So, you're gonna surf the net on a device that doesn't play Flash, doesn't read PDFs, and doesn't let you download ANYTHING that isn't sold by Apple?
Flash is a big problem, they won't allow it because it competes with their app store. But PDFs is no problem, even on a desktop I configure my browser to redirect PDF urls to Google Reader. Flash is a necessary proprietary evil, but I have no particular love for PDF in my life.
Thing is, you can already read PDFs on your iphone (just dropbox it to the phone or email it to yourself) so I'm not sure what you mean there.
In fact, I don't believe there's any way to load anything on to it that isn't sold by Apple, other than programs which are created specifically to break apples' stupid proprietary ****.
I have a jailbroken iphone, so I can do whatever I want with it. I'd do the same with the iPad if I felt too limited. But yes, this is a big downside for Apple products.
But it doesn't look like anyone else's mobile store is going to catch up anytime soon. For this very reason I prefer that the Android platform win, but they aren't getting any app traction yet and I think it will be years before they can compete with Apple.
Until there is a viable alternative platform with an app ecosystem I'm already going to be on this platform (my phone) and I have a lot of apps/games that would already work on it. Hundreds of dollars of lock-in already.
Sure, some things are just shiny looks and fanboyism. Not everything is functionality or innovation.
I'm no Apple fanboy. I have exactly one Apple product right now, my phone. I'd used every other mobile platform until then and nothing came close to it.
If Android apps catch up I'll say goodbye to Apple but I am not holding my breath for that right now.
Re-read the Yglesias post above - you've got the Ebook angle wrong. Any device which relies on proprietary formatted data is doomed to fail in the long run, because that isn't what people really want.
The device uses epub, this is an open source format. I'm not sure what your Yglesias guy is on about, they might layer on some DRM to make his point but so far this is just not known.
Incidentally, Kindle uses a proprietary format too. I agree with your qualms with this kind of thing, and for this reason I have not purchased a single Kindle book yet (I want to build a library that I can take to other devices and stores) but the big e-reader of the moment is more proprietary anyway and it's not like the DRM stopped people from buying iTunes music (which I also don't buy in favor of Amazon's mp3s).
But ultimately these quibbles aren't going to change something pretty basic: the death of paper has accelerated since Kindle's arrival and this is an ergonomic device for content consumption that will help further this along. With Apple's networks effects in their iTunes user base and apps they are going to have to screw up not to have an impact.
It isn't that this thing doesn't look like fun - I'm sure you could have fun with it. But innovative? In what way is it innovative?
Same ways the iphone was. Take the concept and make the usability and experience good enough to be useful. Microsoft has been trying to sell tablets for almost a decade. This one will sell and the reason is a much better user experience.
Laptop replacement? Nope. I just don't see who other than a fanboy could consider this to be Apple's next 'killer' development.
Well I'm no Apple fanboy, but I recognize paradigm shifts when I see one. This has the potential to contribute to several of them (tablet going mainstream, e-books going mainstream etc) and this will have deep impact.
This particular product is not perfect, and has a lot to criticize but I suspect it's good enough to get this started and this has a decent chance of pushing tablets closer to mainstream.
The pricing is what seals it. I was going to buy an e-reader because the iphone is too small to read on and a laptop too uncomfortable. This is a perfect reading device for me and if I can find a way to get DRM-free books it will dramatically change my reading habits (more books, just like how Kindle owners start reading more).
This is part of the analog to digital movement, and it's a nice step. The buzz around this thing was impossible to live up to but this is a very formidable content consumption device despite the many valid criticisms you've leveled towards it.
I cannot abide products that are gimped intentionally so the manufacturer can make money off of dripping content to the buyer.
So you gonna toss your iPod? Look, all your valid points aside they still manage to sell like hotcakes and change the world right? The iPod/iTunes combo has always been a horrible walled garden but they nail the user experience and that is what makes this kind of thing go mainstream.
Before they did that geeks did mp3s, but they made it mainstream. Similarly, geeks can do a lot more with the netbooks and tablets they have already bought, but this has a chance of going mainstream through the fanatical dedication to the user experience, even if they are proprietary, draconian and lock you in.
Whether or not you or I like DRM doesn't mean this won't go big. The public hasn't shown themselves to care enough about this so far.
And in any case, remember, as a reader this thing is going to have an open-format app. I don't have to buy iBooks to read on this thing, I can also choose kindle, or whatever other apps will be written for it.
What remains to be seen is who is going to sell books in open format, and that is a problem that is independent of this device. Before this came along I still didn't have an ebook store solution I'm happy with, but this looks like hardware I'd like to read it on.
Geeks tend to have a hard time getting usability, there's a reason most people use single-purpose appliances to do things that a computer can do (watch TV, movies, listen to music) and doing the most is the simple-minded programmer's measuring stick (Microsoft style, just add more features). If they can make the ebooks, content consumption and browsing the internet just work, like an appliance, this is