By Peter Horne, BluesPoint Partners (One of “Patty’s Pioneers”)
I received a stinging rebuke from my kids recently. I wanted something that was small and compact that I could use on the plane 'cause the 17" MacBook Pro that I use as a portable 17" desktop is not the most practical thing to use on a lap when the seat in front of you goes back. We had a long discussion about the iPad as being the best solution for me, so you can imagine their consternation when I came home with an Asus eee PC Netbook….I am an Apple Fanboy of the hardened "I still bought Macs when they were actually going broke" kind. I also bought a Newton with a modem that couldn't actually talk to anything (but please don't tell anyone). But the iPad couldn't get me there... I just couldn't see the point. The Netbook is fantastic—so cheap I don't really care if I lose it, it has a perfectly fine webcam for Skypping which means I now use it instead of my Mac most days to chat to my long suffering wife, I threw away windows and put Linux on it and pound away on code with Eclipse and a shell just like any other "dev" computer, and yes, it's slow compared to my superb MacBook, but this is a guy who used to program Linux on cast off Pentium machines (aside: remember the .99999999999 rounding error?) and thinks that anything we use today is working at Cray speed (aside: remember Cray's!). Why type on glass when you can type on a real keyboard?????
Bottom line is that the iPad just didn't get to my geek side—it's pretty, it's sexy, it's all the rage. But it's also pointless... to me. Now I know that there are some for whom the iPad is a Godsend... if I were still in corporate life I can imagine that the iPad is better than sliced bread. You can have a full screen email reader, and look cool, all at the same time while you sit through another boring meeting. I get it. If that were me, I'd have one too...
But Apple was never about that—it was about designers who would rather die than be seen in a suit, geeks who loved to be iconoclasts along with Apple, or scientists who used Macs because when Apple education discounts made the price barrier go away—who wouldn't buy a Mac? So for the first time in my life Apple has forked a product that I don't really want (until it gets so cheap that its not relevant, or Christmas comes and goes and my kids break me down 'cause they want it for elite, not geek reasons). Which brings me to the attached blog from My Type which is quite interesting...
iPad Personality Clash: Elites vs. Geeks
(p.s. I'm feeling whimsical at the moment 'cause I am stuck in a hotel in Noumea after a very strange chain of events on my way from NY back to Australia... the plane I was on blew a tire on take off which shredded and ripped some holes in the plane (obviously not the important bits). Then when we got close to Sydney every airport on the east coast (and for those of you who know Australia it really only has an east coast, otherwise you have to fly half way to South Africa to get to the west coast and you can't do that on one tank of gas). So we had to refill and land in Noumea to take on gas, which meant the plane was found to be un-airworthy (nice to know that after 13 hours of flying in it). And so given that Noumea is not a 747 airport (actually it's barely an airport—but the security lines are quick 'cause everyone is in flip flops), our crew were spent and have to have a regulated rest break, and they also have to fly a wheel and engineering crew with some sticky tape up from Australia, I am now eating rabbit and talking to an islander that only talks French ('cause Noumea is French New Caledonia). Go figure... Bon soir.