The iPad looks like a nice device and has garnered a lot of post-launch attention. Much of the reaction is a bit iffy with very few being genuinely hugely excited and a lot of people claiming they are a bit unimpressed by it. Mind you, it’s easy to recall how a lot of people were similarly unimpressed by the iPhone when it first got announced. Most of the non-plussed reaction comes from those stodgy Windows-like types, the types who pretend to be all liberal and comfortable with how well Apple are doing but behind closed doors are either (but probably both) a) burning effigies of Steve Jobs or b) crying their eyes out as yet another new Apple product has that wow factor that has yet to be afforded to their Dell boxes. They’re all secretly delighted it doesn’t offer something truly revolutionary. I don’t know what people were expecting the thing to do, offer mind control and coffee making facilities? Whether it is a success or not will be judged in 2/3 years time, not now or in the next few months.
I ventured the opinion on here last week that I didn’t think the technology behind the iPad was going to be such that it would blow people away nor was it ever likely to be such a huge advancement over anything that had come before that it would blow everything else out of the water. It’s not so much what it can do now that is relevant but of more consequence will be what it will be able to do in a years time with the content and how that may change the way that we interact with such content in the years ahead.
There are some big things here…eBooks and Newspapers, TV and games. The base line model will be $499 and that is not hugely more expensive than the Kindle. The former looks like something out of Star Trek, like something Nurse Yeoman Rand would carry around and makes the latter looks like something out of the late 1990’s. There’s surely little doubt that this device will revolutionise, if it sells, the way that Joe Bloggs views eBooks as it will bring them more into the mainstream. Who in their right mind would now buy a Kindle?
As for newspapers you can be assured that a lot of publishers will be looking to get their content onto the iPad, for a price, and replace those dwindling paper copy sales and falling advertising revenue. You only need to see the amount of iPhone apps from this sector to realise this. In 3 years time we could really embracing this especially when you see how the iPad can also be used to play videos embedded with these digital editions.
TV. You just know that at some point in the not so distant future you’ll be able to watch TV on this thing. Look at the Sky Sports live football iPhone app, how hard would it be to turn that into an iPad application? Answer – not very. Dad can carry it around the house, out to the conservatory or wherever and watch the big match as it is so portable. I can see this having an affect on future laptop sales. If I look at myself and how I use my current laptop then I see that 95% of my useage is basically more or less exactly what I do on my iPod Touch and I think, well, if I can do that on an iPad what is the point of upgrading next time around to a new laptop…I’d be cheaper getting an iPad plus it would be lighter to carry around, could have an inbuilt 3G connection, would be faster to start up and I already have 99% of the software that I’d need.
Of course it could all fall flat on its face but the price point appears reasonable and is less than most probably anticipated. Apple know they will skim plenty off via app sales and content sales as they have done with the iPhone. I think it unlikely I’d get one now but would certainly, if I was looking to get a laptop now, give it some serious consideration and I suspect that a lot of iPhone/iPod owners out there who have no particular affiliation to any specific platform will also do so especially if they have been happy with the ease of use of said iPhone’s and iPod’s. Apple have been sensible in not marketing it as a cut down MacBook and in giving it an “i” name instead of a “mac” title as they are then bringing it into or associating it with the existing successful (and locked down) iPhone/iTunes eco-system.