Doug Garnett’s Blog


My Ipad – Post 10 – iPad Input Strengths and Press Misinformation

We simple citizens expect that major news organizations work hard to find the truth about topics. And we expect they won’t pass along mis-information coming from competitor’s attack machines.

But it doesn’t work that way. In politics, Clinton’s 1992 team found that the first story to be filed almost always established the one “storyline” coming out of a speech. The rest of the press would repeat that storyline – no matter what else important Clinton might have said – thus creating the surprisingly bland range of topics covered by news outlets.

This press laziness is the only thing I can find to explain the miserably poor coverage of iPad “input”. Following the Apple announcement, pundits formed a theme that “there’s no input to the iPad”. And that theme appears in nearly every article about the iPad.

Except, it’s not true. Consider all the input options:

…The on-screen keyboard is far better than the frivolously shallow news reports would suggest.
…Using a full size keyboard (dock or Bluetooth) is so effective you can write books on the iPad.
…There are many options for getting files to and from the iPad (email, iTunes, FTP, document sites, etc…).

Whats unusual is the approach to files. Apple turned files on their head. On a desktop or laptop, we seek out the file to open the application. On the iPad, the application keeps track of the files. So we open the App in order to get to our files.

Why? I don’t know – they didn’t consult me. But this shift delivers simplicity. Files don’t only live in the app. They get to the iPad through an iTunes file cache, through email, or downloaded from the web. From that point, they live in the app.

It works quite well once you get used to it. And it gets me thinking that a file driven system is pretty archaic. (How many times do you need to open Word files in Excel?)

The lack of a USB port seems to confuse techies. My guess is that adding a USB would add an entire level of complex structures to make files independent of programs. Not a good trade off when you already have simpler options.

Fortunately, the storyline hasn’t caused a problem for Apple yet (they’ve sold plenty). But I still think Apple should confront the issue.

How? First I’d put an iPad in its keyboard dock in each store so people can use it. When people use mine, it takes about three or four keystrokes before their eyes open wide in surprise. (“Its just like a computer!”)

And, Apple should work with press outlets to get the story right. They’re leaving an information void on the topic. Information voids usually fill with damaging information.

Lacking an Apple response, their competitors are using the press to great advantage. Bill Gate’s comments on the iPad last week brilliantly capitalized on this storyline. And with the predictability of cattle returning to the barn, the wire stories about Gate’s comments picked up his erroneous comments unchallenged.

Sadly, though, the technology press only rarely suffers for being wrong.

Copyright 2010 – Doug Garnett

Categories:   Big Data and Technology, Communication, Digital/On-line, Human Tech, iPad Experiences