Thursday, January 28, 2010

iPad: What can we do with it?

After months of rumors the iPad is finally here. It's a great device, but is also missing some great features, that for sure will be included in iPad v2. But right now we have a first version opening a new way (or as Apple usually does, converting an existing market).

Worldwide the media is talking about this new device, saying things like "The future is here", "The best device for ....". But, what's really the iPad? What we will do with it? How is it going to change our way of working?

Let's see different examples:

iPad in the Education

That's the first situation that comes to my mind. Maybe because I've children, maybe because in Spain the government is starting to invest in netbooks for the schools.

The iPad looks like the perfect solution for the 21st century education. Some countries are investing in netbooks (like Spain) to introduce the new technologies to our kids. But looks like the iPad is a much better choice.

The main objective of the netbook is that the children can learn how to use internet, read the text books and write their works. The problem appears when the netbook is hit by a virus, someone needs to install the applications, configure the computer, ......

The iPad can do everything that the netbook needs to do, but is also easier to manage, safer, everything can be installed easily and the UI is really intuitive. 

In fact, the iPad seems to be a winner as an educational tool.

iPad in the Company

I see the iPad in the company doing mainly 2 different jobs. 

The first one is again in substitution of a netbook. If you need to travel a lot, but you need to be always in touch, a netbook is a good option, but probably an iPad with a bigger screen and a lighter weight is a better partner. If you need a tool to write email, surf the web and read the latest news the iPad is a good solution. If you add a 3G connection and a GPS is a winner. I can foresee different scenarios where a GPS can be an extra benefit. Simply looking for the closest restaurant or hotel for a meeting is an example.

The second example is when you're always at the office, but your work request continuous walks inside the company (think of a secretary or a warehouse worker) The iPad is a good way to have all your worksheets, documents and email always with you.

Another situation (I known, I said "2 different jobs") is when your work requires an specific image. Design or Media companies are just an example of companies that are alway looking for the cooler device for their receptions, for a device that says "we care about how things look". And right now, the iPad is the best way of saying it.

iPad at Home

And of course, the iPad is also a great device to have at home. The iPhone has already proven itself as a great gaming platform, just imagine with a bigger screen. 

At home, the iPad, can be ideal as a family device for "quick tasks". Checking your email, twitter or social network is just an example. Using it as a photo album or contacts manager is just another. You can also watch your movies or series or listen your favorite music. And now you can also read books.

Most of these things were already possible with the iPhone/iPod Touch, but the screen is making here all the difference. I'm the owner of an iPod Touch, and even when I use it a lot, I cannot write more than a short answer to an email, or do a quick check to a website. I cannot imagine myself working hours with this tiny screen. But I can see myself perfectly working with the iPad, in fact, I can see myself writing in this blog with the iPad in a couple of months.


The iPad is far away from being perfect. The fact that doesn't have a camera is, from my point of view, an error. The apparent lack of multitasking is also a problem, the fact that the screen is 4:3 is another drawback.

It's clear that the iPad is not a computer, is not a portable console, is not an MP3 player and is not an ebook reader. 

We can only wait that the next generation will solve all these negative points. But the iPad is also a bit of everything, and that's its strength.

See you soon.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Is Desktop Development Dying?

After the Oracle/Sun issue and the poor Java 7 announcement, a lot of people has been talking about the "Java is Dead" issue. I completely disagree with this statement, but I really think that something is dying: desktop development.

Last year's improvements in languages and frameworks related with desktop development can be easily reduced to CUDA and OpenCL (please tell me if I'm missing something else). The improvements in frameworks for desktop applications was null (at least in the Java world). On the other hand, let's check other technologies and see the consolidation of the "App Store" and the whole iPhone OS world, how well Android is doing (maybe slower than expected), the quality jump in the Google WebToolkit, Google Chrome OS, the consolidation of Cloud Computing, ....

All these technologies are related with mobile development, web development, ... but desktop development is not following. From my point of view, desktop development is stuck at the same place since some years ago. Let's see what will bring the next year, but so far all the buzz seems to point to the same place, again mobile development.

Not so many years ago a lot of people was looking the whole HTML/JavaScript coding as "second class development" (well maybe was not that many), but nowadays it's an essential part of any developer work. Almost all the restrictions that we had 10 years ago to do "web applications" are gone. And the rest will disappear when HTML 5 finally arrives. So if there's any of you that's still not looking into this new world, it's about time to jump into it ;)

See you soon,