> so I don't believe any more to the "it's a media consumption device" mantra. it's just what people say before others come up with something really cool.
Speaking as someone who's done some iphone/ipad development, it really is a media consumption device first. The problems:
- screen keyboards suck for extended use
- bluetooth keyboards/mice are a negligible presence
- there are few hardware buttons, and you may not have access to them
- touch interaction is weak
The weakness of touch interaction is a particular problem. There are three main things that make the touch interaction suboptimal:
First, you have no context. There is "touch down" and nothing else. No "left click" vs. "right click", no pressure sensitivity, no angle detection, no "hover", no cursor position when there isn't a finger down. The only context you can have is multitouch, but that only improves things slightly, and it causes its own problems:
- two points approach each other, meet, and move back apart. Did they pass through each other, or bounce off each other? There's no way for the hardware to know.
- two points approach each other, meet, and then one of them disappears. Which one disappeared? There's no way for the hardware to know.
- you can't easily have multiple gestures occurring at the same time unless they're happening in compartmentalized parts of the screen that you've pre-defined
Second, your finger obscures whatever you're touching. Unlike an indirect device like a mouse or trackpad, with a touchscreen you can never see the point on the screen that you're activating.
Third, touch coordinates are very loose. Even if you touch the screen very gently, there's a 5mm or so diameter circle that's touched, and the touch coordinate the OS reports could be anywhere within (or near!) that point. On a first generation ipad, I've had touch coordinates come in completely offscreen (ie: out in negative coordinates, somewhere on the bezel) when touching a spot that was near the edge of the screen.
Things get better if you have a stylus, but not enough people have a stylus that you can actually count on it.
There's a reason the gestures are all large movements.
So, you've got sloppy, imprecise "mouse" input, weak text input, and some vaguely useful (but mostly unsuitable for content creation) inputs like the accelerometers.
You *can* produce content with current tablets; it's like producing fine art with crayons. Feasible for the talented, but a chore and done mostly for the novelty of the process. Much more of a chore than doing the same thing with (say) a laptop. Perhaps future tablets will tighten up their input systems, but until that happens tablets are going to remain mostly unsuitable for all but the most trivial of content generation; the kind where poking a few onscreen buttons does all the work.