Blog Post

It's Finally Here!

The long awaited arrival of Apple's foray into the tablet computing word finally came to fruition today.  Steve Jobs announced the "iPad" today to the jubilation of many, and the dismay of plenty. This iPad could very well be the most hyped product ever to hit the market, at least it is as far as my short memory can think of. The reactions seem to line up with the visions Apple had when creating this product, in my opinion. I am not on a first name basis with Mr. Jobs quite yet, however, it seems abundtly clear to me that this product is to be marketed to a certain audience, namely anyone not ahead of the technology curve. 

I feel this for a couple reasons. First of all, anyone hyper-technological may have an issue with the lack of multitasking ability because it limits people from say, researching a new product in a Safari window, and typing a blog post about it in Pages. I see this as no accident. There are a few expected features that did not make the cut, but we will get into that later. Another reason the technologically savvy may not fall in love with the iPad is the keyboard. Many see it as cumbersome and a let down. A lot of these people are used to typing at blazing speeds, in addition to using the keyboard in place of the mouse many times with keyboard shortcuts. Touch typing on a virtual keyboard seems like it could be quite cumbersome, making me believe that the goal is not to code on or write research papers. They are also seeing it as a let down because so many people expected the iPad to break new ground with its keyboard input, to come up with some amazing new method for virtual keyboards that would change the way the world turns, and yet it simply is sufficient.

Other than the lack of multitasking and the keyboard, there were other expected features reported on for months, that just did not make the final cut. Many people expected at least a back facing camera like the iPhone has, if not a front facing one as well to allow for video chatting. The lack of flash support in the browser seems to be turning people off as well as is the fact that there is a lack of ports and ports people do not prefer (no DisplayPort). One final turn off for many is that they expected way too much out of the iPad.

Now, I say that many of these things happened on purpose. The lack of cameras seems like a good way to make the second edition desirable to even those who buy this version. The proprietary 30 pin Apple Port allows them to sell, and have third parties pay for the right to sell, adapters that people may see as necessary. The flash issue probably has to do with HTML5 and h.264. HTML5 is already starting to set in, and it with h.264, it could kill flash and silverlight (a Microsoft framework). Apple obviously would like to avoid Microsoft (ignoring the bing replacing google thing, that's a whole nother story), and they have always seemed to be at odds with Adobe.  The keyboard issue, and the general lack of a life altering device points to my theory about market.

These are reasons why tech junkies may avoid the iPad. If you look at markets such as technologically slow, or older people, or even just people looking for convenience without effort, you start to see what Apple is looking at. Fortunately for Apple, adding these groups up more than makes up for the tech people that avoid the iPad. When I first saw this, my thought was, "Plop this thing into the kitchen, and my mom would be the happiest person around." She likes to read her emails, check a few news websites, and that is about it. Throw in the convenience of it also being a supposedly revolutionary e-reader (she's an avid reader), the ability to listen to Christmas music, be a great digital photo frame, and store recipes, and you have one very happy lady.

It turns out the iPad is not going to fly us to the moon, cure cancer, or revolutionize the way we move, act, and think. Really though, could that be expected? Apple is releasing quite an amazing product, one that will do one thing at a time out of many choices, and do it sufficiently at minimum for most of society.


1 comment

Sam, I think you're spot on about the iPad.  In some ways I can see it as filling in a market gap for folks who want to use Apple products (or could be convinced by techie children, coworkers or friends)  but probably won't go so far as to buy a MacBook.  On one hand, a lot of folks think the $499 price tag on the iPad is high, but relative to the cost of a MacBook it looks like a deal.  

Chances are good that my parents would fit into this niche; my mom uses email and web browsing frequently at work, but probably isn't going to be buying an expensive laptop to continue that at home when she retires later this year.  It doesn't seem worthwhile to shell out $1,500 or more for someone who doesn't use IM, image design, iTunes, or most of the other shiny programs I use on mine.  Originally she told me she would also be retiring from email (!) as well when she retired, but perhaps an iPad at home would be a happy medium.