iPad Thoughts – Will I Be Buying One?

I’ve just watched the Apple iPad announcement and Steve Jobs does seem particularly proud of the iPad. He made a good case that there is a gap in the market for another mobile device that’s bigger than a smartphone and more user-friendly and portable than a traditional laptop.

Steve went on to explain that a netbook is just a small cheap laptop which doesn’t fill the gap and I believe he’s spot on – I’ve never bought a netbook for that reason.

The iPad is essentially a big iPhone, it can be totally touch controlled or, via a dock, using a real-keyboard for anyone who needs some serious text input. The big advantage virtual keyboards have is the ability to present context-sensitive input options, for example, a number pad would appear when entering numeric spreadsheet data and so on.

Although I find my iPhone intuitive and easy to use I don’t use it to its full potential mainly because it’s small so it seems likely I would make better use of an iPad and, as Steve Jobs pointed out, along with 75 million other people, I already know how to use the iPad out of the box.

I can envisage leaving iPads lying around the house, perhaps on the kitchen worktop where I’ll use it to follow recipes, or perhaps on living room coffee tables to settle arguments and look stuff up on Wikipedia. The iPad could breathe new life into traditional board games and I’m excited by all those possibilities.

A docked iPad with a real keyboard is going to be all most people ever need and traditional laptops and desktop computers may well become the preserve of geeks in darkened rooms once again. Consider how quickly the iPod and iPhone changed the way we listen to music and how we use mobile phones and it doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to see the way we use the world wide web is about to change – in three years, just as Apple announce the iPad V3 we’re all using tablets, you read it here first!

I can’t be certain until I’ve had some hands on experience whether I will take my iPad around the house or have several lying around but it seems likely we’ll have one each because future iPads are bound to interact with each other and our iPhones like virtual pets forming a House-Wide-Web and will change the way we interact with each other, our friends and the wider online world and my daughter won’t need to ring the house phone to get her dippy egg in bed!

There’s a pretty good chance technophobes, like my wife and my mum, will get carried along with the iPad wave. My wife already has an iPhone, admittedly turning it on/off is still a challenge but we’re getting there and my mum loves sitting beside me while I drive my computer for her touring Picasa and Facebook photo albums and buying her shopping online – she certainly knows how to point her finger and she’s good at gestures so she’s halfway there so I should be careful what I wish for or we’ll all be reaching for the blue pill!

Meanwhile, back in the real world, a friend of mine (Hi Antonious!) said “NOT ME MATEY” along with this list of reasons he won’t be buying one – but of course he WILL cave. Quite a few of the items on the list relate to lack of ports on the iPad which can all be made available via Apple or third party iPad docks and another accessory industry is born. I’ve appended my specific comments after each list item:

• Unspecified widescreen aspect ratio for video playback (so what?)
• 1024 x 768 aspect ratio not widescreen video friendly
(so like most TVs they’ll be a black bit top and bottom)

• No integrated USB ports (via dock)
• No card reader (via dock)
• Non-removable battery (would be better if it was)
• Non-expandable memory
(would be better if it was, but will buy the biggest anyway)

• No GPS in the WiFi only model (durr)
• Unlocked iPad not great when network’s don’t use the micro SIM
(any network which gets the contract surely will?)
• Mono audio speakers (via dock)
• Prolonged typing on glass? (use a keyboard via a dock)
• No integrated camera (Gotta love Apple keeping something back for iPad 2)
• No HDMI/Displayport (via dock)
• No Ethernet Port (via dock)
• Still no Adobe Flash support
(It’s bound to be Adobe dragging its heels, would prefer an alternative to emerge)
• Limited codec support i.e. AAC, MP3 and H.264 (can be supported via software update)
• Proprietary iBook eBook format
(Steve Jobs said it WAS an open format and I think all publishers will jump on this bandwagon or risk being left out in the cold)

• No breakdown of ‘up to’ 10 hours battery life
(Steve said he could watch video on a flight from LA to Tokyo and that lying around not being used and iPad would still have power after a month)
• No mains power cable included (via dock)

So yes, I will definitely be buying a WiFi iPad and, if I like what I see, probably more than one. Am I alone or will you be buying one? If so why? If not why?

CantBarsed.com 10th Anniversary Year!

CantBarsed.com was launched with no fanfare early in 2000 with no commercial ambition and no real direction.

The only thing I had in place was free cantBarsed.com webmail accounts which I thought were great fun and they remain popular today.

It was a chance email exchange with Dan Mountain (MD, Buyagift) that changed the direction of the website and led to my career in affiliate marketing.

Having quit my design job in London and retired over a decade earlier to become one of the first house husbands in the playground I was living the cantBarsed lifestyle and tinkering around online in my spare time as the World Wide Web stumbled into existence and the dot.com boom became the next big thing.

We heard a comedian using “dot com” as a punchline which stuck in my mind. One of Deb’s favourite expressions back then, and even now, remains: “I can’t be arsed” and I started chiming in with “dot com” every time she said it. At some point I casually checked whether cantBEarsed.com had been registered – and it had, which could easily have been the end of the story.

However, lying in bed, late one night, the image of a bumble bee between the words can’t and arsed popped into to my head (yeah I know it’s stupid but stick with me) and the idea for a domain named cantBarsed.com was born. I registered the domain and it was only when I was playing with logo designs I realised the letter B turned sideways made a bum shape and the original cantBarsed logo was born. The logo was subsequently animated and tipped up at an angle so it’s easier to read and the design is now protected as a registered TradeMark.

I also registered cantBarsed.co.uk and several years ago I finally managed to get my hands on CantBEarsed.com for £3700 – which is most I have paid for a domain name so far and a sizable company expense at the time. I remember Nadeem Azam telling me it was news in the domain name industry and I also remember Nadeem making himself ill during the .eu domain sunrise period trying to buy them ALL(!) which prompted me to pre-register cantBEarsed.eu and cantBarsed.eu and those, along with a bunch of other variations, all end up at cantBarsed.com website.

The cantBarsed.com screenshot is dated 14th August 2000 and, from memory, I’d just revamped the site with the idea of making money aiming for an Austin Powers multicolored blocks feel – I still like it!

Keen affiliate marketeers will notice I was already up and running as an Amazon affiliate and the Firebox.com and Cheeky Monkey banners were running via UKaffiliates – which later transmoglified into Deal Group Media. I think the mp3.com banner is an early Commission Junction program.

After several years of trial and error, learning from my mistakes along the way, cantBarsed.com eventually started to make money and went on to establish itself as one of the first popular UK affiliate marketing portal style websites in the UK.

The peak year for CantBarsed.com was around 2007, before dedicated code sites dominated affiliate marketing, but even now, in CantBarsed.com’s 10th Anniversary year, the site still makes money from over 700 hand-crafted static HTML pages which continue to rank well in search engines for many popular search keyword terms.

Future CantBarsed.com Plans
We continue to add content and keep CantBarsed.com up to date and during 2009 we finally managed to automate the promotional code handling to comply with IAB regulations. During 2010 we’re planning to move away from static hand crafted HTML pages using Adobe Dreamweaver to an online Content Management System which should free up more time to add more original and useful content.

I find the continued existence of CantBarsed.com, in today’s über-corporate world, purely as a result of a string of co-incidences, remarkable and I’m looking forward to working on the site to secure it’s future well into the teenies.