Let me set the record straight. This is not an article intended to bash Apple—most of the things they showed off at today's keynote look really slick, and I'm excited to see that gorgeous retina display in action. I will say, however, that this was the first keynote (in history) where I think they made a few serious mistakes. No, not technical ones, but things that I think are a little dumb. I know we'll all look back on this article next year after the crashing success of the iPad 3 and laugh why I ever thought these things were a big deal, but I'm hyped up, so let's talk about it.
First off, the name. It sucks. Badly. Look, I'm all for ditching the nameology. Once you get into high upper digits like we'll see with the iPhone 5/6, it gets messy. We don't see an iMac 14, or an iPod 8, we just see the product name with a generation notation. It's one thing to call it "the new iPad," but keep in mind, they're also retaining the iPad 2 in the lineup at a $399 price point. To have the iPad 2 and the new iPad, it gets really awkward. I say ditch the names. Go to iPad. And when you call tech support, they'll ask you what generation—iPad 3rd gen, or iPad 1st generation. There is no need for this confusing nameology. Apple wants to get away from it, but can't fully break free which is why they have this "the new" precursor, and it sucks. Remember back in 2009 how the iPhone 3GS was launched and marketed for the first few weeks as iPhone 3G S? Well it was confusing and journalists hated it so Apple changed it. I hope they do this with the new iPad.
Secondly, the cameras. There is now a 5MP 1080p camera on the back and the same shameful VGA camera on the front. ARE YOU SERIOUS?! No one, and I mean no one uses the iPad as a video camera. You look like a baboon. It's heavy, awkward, and generally unpleasing. Now, the front-facing camera can be used all the time—in Skype, FaceTime, Livestream, and other applications. Why must the only useful camera stay inferior to the other camera we'll never use? Additionally, they called the rear facing camera "iSight." WTF, Apple. iSight has a notoriously bad reputation and hasn't ever been on anything other than a Mac. I can see why Apple might want to do this to bring the Mac-like nameology and features to the iPad which is supposed to overthrow the computing market, but it's weird. Just call it a camera.
iCloud. What a mess. I finally started to think I understood exactly what Apple intended iCloud to be used for, but now it's even more abstracted and broken than before. The new iWork update, which should be out today, brings tighter iCloud support, but documents are still oddly synced, they're not really well integrated with Lion, they're not multi-account supportive, and more. Additionally, the new iPhoto hosts libraries which Apple explicitly stated they would never consider last year. Look, iCloud, whatever it is, is a good idea in concept, but actual execution is awful. Apple needs to tell people what iCloud is, what applications support it, how it syndicates, how multi-platform syncing works, and how to actually use it. Right now, it might as well be a placebo because it's nearly impossible to use. The "it just works" slogan should have an asterisk followed by an "April fools" in fine print.
I'm sure the new iPad will be a smashing success, and I know the things I'm nitpicking about are small, but a few things Apple did today were not only weird, but I think borderline stupid.
Turns out the official name is simply iPad, but they could have done a better job at clarifying this during the keynote. I was not the only confused one.