The new column. It comes after last week's column 2. If that confuses you, just call it the column (3rd edition). Yeah, I went there. It's been a heckuva week so cut me some slack. We've all been running on equal parts adrenalin and recklessly strong coffee and might soon be going into a collective apoplexy not dissimilar to what I'm sure faced the CEOs of rival tablet manufacturers sometime Wednesday afternoon. Yeah, I went there too. Here's why...
I've already written about the new iPad event and what it means for the new Apple, so go read that first. Done? Good. Here's a little more.
The new iPad event was the first event following the passing of Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs. So, it's being afforded way more attention than it otherwise might (and as we all know, stare at anything long enough and you'll be seeing shapes and patterns that aren't really there).
Along with the need for more better helmets, that probably explains a lot of link-bait that's been going around since the event. It's dumb Apple stuff and I'm not going anywhere near it, nor the noble but unfortunately perpetuating link-back refutations that still leave me dumber for having scanned them. Instead I'm going with the opposite -- the chest beating. The stuff that's even more dangerous. The stuff that's saying that Apple is unbeatable.
Nothing and no one is unbeatable. Not even Apple. And no one ever sees the next big transition coming. IBM didn't. Microsoft didn't. Sony didn't. Google won't. And neither will Apple.
Apple's advantage is, right now, they don't consider themselves unbeatable. They're scared and they're hungry. They're Rocky III after Clubber Lang clobbered him midway through the film, and they're working their collective asses off to make sure they don't lose the much bigger rematch. They know they're beatable because they've been beaten in the past, and they're lucky enough to have gotten a second chance. They're smart enough to keep proving they're beatable, each and every year, by beating themselves.
That's what makes Apple dangerous.
[Update: I thought more about this and spun it off into a [separate editorial called Beatable]]
Android Central had a great editorial about mobile privacy this week. It's the kind of smart, non-sensationalist, non-reactionary writing we need more of. But that's not going to stop me from disagreeing with it in a fairly fundamental way.
Yes, the concerns raised by headline-seeking senators in regards to mobile privacy are neither new nor unique to mobile. Potential bad guy developers can access your photos on your phone, just like they could access those photos on your Mac or Windows PC too. Heck, we can't go a week without yet another celebrity's nudie pics getting hacked and splayed across the internet. We get it.
But smartphones and tablets aren't PCs. To quote Steve Jobs, mobile is the car to the PC truck. And mobile users aren't the same types of drivers as traditional PC users. They're often people for whom traditional PCs were intimidating and inaccessible, and for whom the idea of a file system and permissions were confusing and off putting. They got smartphones and tablets, in part, because they wanted something easier.
Time was if you owned a motor vehicle you needed some measure of mechanical knowledge to operate it and keep it operational. Even years later common prejudice held that you shouldn't drive something you didn't know how to fix. But times changed and cars became more user friendly. Now most people get in, turn a key, shift an automatic transmission, and go. If they break down, they call someone. Mainstream drivers often have no idea how modern cars function and wouldn't have the first clue how to fix them if they ever broke down. Same goes for PCs.
That's the price we pay for democratizing technology.
And that's why it's not reasonable to expect mainstream users to even begin to understand the subtleties and specifics of online, mobile privacy permissions.
I'm a huge believer in personal responsibility. Don't put something online that you couldn't survive going public. But the concept of computers and filesystems and permissions is antiquated and outdated in our brave, new mobile world of always accessible networks and instant uploading apps.
We need something simpler, more sensible, and easier for mainstream users to understand and employ. We've made PCs into computing appliances, into cars, far more elegant and accessible than ever before. It's time to make the privacy and security settings match.
I repeat, I'm a huge believer in personal responsibility. I'm also a huge believer in platform responsibility. This is something Apple and Google (among others) need to address and now.
I did a double-header on the iPhone & iPad Live podcast this week -- a live show during the new iPad event with Seth Clifford (calling in from Aruba no less!), and Simon Sage, and a post-event analysis show with Georgia and David Barnard of App Cubby (which is currently sitting at #8 in the iTunes gadget podcast listings, thanks to all of you). We're doing fewer podcasts these days but our goal is to do each show better. I've already switched from iMovie to Final Cut Pro X for the editing and while it's taken me a couple weeks to even begin to feel comfortable, the time saved in rendering (almost 2x) has already made it more than worth it.
Apple turned our schedule upside down this week. Usually there's a few days if not a week between an Apple event and the release of a new iOS update (for developers to test the Gold Master (GM) build against their apps), and between device announcement and pre-orders (for Apple to get everything in place). This year Apple pushed iOS 5.1 out and opened pre-orders right on event day. And we all scrambled. We'd already planned and written a lot of content, but we needed to wait for the announcement to finalize it (so we'd know the actual details of what they announced). We believe iMore exists only and always to serve our readers, and a big part of that is helping our readers figure out new software features and decide which version of new hardware to buy. Let's just say some of us didn't get much sleep for the last few days. But we managed to get a lot of stuff done. Much of it is rounded and summed up in these two, conveniently bookmarkable places.
We also had a huge internal debate about the name "the new iPad"... or the new "iPad" depending on which side of the debate you fall on.
Me, I fight for the user. My mom bought an iPad 2, went and searched for "iPad 2 cases", and found one she liked for exactly the model she had. As an experiment, I searched for "new iPad cases" and "iPad cases" (fair is fair) and got results that were far too broad to be useful. Accessory makers and stores alike will need to do some heavy lifting on their ends to help customers navigate that. I'm guess app devs who target only the latest hardware will have to do likewise. So in theory, while "iPad" is shorter, "iPad (3rd generation)" is both more realistic and less penetrable for my mom.
In lieu of her usual photography column this week, Leanna took a look at Apple's new photo editor for iOS. (Spoiler: It's powerful but not perfect, but a damn sight better than Photoshop Touch -and shows it's time for Adobe to ditch AIR and get in the native game.)
Ally also tackled the questions that were rapidly filling our email boxes.
Meanwhile, Georgia did the best she could to make sure some cool iPhone kit still hit the site.
Some readers expressed concern that case might be too slippery or might interfere with reception. I've used it and found it had a great grip and didn't notice any signal lock. I'm guessing the ones the iMore Store sells are simply badass.
This went rather long, so I'll keep the recommended reading brief.
I'll be lining up to get my new iPad in Montreal on Friday. Black. 64GB. LTE. (Go big or go Kindle.) If you're around, come say hi and get a free special edition iMore t-shirt.
I'm your huckleberry.