Nicholson Baker, on Killing

Last week, in a letter to the NY Times.

To the Editor:

Re “Pick a Topic, Any Topic. He Did” (Books of The Times, Aug. 13):

Michiko Kakutani, in her review of my book of essays “The Way the World Works,” says of me: “He even seems to suggest some sort of moral equivalence between the Nazis and the Allies.” I certainly don’t suggest that, and as I’ve repeatedly said in public, I totally reject the notion of moral equivalence as a way of looking at World War II.

Each murder, whether in war or peace, is a separate wrong: one of the things we have to do to get ourselves moving in the right direction — away from retribution, vengeance, payback — is to stop bundling deaths together and weighing them on a giant scale.

South Berwick, Me., Aug. 13, 2012

iPad Mini: idle conjecture

(You probably don’t care about this; move along…)

There’s some awfully specific rumor-mongering going on about a 7.85″ iPad (vs the current 9.7″ models). I’m all for it (an iPad Mini, that is), so why not join the rumorati?

I’m mildly skeptical of the 7.85″ number. The rationale appears to be that that’s what you get if you do a 1024×768 screen (same as iPad 1 & 2) with the pixel pitch of an iPhone 3GS. I suppose that 7.85″ is as good as any number in that range (though it seems just a tad large to me), but I don’t buy for a second the argument that there’s some major advantage to Apple in sticking with the legacy iPhone pixel pitch. The Mini will undoubtedly use much more modern screen technology, with a physical size driven by usability concerns.

The pixel pitch implied by 7.85″ (or implying 7.85″, as the case may be) is also, at 163, on the low side in a world of Retina displays. Another reason to shrink it a bit more, if we’re sticking with the same pixel count (seems very, very likely).

My guess: somewhat smaller than 7.85″, but at least a little different from Amazon’s and Google’s 7″ offerings. Let’s say 7.25-7.5″, OK?

4G/LTE vs 3G? Dunno. Don’t care. But let’s say so, for competitive reasons.

What I would like, though, is a telephone. Not because I have a lot of use for telephony, but rather because I don’t. I could see abandoning a phone entirely in favor of an iPad Mini with an Apple-design Bluetooth headset accessory, especially if it handled music well. Even with an iPhone and a wired headset I rarely hold the phone to my ear (hell, I rarely talk on the phone, period). And the ability to use Messages for SMS/MMS would be a nice side benefit.

Of course, this makes as much sense for a full-size iPad as a Mini. No problem; let’s do both.

And a new docking connector. Magnetic. Implying that we’re going to see at least a minor bump to the iPad 3 (new display technology too?), and, ho-hum, the iPhone 5.

(See, I told you not to read it. Don’t come crying to me.)

Afterthought: consider that a voice-capable iPad, Mini or no, needn’t be sold on the carrier-subsidized contract terms of an iPhone. Think of it as more like an unlocked iPhone, at unsubsidized iPad 3G prices. BYO SIM.