didn't quite work for the first grenade. Good thing the game is in demo mode!

40:03 -- I'm wondering if they'll make "Fat Binary" apps…iPad apps that work on iPhone too. I wonder if they'll be priced higher.

40:30 -- This woman is a little stiff and rehearsed. She should loose the heels…then she'd be more comfortable on stage.

41:00 -- "And it will save them to my iPhone, so I can read them whenever I want." That's way cool…but wasn't the point of the iPad a better reading experience?

41:51 -- "And everything you expect from the times." -- Another VERY LATE audience clap cue. Steve, just invite me next time, I'll help them know when to clap.

44:35 -- "You can also undo" -- I think they should make a left thumb tap and hold, followed by a left index-finger tap a gesture for undo. (Hit command+z on your keyboard and see what I mean)

45:41 -- Apparently suit-coat, untucked shirt, jeans was the required wardrobe for this event.

46:50 -- You know, they still haven't mentioned what the screen resolution is.

48:00 -- you know, I wonder if they're all sharing 1 sports jacket just off stage.

48:43 -- The shared sports jacket was too big for the baseball guy. He was able to borrow one of Scott Forstall's shirts though. I imagine it's tough when Apple tells you to report to Cupertino immediately, but won't tell you for what or for how long.

51:12 -- I have to tell you, it is pretty cool that they let developers develop and not have to worry about running a business so much. The brushes guy is probably able to support more users since Apple handles most the money, collecting taxes, etc.

52:00 -- "Amazon's done great job…now we're going to stand on their shoulders…" is that Steve's nice way of saying "We're grateful for the little people we are stepping on to get here…"

52:55 -- Books are cool, but -- like music -- I don't want to be locked into the iPad with books. I want my books to be able to go wherever I want. Then again, maybe Apple will make an iBooks app for Kindle. Hmmm….

55:45 -- You know, they are going to charge $1000 for this. They'll be successful because an Amaon Kindle DX costs close to $450 or $500 I think, and this does so much more. I really wonder how the reading experience will stack up to eInk though. Better is some ways…but it's a LCD, which is really a lot different.

56:40 -- ePub books, open format, he didn't say anything about DRM. That's delicious.

58:00 -- Again…do I have to buy iWork twice now, or does the Mac version come with the iPad version? That's all I want to know.

59:00 -- A little Apple dock dongle with a VGA/DVI connector and a wireless remote receiver…I can feel that.

59:40 -- I wonder if it's going to make the "Ker-ding" sound every time you plug the dock in.

1:00:00 -- you know, they haven't talked at all about how we get files on or off of the iPad. Am I going to have to get all the photos I want in my Keynote into the photos app? Guess we'll see.

1:01:18 -- Audience…multitouch gestures…that's another applause cue. Yeesh.

1:02:00 -- Oh come on…CLAP you people, CLAP!

1:04:18 -- Phil's line today is: "The most beautiful….you've ever seen." "The most beautiful ruler you've ever seen."

1:05:23 -- I get it. These are obviously publishing people. (They finally clapped…at the auto flow of text around an image).

1:08:00 -- I think the soft keyboard is probably great, but all I'm saying is that the first company to come up with a little soft-folio that's ½ holder for iPad, and ½ bluetooth keyboard wins. Then again…I wonder if they can load a driver in the background, or if that's not permitted on iPad.

1:10:00 -- $9.99 each. So there we go.

1:11:00 -- "Isn't it great?" Applause. Yuss! They're finally figuring this out.

1:12:00 -- With 3G…who? Forget the price! Who is the provider?

1:12:00 -- Aaaaand…we're forced into unlimited data for iPhone, but now we're tired on the iPad. Hmmm….

1:13:00 -- Sorry Steve, I'm not paying $60 for mobile data plus my broadband at home.

1:14:00 -- NO CONTRACT! Ok, I'm sold on that.

1:15:00 -- Yeah, but does it come with a built-in SIM ejector tool?

1:15:30 -- The only bad thing about streaming is I know I have 17 minutes left. What's Steve going to do with 17 minutes? That's not quite enough time for a Verizon iPhone. Maybe John Mayer will show up and do a quick demo of GarageBand touch or something.

1:16:00 -- Pricing time…get ready to scale the RDF up BIG TIME!

1:17:00 -- Ok, for the first time…I'm really on edge. What's the price?!

1:18:00 -- $499 for 16 gig. $999 for the 64, right? Still, that $499 is dang impressive!

1:18:30 -- I don't really want to pay for a 3G radio, but it would probably help resale. Impressive pricing. 6 new SKUs. That's aggressive.

1:20:00 -- Actually, as a iPhone user and lover, I bet I could get by -- hold it, look…they've built a picture frame app in. Ha! Sweet. Ok, I was saying, -- Oh keyboard dock. That's cool too. But how about a portable Keyboard dock? Now, what was I saying? Oh yeah, I bet I could get by with the $499 iPad. If that doesn't prove the RDF is out in full force, nothing will.

1:21:00 -- I love watching these videos. I'll download it and watch it 10 times tonight I'm sure. I'm ready for some white backgrounds, Jony Ive, and a song I'll go immediately to iTunes to buy.

1:22:30 -- You know, he didn't highlight the buttons on the side, or tell me if there was a speaker or Nike+ built in.

1:23:00 -- "Order of magnitude" more powerful. Scott Forsall is such an engineer.

1:23:30 -- Really though, maybe not while I'm at BYU, but the iMac + iPad ecosystem is suddenly a lot more achievable for me than, say, MacBook Air and an iMac.

1:26:00 -- I can see all those grandmas who are tired of squinting at their iPod touch screens going to this thing in droves.

1:27:00 -- A4 -- because the iPad is about as big as a piece of A4 paper. I get it. Cute.

1:29:00 -- "So, let's go back to the beginning" -- I just wanted to point out that these wrap-ups are a signature part of the Steve Jobs presentation style.

1:30:00 -- You know Steve Jobs follows the rumor mill when he takes time to dispel rumors that have been flying around like "It will be hard to use." "75 million people already know how to use it" pa-Jobs says.

1:31:00 -- Steve Jobs is one of the few people I know who can get away with saying the text on his slide verbatim. This is because he does it so infrequently, and only at pivotal moments.

1:31:56 -- I wonder what the significance of 600 and 1500 is on the road sign there.

1:32:00 -- Wow.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Rocky Mountain Drive Inn

I hardly consider myself a food critic, but I do love to try new places. I want to try as many of the hole-in-wall places in Provo as I can over the next few years, as I continue my education at BYU. I spotted 3 near center street just the other day, so when I was a bit hungry driving back to Provo today, I knew that I would wait until reaching Provo, and then try a new place here.

The place that won today was Rocky Mountain Drive In.

This little shack, just off center street in Provo, is your typical burger joint. Burger. Cheese Burger. Double Cheese Burger. Bacon Burger. Double Bacon Burger. Pastrami Burger. You know the menu.

I had a bacon burger. It was drippy and messy (No Carl's Jr. ad drippy), drenched in what appeared to be thousand-island dressing. It was pretty good though.

The scene was interesting. The place is probably 40 years old, and it looks it. I don't know that it's been remodeled since...ever. It seemed clean though. Whereas the Malt Shoppe on University looks 40 years old and your skin sorta crawls when you walk in, this place just looked ancient, but not in a disgusting sort of way.

They do have some special menu items. They have pretty good looking shakes, but lots of places in Provo have pretty good looking shakes. In addition to the standard fare, they have a Halibut burger, a Sea Food burger, and Fish and Chips -- featuring English Chips, not fries. I will be making a return trip to try the Fish & Chips.

They also have Beef and Chicken Teryaki bowls. I will be making a return trip to try those as well, because if you're not aware, I'm on a quest to find decent and reasonably priced, Seattle-style teryaki outside of Seattle.

Two other real standouts is the scones. You can get hot scones, topped with powdered sugar, and served with a little cup of honey butter. I ordered a 2 piece, and they were delicious. I didn't start into them until after my burger was done, but even then they were still warm inside. The insides were still warm and delicious, and I could have sworn that they were filled...but they were not. These scones are delicious, and I can imagine myself making the trek to that corner of town some time just for the scones alone.

The last thing worth noting -- when I was filling my water glass (No ice dispenser, but they give you a cup of ice if you ask), I noticed that one of the soda dispensers was labeled with a little piece of paper...nothing fancy. It simply said "Iron Port". Wondering what this meant, I went to Google on my iPhone. Cisco, the networking giant, has a division called "IronPort" -- but that obviously wasn't it. I was seriously starting to wonder if that spiggot on the soda fountain was just rusted out or something and they were making a joke -- this is the "Iron Port" but then I found it. Iron Port: " old-fashioned carbonated soft drink...somewhat of a cross between root beer and Caribbean spices and is very similar to the Cuban soda pop, Iron Beer." The Wikipedia article then goes on to list the 36 or so places where you can get Iron Port on tap, the Rocky Mountain Drive Inn one of them. If you know ANYTHING about me, you know that I LOVE kind of offbeat, non-mainstream beverages. When I discovered what that "Iron Port" was about, I nearly lept out of my seat and ordered up a soft drink right then...but then again, I have at least 2 or 3 other things I'd like to try at this place, so the Iron Port can wait.

Until next time,