Hold on! Don’t browse away, this is NOT a post about the iPad…it’s just my hook 😉
So what is it about then? You ask. It’s my theory about why the iPad was a disapointment to many. Why is it a disapointment?
- It’s an oversized iPhone that doesn’t do calls.
- No OSX.
- Not able to run more than one application at once.
- Did I mention it’s just an oversized iPhone?
I am not an Apple fanboy as you can see. But I’m also not a detractor, I like their products (though I don’t like the fact they could be doing much more to improve their eco-friendliness). In general, it’s a cool company, with cool products, but the iPad just isn’t one of them. They lost at their own game. The iPhone was revolutionary, it impressed everyone, so when rumors started to surface about a tablet PC from Apple, we expected a lot, and a lot we did not get, sorry Apple, I’m still considering getting an iPhone though.
I said this wasn’t going to be about the iPad, right? Ok, so on to the subject. My theory about the fact that the iPad is not multi-app (I’ll use this made-up term because I don’t like to use multitasking for this concept, multitasking means something else) is that there in fact is a multi-app version deep within the ultra secret Apple software repositories. It’s just waiting to be properly tested, debugged and released. Apple, being the great company that it is, has even made a deliberate plan to get to the market faster than other tablet manufacturers to win market, while finishing development a a way cooler software version. Their software processes are so fine tuned that they are even able to predict when they can come up with the simple version (the one that was just released) and when they will release the next version supporting multiple applications, I bet it’ll even have TabletBand.
Of course the story could be different, they wanted to release a cooler version but their development process was so bad that in a desperate attempt to be able to release it on time, they cut down on all the features and kept just the basic features to be a market-hypeable product (this is my word inventing post)…
I really don’t know why the iPad was designed that way, I bet I just don’t find it useful for me being the geek that I am. I need a bunch of ports, power, compilers, too many applications running at the same time. I need to tweet the latest news or funny pictures while writing this blog, playing a hand of internet poker, compiling some project in the background, hearing music, chatting with 4 different people and keeping the beat of the song in my imaginary drum set…while brewing some coffee. So maybe it’s just not for me, maybe I’m an old-school geek, maybe new geeks will find it useful.
What I do know is that I’ve seen embedded systems projects do this strip-the-requirements-down-to-release-on-time sort of thing and it’s really sad. Mainly because the development team is usually technically able to deliver all the requirements, the failure is not in the capabilities of the team, but rather their management, many times their marketing (yes, being a development type, I tend to blame managers and marketers for the wrongs of the world…or rather, manager for the wrongs of a project and marketers for everything that is wrong in the world :P). In companies where management hasn’t been able to properly articulate and synchronize all the inputs and outputs, this stuff tends to happen. Bad requirements lead to bad development platforms, that lead to bad products. Example: the requirements indicate that I need an 100 MHz processor, management insists in using a processor that barely accomplishes that to save cost, turns out the marketing team forgot to mention some critical characteristics that they thought could later be added, hardware has to be redesigned.
The worst example there is about this is trade shows developing anything with a trade show timeline is about the worst you can do to the project, unless for some magical reason (unbeknownst to mankind) a project is started with enough time to finish by said trade show, the project will invariably be started after this magical date. But that’s not all, it’ll be started late, and while the trade show get near, a funny thing will happen: a double negotiation between the development team asking to eliminate features for the “trade show release” (yes, trade show release) and marketing asking for new features or feature tweaks specially designed to meet some weird desire. The result is a software project completely void of quality, full of holes and just plain ugly. It’ll also be almost impossible to get it back to acceptable standards.
– I don’t really think this is what happened to the iPad project.
– I don’t really play online poker while compiling, that’s just wrong.