I was just having a conversation with a colleague over Twitter on the merits of iPad and Apple’s A4 SOC that powers it. I, for one, am not an Apple fanboy. He is, so it makes for good fun. So when he’s glowing over the “fascinating” A4 chip Apple is producing, it’s easy fodder to point out that there are many SOCs out there that pretty much do the same thing. And I’m inclined to believe the pundits and I don’t think it really is that fascinating at all unless you find good power management fascinating.
The main reason I’m not an Apple fanboy is because of Apple’s strategy of locking in the developer. If I could build iPhone apps from my Fedora Linux laptop, then I’d be all over it. But I can’t, and as the CDT Mac crowd knows, I don’t have a Mac to use as a development environment for iPhone or CDT, and I’m not interested in putting my own personal finances towards one. There’s nothing on the Mac I can’t do using Windows or Linux, so I can’t justify it.
Now, aside from the incredibly crude yet funny activity on Twitter about things the name ‘iPad’ reminded people of, I found the iPad keynote to be a bit of a yawner. Yes, it looks like a nice manifestation of the tablet format we’ve been speculating about, but that’s all. It’s nice. It certainly isn’t revolutionary, unless you count being successful in the tablet business as revolutionary, and there still isn’t proof that’ll be the case. Mind you, if the fanboys put their money where their collective mouth is, it should be a slam dunk. And that’s the credit I do give iPad, it does validate the tablet form factor.
The big difference now compared to when Apple did launch it’s revolutionary iPhone is that there is a lot of other noise in the tablet space right now and even similar product announcements (Similar products that is, nothing compares to the hype machine behind Apple’s announcement). Check this article for a list of 9 iPad alternatives. All fine devices in their own right.
I think Android makes a great competitor for Apple’s mobile devices. I am an Android fanboy because I can develop Android apps on my Fedora laptop and my Windows machines at home, and yeah, if I had a Mac, I could build Android apps from there too. They give you a pretty good SDK to work with on any platform you like.
I’m also keeping an eye on Moblin as Intel enters this arena. It should enable a similar development experience, although purely native instead of Android’s Java/Native stuff I have to jump through. And it is real Linux which lets me use the same SDK to build desktop Linux apps.
So Apple fanboys, enjoy the show, go put your money into the coffers at the church of Steve Jobs. I’m just glad it isn’t the only show in town.