Stolen Pixels #165: The Next Big Thing From Apple

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Feb 2, 2010

Filed under: Column 57 comments

Two things:

The first is that the new comic is up. It examines Apple’s coming product line.

The second is that The Escapist is having a comic contest much like their video contest: Submit a comic, and you might win a steady comic gig like mine. I have even made a special edition Stolen Pixels that offers some advice on how to succeed at this.


From The Archives:

57 thoughts on “Stolen Pixels #165: The Next Big Thing From Apple

  1. DaveMc says:

    That’s a good one! (Also: the bio still mentions the high score in the comic being a photoshop. Bad Escapist, that was a couple comics ago. Then again, Yahtzee’s bio still says he writes the Backspace column in PC Gamer, which hasn’t been true for, what, two years? More?)

    1. Shamus says:

      Oops. That is my fault. Lazy cut & paste job, that.

  2. Jeremiah says:

    All I can think of after seeing that comic is “while most technology companies are focused on making things smaller, Apple is breaking ground by making it larger!”

    1. Mart says:

      Nintendo did it too with their DS: from DS to DS Lite, to DSi, to DSi LL (or XL depending on geography methinks).

  3. DaveMc says:

    I’d like to solicit the community’s suggestions on what that final product (2014) ought to be called … someone asked this over at The Escapist, but I don’t trust that lot to come up with good ideas.

    My only thought so far is the iPane, but I’m sure there are better ones out there …

    1. Sekundaari says:

      iWall? iBillboard? iHectare?

      Actually, I’d name it iNfinite Featureless Plane of Death. Apple’s marketing would probably choke on that, there’s just so many things wrong with the monster. (Disclaimer: I use Nokia. And other brands when it comes to computers.)

      1. ethorad says:

        Or the iTable? Who would have thought MS with their Table computer would be a decade ahead of Apple?

        1. Veloxyll says:

          Apple: doing the things other people thought of years later.

          (For those who haven’t seen it: The Microsoft Surface)

  4. chabuhi says:

    Oh, God, I can’t WAIT for 2014!!!!

  5. Shamus says:

    I have this picture of them going bigger and bigger, and eventually they have to drop the touchscreen support. Instead, they make it so you can plug the unit into a computer and keyboard. They’ll call it the iMonitor.

    1. Dev Null says:

      I like the thought about it eventually coming full circle and becoming the iMonitor. Sometimes it seems like technology is stuck in this vicious pattern of smaller smaller when what I want is bigger bigger. Ya’ll take your iPhone with its tiny little screen and play games on it; I’d rather buy a 64″ digital TV, plug my PC into it, and use _that_ to play games*. No, I can’t take it on the bus with me. So? I can read a book on the bus. I don’t want a piece of technology that does a half-arsed job of doing everything, I want a piece of technology that does one job, well.

      *Would rather but haven’t. Maybe one day…

  6. Toffels says:

    Great comic! I personally use a Macbook, so I’m not anti-Apple by any means, but my first thought when I saw the iPad was “It’s an iPhone with a bigger screen you can’t make calls on”. Glad to see I was not alone in this comparison.

    1. Mari says:

      Yeah, I was thinking pretty much the same thing. Of course, when I heard that Steve was planning to make a big announcement I was secretly thinking to myself, “I’m hoping for a Kindle/Nook kind of product merged with an iPhone so that I can read books, take calls, and organize my schedule all in one place.” He was so close to making my dreams come true. I feel like I’m rehashing the mid-90s right now. I thought that now that cell phones are teeny and decent at playing mp3s I could get back down to one portable device but it’s right back to carrying your (50 lb.) laptop, your discman, your Gameboy, your beeper, and your paperback separately.

      1. Strangeite says:

        While I am not going to buy an iPad (at least not 1.0), I would like to make your dreams come true.

        Buried in the info about the release of the iPad is the fact that the terms of the SDK have been amended to allow VoIP calls over the AT&T 3G network. Skype and Vonage have already updated their apps to allow same. Get a Google Voice number and you should be in business.

        So, you will be able to “read books, take calls, and organize my schedule all in one place.”

        AND be able to do it for less, since the unlimited data connection for the iPad will only be $30 a month with no contract.

        1. Mari says:

          Sadly that doesn’t work for me :-( It requires reliable 3G access which just isn’t available in my area. Yeah, I know, “Where is there no such thing as 3G??” In parts of Texas like mine coverage is horribly spotty. For instance I can stand on the front porch and get 3G. If I walk an eighth of a mile down to the barn/shop there’s no 3G. It picks back up a couple of miles further on. You get the picture.

          Granted traditional cell coverage is pretty bad around here, too, but it’s less spotty than 3G.

  7. kikito says:


    2012: iPid

    2014: iPud

    1. DaveMc says:

      Welcome to the Brave New Site, where @’s come to die … You can reply directly to a comment, now — just so’s you know.

      1. Namfoodle says:

        But then you don’t get to have your own die numbering your comment.

  8. Angie says:

    Hee! Okay, the Apple comic was decent but the bonus comic was funny. I particularly liked the editor’s notes; they kind of reminded me of Terry Pratchett’s footnotes. Kinda. You know, sort of aiming at the same place in the universe…. ;D


    1. Mari says:

      You’re right. I was thinking about Robert Asprin’s chapter quotes, but Pratchett’s footnotes are a better analogy.

  9. Teldurn says:

    I’d like to comment on the special edition SP guide. Is it bad that as I was reading it, in my head, each character had their own voice? Heh.

  10. Al Shiney says:

    One commenter at The Escapist mentioned the “iWall”, which I thought was pretty funny. If they make it so it can create and display awesomely huge Venn diagrams and graphs that can be read from halfway across the room, how about the iChart?

    1. chabuhi says:

      iWhiteboard? Yeah, I’d hit that!

      What? Of course, I know what “hit that” means … Wait – I don’t?

    2. Sekundaari says:

      Sounds like an iSmartBoard then.

  11. Telas says:

    It’s the iPort. That’s “port” as in “haul”, not as in “accepts SD cards”.

    And it’s even more magical and revolutionary. Like a communist unicorn.

    1. RPharazon says:

      iPort to me sounds like some sort of weird hipster-nerd drink.

      A better term would be the iPortage. Use it as a canoe with touchscreen capabilities, then lug it around whilst listening to music and responding to inane text messages as you traverse the land around the rapids.

      Be like the pioneers and fur traders of old, except with an attention span of 10 seconds!

  12. Strangeite says:

    You know I really don’t want to like the iPad. It lacks two critical components that would make it worth my money. Handwriting recognition and a webcam for video chats. The lack of those two features is a deal breaker for me.

    However, as much as I hate to admit it, the iPad seems to be perfect for my Mom and my Grandparents. All they do is surf the web, check email and listen to music. Here in the iPad is a device that will do all of these things but remove the weekly calls to “troubleshoot” their computers because they did something stupid (like minimize a window and not know how to get it back).

    Most people don’t like to tinker with their computers (blasphemy, I know) and this might be perfect for them.

  13. Kdansky says:

    Both are funny, and the Special Edition one made me laugh out loud.

    On the iPad topic, I love this one:


    I do have a PC which I am posting this from, I have a MacBook Pro which is one of the best pieces of technology I have ever owned, I have an iPod Touch, and I am very sceptical for the iPad. Is there really a market for such a thing? What would I use it for?

    1. DaveMc says:

      HA! iPad Nano … fantastic. :)

  14. Hal says:

    The comic-comic (the one about not getting rejected) raised a question for me: Are all video game images (in-game) free to use for your comics, or are there certain games that won’t allow reproduction of in-game images? Is it tied into the EULA, or is it just a part of copyright law?

    /Inquiring mind wants to know.

    1. Shamus says:

      Hal: I just use videogame images freely. If someone wants to start a little legal somthin-somethin, then I’ll face that when it happens.

      1. Volatar says:

        Better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission! :D

      2. Hal says:

        Hm. I guess until The Escapist pays you enough for someone to notice, it’s all good. Does that mean we’ll never see, “Stolen Pixels: The Movie”?

  15. Captain Kail says:

    I loved the special edition SP for the contest. I didn’t realize how much I missed the EA guy until I let out an involuntary “Yay!” when I saw him. :)

  16. Strangeite says:

    By the way, Shamus your new site looks much better when rendered on an iPhone.

    1. Shamus says:

      That’s great to hear! I always worry that the site will be bad for mobiles, and since I do “do” mobile its kind of hard to get this right. Not only do I not have a device for testing, but I also have no frame of reference or experience to guide me.

    2. chabuhi says:

      Yeah, but how’s it look on an iPad?

      1. Nyaz says:

        As long as there’s no flash, it should be okay :P

  17. KMJX says:

    2012: iTop or iLog

    2014: naturally iScreen

    1. Jeremiah says:

      2020: iWall

  18. Christopher says:

    I used to be a Mac fan. But the whole following started to take on cultish properties. People literally drooling all over themselves about what Apple will do next. The whole business has become increasingly trite.

    Also, you’d think by now they would have dropped the “i” from everything they create since it’s become a ongoing joke. I mean seriously, the iPad?! What marketing genius came up with that name?

    Case in point:
    That MadTV episode came out 2 years ago. All they had to do was google iPad to realize that this is a really bad idea.

    1. Veloxyll says:

      It both amuses and disturbs me that the whole iPad = feminine hygeine product thing was pointed out TWO years ago. Surely when coming up with a name for a product these days it’s standard procedure to google and youtube search the name to make sure a) you’re not stepping on someone else’s trademark, and b) that your product isn’t associated with something else entirely.

      Just, what the heck Apple?!

      1. Nick says:

        Do you really think option A is something that Apple worry about, if the trademark is not owned by Microsoft, Oracle or IBM then their lawyers can get it for them later if anyone complains.

    2. DanielB says:

      Back in 2000 when I lived in the thick of Silicon Valley and had a closer ear to the ground on Apple-ish things, I recall hearing reports of Apple employees walking around the neighborhood near One Infinite Loop in Cupertino with a device being called an “iPad.” Jobs apparently liked the touch interface on it enough and hated current cell phones enough that he redirected the R&D to make it work in a smaller form factor, which eventually became the iPhone. So the jokes about the iPhone being the “iPad nano” are literally true.

      The initial iPads were never released (probably power efficiency issues that couldn’t get addressed until Apple could custom design their own silicon in the A4 SOC they adapted from the PA Semi resources they recently acquired.) I’m sure the lessons learned from iPhone development have made for a far better version that is good enough to finally meet Jobs’ expectations. I see it as pretty much a blank slate (huh-huh) that will allow developers to pull off some pretty amazing things that just aren’t possible on something the size of an iPhone.

      Yeah, even as “just” a big iPod touch, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. We could (and DO) wish for more, being all jaded techie-types obsessed with MORE = BETTER paradigms, but I gotta admit–the iPhone UI sets a standard for apps centered on a reduction in complexity and focussed attention to just the stuff that matters within any given app. That vision isn’t unique to Apple, but it isn’t where the industry was headed, until Apple (with some late help from Palm and Google) forced it to change direction. To me, these kinds of apps offer an immensely appealing alternative to the equivalent applications I have on my desktop. I often prefer using the iPhone versions, because I don’t have to deal with all kinds of unnecessary UI complexity and distractions. That’s certainly intentional on Apple’s part. I think the iPad will similarly induce developers to continue this UI shift in complexity reduction, and thats a GOOD thing.

      My $.02.


  19. Sydney says:

    2014: iPudge.

  20. Sean Riley says:

    As an aside, Shamus, do you know if you’re allowed to use parodied videogame characters in the comics contest? Kind of similar to your use of Breen, etc.

    1. Shamus says:

      I’m not in charge of the rules, but I’d be very surprised if parody wasn’t allowed.

      1. Volatar says:

        Wikipedia: “The Supreme Court of the United States stated that parody ‘is the use of some elements of a prior author’s composition to create a new one that, at least in part, comments on that author’s works.’ ”

        “In Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. Supreme Court recognized parody as a fair use, even when done for profit.”

        So, yes, Shamus is good. He is not the only one that does this sort of thing either.

        1. Sean Riley says:

          Yeah, I now. The legality isn’t in question, but whether The Escapist allows it is. I think what I’d offer is allowable, though.

          But maybe not!

  21. Harvey Nick says:

    “…They sell a sexy desktop machine that doesn’t do any of the stuff I need to do…”

    Just for my own curiosity (and not with the intention of starting a fight), what is it that you need Apple desktops to do but they don’t, Shamus?

    1. Harvey Nick says:

      Wait… is it games? I bet it’s games, isn’t it?

    2. Shamus says:

      For my day job, I write software for a Windows-exclusive developer. So, that pretty much marries me to Microsoft. Gotta pay the bills.

      For the second job, I play a LOT of PC games. Choosing a Mac would make that more difficult.

      And finally, I’ve written quite a bit of software (the stuff I use to make my comic being a big part of that) and would have to re-learn and then re-write it all just to get back to where I am now.

      1. Harvey Nick says:

        They all make a lot of sense.

        The games bit is the reason I bought an XBox 360. I kind of hate contributing to the MS vendor lock in that the XBox was essentially created to propagate… but it is a much lower stress way of playing games.

  22. SteveDJ says:

    Don’t think this was in the previous comments — by the time we get to 2020 or so, they ought to have a product big enough to call:


    1. Klay F. says:

      I’ll call your iIMAX and raise you an iMoon.

      Apple replaces your normal, everyday moon with a touchscreen the size of the actual Moon, sadly, there are no games for it, it can’t take calls, and it doesn’t play mp3s. Its just a big giant clock. Apple fans will hail it as a revolution in modern time-keeping, better than any clock or wristwatch EVAR!

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *