After have followed the keynote this week, the real insight and information about the new Apple iPad comes in the couple of days afterwards. Almost any blogger and her uncle have made a post with their thoughts on the iPad so why shouldn’t I.
There are two ways of looking at this new product. From a technical perspective it really is just a large iPhone or iPod Touch. It really doesn’t have any technical features over the iPhone. David Pogue, technology writer for the New York Times, introduced the three phases of a new Apple product category.
Phase 1 of the standard Apple new-category roll-out: months of feverish speculation and hype online, without any official indication by Apple that the product even exists.
Now Phase 2 can begin: the bashing by the bloggers who’ve never even tried it: “No physical keyboard!” “No removable battery!” “Way too expensive!” “Doesn’t multitask!” “No memory-card slot!”
That will last until the iPad actually goes on sale in April. Then, if history is any guide, Phase 3 will begin: positive reviews, people lining up to buy the thing, and the mysterious disappearance of the basher-bloggers.
Summing up all the technological shortcomings is part of the current phase two. Most bloggers and people on twitter were “underwhelmed” and “disappointed” during or right after the keynote speech. In the first day afterwards articles appeared such as Ten Things Missing From The iPad – Wired Gadget Lab The Anti-Hype: Why Apple’s iPad Disappoints – Mashable and What’s Missing from the Apple iPad? – Mashable. These articles are focusing mostly on the missing camera, usb ports, SD card, flash support, HD playback or HDMI connectivity and multitasking.
Possibilities of Use
The second way of looking at the iPad is not from a technical perspective but by looking at the possibilities of use. When I thought of a web tablet before the product launch, such as this Apple tablet or perhaps the CrunchPad (similar to the iPad but with only a browser) I couldn’t think of any reason the buy one when you already have a smartphone and laptop. Then I realized I own and love an iPod Touch and use that a lot. I use it for surfing, reading e-books and articles, twittering and games and of course use some other apps. I use it quite a lot at home, because it’s connected online via wifi and about the only place with available wifi that you can use is at home. So the only thing missing from my iTouch actually is 3G connectivity.
If you look at possibilities instead of shortcomings you see what Apple has created is really a clean “slate”. An empty vessel for developers of apps and websites to create content on. As heard quite often from tech pundits and journalists it’s the ideal content consumption device. E-books, e-magazines, videos, websites, music, it can all be consumed while comfortably sitting on a couch holding the sleek 700 gram device. Just look at what Sports Illustrated envisioned before the launch of iPad:
Comedian Stephen Fry, who was present at the keynote said the iPad had to be experienced to be judged fairly and that you’d be amazed by the speed and simplicity of the interface (link – it’s a long but good read, you can always spot the real writers between the bloggers). Below is a video of a demo where you can really see how beautiful it looks and how fast and responsive the graphical user interface is.
So if iPad is supposed to be a consumption device, an open playground for developers, then it’s especially disappointing it’s still a closed system. As Alex Payne writes the iPhone can get away with having a closed system where you can only install Apple approved apps and are not able to tinker with most of the settings, because it’s quite a step ahead from the older “smartphones” where it’s really difficult to install apps. A device between a smartphone and a laptop however can be much more open and “Apple’s decision to make the iPad a closed device is an artificial one”.
So I think Apple has shown us the future. I’m very interested to see if will be massively adopted like the iPhone or that for the average consumer there’s just no point in having an extra device. As @breun said: “It would be great if your iPhone turned into an iPad when you get home”. Regarding the openness, I’m waiting for the other device manufacturers to launch their tablets. Would be great to see a similar device with Android or even Chrome OS where you can install android apps and have the freedom of these operating systems.
The iPad does stimulate ones imagination about possibilities and the future of connectivity to the web and media consumption. Now let’s hope it also stimulates the imagination of the competitors. Are you already saving money for the first iPad or would you rather wait for a later version? Or don’t you feel the need for such a device or are you looking at other devices?