I love it! I think it’s awesome, and I think it’s going to change the way many of us use computers and consume media. I also think that it’s going to be a slow build toward being a huge seller, although not slow because of the price, which I feel is very reasonable given its specs. The price of $499 gets you the entry level 16GB Wi-Fi iPad, which is probably what I will buy and should be plenty for most users.
I think it’s going to be a slow rise because it’s a completely new device, albeit a somewhat familiar form factor, simply because it basically IS a larger iPod Touch. You hold it the same way and you interact with it the same way. I think that’s its first strength, that even though it’s a new type of computing device, anyone who has held an iPod Touch or an iPhone should immediately feel at home using the iPad.
Gamers and video junkies will love it because of its nice, big, 10″ LCD. Most current iPod Touch and iPhone games and apps will run on it and software developers are already hard at work designing newer and more exciting games to take full advantage of all the new onscreen real estate.
Video fans will have the full catalog of movies and TV shows on the iTunes Store to choose from and I suspect that Apple is making deals right now to open up even more channels for video content.
Speaking of the iTunes Store, that’s the thing that will put the iPad over the top. That’s also the thing that most people don’t realize is one of the core strengths of the iPod and iPhone line: how well those devices integrate with iTunes and the iTunes Music and App stores. No one else in the industry has managed to build a web store even half as powerful and easy to use as the iTunes Store.
To date there are roughly 2,000 Palm Pre apps, 40,000 Android apps, and 170,000 iPhone/iPod Touch apps. Those numbers speak volumes as most people tend to gravitate to the most popular devices with the most software. Don’t believe me? Just look at the Windows platform. For decades the main argument against the Mac was “there’s no software for Mac, but Windows has tons of software!” Even though that statement wasn’t true, it didn’t matter, and now Windows dominates the world market. I expect the iPad to be the leader in this new category of computing devices and having the software catalog of the iPhone/iPod Touch behind it gives it quite a jump on the competition.
The third group of people that I think will love the iPad are those who still just don’t quite get the whole idea of a computer. They got confused when asked to deal with where that file went, where to save this photo, where did I put that mp3? These people will love the idea that there IS no file structure on the iPad. Just as is the case with the iPod Touch and iPhone, any files that you create or save are kept track of by the app. You no longer need concern yourself with where your stuff is; the iPad will do that for you.
I dare say that desktops and laptops are going to dwindle in number over the next decade as more of these iPad type devices hit the market. This is mainly because a large percentage of computer users don’t really create anything or use any applications beyond a browser for surfing and e-mail and maybe iTunes for music. So those people don’t necessarily need a full-on computer.
Lastly, even though I think $499 is a great price for the entry level iPad, I suspect that price will drop by $100 in the first year. The iPhone did when it first came out and sales soared.
And now a rebuttal, in list form, to all the nitpickers (you know who you are):
- It doesn’t have a webcam! (Who cares; how often do you actually use your webcam?)
- It doesn’t support Flash! (Flash is dead; HTML5 is the future. Resistance is futile.)
- It doesn’t run full-on applications! (Buy a laptop if you want to do that; the iPad isn’t a computer.)
- iPad is a stupid name! (Yes, it is. But what would you have called it? And Apple isn’t completely clueless. There is a huge upside to naming it something similar to iPod, because everyone on the planet has heard of that.)
- It’s just a bigger iPod Touch! (Duh, that’s the point; same user experience but more screen real estate!)
Now a list of features that have only recently come to light as being on the iPad:
- It will use the popular ePub format for eBooks.
- All Bluetooth keyboards are supported.
- A VGA dongle will allow outputting 1024×768 video.
- It will output A2DP Bluetooth stereo audio.
- The $10 Pages app will open MS Word documents and save in the .doc format as well.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have $499 burning a hole in my pocket . . . .