The fall session of iPad Envy has begun and it’s time to assess how far Apple has come with improving the iPad. The iPad is a wonderful product. Apple, however, is losing it’s gloss. I have said this before and I will say this again, Once Jobs releases a product he seems to lose interest in it. His eyes are set on the next big thing.
If you’re a movie producer, this is fine. Once a film is in release, no one really expects an upgrade. Sure, some films with a huge fan base of film nerds, and I am a film nerd, will be rereleased as a director’s cut. Some movies, such as Blade Runner, will be rereleased with a new definitive final director’s cut every three years. And I will buy the Blu Ray release. But most films don’t really need, or deserve, a director’s cut.
For instance, I don’t relish a director’s cut of Machete, Robert Rodriguez. What else can you possibly do, add more blood spatter? Include another scene where Lindsay Lohan plays a drug-addled rich kid who wouldn’t recognize a good life choice if Moses appeared with her options written on a stone tablet (in other words, playing herself)? Have a low rider flip over on it’s back wheels and drive backwards into an ammo dump to blow another dozen rednecks with machine guns to kingdom come? Find one more way to kill Robert de Niro before you really, finally kill him?
It would be like adding frosting to a cake whose layers are already sliding apart because there’s too much frosting.
What I would like to see is the director’s cut of the iPad. The product we would have gotten had Apple not rushed it to release while Steve Jobs was still feuding with John Warnock and Adobe.
Continuing with the evidence that no matter how cool their product, once it’s released the Apple will always fall to the ground, let me review the bones I have to pick with Apple that they still haven’t addressed:
- No Flash: In the last month, three vendors I order from have added Flash content to their web sites as enhanced features (probably to piss Steve Jobs off). The Washington Post had what promised to be a great interactive presentation on how the Bush tax cuts affected me personally, but I had to pull my laptop out of its drawer and boot it up and wait for everything to load just to see it. On my iPad I could have checked it out in 30 seconds. I downloaded a brain training app by Luminosity.com to review, but most of the content was online. In Flash (which is kind of stupid for an iPhone/iPad app).
I don’t care if the sites send my iPad down in flames, Steve. It’s my iPad and I want the choice to burn it. It’s not as though we’re talking seat belts, air bags and side stream cigarette smoke. Governments are supposed to regulate, not businesses.
Wait a minute, you say, Apple just opened the developers guidelines to allow third party software platforms such as Flash. Yes, but from what I’ve heard in the news analysis, that doesn’t mean they will allow Flash apps to play on iPad and iPhone web browsers. Until I see that little Flash plugin available for iPad Safari and all of the better browsers developed while Apple turned its attention to the iPhone 4, I’m not buying it.
Flash me, Steve. Flash me now.
- No spam filters on iPad mail: I spoke to an Apple Genius and he said I can always go online with my service provider and apply spam filters at the source. He’s right, I can. But it’s a pain and I could accidentally block important mail. When I reminded him that Mac Mail has spam filters, his reaction was, “It does?” Then he told me iPad support people don’t know anything about Macs. Who are you hiring these days, Steve? And what does it say when your own people don’t use your product?
- iOS 4 sucks on older iPhones: I know iPhones aren’t iPads, but the more I see the more I fear for iOS 4 on iPads. The latest release (4.2) fixed most of the bugs but now my iPhone is slower than a dead snail waiting for it’s shell to decompose. My iPhone 3G goes to sleep before half my games load and iBooks takes two minutes to repaginate if I shift orientation (even by accident). I have to close the book I’m reading in iPhone Kindle and twiddle my thumbs while I watch the circular arrow spin so the book will sync with the reading location on the iPad.
I feel like I’m running Snow Leopard on a Mac Plus. The interface is cool, but if I have to launch an app and wait until I wake up in the morning to use it, it isn’t going to do me any good.
- In fact, I want my old iPhone 3G back. The Apple Genius guys assure me it’s impossible to restore iOS 3 to my iPhone because of the firmware updates. So update the firmware to accept iOS 3 again. I am not going to be forced to buy a new iPhone before I budgeted a new iPhone because Apple can’t get it’s act together.
- Safari still lacks tabs and in-page text search: And yet other iPad browsers can. How can you let the little guys beat you with basic features?
- No wireless support: Just about every app on my iPad transfers files wirelessly and flawlessly to my Mac. Except for Apple apps. How wrong is that?
- No iWorks support for iDiskI can back up any of my documents to iDisk from inside OfficeHD, Quick Office, Documents to Go and PrintCentral and was able to even before Apple decided to upgrade the iDisk app to iPad. But I still can’t save my iWorks files on iDisk from inside iWorks. Speaking of which…
- No folders support for iWorks. It would be so nice if I could create folders to organize my files in Pages and Numbers the way I can in those other apps. That way I wouldn’t have sixteen files scattered around Pages’ documents window forcing me to look through every one for the file I want. I suppose that’s on the agenda for iOS 4 for the iPad, but why do we have to wait? You can’t tell me the iWorks team has to wait on the OS team before they can improve their product. Hell, there has only been one upgrade to iWorks since the product release, and that one allowed us to see the Pages menu bar in landscape mode. Other apps have averaged three upgrades each since the iPad was released. Give us folders. Please.
- No new product launches until our iPads deliver on their early promise. I don’t care what cool device Steve wants to spring on us before Christmas. I’m not buying anything else only to have to wait for all the bug fixes for the Christmas device that have postponed the bug fixes to iOS 4 on the iPhone that have postponed bug fixes on the iPad because the development team’s focused for next Spring’s iFinger digital gesture device to wows the pundits and sells two million units.
Call me a whiner. The one thing I’ve learned is that Apple doesn’t respond to kind suggestions. People have to raise a stink.
Maybe Apple just wants to look cool without having to be cool. If they aren’t careful, they’ll turn into Microsoft without making as much money as Microsoft. And consumers can fall out of love with a company even after twenty-three years of loyalty.
They may even start buying the Windows iPad ripoffs just so they can see Flash content.
And that would be a shame for everybody but Microsoft.