Daniel Eran Dilger
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Ten Myths of Apple’s iPad: 7. It needs cameras

Daniel Eran Dilger

Here’s segment seven in my series taking on iPad myths: no the iPad doesn’t need a camera for video conferencing.

Ten Myth of Apple’s iPad: 1. It’s just a big iPod touch
Ten Myth of Apple’s iPad: 2. iPad needs Adobe Flash
Ten Myths of Apple’s iPad: 3. It’s ad-evil
Ten Myths of Apple’s iPad: 4. It was over-hyped and under-delivered
Ten Myths of Apple’s iPad: 5. It’s just a Tablet PC or Kindle
Ten Myths of Apple’s iPad: 6. It needs HDMI for HD video output
Ten Myths of Apple’s iPad: 7. It needs cameras
Ten Myths of Apple’s iPad: 8. It’s a curse for mobile developers
Ten Myths of Apple’s iPad: 9. It can’t multitask
Ten Myths of Apple’s iPad: 10. It needs Mac OS X
Dear gadget spec people: 7. It’s a myth the iPad needs a camera and other peripherals built in.

Spec-oriented gadget people often really don’t like Apple because the company doesn’t cater to their specification numerology game. Apple didn’t release any irrelevant details about how much RAM was in the iPad nor how many transistors were in its new A4 custom processor. Apple relies entirely upon utility, not upon numerical puffery, to sell its products.

Where is the iPad’s camera? There’s a lot of iPhone apps that make some use of the camera, and there’s some evidence that Apple may get a camera into the iPad before it ships, just as its expected to add a camera into the next revision of the iPod touch. However, the camera-free iPod touch has become extremely popular without a camera, so its a bit of a stretch to suggest that the lack of one on the iPad is a deal breaker.

A built in camera?

The iPad doesn’t really need a camera built-in because it has the ability to work with external peripherals wirelessly. An enterprising third party should be able to create a Bluetooth camera that works as both a general camera, a front facing conferencing camera, and whatever else users might want a camera for. A built in camera on the iPad would only limit what users could do with it. The same goes for other devices.

Additionally, many iPad users will also be carrying an iPhone or some other camera phone. It’s much easier to grab a photo or video from a mobile phone and then wirelessly deliver it to the iPad than it would be to hold up a tablet-sized device while awkwardly trying to shoot a picture or a video sequence.

Of course, had Apple included a camera in the iPad as demonstrated, all the pundits would be dashing to their typewriters to explain to us why this will prevent it from being attractive to corporations, because some have security policies that forbid the use of cameras. That’s what they complained about the iPhone, despite the fact that pretty much every phone has a camera.

Getting nowhere with flattery

Using the iPad’s camera connector, any other external camera can also be used to fill it up with photos on the go. But there’s also another good reason why users probably won’t be too excited about trying to video conference from an iPad: it simply presents a terrible camera viewing angle when held as a tablet device.

Unlike the MacBooks and their roughly eye-level, forward-facing iSight, the iPad would typically be held and used at a very unflattering angle for taking pictures and especially videos visible live to the party on the other end of a call. Most people seem pretty resistant to the idea of video conferencing as it is; throwing in a tragic camera placement on a tablet isn’t going to improve things.

Peripheral potential

Additionally, beyond the camera and other built in devices, the iPad doesn’t need a USB port (as some critics are weeping about) because it already has USB signals exposed on the dock connector, just like every other iPod and iPhone. And really, the iPad doesn’t need anything built in, because Apple designed iPhone 3.0 to work with external peripheral devices via USB or Bluetooth.

It can also interface with other devices via WiFi, just as it does with Apple’s Remote app to control Apple TV. This appears to be a secret to many pundits. Use it, and you’ll wonder why nobody is crowing about Apple delivering the first multitouch remote control that makes navigating through menus on your HDTV feel downright futuristic. Another company might be hyping that free app as a major product offering.

Still, the iPhone Remote app only gives a glimpse of the kind of sophisticated control surfaces third parties could deliver for the iPad. Among these, of course, is the ability to manage complex interaction with a real camera for podcast recording, or even a small wireless cam that could be placed at a flattering angle for recording directly to the iPad. If, that is, anyone actually does want to video conference with it.

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  • Per

    The spec enthusiasts are the ones I have the least hope for. Apple generally takes a holistic approach to designing devices, making the stuff under the hood abstract and unimportant as long as they can power the experience that sells the device.

    This quote from a 1994 Rolling Stone interview with Steve Jobs shows why Apple is reluctant to talk specs. They aren’t really a good way to compete in the long run, but rather short cut to making your device obsolete.

    “The problem is, in hardware you can’t build a computer that’s twice as good as anyone else’s anymore. Too many people know how to do it. You’re lucky if you can do one that’s one and a third times better or one and a half times better. And then it’s only six months before everybody else catches up. But you can do it in software. As a matter of fact, I think that the leap that we’ve made is at least five years ahead of anybody.”


  • http://jonnytilney.com Jon T

    Well I was quite keen to see a front facing camera for video chat….

    But after seeing that view up your nose, I’m really not so sure anymore!

    And then again, perhaps it wouldn’t be that hard to hold it a bit higher when chatting.

  • bartb

    Videoconferencing, for the iPad or any other device, is really not a relaxing way to communicate. For businesses, maybe, but for consumers…. not really.

    Vidconf is something that we need to get used to, grow into. So for the first iPad it’s not a big deal that it lacks a videocamera.

    When I’m on the phone, you can’t tell that I haven’t shaved for two days. I kinda like that.

  • gothgod

    Having a hard time to make up 10 myths? A video camera would be great, have the iPad on a stand if you are afraid of showing your nose.

    A camera is not life and death, it would just be nice to have.

  • wings

    I agree with gothgod. If I don’t want the unflattering angle I’ll fold out the cover-stand and place it on a table in front of me. Video chat on the iPad is the one missing element that would win over many more people, especially gramma. And a separate camera doesn’t count.

  • JG

    I don’t think this really makes up for a valid “myth”. Sure enough, the first iPad won’t “need” a camera. But I’m still convinced the next one will. And I will like it. Like mentioned above, put it in a stand and the viewing angle is perfect, so that’s not a valid argument. It’s actually the same with my Macbook, when I hold it on my lap the angle will be just as bad, unless I put it on a table. Not to mention the valuable apps that could be developed using a camera in an iPad. So necessary? No. But it will be there one day and it won’t be senseless.

  • http://www.micmac.com Michel Coste

    @ Per:

    I completely agree with you. It’s all about the software (as I wrote too briefly here http://www.micmac.com/2010/01/27/its-the-system-stupid/).
    And Apple has such an advance on this that FUD is the only thing left to the various competitors. We’ve have seen that FUD in full swing since the iPad was announced!
    I’ve never seen so much negativity. It only shows they are scared to death…

    On the other side I don’t see Steve stopping to build elegant boxes ’cause he really enjoys doing that!
    I think he told that to Rolling Stone just because he had been rejected from that market at that time. Not for long happily!
    And I think that, with the iPad, the hardware is again largely “twice as good as anyone else’s”… (“The problem is, in hardware you can’t build a computer that’s twice as good as anyone else’s anymore. Too many people know how to do it. You’re lucky if you can do one that’s one and a third times better or one and a half times better. And then it’s only six months before everybody else catches up. But you can do it in software. As a matter of fact, I think that the leap that we’ve made is at least five years ahead of anybody.”)

  • ShabbaRanks

    It would be nice to have a camera but I can think of at least two personal reasons why I’m not bothered if the iPad doesn’t have one.

    1. I can’t think of when and why I’ll use it. I’m sure some can but I can’t.
    2. It’ll be cheaper without one.

  • broadbean

    I think this Myth piece is the weakest so far. My MacBook Pro is 900 pixels high with a camera up top. When I read the screen, how would the angle be much different to me holding up an iPad? The camera position on the iPad should not be an issue, except it would work better in one orientation than the other.

    With my iPhone’s camera, I could easily take a photo and attach it to a Contacts entry. No easy way to do that with an iPad without jumping through hoops.

    I think the lack of a forward facing camera on the iPhone (well, the one that face’s the user as per what is expected on the iPad), is obviously Apple not prepared for either iChatAV, or worried about the bandwidth required over 3G to give you a good UX.

    Still, not a deal breaker for me either, but would be nice. With more screen real estate, one would find it hard not being able to “multi-task” with IM and do other stuff on the iPad.

  • mcloki

    Agree with the commenters. This is weakly argued. Arguing that it doesn’t need one and then saying that 3rd partied can build a Bluetooth add on seems disingenuous.

    Hey it doesn’t have a camera. get used to it. It’s like my car not having back seeat video screens. meh.

  • feldur

    If it had a camera, it would work well as a POS device (perfect positioning flat), and even as a home inventory device (i.e., shopping lists). People are by no means the only value for a camera, and dragging a camera around for the POS application defeats the whole mobility idea. I don’t think the missing camera is a deal breaker, but the argument that it’s not much of a loss is fairly weak.

  • http://bkpfd.org qka

    Apple is looking to hire a camera person, job title “Performance QA Engineer, iPad Media”


  • macgold55

    I have been following with great interest from the earliest development news of the iPad last year into its introduction. I find it even though Apple’s secretive nature is their main marketing tool, the pundits in general tend to inflect whatever they want in its inception or specs of the iPad.
    By the time this initial round of brouhaha is over, any IT developer worth its salt will see what is really needed to define the iPad’s functionality. Steve is kind of creating a device that is a blank slate for prosumer/enterprise folks to develop better app’s and strategy. This is what good technology is all about.
    There is plenty of FUD to go around, you have to step back from the ledge and see the whole picture.

    Keep up the good work, Daniel.

  • http://bkpfd.org qka

    “pundits would be dashing to their typewriters”

    That made my morning!

    Thanks, and keep up the good work Dan!

  • http://twitter.com/NateTehGreat nat

    Agreed, a bezel-mounted camera might not be ideal.

    But a camera set in the center of the display? You know, like the one AppleInsider reported on here:


    That would be great.

  • http://themacadvocate.com TheMacAdvocate

    Cramped gorilla arms.
    “Pose for your contact photo!”
    /jams tablet in face

  • Player-16

    Now the one thing many people is forgetting is SJ said you can rotate the iPad in ‘any direction’. So a dock connector adapter camera would be a perfect location for a camera with both a pivot and a 180° rotation – with maybe a white LED to optionally turn on-&-off. It wouldn’t need a stand, just rotate. It won’t be in a fixed position looking at your nose-hairs or receding hair line (Kilroy was here). Just set the iPad down on a table; swing it up in your direction. The iPad has no real [B]’up'[/B]. I’m pleased it does not have a built-in, fixed camera: how silly would that have been. So it’s another dongle. How often do you use the camera on your phone or laptop anyway?

  • ChuckO

    mcloki 10, Why is it weakly argued? If you need a camera you’ll be able to get one. Apple can’t win either way with the “iPad” is missing this or that crowd. If an app is missing Apple isn’t delivering, if Apple delivers something themselves they are control freak, fascists bent on controlling every aspect of your life.

  • lpeckham

    I’m another person who sees no need for a built-in phone. (I’m currently a first-gen iPod Touch user, who has only ever used a camera phone once.) I agree with Player-16’s idea for a camera add-on. Given the form factor, the iPad isn’t going to be used for taking photos, or recording a live event where the camera needs to move around, even if it had one. Video chats/conferencing? Ok… might be some use, but the iPad would probably need to be in a static position for that, so why not make the camera optional (even part of a stand)?

  • http://motorizedmount.com Alan

    That is a pretty weak defense Daniel. There is no reason for the iPod Touch nor the iPad not to have a camera except for one simple reason. That reason is because Apple always likes to leave off a major feature to get people to buy the newer model the following year. Look how long it took them to finally add a memory card slot to MBP and the iMac. When they add a camera to the iPod touch and iPad in the next revision I look forward to hearing you say what a great idea it was all along. Personally, I would like to have a camera but it is not a deal breaker for me. It would have been nice to be able to have a Skype video chat when I am out of my house and an external peripheral camera would be something more to tote around. My biggest gripe is that there is no memory slot to add storage capacity and there is no true multi-tasking. Multi-tasking will more than likely be addressed by 4.0 after release, so I am not to concerned about that. If Apple is so concerned that multi-tasking will eat battery life they can just have an option to turn it on or off and let people decide. And hopefully I will be able to jailbreak it to have that anyway.

  • gus2000

    Many of the “sky is falling” tech pundits have cited the apparent lack of camera to support their call for the iPad to fail in the market. They’re wrong, and we were told why.

    Does the iPod Touch have a camera? Does the Kindle? Does the ZuneHD?

    A camera is certainly a desirable feature. But it’s absence does not spell doom, and thus the myth is incorrect.

  • jalamdhara

    Dang Daniel, that was really weak. . .

    You’re forgetting the deaf people segment. They utilize sign language as their primary form of communication. Right now, they’re tied down to mainly conferring over a webcam/TV connection or texting. Before you go bah-hum bug to the deafies, they’re actually a force to be reckoned with.

    The iPad could’ve opened a whole new world for the deaf folks by allowing them to have video conference on the go. That’s one crucial element missing that I believe would’ve been the killer app for the iPad. . . iChat (look at vPad for an example of what a wifi videoconferencing looks like).

    Secondly, Apple has always pride itself on ensuring that its package came well equipped with all of the bells and whistle, so there was rarely ever a reason to upgrade (other than RAM n HD space). Don’t give me that weak “well, just use the Bluetooth adapter and put on a web-cam” argument. You know that folks in general do not upgrade their devices (hardware) beyond anything what the device originally provided for.

    Thirdly, it’s a weak argument to say “well, the iTouch never needed one, so why does iPad need one?” . . . Well, dude, it’s because the iTouch and the iPad both are in a different category, one provides an awful medium for video conferencing, whereas the other one is ideal.

    The way I see it, the deaf folks has always been on the leading edge of the latest and greatest mobile technology, look at the Danger device, the only reason why it even became as big was due to Deaf folks buying them en masse. It created a halo effect that brought others onboard. Video Conferencing over IM became a huge thing, not just out of the spur of the moment thing, but as an essential tool for the deaf folks.

    Lastingly, Apple removed a perfect storm opportunity, since right now the FCC provides a relay service for the Deaf folks, thanks to our generous tax-payers, for free. Hundreds of grass-root video relay companies have popped up (such as Sorenson Relay Service and ZVRS, etc) they all make house calls and provide the Deaf folks with equipments (at no charge) to utilize the Relay service equipments. Could you have imagined the opportunity that would’ve arisen if Sorenson or ZVRS were allowed to utilize the iChat chat mode on the iPad. They would’ve bought the iPad by the millions and distributed it amongst the Deaf people at no charge.

    I think this myth is actually valid, and very applicable.

    I wouldn’t be too quick to defend all of the myths out there, after all. . .when there’s smoke. . .

  • http://berendschotanus.com Berend Schotanus

    Nice to see you on an outside video. Brings up sweet memories of my last summer vacation :-) And you seem to have great weather compared to 70 cm of snow in DC

  • http://www.metrokids.ca Conrad MacIntyre

    I don’t think this is weak. He makes his point. The iPad doesn’t “NEED” a camera. Will it come along? Maybe. Could it be useful? Maybe. Will it spell doom for the iPad? No. That was what Dan was contesting. I think he’s right.

    Those of you who say it’s wrong… are you telling me that the iPad “NEEDS” a camera? It is a necessity without which the device is doomed to Zune-style failure?

  • John E

    i’m with Dan on the point that wireless connectivity – bluetooth and wifi – is the key, not the built-in hardware. but it needs to be “seamless” and it’s not quite there yet. been trying Logitech’s (free) new TouchMouse on the iPhone, and it’s the best yet for an HTPC, but still not effortless. Remote’s control of AppleTV/Front Row is great, but ATV is still too limited (maybe to be resolved later this year).

    the holy grail is wireless and automatic everything. no USB wires, etc. just a yes/no dialogue to connect to any peripheral which is automatically recognized and linked without special settings on its side. we are getting close – many peripherals include the dock and work automatically once an iPhone is plugged into it.

    we will see if the iPad finally enables this.

  • macspirit

    I’ll agree the lack of a camera isn’t a deal-breaker, but it sure would enhance the cool, gee-whiz factor to have the OPTION of using your iPad for iChat. As someone else said, the iPad already comes with its own convenient carrying case/stand. So proper orientation isn’t really an issue, and a simple slot-like stand would also suffice…and at minimal cost. And a separate, external camera misses the whole point of ‘the pad’. Gramma and Grandpa sure would have felt uber-cool conversing with the grandkids via their iPad.

  • Shock Me

    I personally don’t need a camera facing either way but the inclusion of it as a standard would help in providing more potential users. I love iChat AV but need more users to talk to. If adoption were as wide as the iPhone among laptops, iMacs, iPod touches, iPhones and iPads at least some of that number would be friends I could vid chat with.

  • stormj

    If they had included one, it wouldn’t have enough pixels for everyone, either.

    This discussion begins and ends with one word: bluetooth.

    If you absolutely must have a camera with your iPad, bluetooth. The end.

  • SteveS

    Daniel, you’d be taken more seriously if just once you challenged Apple’s decisions rather than simply towing the company line as you always do. You seem to be getting some grief based on the weak argument you presented with this post and rightfully so. It’s obvious that you are struggling to come up with 10 valid myths and this one is a bit over the top.

    Claiming the iPad doesn’t need a camera is like claiming that you don’t need your left arm. While both arguments are technically true on some level, there is simply no justification for making such an argument. A camera in the iPad is a no brainer. The cost is trivial and the added functionality is significant. This is what mobile iChat is all about. I’m just curious how you plan to spin your position on this topic once Apple does. Based on a recent job posting, it looks like Apple is very interested in video/audio capture expert for the iPad team. http://blogs.forbes.com/velocity/2010/02/09/apple-hiring-digital-camera-expert-for-ipad-group/

  • luisd


    You completely missed the point of the article didn’t you?

  • luisd


    Wow! Left arm! Talk about dramatics!

    Read conrad above in 25. He nailed it perfectly

  • http://ObamaPacman.com ObamaPacman

    As mentioned already, the iPad has obvious business applications.

    Just as pundits note that iPhone has a camera and thus “can’t” be used in certain business environments, now the pundits are arguing lack of camera is bad for a device obviously designed for business use?

    FYI some people pay to remove cameras from their phones for certain lines of businesses.

  • marian_

    Apple hates adding half-baked features. That’s why they didn’t add video recording to the iPhone until they implemented some form of video mastering. And no, there was no technical limitation to implement simple video recording, on any version of the iPhone.

    A webcam on the iPad without proper software support, I agree, is a half-baked solution, due to orientation, hand shaking and things like this. Anyway, it cannot be used to take pictures, since an iPad would be a horrendous camera.

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  • ChuckO

    SteveS, This is all life and death, huh? No camera? Good God! How’s Dan gonna spin this when it get’s a camera? He won’t ’cause who care’s? You don’t seem to get the spirit of the entry.

    Apple’s rolling the dice on a new product. Yes, eventually the iPad or some version of it will get an iChat camera if it takes off and people are calling for one.

    The iPod Touch doesn’t have camera but it still sells great. I personally haven’t bought one because I want the camera version but they still sell. I don’t get pissed about it. I just don’t buy.

  • http://themacadvocate.com TheMacAdvocate

    I imagine it’ll sound something like “Apple wasn’t ready to do it, so it didn’t”. Left arm indeed.

    “A camera in the iPad is a no brainer. The cost is trivial and the added functionality is significant.”

    Since you know so much about the ease of adding a videocamera to a 1/2″ thick, pound and a half device, I take it you’ve already applied for the job?

  • http://wanderbook.com eddieclay

    All you have to do to understand the iPad’s significance is to look at it from the opposite way, as discussed in August 2009 here: http://wp.me/pmERU-7p.

  • boc

    It seems to me that as a camera to take pictures the iPad would not be great. But the lack of a forward facing video camera is a loss. Of course it’s not necessary for the iPad to succeed but the lack of one will limit sales. I would run out and get one of these for my parents if it had a camera. They are not very technical and have a lot of problems using a laptop but they do use it for email, web browsing and skyping the grandkids. The iPad could have been the perfect intuitive replacement but if they have to get the laptop back out every time they want to skype then there really is no point in getting them an iPad at all.

  • gctwnl

    SteveS (#30) triggers me. Daniel and Prince generally do a very good job pointing out the (sometimes very large) holes in much the anti-Apple writings that are out there. But being 100% pro-Apple and not criticizing them ever does make the arguments feel like a Enderle/Thurott (but then with infinitely more inteligence, I must add).

    I would be very curious to hear from Daniel or Prince what kind of criticism they could mount re: Apple. Maybe it is just a tall order.

    Here is one I could think of: the iPhone OS (appliance-tuned OS X) is in fact geared to single-user mode. That presents a problem for the iPad as a “family device to be left on the coffee table”. The iPad could be a perfect family-device, but for that it needs multiple user profiles.

  • gctwnl

    Oops. “many of the writings” or “much of the writing” of course.

  • morgan

    Nice to see you in the sun!

    Talking about external peripherals, once plugged into Apple’s external keyboard stand, the problem with unflattering viewing angles disappears. So, yes, the ability to plug things in mitigates the need for a camera in some respects, but a common accessory that many users are likely to buy only increases the rational for including one in the device.

    Regarding the comparison to the iPod Touch, whether you give them credence, there is decent evidence that the omission of a camera was not exactly intentional, but a last minute decision, either to reduce costs (marginally) or to meet production deadlines. Of course, you are right that a camera-less iPod Touch didn’t hinder sales, but it does suggest that Apple intended to build one in, and likewise, one would guess, with the iPad.

    Not that we need to worry overly, I don’t imagine it’s too much of a stretch to suppose that the iPad will have an internal camera shortly, in any case. That said, how often do I use the one in my MacBook? Hardly at all!

  • JG

    That’s the same thought I had; for it to be a ‘family’ device, it would be convenient to be able to switch users in some way.

  • ChuckO

    gctwnl 38,
    “Here is one I could think of: the iPhone OS (appliance-tuned OS X) is in fact geared to single-user mode. That presents a problem for the iPad as a “family device to be left on the coffee table”. The iPad could be a perfect family-device, but for that it needs multiple user profiles.”

    Now that’s a criticism and it’s not presented as some sad “I’m invested in my argument like arguing for my favorite sport player” dickhead who’s way over emotional about a FREAKIN’ IPAD!

    not to gctwnl:

    Sorry for all the yelling, especially for the sight impaired who might be listening to these comments.

  • SteveS

    Dramatics? I believe the word you’re looking for is “analogy”. The word “Need” is a strong word and no, Conrad didn’t nail it perfectly. As I mentioned, the iPad doesn’t “need” a camera anymore than we “need” something like our left arm. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a significant oversight to skip that feature, now does it?

    Who said this issue was life or death? Your comparison to the iPod Touch is meaningless as they are different classes of products. Though, you do serve the point by illustrating how you didn’t purchase an iPod Touch because of a missing camera. Also, I find it amusing how you interpret my post as being somehow emotional (nothing further from the truth… just making an observation), yet your post contains both nasty language and shouting. Seriously, some people on this thread have issues to deal with.

    It’s nice to know there is at least one rational person on this thread who is capable of acknowledging a few basic facts. Daniel often does make good points, but more often, he simply tows the company line, regardless of the direction Apple takes. In short, he’s the Apple version of a Rob Enderle or Paul Thurrott. I know, that’s strong criticism, but true none the less. I have nothing against Daniel, I’m just offering him a suggestion. Based on the responses to my post, the zealotry is VERY strong in this forum.

  • gctwnl

    @SteveS 42:
    I would totally not agree with saying Daniel (or Prince) is an Apple version of Enderle/Thurott. There is that rather fundamental difference in analytic quality IMO. Maybe not all arguments are equally devastatingly strong, but maybe we are setting our goals a bit unrealistically high?

  • http://blog.cytv.com cy_starkman

    Even MacBooks et al have the camera placed wrong. You either look at the camera or the person, ultimately everyone looks at the person and appears to be looking down.

    It’s useless. Camera phones included. If nthing else this is why it hasn’t taken off.

    Then again there is the Apple patent about a camera mounted in the screen. Now that will be a revolution in video conferencing finally you can look at the person and they see you looking st them, eye contact.. Who’d have thunk it eh..

    and personally I would not expect to see any front facing cameras on iPhones, ipads etc until the Apple engineers figure out the final bits of that puzzle, then they will the products will switch to it.

    Simple really

  • ChuckO

    SteveS, Sorry if dickhead offended your delicate sensibilities. I wasn’t speaking about you in particular but certain posts that want to make the lack of a camera seem like the dumbest thing Apple could have done.

    And for me comparing the lack of an arm and a iChat camera is pushing the importance of the camera on the iPad way out of proportion.

    Your reply about my comments on the iPod Touch also show you aren’t getting my point.

    And the shouting was for comic effect.

  • miloh

    Anytime someone identifies what they perceive as a missing feature (in any device, not just the iPad), I think it’s helpful to step back and consider whether they really need that particular feature. All too often it seems people become dependent on a specific solution rather than on the value that solution provides. This tends to artificially limit their perspective to a certain context, resulting in an inability to see any other way of doing things. The sad thing is how many problem analysts out there fall into this trap, considering they’re trained to avoid it.

    Take the suggestion of multiple user profiles for example. Is that really needed or is it just the familiar solution to a common problem? Might there be another way? The same could be asked of Flash or multitasking or any of the other things the iPad has been criticized on.

    This is what I see Apple as doing. They’ve looked at what their target market actually values and then asked whether the conventional solutions were the right ones. In many cases the answer seems to be no.

  • gctwnl

    That is a thoughtful comment and often true.

    With respect to multiple profiles in some way or another, that is indeed the only solution to keep private matters (like various mailboxes) separate. Whatever the solution, underneath it will have to be some sort of separation based on who is using (i.e. a profile). Now, the way such a profile is implemented needs of course not to be the way it is done on an OS like OS X with a login panel or such. Other interfaces to share one environment with separated user data (like your private mail) is possible.

    With the way the iPhone/iPad OS is set up (a I understand it just a single user, possibly root) and the way OS X (which it is based on) bases profiles on unix users, a “family iPad” will not be straightforward to do.