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Apple tablet announcement

I'm always a bit slow to adopt new technologies, and have only just recently gotten around to buying one of these newfangled things called an "adding machine." I really don't know why people soured so badly on slide rules.

In any case, I'm all abuzz about the new Apple tablet, or iPad, or whatever Steve Jobs calls it. Here are some of the things the iPad can do:

1. Surf the web.

2. Check e-mail.

3. Compose documents

4. Heal the sick.

5. Discern molecular components of exoplanet atmospheres.

6. Achieve nuclear fusion.

7. Link directly with another iPad and produce, after just 24 hours, a litter of tiny, squealing iPads.

8. Explain jokes you don't get.

9. Wake you up in the morning (digital clock display!!!!!).

10. Serve as a doorstop.

So you can see why everyone's going to want one. What I like most about it is the thought that millions of people will buy an iPad and then funnel lots of money to old media institutions, and thus enable me to continue working here at the newspaper and, when I get home, sit in the comfy chair and read the print edition of the paper and a magazine article and maybe even a few pages in a book.

According to MacWorld, this thing could save all of us ink-stained wretches:

Apple's tablet (and the copycats that will follow it) will be a game-changer, just as the iPod and iPhone have been. Because of Apple's aura, this tablet will get more attention than the plethora of e-book readers we have seen recently. And I'm betting that Apple will get it right, as far as features, interface and usability are concerned. It will also be an excellent tool for reading the news. Newspapers and magazines will be able to package their content in multimedia bundles (either as apps or something similar to the iTunes LP) that will be designed for reading on a portable screen; this won't simply be web pages viewed on a smaller screen.

The key to hardware being successful is the software that supports it. One of the main advantages to Apple's tablet, as far as the press is concerned, is the iTunes Store. Since Apple already has this platform to sell and deliver that content, even on a subscription basis, readers will be able to easily buy their favorite newspapers and magazines and get them delivered instantly. They'll be cheaper than the print versions, and they'll be a lot greener too. And the iTunes Store will be able to provide a better selection than readers can find by going to individual Websites. Whether by subscription or by single issue, it'll be extremely simple to buy newspapers and magazines to read on the Apple tablet.

The Post's Rob Pegoraro is live-blogging the roll-out in San Francisco. Sounds like Apple has a deal with the NYTimes:

Jobs sits down in the chair to demonstrate the iPad, calling it "so much more intimate than a laptop." He shows how to wake up the device, pull up the New York Times' Web site--joking about the slow connection--and then browses Time and National Geographic's sites. (The NYT home page features a missing-plugin icon, indicating that--as most people expected--there's no Adobe Flash software on the iPad.)

I should be jealous of the Times -- but it's refreshing to see that the very first thing Jobs does when he powers up the device is check out the newspaper.

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 27, 2010; 2:04 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: State of the disunion
Next: Live-blogging the State Of the Union address


Still laughing at point #4.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 27, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom is the good egg who alerted us to the new kit. Thanks. That is the best way to be first.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 27, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Steve Jobs describes it as "intimate" and then shows how to wake it up? Why am I picturing him rolling over in bed, nudging the tablet, and saying "g'morning, honey."

Posted by: rashomon | January 27, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I could use a new doorstop.

Posted by: MsJS | January 27, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I believe that the smaller offspring are referred to as iPons.

Posted by: kguy1 | January 27, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

CqP, I'm blushing, but it wasn't necessarily altruism--it's the fact that I'm already three kits behind with no hope of catching up.

Posted by: Raysmom | January 27, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The lack of Flash is one of those Steve Jobs not-invented-here nose-cutting face-spiting moves that Apple is famous for. Without Flash you can't see all those great animated WaPo ads that take over the entire screen.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 27, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The thing is getting crushed in the geek-osphere. Big complaints are: no camera (i.e. no video conferencing), the backlit screen will make extended reading difficult (because of the refreshing), still has to be synched with a genuine computer, no replaceable/expandable memory (not a new complaint with Apple). All in all they are complaining that it's just a big iPod and not some revolutionary new gadget. I'm inclined to agree with them.

Posted by: Awal | January 27, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Nice that Joel put up a new kit when the old one is the most read story on the WaPo site right now.

Posted by: slyness | January 27, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I could still use a new doorstop.

Posted by: MsJS | January 27, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

If they come out with a larger model will it be called the Max-iPad? And will it come in super size or with wings?

Posted by: yellojkt | January 27, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Yes Yello, it is an unfortunate name, isn't it.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | January 27, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Just so you don't think I'm the only person mining that vein:

Posted by: yellojkt | January 27, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Look, I understand the cool factor and that whole user-friendly business that makes Apple go. But I just don't find the thing compelling. It still seems like an iPhone from the Planet of the Giants.

I mean, it doesn't have decent storage, it has a smaller screen than most netbooks and lacks an ergonomically reasonable keyboard. Heck, does it even have a webcam?

I mean, yes, it looks slick and shiny, but jeepers, for the price (even the base price) you could get yourself a much more capable netbook.

But what do I know. I drive an Ion.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 27, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I thought since it's a tablet, it should have been named the iLet. Then we'd make a verb out of it, as in 'to Google.' Folks would say 'to iL...'

Never mind.

Posted by: MsJS | January 27, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, you can't wrap fish or coffee grounds in an iPad.

However, I understand that you can use it for lining birdcages and for training puppies.

Just ask Bill Gates, he'll tell ya.
Better ask him Zune, though. He's got a lot of Foundations to dig.


Posted by: -bc- | January 27, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

iPhone on steroids sounds pretty good (though commuters are going to look awfully conspicuous holding that thing up to their ears), but I'm not as sure about laptop replacement. Does one type on the screen, or are you supposed to carry around a fold out keyboard?

I confirm that "newfangled" in fact does not require a hyphen, referring back to the color television kit.

Posted by: engelmann | January 27, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

So, if the tablet cost $1K, and I'm paying a little less than $6/week for my Post home delivery, then it will take me about 3 years to make it worthwhile? And that's assuming that stays free? H-m-m-m. Methinks maybe I'll continue to get the paper, even if I do have use a magnifying glass to read the funnies any more.!

Posted by: ebtnut | January 27, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, the name. This and the Wii makes me wonder how these things get past the marketing dept in the first place, not to mention focus-group testing. I propose the all-important "guilty furtive snicker" test for all future products.

Posted by: schala1 | January 27, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

OK, I now see that the tablet is going to be about $500, so that's a year and a half. But my point still stands.

Posted by: ebtnut | January 27, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Two things, quickly:

1. #5 might make some friends nervous

2. I wonder if there was any discussion of staging an intro with Steve Jobs walking from offstage past a burning bush (or a wintel laptop running Windows - talk about a blue flame), holding a tablet in each hand over his head, and 5 commandments on each screen.

On second thought, perhaps not.


Posted by: -bc- | January 27, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

"6. Achieve nuclear fusion."

Well, yes, but not COLD fusion.

I'm still looking for - and maybe I'm just having an imagination-deficient day - but can't find #11: An even mildly persuasive, never mind compelling, reason to buy one of these.

Is it just me? Am I missing something, or is this just a "meh" kind of product?

Posted by: byoolin1 | January 27, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

(Albeit a "meh" kind of product with "Welcome To The Second Coming" kind of marketing, I mean.)

Posted by: byoolin1 | January 27, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, is there a niche for this thing? Does anyone outside the Apple-sphere like it?

Posted by: MsJS | January 27, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey, if you think "iPad" is an unfortunate name, you should have heard what they called it during the developmental phase and beta testing: the iSuppository.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 27, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Today's Doonesbury says it all:

Posted by: slyness | January 27, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

From the Greek Table (TBG put me on to this)
Ziti with Four Cheeses

The Greek version of this dish was inspired by a recipe from my dear friend and mentor, chef and cookbook author Mary Ann Esposito of Ciao Italia. We served this at the Naples food and wine festival 2009, I loved it so much that I decide to give it a Hellenic twist and make it with Greek cheeses.
Try this with some baked fish, roasted chicken, or grilled pork.


5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 pound ziti
1/2 cup diced Ghravyera cheese
1/2 cup diced fresh Kasseri cheese
1/2 cup diced Manouri cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Mizithra cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Fine sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 egg
1 cup heavy cream

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

• To toast the bread crumbs heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a small sauté pan, add the bread crumbs, and cook them until golden brown. Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and set side.

• In a food processor blend the Manouri and Mizithra cheeses, nutmeg, flour, egg, add the heavy cream, salt and pepper, pulse till just blended. Set aside.

• Cook the ziti till it is softened but still firm to the bite or al dente.
• Drain and return to the pasta pot.
• Over low heat, stir the ziti with the remaining 4 tablespoons butter until it is well coated.

• Toss the Ghravyera and Kasseri cheeses over the top and let them remain on top for 1 to 2 minutes to warm over low heat. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon to melt the cheeses.
• Add the cream mixture and stir well.

• Place in a well buttered pan and sprinkle the toasted bread crumbs over the top and
• bake for 30 minutes and serve immediately

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 27, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Mmm. Paninis. They're no Reuben, but..

Posted by: byoolin1 | January 27, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"5. Discern molecular components of exoplanet atmospheres."

Hey! That's MY job!

(although I see that bc got there before me).

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 27, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

iPad? We don't need no stinkin' iPad.

But then, this is coming from someone who just sent a comment to the Post about the Q&A format in Monica Hesse's discussion today asking whyohwhyohwhy did they have to use a gray font instead of black.

Posted by: Raysmom | January 27, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Since we are sharing pictures of sandwiches, here is a roast beef and cole slaw and fries sandwich from Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh:

Posted by: yellojkt | January 27, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

#8: At last, a device for the humor-impaired! Once it's found to be overhyped and underpowered, it'll be renamed MiraclJeer as the company gets sued half out of business for fraud.

(Sorry, that was a little obscure, but I swear, once you see the diagrams with the accordion, zebra, and the nun and the priest you will totally get this joke and subsequently eject a few yards of intestine from extreme laughing.*)

*Above statement is an example of hyperbole and not to be considered as a guarantee or a typical effect of utilizing the MiraclJeer(r) function on the iPad. Use of this product waives us from all liability yadda yadda...

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 27, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

WB, as I read your M-Jeer thing the info commercial for Miracle Ear came on the tube. Stop this. You scare me. cue theme from Twilight Zone, especially the bongo drum part.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 27, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Theme from "Twilight Zone"? Are we back to old TV again?

Posted by: ebtnut | January 27, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

CqP, that's funnier than my post.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 27, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

The chats look the same to me, on Firefox. Am I missing something?

Posted by: seasea1 | January 27, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

The email from Apple arrived a while back. Not being a cellphone or e-book user, I don't exactly know what to make of the new gadget.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 27, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Yes, ebnut, we are. Turns out I didn't remember "our first color TV" because my family never had one when I (the youngest) lived at home. My father won one thereafter in a raffle. My mother informs me it's the one in her living room.

The apple thing may never be a good ergonomic telephone. When I had an outdoor job we'd hang our phones on a hip holster to walk around and still be in touch. Jump into foundation trenches to inspect. If I have to carry multiple gadgets, I'd just as well have a dedicated reader, cheaper, and keep a phone / camera in a pocket. I have never touch-screen typed so I have no knowledge of how that might be.

One construction manager found a little tiny PRINTER he kept in his truck for his laptop. We all thought that was the real coup de etat. In many real-world situations it's impossible to expect every employee to carry around a reader, but a printout of instructions or diagrams or maps is still very much a good thing to give out.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 27, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

About the iPad...does it take out the trash *without being asked* and put in a fresh bag? If it's also a reliable babysitter, maybe. But a thousand clams?Why does it seem that Apple always tries to recoup its R&D costs in the first month of sales?

Also, Jobs calls it 'the best browsing experience you've ever had.' I disagree. That would be the Stuart Weitzman store in Barcelona. Or Saks in NY.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 27, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm old enough to have had a radio in the truck.

Kinda weird to see tomorrow's Broder column already posted. Maybe actual delivery of the State of the Union's not needed. Could everyone assemble in the House Chamber, do the hand shaking, recognitions, and ritual boos and cheers, then exit for pizza parties in the Visitor Center?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 27, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

seasea1, I think Hesse's chat was the only one in the new format (soft launch). That makes a weird sorta sense.

Posted by: Yoki | January 27, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Precisely, LiT.

If it can't find and bring you the best shoes in your size (custom widths too!), along with compliments on your taste and elegance of dress, it's not worth it.

I bought a major winter style upgrade for 2010 for less than a thousand clams.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 27, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

This stuff is in bad taste even by my standards:

Posted by: yellojkt | January 27, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Drinking game for the SOTU:

I better buy more vodka.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 27, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

(Albeit a "meh" kind of product with "Welcome To The Second Coming" kind of marketing, I mean.)

Posted by: byoolin1
* * *
Thus joining the ranks of the Segway and New Coke.

-Snarky Squirrel

Posted by: 7900rmc | January 27, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Ah, now I see. The new chat format looks a bit more polished, but I see what Raysmom meant about the gray font.

In tennis news, Rafa and Venus Williams are out, Federer and Serena Williams made it through despite dropping a set. No, they're not playing mixed doubles.

Posted by: seasea1 | January 27, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

After all the criticism about the Obamas spending their holiday vacation in Hawaii, guess who's holding their winter meeting in Waikiki? You got it, the RNC. From our local newspaper, the Honolulu Advertiser:

"Bob Bennett, 70, an RNC member from Cleveland, Ohio, said there is no shame in meeting in a palm-tree-lined locale, though he also said, "If you took a poll of members, they probably would have held it a little closer to home."

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | January 27, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Well Obama can come here, we LOVE him, still.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 27, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

"The best browsing experience ever"? He's obviously never been in a Woodcrafters, right, Padouk? Or Foyles' bookstore in London.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 27, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse


11: Divide by 0.

Posted by: -dbG- | January 27, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

I hear Powell's in Portland, OR is a pretty mean browsing experience, too Mudge. 1 city block full of second-hand books. You probably could even find some of your out-of-print scrolls and bearskins there.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 27, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

I don't care what you all say, I think the iPad is very cool. I'm sure abeac agrees with me, non?

Posted by: -TBG- | January 27, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Powell's mixes the used and new books together, so that is part of what makes the browsing experience so delightful.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 27, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

I see the iPad is going to retail for $499. Hmmm. I guess brick-breaker could be called a reliable babysitter.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 27, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Indeed Mudge. Woodcrafters is a delightful place to browse. Their selection of Japanese reverse-blade saws alone can induce a manly swoon. Such narrow kerfs. Of course, I can't justify the expense of such an exotic tool, although I did once by a Gentleman's saw. Although I'm not sure I qualify.

And what a nice selection of rare hardwoods. I once bought a "mystery box." Guess what the main component was? Yep. Just think. If I had chosen differently I could be known as RD Zebrawood.

And that would be weird.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 27, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

if it would work on the river in west by god,then i might get one.....nah I doubt it.

best browsing experience,the "Nice" Wine store after a decent payday.....

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 27, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

That base IPad has 16G of flash storage. Heck, that's hardly enough to store my son's music collection.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 27, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Love to all, night boodle.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 27, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

That is funny RD, my daughter would have the same problem, imagine if those unfortunate youngsters had to deal with the old walkmans we had, limited to what you could put on a cassette tape - the horror :-) Of course I still remember the 'mix' 8 track tapes my brother used to make for the car!

Posted by: dmd3 | January 27, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

TBG - I do not question the coolness. It is cool. Way cool. Super awesome cool. But then, so is a Tesla.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 27, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Any way to turn Microsoft Groove off? I opened it once and now it starts whenever my pc starts-- drives me nut because I like my start-up to be as short as possible.
I am sorely tempted to uninstall it but I would prefer to keep my MSOffice2007 intact.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 27, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Suddenly it all makes sense:

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 27, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

CqP, how's College Barkian doing?

Posted by: -dbG- | January 27, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Well, you don't have to worry about holding the iPad to your ear. From the NYT article:

"However, the device does not have a camera and lacks the ability to make phone calls."

I think I'll wait for v 2.0 to see if it's matured at all.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 27, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Are we live blogging the speech tonight?

Posted by: -TBG- | January 27, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Nate Silver rocks:

Speaking of 'puter stuff, my mother-in-law is here and I am trying to help her set up a few more bookmarks on her new laptop. We got Bonnie Hunt, The Food Network, and Puppy of the Day. She seems happy with that.

Baby steps.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 27, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Powell's Books encourages local customers to first browse the website to determine which of their stores to visit. I recall being an early discoverer of that approach. One evening, with a rapidly-developing cold, I raided the Beaverton store for a highly desirable book on creationism (used) and Palahniuk's "Fight Club". Daniel Duane presented his new novel at the Hawthorne Blvd store (the regular one, not the cookbook store next door). The enormous main store is indeed a marvel.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 27, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, let's live blog the speech. I much prefer watching among friends.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 27, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only person wondering why Nate Silver isn't universally known as "Nate the Great" already?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 27, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Puppy of the Day is a fine bookmark. The Big Slug set it out for me.

Everyone's concerned with College Barkian, what am I, chopped liver? I'm doing very well thank you. I've gained a few kg this winter and everyone is worked up over it. How unfair. I finished up a few bowl of food the Old Fool was not interested in and suddenly I'm a criminal. A dastardly felon. Totally unfair.
The good thing is they can't get my real weight. I made my Favourite Person on Earth crash with a big head butt when they tried to weigh me with her a couple of weeks ago. The Big Slug got me on the scale but we were over the maximum weight. Ah! Lose some weight, Big Loser!
I'm lucky the Slick Boy doesn't get involved, I think he can lift me and we would surely be below the scale limit. I've exercised him good, he is strong and lean.

What is it with poodles? The lucky ba$tards get all the attacks. I wish I could meet a mean dog. They all back off at the last minute. The Big Slug can thank me for having an arm 2in. longer than the other, it's handy in those Mega-Stores with high shelves. I just wish that last mutt we met had kept on going instead of turning away, the coward. It would have been nice to grind its body into the ground and throw it around a little bit. It would have been a fairly tiring exercise but nothing a few hours rest in a sofa couln't cure.
Oh well. I should go checking if there is some kibbles left from the Old Fool's last meal.

Your favourite Very Large Puppy.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 27, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm on NBC... how 'bout you?

Posted by: -TBG- | January 27, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Big apologies, VLP!

Faxing some apple/oatmeal/cinnamon dog biscotti your way.

Posted by: -dbG- | January 27, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

NBC says Joe Wilson et al were "reminded to be courteous."

Posted by: -TBG- | January 27, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey! I've got a new kit going to live-blog this thing. If you wanna come over.

Posted by: joelache | January 27, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Yoki? You are here with me in spirit tonight. Craving some lamb tibs right now, though.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 27, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I'm right there. And we are clapping, with our friends.

Posted by: Yoki | January 27, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Can it also be used to read unimaginative news columns?

Posted by: WorldNet | January 29, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

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