Friday, January 29, 2010

The Apple iPad

I am always amazed at how good a show Apple puts on. They do a spectacular job at releasing just enough information and rumor to whip everyone into a frenzy. Take the iPad announcement this week it has generated a avalanche of blog posts and tweets (twitters?) over the past two days. It ranked second on Twitter to Haiti on the 27th when it was announced. What would it be like to generate that kind of interest in your product?

ipad So, I'll admit it I am interested in this new device. I have really enjoyed using my iPhone and I must admit the iPad looks like a really cool and fun device. Apple's multi-touch interface is the most intuitive interface that I have ever used. It is very easy to learn and it makes the device easy to use for just about everyone. It is so quick to learn how to navigate around and use the applications. I believe that this device will be very well received and Apple will sell millions of them.

The iPad is essentially a giant iPod Touch, which will be great for surfing the Web and watching movies but not so good at fitting in your pocket. The standard applications like calendar, contacts and photos have all been enhanced to make use of the larger screen size. It also adds the capability to read books. I think this is a great selling feature and it will appeal to a wide audience.

Since I already have an iPhone and a Kindle I don't see this as a necessary device for me. The iPhone is more portable, provides Internet access virtually everywhere and is my phone. I also think reading on an electronic ink screen instead of an LCD is much easier on the eyes. I really enjoy reading on my Kindle and I find it almost exactly the same as reading ink on paper.

If I didn't already have the other devices I would be much more interested in purchasing an iPad. I really like the instant on capability and it is large enough to comfortably surf the web. Books are also a great feature and I must admit the product video made the photo browser look really fun.

For all of the good/great things about the iPad I do see some drawbacks. It runs the iPhone OS which means no multi-tasking. On a device this big I would want to be able to have a few apps open at the same time. There are no cameras on the iPad, which I found surprising since this would be a perfect video chat device. It may be a bit awkward as a camera or camcorder though.

I found a couple of great articles on Gizmodo discussing the iPad. The best one "The iPad is the Gadget We Never Knew We Needed" has some great points and is well worth the read. For the downside to the iPad take a look at "8 Things That Suck About the iPad". Stephen Fry also had some great points in his article. I thought his comment to naysayers was quite good:

There are many issues you could have with the iPad. No multitasking, still no Flash. No camera, no GPS. They all fall away the minute you use it. I cannot emphasize enough this point: “Hold your judgment until you’ve spent five minutes with it”. No YouTube film, no promotional video, no keynote address, no list of features can even hint at the extraordinary feeling you get from actually using and interacting with one of these magical objects.

I would love to have a chance to use the iPad but I am sure it would make me really want to have one. I think this first generation will be good but will have its share of issues. However, I wouldn't turn one down if it was offered to me. I'm just not sure I'm ready to spend $500 on a device that has some glaring limitations. For now I would rather surf the web with my laptop at home or on my iPhone when I am mobile.

All that said I am sure Apple will sell millions of these and they are always very good at responding to their critics. I bet the next generation iPad will be a must have.

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