How Steve Jobs did a bad job designing my….

Steve Jobs is a maverick of a designer, we’ve had tons of cool stuff out of Apple that set the new standard for it “just works”. Not a day goes by without an Apple fan waxing lyrically about what their Apple whatchamaycall 2/3/4 is is doing, and it’s got their really great app that does everything but blow smoke under water.

I think that’s great, I really do, however I think there’s more, much more than cool apps. Don’t get me wrong, I like a great app, but that’s not why I bought a tablet. I bought a tablet because Skype died on my Windows PC.

My HP Mobile Workstation with 8 GB of RAM and two hard drives runs’ server 2008 R2, and I boot Virtual Exchange servers next to 64 bit Office and Visio, since that’s the workload it was bought for. No I don’t have the average workload by any stretch of the imagination and yes I am very particular about purchasing according to requirement – mine.

So when Skype broke spectacularly a little while ago I needed another platform to run Skype on. Netbooks are to tiny for my general use, which gave me a great excuse for a tablet purchase. however, which one?

My first thought was, Tablet = Apple. Then I found out that Apple didn’t do some things as well and I thought it did. Before I drown in fanboy flames, let me mention at this point that I went tablet shopping with a defined sense of purpose, based on detailed criteria:

  • I wanted certain apps to run really well – Skype was one of them since I spend a lot of time on Skype. Skype on the IPad was a larger version of Skype on the IPhone – not pretty, could have done a better job/
  • I had a certain form factor in mind, and I didn’t necessarily want to use two hands to hold a tablet, since I’ve watched other people with two handed tablets..Nuff said – again my criteria.
  • I wanted to extend the storage if needed, and not pay a premium for doubling the size of an internal SD card
  • Mail/calendar/other  integration was a bonus, but not essential since my primary purpose was Skype.

Since I went to market as a consumer first and a techie second, I wanted a device which “just worked”. Apple won on one out of the three factors. Windows slates currently have the battery life of a goldfish making a slow lap,and I thought I was out of choice…..Enter the Samsung Galaxy Tablet in a 7 Inch form factor. And it did everything I wanted.

I was quite reluctant at first.It wasn’t an Apple – so where was the street cred, but I quickly discovered that it became my preferred tablet of choice – and form factor was the killer factor for me, that and it ran Skype, and I didn’t have to use two hands to hold it, or join a circus to learn how to balance it. My balance isn’t that great, and gravity doesn’t stop working when I drop expensive tablets.

A pleasant surprises lay in store for me – ActiveSync just worked, and it worked really well. I could add a 32GB SD card, and I was pleasantly surprised by the apps, and there was more, gush, gush – paid and free. Although I haven’t had to spend any money on apps, since the core requirement was met. “Clever shopper” I thought to myself.

Then I saw the press.

Lately there’s been a ton of press about Android, Windows suing Samsung, Apple suing Samsung for different reasons, including some patents which made me wonder out loud “REALLY ?”

I thought, someone patented “Wednesday afternoons”

Cult of Mac has a fantastic piece, which I interpret as: While Apple does many things really well, sometimes Apple is the second in the market to do so; If someone else is doing really well, could it really have been their own ideas, engineering and know-how which allowed them to build something that Apple does as well?

Then Samsung counter sued Apple for the colour of sunshine.

Suits, and counter suits concern me as a consumer, since I want the best device I can get my hands on that suit my specific needs that I go shopping for. I don’t want to be pressed into the same “coolness” mould just because “everyone else is doing it”.

In my mind, patent suits for this kind of thing don’t get much done, they make great brands look like bullies.While I still respect both brands, I have to wonder where this is going to end, and if someone in an unmarked plain white car with no doors or other visible panels going to confiscate my device?

And honestly, no, I really don’t think Steve jobs did a bad job designing my tablet,since as far as I am concerned – he didn’t design my tablet.

And I don’t think you can patent the colour of sunshine either.

Nicolas Blank

Nicolas is an Architect, author, and speaker focused on all things Exchange and Cloud at NBConsult. With over 16 years of experience on Exchange, Nicolas consults to customers globally on cloud based and on-premises Exchange as well as ISVs building Exchange focused products. Nicolas has extensive experience using Azure to create public and private Azure based offerings leveraging cloud based principles and common sense. Nicolas currently holds status of MCM Exchange 2010, Office 365 (Microsoft Certified Master), MCSM Exchange 2013, and has been awarded Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) for Microsoft Exchange since March 2007. Nicolas has co-authored "Microsoft Exchange Server 2013: Design, Deploy and Deliver an Enterprise Messaging Solution," published by Sybex. Nicolas blogs regularly on Exchange and messaging topics at, tweets at @nicolasblank, and is the founder of and a contributor to IT Pro Africa and @itproafrica

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