in Apple, iOS

The Original iPad mini and Apple’s fluid vision

It is meaningless, unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one-quarter of the present size. Apple’s done extensive user-testing on touch interfaces over many years, and we really understand this stuff. There are clear limits of how close you can physically place elements on a touch screen before users cannot reliably tap, flick, or pinch them.

Source: A Look Back at the Original iPad mini – MacStories

 

It seems like Steve Jobs and Apple understood that you can’t place things too close inside the screen, but forgot that you can’t place the screen and the edge too close either, because it’ll cause hours of headaches by unwanted swipes, taps, and hard presses. The Apple of today thinks bezels are bad and it is wrong. Steve Jobs might have said the above, but he’s also the one constantly touting that they made their devices thinner, which reduces battery life and also the ‘holdability’ of mobile devices.

(Proof of the holdability issue – When was the last time you held your iPhone 7 or above naked, without a case, and felt confident that you’ll not drop it? It’s been months for me and when I did it last night, it felt alien. It seems Apple has outsourced the job of holdability to the cases that we inevitably put on our sold-a-kidney-for devices.)

I love my original iPad Mini and still use it. It’s a very well built device. The iPads of today make me feel like Apple just wants to make the jump to touch ‘computers’ instead of trying to keep the iPad what it is – a touchscreen tablet that feels different than anything else on the market.

The difference between a touch computer and a touch tablet? The former, you keep on your desk and work on using a keyboard (think Surface). The latter, your kids hold while they’re watching YouTube videos on in the car.

But this gives Apple a great new diversification strategy – do you want an iPad to work or an iPad to play?

Till now, they’ve kept these two together. But maybe, bowing to market forces, they’ll break these two use cases apart and give us two iPads that do very different things. That’ll require Apple to stop treating the iPad like it’s just the overgrown brother of the iPhone. Let’s see if they do that.

p.s. With iOS 12, if Apple is truly committed to making software releases that don’t completely destroy older devices, that’s also relevant to corporate uses. Companies don’t keep updating everyone’s hardware every two years ‘because the software got old’. So if Apple wants an iPad on every office desk (as they should), they really need to get their software updates game right, which they seem to be on a path to.

p.p.s I was going to call the title “Apple’s faltering vision” (because clickbait!) but Apple’s vision is rather fluid. If they see a market segment responding well, they go after that, instead of doubling down on losing segments like some other companies do.

What do you think?

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  1. I think the only thing that has changed at Apple is that Steve Jobs died. But that is the most significant change. While I am sure there are employees at Apple who have said, ”We think the bezels are too narrows” or ”This device is too thin and slippery”, their voices don’t have the same weight as Steve Jobs saying, ” That’s stupid!”.
    And that makes all the difference. Steve was a user, just like you and me. He mostly like used Apple’s product often and probably found and had engineers fix I think the only thing that has changed at Apple is that Steve Jobs died. But that is the most significant change. While I am sure there are employees at Apple who have said, ”We think the bezels are too narrows” or ”This device is too thin and slippery”, their voices don’t have the same weight as Steve Jobs saying, ” That’s stupid!”.
    And that makes all the difference. Steve was a user, just like you and me. He most likely used Apple’s product often and found all the issues that annoyed him and probably told his people to fix them. He’s not there anymore to inform Jony, and Phil, and Tim when they are being stupid.

    That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity.Steve Jobs

    The war on ports, the fanaticism over thinness and big screen size will eventually fade. Hopefully soon. My iPhone 7 fits just on the edge of comfort inside my dress pant and is painful in the front pockets of my jeans. The iPhone XR is even bigger. I put a case on my iPhone 7 because the shiny package was sliding out of my hand.
    2018 is the first year since 2010 that I have not upgraded my iPad and iPhone to the latest.
    The war on ports, the fanaticism over thinness and screen size is hopefully over.