The iPad, Music, Flash and the Thumb

By Moses Avalon

Steve Has…

In one dynamic scoop, Mr. Jobs has with the iPad reversed the evolution of Man by roughly 75,000 years making the thumb obsolete as well as several other things we can probably do without. Here are the pros and cons of spending just south of $900 for the latest gadget right now. But first some big puncture stuff.


Several words that are common to English will disappear soon thanks to the iPad, like, “newspaper.” This one was on its way out anyway, courtesy of the web, but the iPad really pushes it into the grave for good. Just like the expression, “dial a number,” still lingering in our vernacular in regard to making a phone call, so to has “reading the paper,” sustained itself well past anyone who could possibly relate to it. How much further will it survive when the news is no longer printed? Before the iPad I might have said a decade, now I give it about 24 months. Before, I might have read a paper or two a week. Now, thanks to the iPad I read about five a day.

“Computer” is also not long for the word museum thanks to iPad. It will still turn up in conversation, but it will refer to a clunky box that holds large media files, mostly used by production companies and banks who need extra security or don’t trust cloud systems. “Tablet” is the new word, or “pad.” “Can I borrow your tablet to check my email?” “Sure where’s yours?” “My pad is getting an upgrade.” There will soon be no such thing as a “home computer,” any more than a home phone. And while we still need a great deal more in regard to Apps to replace our PCs with a tablet the future is clear: 90% of our basic computing needs will be on a pad.

I’ve had my tablet for a month now. I wanted to use it for a good long bit before I weighed in with an opinion. Here’s the skinny: it’s not a matter of if you should buy one, it’s really a matter of when. But is it worth it to be an early adopter for this item with Dell and Google daring to compete in this arena? If you travel a lot or are a music professional, you will soon see that you can not afford to wait-n-see. You already needed it yesterday and with more and more pro music Apps coming out each day it’s only a matter of time before you give in. But there are some things to consider. Here goes.


Warning: If you’re an Apple Cool-Ade drinker and think Steve can do no wrong, you might not want to read this section. It could upset you and require some therapy. But there are some serious problems with this first generation device.

The Flash Thing

This is a deal breaker for some. There is little that is more frustrating than finding something you want to watch on the iPad and then being told that your device does not support the viewing format. This will happen with most media sites. They all use Flash and the iPad will not play Flash.

Why is Steve being so stubborn about Flash? His public arguments about it don’t seem to add up. Supposedly he’s all about the user. Well the user needs Flash right now. My guess as to what this is really about…

Porn. Steve is aligned with Disney and has for years tried to position Apple as a cute, family product. I think the idea that people may use his clean white devices for private functions keeps him up at night.

Am I joking? Maybe, but consider this. When Steve said in his opening letter, Thoughts on Flash that Apple is leaving Flash for HTML4 (which few use yet) because “the number one reason Macs crash” is Flash, I think he’s talking about the malwear that porn leaves behind, which can be nasty and eventually require a clean install (no pun intended) of your OS.

And when Adobe responds with “We believe that consumers should be able to freely access their favorite content and applications,” what they are really talking about is, according to what web monitor sources suggest, is what 86% of what people watch on the net– Porn.

And just look at the picture of these two Adobe fossils. What are they thinking about with those knowing, lascivious gins?

And, Steve’s statements are not 100% pure. He does have a YouTube App built into all Apple devices that translates Flash. So, regardless of his written words, his actions seem to suggest that Flash, when not used to watch YouTube or other Apple related products is causing problems. When we eliminate YouTube, what’s left for that 87% audience? Porn.

So, Steve’s message is clear: my machines are for people doing serious work. If you need to wack off, use a PC.

Will he win this one? I doubt it. But time will tell.

(Update 6/16/10: a day or two after this post Jobs got into an email debate with, tech journalist Ryan Tate, wherein he claimed to want to ofer the world “freedom from porn.”  Full transcript.)

No Thumbs

Comfort was not on Steve’s mind when he conceived the iPad. The unit is heavy; 1.5 pounds may not sound like much, but when you’re sitting in your favorite chair and “reading the paper” it can add up to wrist strain. New models will have to be lighter, no question. I’m guessing that the reason for the weight is mostly due to the battery, which seems to last forever even when the indicator reads only 10%.

The weight would not be a big deal were it not for the fact that Steve doesn’t seem to think that Man really needs a thumb anymore. Sure, in the past he’s disagreed with authorities more belligerent than paleontologists, but this time his form over comfort approach might cause some backlash; you can not place your thumb anywhere on the screen to secure it for fear of either activating a link or deactivating the screen’s functionality. This leaves only one option for single handed operation, placing your thumb in the black margin–which is only about 3/4 of an inch wide–and actually pinching the device between your thumb and finger tips to grip it. Even using two hands the iPad is still a slippery beast. Maybe this is so you drop it and need a new one eventually, or…


If you think you’re getting out of the Apple store for just the $400-$600 you’ll spend on the unit, you’re dreaming. Be prepared to shred on a few jazzy upgrades. A case for safety/grip, a stand and a separate keyboard if you’re really going to use it as a pro writing/creating tool.

The Keyboard

I have never typed faster in my life and with more accuracy as I have on the iPad’s touch screen keyboard. It’s quite amazing and the logic on its auto-correct/spellcheck is vastly superior to anything I’ve used in the PC world. So why then do you need a separate keyboard? Well, the geometry of typing on the same horizontal as the screen works in some situations, but not all. For example, if you’re doing long articles, like this one, which is being typed on the iPad/Bluetooth Keyboard combination ($69). I’ve looked at the other accessory keyboards by Apple and decided that this was the most versatile. The “docking keyboard” one looks like it will fall over when you tap it, plus the “geniuses” at Apple didn’t make the connector an item that will lie flat in a carry bag.

Also, I’m not a germaphobe but even I’m a bit grossed out by the iPad screen when it goes dark, into sleep mode. I can see the history of where my fingers have been living on my screen. If you have dandruff, or are the kind of person who tends to touch his face or eat cheeseburgers while you work, then you’re gonna want a separate keyboard or a lot of micro-fiber cloths to keep this thing looking cherry.

Case And Screen Protectors

So far all the cases and skins sorta suck for one reason or another. But if you recall, it took about a year before any really great third party cases were available for the iPhone. So give this some time. I have three cases. First I was fool enough to by the official Apple soft “book cover” case. A complete waste of $38. I never use it. Later I went to and got a simple black rubber skin for $6 and another from for $10. Both are better. They add the needed grip on the device and it works well with the kickstand that I bought for $6. More on this below.

Screen protectors are a not there yet either. The ones that claim to cut down on glare, don’t. And you wish they did. The iPad screen is very reflective. Most of the protectors are way over priced ($29). The screen is fine the way it is. I would, however, again at Overstock, get one of the cheap ones. They sell for $10 for a pack of three. If traveling and doing journalism from the front line where there might be shrapnel or lots of coffee flying around you, or you’re going to the beach, a protector will make you feel safe. The trade off will be dirt from static cling and air bubbles making your state of the art screen look like an invisible pizza.


Apple makes a docking stand ($38) which I half recommend. You can travel with it, it’s bulky, but with the Bluetooth keyboard or for charging it’s very useful.

Several companies make very cool stands that range in price from $7 to the very cool $150 Joule Stand and then there is the ModuleR Accessories System which is just too cool for words. I’m sort of a prince when it comes to accessories, so I was going to buy the Joule, but I quickly realized that this is exactly the sort of thing I’m going to lose time and again. So instead, I bought the made in Asia, $7 “Kickstand,” and I’m glad I did. This amazing design allows the iPad to rest in any position. For the price, I’d get three of them.

And then there’s this guy, who has the resourcefulness of a recording studio owner and really the best solution for about 20 cents. Must watch.


Charger Cable

The one they give you is insultingly short. For any real outing you’ll need a longer one that Apple does not make. You could take the wall adapter, a sync cable and a USB extender to make one at a combined cost of about $50, or, go to Overstock and get a 7 foot cable and a bundle of car accessories for $6.


You absolutely need one, but you don’t need the ones at Apple for $60. I went to a discount luggage center and got a mini messenger bag for $10. Just as good. You might still want to buy a glove or sleeve for extra protection while traveling. Again, avoid anything with the word “iPad” on it or you’ll pay iPad Tax. Look for Netbook sleeves. Same thing at half the price.

All in All be prepared to spend about $100 more in various accessories after you walk out of the Apple store with your new best friend. At the end of this piece is my compliment of accessories, their Apple Store prices and my bargain hunter’s price.


The iFuture – iS iT Worth iT?

I love my iPad in spite of its short comings. It has given me a freedom and mobility that I have not felt since I got my first Dell notebook. I agree with the commercials, it’s a revolution and it’s only just begun. But where will it go?

I think the dawn of the iPad is also the dusk of the iPhone. Steve’s getting out of the telecom biz and he’s doing it with style. He made the smart phone the must-have item and now he’s going to obsolete it with the pad. Y’see, ask any iPhone user and they’ll tell you the phone itself sucks. It’s the Apps they love. Well, since most of us carry a bag or purse that could easily fit the iPad now you can get better Apps on the iPad and not really sacrifice mobility.

Other companies will make better phones that are good for the basic functions, email, messaging and navigation. Google seems to want that business and their phone will probably do the basic things better without ATT as a partner. Steve knows this. He knows that life is too short to try to beating Google at this game with ATT riding his back like a dead elephant. Wait till 2011 and he’s free you say? Let me tell you what Steve already knows: it doesn’t matter what is says in that damn contract, ATT is never going to let iPhone go without a long expensive fight. The only way out for Steve– stop making the best phone.

I predict there will be a few new models of iPhones but that market share will start to swing over to Verizon and Sprint based units as Android Apps become the mobile standard for excellence. The “papers” will criticize Steve for not keeping up but I don’t think he wants to. He’s back in the computer biz, where he belongs, where he’s king.

There will be other tablets soon also, so this is by no means a vacation for Steve. He has a lot of work to do to stay competitive. But he has something he never had before in the computer world– a lead on the competition. I think he plans to keep it.

Join the revolution. The iPad is worth every penny and in a few years you will not be able to live without one, or five.

And Adobe, get your shit together.

Mo out

Apple Store Price/Bargain Hunter

Rubber Skin$29/$10

Screen Protector$19/$3


Carry Bag$60/$10

Carry Sleeve$35/$10

Charger Cable$45/$6

Bluetooth Keyboard$65(Apple exclusive)

Total Savingsfrom $291, bottom line cost on all accessories: $110

12 responses to “The iPad, Music, Flash and the Thumb”

  1. Janet says:

    Hey Mo,

    What’s the monthly ding? I heard that ATT is offering “all you can eat” with the iPad for $30 per month; but you have to “grandfather in” by today, to get the guarantee for unlimited bandwidth. I wonder if it’s because another company is on the horizon (Verizon?) I think, if you
    don’t get the “grandfather” deal, and you do a lot of bandwidth (video/hd sound), might get expensive on the monthly.

    Nice article, btw!


  2. Chris Knab says:

    Great review on the iPad. Appreciate all the tips on saving bucks on the accessories.
    One point.Today’s email from Apple on the new 4G iPhone is pretty amazing…video phone calls to other iPhone friends, a vastly improved screen look, HD video recording and over 100 new system upgrades, and the price is the same as when the 3GS was introduced- $199. Not sure Mr. Jobs is ready to back off on the mobile phone biz quite yet…check it out, and once again thanks for the very useful iPad review!

  3. JJ says:

    This is a comment from another Steve, the one with the last name of Martin. As he fiddled with his new iPad, trying to adjust it for proper reading on the music stand in front of him at New Orleans Jazz Fest five weeks ago, he finally gave up, waved it in the air and shouted, “This is my new $500 set list!”

  4. Thanks Moses, one of the best reviews of the iPad yet! The extra details of the Flash scenario was extremely insightful…looking forward to buying one in the future. Lead singers don’t use thumbs that much anyways…cheers!

  5. Terry Barnes says:

    I don’t know who you are — you don’t seem like an Apple fanatic (like me) — but this is the best and most useful iPad article I’ve read. That movie of making an iPad holder was a gift from the gods. I made one, it works better than anything in stores. I like your pornogaphy take on the Flash wars – but never heard anyone else ever talk about that. Best wishes for your future!

  6. Mattskills says:

    hey moses, first of all: good to see you’re back, alive and kicking!

    regarding your new post I gotta confess it made some thoughts and emotions go crazy and first of all it reminded me of the supercrazy mania that surrounds a lot of trendy stuff coming out thesed days. watch this vid, it wil tell you something:

    To be honest: I’m mixed up about the ipad. On the one hand I think its a worthless tool but then again it feels like I’m just too curious to say there’s not a bit of envy scrsmbled into it. I know if I would have an ipad I’d love it. But now before i have it it also makes me angry because I kind of already “know” as soon as I have it, therell be a next generation one. I know it’ll feel like someone sold me. Thats why I on the other hand dont want one. but I still follow the news! So what? Maybe I think its the world, the people that are going crazy and I just like to watch it happen….

    Seriously anythin good has a downside. Everything is either a poison or a vaccine, it (after Paracelsus i guess) is only the amount of it that makes the difference. So maybe the ipad is good and bad like anythin else. You might need it but really who does? You might think you dont need it but then you’ll see only recognize you better get one instead.

    whats the point?
    i believe first itll be different and second than you/we/anyone thinks.

    In fact newspapers wont die in my guess but that wont be the truth as well. But one thing is for sure: there’ll be another thing folowing the ipad, maybe new generations, maybe something totally different. Maybe the ipad will replace the keyboard on our laptops so we’ll see foldable 2 screen ipads in the future kind of like a bastard of nintendo ds and an ipad. maybe maybe. but right now only one thing gives me a good taste of life. Its comments like these two of yours here:

    “So, Steve’s message is clear: my machines are for people doing serious work. If you need to wack off, use a PC.”

    “…Maybe this is so you drop it and need a new one eventually, or…”

    This smells like the truth, nothing but the truth, so help me Jobs…


  7. Liegh lust says:

    After 20 years as a pc user I finally caved in and got a macbook pro late last year…then the f*#ker jobs immediately introduced a new version of the “brand new macbook pro” I had just bought. Apple like RIM is caught up in the hype of the market where one has to own the “shiny new toy”.

    Ipad?  I don’t buy it either literally nor figuratively. Which of those “killer aps” can I NOT download on my computer?  If I’m going to carry around something that big and that heavy that requires a “bag” to tote around I’ll stick w my computer thanks very much.

    Never drank the apple cool aid/never will. It’s become the tech version of Biggie vs Tupac between Apple and Microsoft. None of this is being done by jobs “for the people” he knows that we live in an “of the moment” moment. I hope some other tech company devises the ultimate pad and kicks jobs now very cocky/arrogant ass and sends his stock back doen to $60 where it belongs.

    Nice to see ya back in the inbox Moses but on this one I strongly disagree. Let’s see where we both stand on this one in 12 months.
    Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

  8. Shoshy Roback says:

    Thanks for a great review on the iPad. I just got it and had some doubts mainly because it seemed like a giant iphone!
    I need it only for travel, I use my mac at home, and I travel for my job weekly internationally!
    I like it more since reading your review of it, I must admit I was frustrated about the accessories specially since the apple store had NONE and the items on line were overwhelming.
    I will check out your recommendations on sleeves, stands etc.

  9. We have an ipad for work and I have brought it home on the weekends to do reading and play. I like it, but I don’t think I have to have it. My mac is still my work horse. I agree about the typing on the ipad though, my macbook died and I was to tired and lazy to plug it in so I sent about an hours worth of email on the ipad, and confession; I like the look of my gmail account better on the ipad.

  10. J. says:

    I guess Cloud Computing and X-rated visuals are not compatible in the mind of Mr. Jobs. So there will be a use for the PCs with roots (desktops) after all.

  11. Rachel says:

    re the ‘world free of porn’ comment, it’s a worthy goal & I’m happy that Jobs & co is thinking this way.

    HOWEVER, as someone who is online at least 8-10 hours a day, all over the WWW I’m very happy to report that I can’t recall the last encounter I had with porn online.

    Now I have effective SPAM filers at work & via gmail (thank you very much)I’m just not encountering it.

    So am I living in a ‘lucky/freak www bubble’ or is it these days a matter of you get what you look for?

  12. Brendan Holtorf says:

    I’m still learning from you, while I’m making my way to the top as well. I certainly liked reading all that is written on your site.Keep the posts coming. I liked it!
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