Friday, January 29, 2010

A few thoughts on the iPad

Being the resident Mac fan I thought I might add my $0.02 on the iPad.

Firstly the name is aweful, I can't believe that someone didn't start giggling the moment the suggestion was made. I have two theories about how this one got through; 1) The obvious : Steve Jobs made the suggestion therefore it was so. Or 2) The marketing guys were stereotypically stoned so that means a) no one thought much about the giggling and b) they were - well - stoned.

Secondly, yes, it is a large iPhone. Rumor has it that the iPad design has gone back and forth between the drawing board and prototype stage a couple of times, in fact it's technologies became the basis of the iPhone, Now the leaked sources pretty much confirmed that the iPad was going to be using the iPhone OSX as a basis so the way the OS looks and works was not at all surprising, but I'm rather dissapointed that Apple chose to so blatantly follow the physical look of the iPhone, after all, it is a design which - while being very pretty - is getting on in the years. Now it was probably too late by then, but I hope Steve is going "Oh crap why didn't we think of that" when he watched Avatar.

Thirdly it's not an iPhone at all. If you drill down into this logic you can quite easily make that argument that my laptop shares many of the characteristics of my iPhone by virtue of the fact that both can perform many of the same functions.

So what is the iPad then, it's not a laptop, it's not a netbook, it's not a phone, it's also nothing at all like Bill Gate's vision for the tablet PC way back in 2001.

The fact is that the iPad simply doesn't fall into any of the current categories, Apple has the rather daunting task of trying to create a completely new class of mobile device.

This is both a blessing and a curse.

If the iPad takes off, it will be great for Apple of course, being the pioneers in a new category, the problem of course is that in order for this new category to take off you need to have customers who have a reason to buy one.

In other words you need a killer application.

Now with that in mind here are a few things to ponder:

The starting price is $499, which will translate into about +- R5500 after import duties (unless the importers decide to milk us dry). This makes it cheaper than many smartphones including HTC's Android phones. It also falls in the same pricing bracket as many Netbooks.

It has quite an awesome battery life, You could use this device for most of the day, no boot up time and no hibernating.

The type of functionality being offered by the iPad is basically 100% of what most mobile office workers need from a computing device, my boss for example spends his entire work day in meetings and uses his PC for nothing but e-mail and documents.

I think therefore that there is potential for this device, however Apple is going to have to work harder to make that obvious.

Now in closing it's worth noting that the device simple had no way to live up to the hype surrounding it. It's a version 1.0 device, it has many flaws and omissions which Apple will need to address (although at the price you DO get quite a bit), So quite honestly It mightn't be bad idea to wait for version 2.0.


Anonymous said...

Apple makes me sad, and I can not quite put it into words.

What I really want to do is:
- Buy an iPad
- Take it home
- Hack at it

And I can not do that last bit, can I?

Mark Pilgrim did put it into words:

"But you don’t become a hacker by programming; you become a hacker by tinkering. It’s the tinkering that provides that sense of wonder."

julian_za said...

I don't think Apple really cares much about hackers.

You basically fall into their 0.01% of the target market they're happy enough not to care about.

Furthermore it's worth pointing out that "tinkering" is relative, I can "tinker" to my hearts content with the iPhone SDK as long as I stick to the stuff already running on the OS.

Unknown said...

I'm a geek, and this is not a geek toy, well, it doesn't seem that way to me.

I don't think I'll be the early adopter this time round. My iPhone + MBP covers most of the bases.

However, I do hope someone I know gets one, so I can see it for myself.

:wink: :wink: