Macworld 2010 special iPad event liveblog
We are live from the floor of Macworld 2010, where they're be talking about the iPad in a special event feature Jason Snell, Macworld editor-in-chief, and a panel of industry experts. We have heard that won't be an actual iPad on the show floor, so it's not clear whether we'll get to see the device, but we will hear commentary and insight on what the iPad means for Apple and the world at large.
After the break, find an updating liveblog of the event as it happens, straight from Moscone Center in San Francisco.
Note: Entries below are listed from most recent to earliest, as per our liveblog format. If you want to read the liveblog in chronological order, read from bottom to top.
Apologies to Dan Moren for misspelling his name, which he made a point of telling us when he stopped by the booth after the session. Whoops! Our bad.
2:08PM Thanks for reading, everybody! Stay tuned for more news from Macworld 2010 through the rest of the weekend from TUAW. The show ends today in San Francisco, but we have lots more videos, demos, and information to share with you, so be sure to come back and read more!
2:07PM Jason: Thanks to all the panelists, thanks everyone for coming. No time for a Q&A, but if you'd like to talk, just come on up.
2:06PM Andy: How easy will it be for anybody to get content into the iBooks store? If it's as easy as the App Store, that's one thing. If it's as hard as getting into iTunes, that's another. If Apple manages to get a bookstore that allows anyone to get in there, putting every piece of content in one icon, then the iPad clears the table and wins, but if it's like other tablets, then we'll see many competitors at this time next year.
2:05PM Ryan: It reminds me of the original iPhone: "Where are the rest of the icons?" Hopefully they'll fill it up, maybe with live widgets or something like that. I think multitasking is the big question -- Apple knows they have to do it, and it's like apps during the iPhone's launch. It's going to happen eventually, so we'll just have to wait and see when it does.
2:04PM Ted: I would like to see 1) if there will be iPhone OS changes brought back from the iPad, and what hidden features we'll see there. And 2) what options are available for printing. Dan: Can I use it as a phone? Or a camera? (laughter) No, when we saw it, we said, the screen looks kind of empty, doesn't it? You can put about six apps in the dock, so I think we'll see a newer design for the homescreen, something that takes more advantage of the extra space. Something more appropriate for the product rather than just a large iPhone.
2:02PM Jason: Frasier Spiers said do you realize how amazing this will be in education? And yes, you'll see a real change there. One last question: what is your biggest unanswered question about the iPad?
2:01PM Andy: It will lend credibility to the idea of computing via tablet, and Android and others will follow that path in another year or so as well. It'll finally break us free from the "type on this, look at this" paradigm we've been stuck with.
2:00PM Andy: We'll also see a halo effect. Star Wars didn't invent the sci-fi movie, but it showed that sci-fi wasn't the problem, bad movies were. So tablets aren't the problem, bad tablets are, and the iPad will remind people of that.
2:00PM Andy: iPad won't be a big hit until 2011 -- it will take a while after the people in this room buy them to show them off to the normal civilian, and the next time they need a portable computer, they'll remember the iPad they saw on the airplane or in the classroom.
1:59PM Ted: I also think we'll be surprised. Third-party developers will surprise us. Jason: Right, apps are front and center on iPad, and we only had web apps when the iPhone came out. Andy: I don't believe that tablets have been tried and failed, I don't believe they've ever been tried. No tablet I've seen compares to the iPad -- tablets I've seen are a desktop computer in tablet form, the iPad is an actual tablet.
1:58PM Ted: This is also the ultimate remote control. We'll see it controlling a more digital home in the next few years, and the iPad is the way to control it. Turn on stereo, run lights, control thermostat, the iPad is made for that.
1:57PM Jason: What about people who use only a fraction of a computer -- only email or only web browsing? Ryan: Sure, it's fine if netbooks get assassinated by the iPad -- around the house computer. But it's still not going to take the place of productivity or when I need to go on the road. In addition to, but not a replacement for. Ted: Agreed, around the house computer instead of a laptop. I'm optimistic about the long-term as well -- it's not there today, but things will change. Majority of people with a computer today don't really utilize it to the full extent, and the iPad will satisfy those folks.
1:55PM Ryan: I'm not so sure -- you need feedback, you need tactility, you can type fast because you need the keys and you need to know where they are. Apple did release a keyboard dock -- the tech may change, but we're not there now, and it's going to be a while before we abandon the keyboard or the traditional computer. Steve even acknowledged that it was an in-between device.
1:54PM Dan: Younger people will be the one to watch. When this becomes an option, will people not bother to learn or use the traditional mouse and keyboard? We're used to it, but if you look at someone learning, you realize the challenges behind the mouse and the cursor and the traditional interface. There's a huge disconnect, and especially for kids, we'll have to see if they prefer the iPad to the exclusion of traditional computing. Their intial reaction is to touch.. which is why you don't take them to museums (laughter). When kids grow up with this, will they wonder what's wrong with us for using archaic keyboards and mice?
1:52PM Jason: Time to talk about the future. What impact will the iPad have in the next five years? What about the tablet market? MS said a while ago that tablets were the future, and they're a flop so far, basically. Will we see a significant change in tablet computing or how we use them?
1:52PM Jason: Some people don't mind reading on screens like the iPad, some people do. There will be options no matter what. Kindle is for reading books, iPad has more functionality. Please no, Amazon, put in an API for apps -- its strength is reading books. Ted: Will you feel that way when you have to carry two devices? Dan: I still carry an iPhone and an iPod, but then again I'm really strange.
1:50PM Andy: We already have an iPad nano, it's the iPhone. If you want something with less or more functionality, you've got choices.
1:50PM Dan: They can totally coexist, just like the original iPod was still around after the iPod touch. The iPad won't kill the Kindle any more than the Kindle killed the book.
1:50PM Andy: The $500 price point is now radioactive if you're an ereader. But you can do very well at a lower price point. Ted: I also think there will be a cheaper iPad, just as the iPhone dropped in price after it came out. Jason: I can see a day when the Kindle is free. Ryan: Absolutely. That's the future of Amazon's business model. It's not going away.
1:48PM Ryan: The question is: are you going to want to read on the iPad. Comic books make a ton of sense, but I didn't want to read a book on the iPad -- too bright, colors too vivid, I feel like the contrast on the Kindle is better for certain reading. Books will still be best read on e-Ink. Jason: I agree that even with the iPad, there's a future for something like the kindle or a more traditional ereader. Ted: I've read books on my iPhone and it's not painful by any means. I think from a price perspective, the Kindle is a hard sell. Dan: Ha, well the large Kindle is a bad investment anyway.
1:46PM Dan: Bookstore wasn't even active in the iPads we used -- the icon was there, but it didn't work, we haven't even seen it yet. Jason: A Kindle app for the iPad will be interesting, too. Comic books, thanks for mentioning those, because comics on the iPad's bigger screen will be a big deal.
1:45PM Andy: I'm co-authoring an app that will work as my printing press -- once the press gets built, then it's just making the content. There's always an outlet, as opposed to a third-party where you have to wait for approval.
1:44PM Andy: Application-based content is here to stay -- designing your own app can help you release content your own way. Jason: Except that costs more money. Build your own app is great, but some devs can't do that. Maybe a third-party will, but not everyone can do their own.
1:43PM Andy: iBooks won't be the most signficant part of the periodical delivery mechanism on the iPad -- even comic book and periodical publishers aren't supporting the iPad so much as tablet devices in general. They're using Webkit -- not platform specific, but iPad included.
1:42PM Andy: The iBooks app is a quiet piece of news, but that's an incredibly significant announcement. That app that we tried that day was probably the least functional of all the apps on there -- will it freeze up, will it slow down? It's downloadable because it's not ready in time for shipping, and Apple understands that the app will have to evolve quickly and update often.
1:41PM Ted: A semester's worth of books on the iPad at (hopefully) a fraction of the cost, not to mention that the used market could possibly be gone for good, a good thing in publisher's eyes. Jason: Lower the price of the new textbook, make more money back on the lost used market. If they'll agree to that, which they probably won't.
1:40PM Ted: I want to get back to books for a second. Textbooks will change thanks to the iPad for sure.
1:39PM Jason: There will be apps for newspapers or magazines, but it'll have to be someone else or they'll have to make their own, and that's a fractured space. Ryan: Apple could have changed the game on that, but they aren't doing that now.
1:38PM Ryan: Except that book aspect here is books. There's no periodicals for the iPad right now, no iMagazines. If Apple had created a standard or introduced an app like the Kindle, maybe revolutionary. But all they're talking about right now is books. There's no solution for the industries that are having trouble.
1:37PM Dan: Still, the music industry lost the battle for DRM, will that happen to book publishers? Andy: The web was an experiment that absolutely failed for books and magazines, and what it did was train the average consumer that a web browser is free -- charging for web content isn't right. But the Kindle taught that produced content by professionals does cost money, and the iPad can run that same market.
1:36PM Andy: It's a computer, so it can do whatever devs and content publishers want it to do. Apple is using epub, which is remarkably flexible for sharing and lending books and licenses, even to libraries. So it could make it easier to share and borrow books -- your local public library as a version of Amazon.com. "There's a license available for Tom Clancy's book, I'll sign that out." Dan: Sure, libraries may have applications even -- if they can find the money.
1:35PM Dan: It seems like the early days of the music industry's digital revolution, where publishers want to lock things down. It's a good idea for convenience -- a whole library in a device. But losing that freedom to content and sharing worries me.
1:34PM Jason: When this product was rumored for months... Ryan: Years... Decades.... Jason: When Nostradamus predicted the iPad (laughter), ebooks were a big deal. What does this mean for books and newspapers and magazines?
1:33PM Ryan: It's not as intimate of an experience on a laptop, but it's a little more convenient. Jason: Accessories will be key -- cradles, docks, stands. Ted: Two different modes -- primarily a consumption device, like a book. But more serious work will require a keyboard, stand, different environment.
1:32PM Jason: In the testing area at the event, iPads were on raised platforms, with each one having an Apple employee told "if you let this thing out of your sight, we won't just fire you, your family will end up wondering what happened to you." Andy: Glossy front. Not a problem with a notebook, but what about a tablet? We'll see. Dan: It's easier, I can tilt the iPad anyway I want. Ryan: You also don't have to be holding your laptop at all times, but the iPad will have to be held up most of the time.
1:30PM Andy: That'll be interesting to see what happens in real life though. Apple events are magic acts -- they're planned. When Steve was using that book on stage, was the chair even designed for him to hold the iPad in the right place? What will it be like to hold an iPad (1.5 lbs) while standing or trying to do something in a weird position? What about when people see what you're doing in a coffeeshop, or at a table? We will have to see.
1:29PM Ted: People that are happy with an iPad today will be happy with a laptop in three or four years. Dan: That's a bold statement. There's a duality between iPad today vs. iPad in three or four years. But there is a ubiquity to computers today, and we've all adapted quickly to having them around in the same places the iPad will be -- on the couch, in the kitchen, and so on. It's nice to have something that doesn't make you feel like you have to match to it, but it matches to you.
1:27PM Ted: The iPad can't do everything that a Mac can do, but the release of the iWork software was an opening salvo. You can start using this as a productivity machine -- you can't use it tomorrow, but look how far the iPhone has come thus far.
1:27PM Andy: There are two checkboxes for me as a user -- I need to write a lot at any given moment, and I need to transfer files on and off of it, and the iPad meets both needs just fine for me. This will be as transformative a product as the original Mac was.
1:26PM Jason: Is it right to say that Apple is taking another crack at what computers are, and is it the right approach? Andy: Yes, I think so. Computers don't have to have file systems or browsers, they just have to solve problems, and the iPad still does that.
1:25PM Andy: I agree -- if you have a system level switch, it even solves the problem of support. If something breaks, make sure that override on third-party apps is turned off, and you're back to working paradise.
1:24PM Dan: I'm playing devil's advocate, because I agree with you, but Apple's philsophy is that. They don't want you to be a tinkerer, because they aren't aimed at tinkerers. We don't agree with that, but it's their product, even if we're buying it. You can do what you want, if you go down the jailbreak road, and people will always find a way. But it is a lot harder than it needs to be, even if I understand why Apple is doing that.
1:23PM Jason: Yeah I think there's room for non-App Store apps, but App Store apps would get preference. Ryan: Yes, the App Store is literally a revolution in software distribution. But Apple is not bugding on their philsophy at all. There's no reason why you shouldn't be able to set the override switch and do what you want.
1:22PM Ryan: 3rd party apps are dangerous, but as long as you warn users, what's the problem? It is my toaster oven, right?
1:21PM Jason: App Store -- will it work the same on the iPad, will we see the same iPhone issues? Andy: If it works, then great. If not, the weaknesses will be more clear. I want a computer that will potentially will always work, never crash, will always run software. The win from the App Store concept is that you get a more stable machine at the expense of freedom that you might not excercise anyway. Steve Jobs is a benevolent tyrant -- he'll give you everything you want, all he demands is absolute obedience, and you'll be fine.
1:20PM Ted: What do you care, I said? And no, they say, it will degrade the experience of using the toaster oven. And one more thing, they said -- those poptarts in your pantry won't work with your toaster oven either -- you didn't buy them directly from our CuisineArts store. Plus, they'd actually rejected Poptarts from the Art Store. Extended metaphor -- if the iPhone was a toaster, Ted would have issues getting it to do what he wanted.
1:18PM Ted: All of the closed things concern me as they apply to the iPad. He's telling a story about how the lower story of his house is very cold downstairs, so he decided to rig up a toaster oven to serve as a space heater. He rigged it up with an extension cord, and it didn't work. He called tech support, and said he was using an extension cord, and they asked if it had a "Made for Cuisinart" sticker on it. It didn't, so he bought a special Cuisinart cord, but it still didn't work. Called back tech support for the toaster, and finally had to admit he was using the toaster oven as a space heater. "No," they said, "you're not authorized to do that." Terms of purchase actually prohibit "jailbaking" (laughs from the audience).
1:15PM Ted: On the record, I think the iPad will be a great success, so I like it, I'm buying one. But I expect the iPad is still a closed platform, and it will not replace laptops and more complex computers.
1:14PM Jason: Ted is here, even though he didn't use the iPhone, because this seems like Apple saying "we're moving the ball forward" in computing. This is a new paradigm -- touchscreen, direct interaction. iWork is going from Mac straight to the iPad -- is this a netbook/laptop replacement or not?
1:13PM Dan: Yeah without the bezel, there's no place to put your thumb - we're so accustomed to the iPhone that it seems like wasted space, but once you use it, it'll fade into the background like everything else.
1:12PM Jason: The bezel got complaints, but we have thumbs and you need that extra not-screen space to actually hold it. Ryan disagrees -- he says the iPhone has no bezel and people hold it just find. Andy: This one I really need a grip on, though -- people may even put grip tape on the back to help you not drop it. In the tub for example. (laughs)
1:11PM Ihnatko: We could probably charge $499 for these foam iPads though. If anyone wants some blog hits, just take one of these and get some blurry shots of it, you'll get thousands of hits in a few seconds.
1:10PM Andy's first impression: build was high quality. It feels like a premium product -- no gaps, it really does disappear in your hand. The device itself disappears within the first five seconds -- it's all experience. Holding it is not the same as seeing it, which most of the complainers have only done.
1:08PM Jason: The screen is 4:3, not 16:9 -- even when they showed Star Trek, it was a little weird, but a 16:9 device would be more uncomfortable to hold. Ryan: Right, you can't have both. Either be really wide or more traditional, and they went 4:3, and I kind of prefer it.
1:08PM Ryan: Also slightly less foamy than these foam prototypes on stage. It feels really well constructed, a bit heavier than it should feel, but still portable. I do have complaints, but we'll get to that.
1:07PM Jason: It helps that we've seen the iPhone interface. Ryan: Everything serves the screen. As a browser, it's nice to go in and see nothing but the content.
1:06PM Dan Moren: It's suprising how natural it feels. There's something about it that feels very intuitive. Like a book, you don't pick it up and think "how can I use this?" It makes sense.
1:06PM Ted is the only one who hasn't touched the iPad, but everyone else was at the event. What were your first impressions?
1:05PM Panels are coming up on stage. Jason says "We don't have a real one, Apple's not here." Four of the five people on stage have used an iPad, however. Dan Moren of Macworld, Ted Landau, Mac Observer and Macfixit. Ryan Block of GDGT and our old Engadget colleague, and Andy Ihnatko.
1:04PM Paul introducing Jason Snell, finishes with "We'll see you next year, right?" Hope so!
1:03PM The person holding one of the balls that was bouncing around? She just won an iPad from Macworld -- they're going to give her one when the iPad actually ships. Congrats! Maybe we should have participated in the ball bouncing.
1:02PM Here's Paul Kent. "Welcome to our iPad special event." He's got an iPad mockup, but it's not the real thing. "You know that this is not shipping yet?" He just dropped it as a joke.
1:01PM The lights are going down.
12:59PM "Ladies and gentlemen, we need to fill every seat." The hall is practically full, and still more are coming in the door. Someone behind us thinks there will be an iPad here, but we'll see.
12:57PM Four minutes out -- even the press corps is really batting these balls around. I just got hit in the head. That's what we go through for you readers.
12:54PM The crowd is bouncing around a big ball and they seem excited about the iPad. Good thing they probably don't have one -- if one showed up in the hall here, they might get mobbed.
12:50PM Once again, word direct from Jason Snell this morning is that we will not see an actual iPad at this event. But of course, you never know.
12:49PM They're showing the promotional video that's been playing all week here at Macworld. The public has just been allowed in to see the show, and seats are filling up.
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