An Open Letter To Steve Jobs

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Mr. Jobs,

Like much of the internet, I too watched your Apple key note address as you unveiled the latest innovation of the Apple Braintrust: The Apple Tablet.  We all stood dumbfounded and excited at merely the idea of what it was you were going to announce on January 27th.  The hype for this machine has been building for, literally, years now and the fact that it was about to come to fruition gave everyone a raging nerd boner large enough to beat a dead horse with.  Wednesday”s keynote had so much pre-event build up that I’m betting your speech had a wider audience than President Obama’s State of the Union Address.  And it is with that hype that you have experienced, possibly, the first real downturn in Apple fandom in the past decade.  And there’s only one reason why the masses have turned against your god machine: innovation.

When the iMac was released in1998 your company innovated the way society looked at the household computer.  No longer was the computer a bulky item, used only by nerds, to play video games and balance one’s checkbook.  The iMac made computers a home accessory.  They were self contained, with minimal footprint, and an operating system designed to be user friendly.  And they came in colors! Now you could properly accessorize you desire to be on the cutting edge of technology with your toaster.  You made computing sexy again Steve.

fucking nerds

As the mp3 gained traction as the next iteration of portable media; replacing the CD, Cassette and Mini Disc; you and yours decided to jump into the portable hard drive/  media player game with a little known, at the time, gizmo called the iPod.  But not to be content with merely delivering a portable hard drive that you could plug head phones into, you also provided a content management system that would store, catalog, update and manage our ill-gotten wares. Along with that came the iTunes store where your average Joe could legally obtain digital copies of their favorite songs. Your iPod so revolutionized the portable media market that simply the name, iPod, is synonymous with “portable media players”.  It was your vision that gave rise to the mp3 being so ubiquitous that even my in-laws have iTunes accounts where they download today’s greatest soft rock hits.

most played artist on my in-laws ipod touch.

After the iPod came two of the greatest inventions in portable computing since the Palm Pilot: the iPod Touch and the iPhone. These two devices single handedly changed the way the public at large looked at portable computing.  With the capacitive touchscreen, and multitouch gesture control, you fundamentally did away with the standard means of information input into an electronic device. With the App Store you also changed the way developers and consumers literally consume software applications.

The greatest thing about the iPod Touch and the iPhone is something that I truly didn’t realize until I read an article on a gadget blog. I’m Paraphrasing but essentially it said that the penultimate design parameters would be to have a device that was literally transformative.  The pinnacle of harware and software design is an anthropomorphous  device that, with one click, can modify it’s layout and structure to be ANYTHING. Click an icon and you’re no longer holding a phone, you’re holding a multimedia player.  Click a different icon and you have  a device that will mimic the functionality of an RSS reader on your home computer. And that is what the iPod Touch and the iPhone gave us: one device that could literally mimic the functionality of hundreds of thousands of other devices.

This is the legacy that Apple has fostered.  A legacy of innovation that far surpasses the expectations of the end users; unparalleled, game changing innovations.  And that’s where you fell short on the iPad. Everytime we, as the public demanded a niche to be filled by the technology community you not only saw what it is we “wanted” but gave us what we actually “desired”.  In terms that make sense to me and most of my “Travis there hasn’t been a dick joke in this article yet” readers Apple has done the following:  every time we said we wanted to jerk off, Apple bought us a hooker. You saw what our desired end goal was and gave us a hundred times more than we expected.  But with the iPad you decided that “if they want hookers, then bigger hookers would be better than regular hookers.”

i can’t begin to innumerate how wrong you are Steve.

A quick aside on you naming convention: it’s always a bad idea to name your money making device after something that sounds like an item a woman would use during her period.  Just saying.

Every time rumors of an Apple innovation have hit the internet the world has gone wild trying to speculate the end result.  When the iPhone was first rumored every gadget site had photoshop contests to hypothesize on what the actual iPhone might look like. Most of these showed a classic iPod, scroll wheel and all, crammed on to the hardware of a traditional phone. And when the actual Jesus Phone manifested it was more than anyone imagined. And that was the precedent that you established when the rumors of the apple tablet surfaced: the consumer wants and is expecting X, let’s give them Y++.

Once it was, generally, confirmed that Apple was releasing a tablet the same gadget blogs went on a “what’s the interface gonna look like” bonanza.  And some people came up with some truly beautiful speculations on how this thing would work.  Witness the two below videos:


designs and video via this guy.

Those two videos, being merely a sample of the fervor the internet rumors generated, shows one thing:  INNOVATION!.  It’s the same basic form factor of the iPad but with a distinct interface that sets it apart from everything else on the market. And your failure to live up to the precedent that you have set will, more than likely, bury the iPad in the same world of Apple TV.  Yes, it has it’s supporters, but there are some people who would buy a ziploc bag that you’ve shit in.

You see, Mr. Jobs, no one expected a big-ass iPod touch.  Certainly there was a portion of the audience that expected you to pull a Kindle DX, but no one, realistically, expected you to make this big of a hullaballoo over an over sized iPod touch.  And lest we even get into the inherent lackluster capabilities of this machine.  Seriously? I can’t listen to Pandora and work on something else on a $500 device? I can’t run tweetdeck and browse the web at the same time? I can’t watch flash based video other than YouTube?  I’ll accept this fact on my pocket sized jesus phone but on a  device that is supposed to sit in my living room and be the end all be all of household portable electronics it is a glaring over site to not to be able to watch Hulu without a set top PC or my netbook. Incidentally my netbook cost less than the iPad, has almost three times the storage, I can dual boot it into Windows or Moblin and I can run multiple programs at the same time.  As a matter of fact I’m writing this on my netbook in firefox, while watching a movie and getting status updates from twitter. A feat that is IMPOSSIBLE on the iPad.

You, and your organization, have failed on this one sir. And I’m not the only one who thinks so.  This graph of your stock shows investors reaction to your fabled god machine.  It appears that the only saving grace of this travesty is the price point.  Apparently the world doesn’t like your piece of shit, but they’ll buy it in droves for the right price. But again, you could probably find a buyer for an old spank rag of yours as long as the price was in the right range.

i am not impressed


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