iPad: The (attempted) Windows killer

(Well, you've got to admit, that's not something you'll be reading on most other weblogs today.)

Ten hours after the Apple iPad announcement, my overall reaction is that the product wasn't necessarily better or worse than I expected, but it was definitely different.

I expected an upsized extension to the iPod Touch, with a focus on watching videos, browsing, and playing games. The device can certainly do all of that, but Apple spent a huge amount of time demonstrating features I didn't expect -- e-mail management, productivity applications, and typing with the on-screen keyboard.

I know many of you think those are just checkoff items, and you may be right. We're all trying to read Apple's strategic intentions from a single product announcement, and that's hard to do. But here's how I view it: I believe Apple is serious when it spends five minutes demonstrating a feature, and I believe they actually said what they meant to say during the announcement. Specifically:

--Apple's identity is as a mobile device company.
--Netbooks suck and Apple can do something better.
--It's amazingly comfortable and easy to type on a touch screen.

(I'm not sure I agree with the last one, by the way, but we're talking about what Apple believes, and Steve sold the onscreen keyboard thing hard.)

If they really believe all of those things, then the iPad starts to look like Apple's idea of the next logical stage in the evolution of personal computing. It takes everything Apple learned from iPod and iPhone and applies that to a redesign of the low-end personal computer. It's Apple's vision of the netpad done right -- not a PC accessory, but a lightweight portable device that can replace the PC for many basic usages. The idea wouldn't be to kill the PC outright, but to nudge it toward the workstation space, in the process gradually eating away at the market share of Windows.

Yes, I believe killing Windows is still very high on Steve's personal to-do list. Always.

If you start from that assumption, a lot of the other things Apple said today make more sense. Why did they spend a year rewriting iWork for the tablet? Because you need an office suite in order to displace a PC (you don't need it for a media tablet). Why price that suite at just ten bucks a module? Because that profoundly screws up the pricing for Office on netbooks (the only way Microsoft can match that pricing is to destroy the value of its cash cow).

Why didn't we get a more comprehensive media store? I was expecting an entertainment tablet, and so I thought there would be a much more aggressive push for third party media developers. Apple did create the iBooks store, but they don't seem to be reaching out to individual authors the way I expected. And other media (video and animation) remains in iTunes rather than getting its own purchasing experience. To me, the iPad feels more like a netbook replacement that also does books, rather than a media tablet that also does spreadsheets.


Will it work?

If Apple's plan really is to displace netbooks, it faces some interesting challenges. One of the greatest appeals of a netbook is that it is a fully functional Windows notebook computer (cramped and awkward, but fully functional). Computer users have historically been very resistant to compromising on some core features. Will they accept a netbook that doesn't have a physical keyboard or a hard drive, and that can't run Flash and Java? And as Chris Dunphy (link) asked me today, will Apple give iPad applications more freedom to multitask than they have on the iPhone?

I don't know. And so I really don't know how the product will sell.

It doesn't help that the marketing for the iPad feels muddled. Apple's website tonight reads, "Our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price." Ugh, it's a big bag of features. As I asked in my pre-launch post yesterday, who is it for and what problem does it solve? The question hasn't been answered crisply.

At least Apple got the base price of the product right. It's still above what I think most consumers will pay for a tablet, but Apple's within the realm of believability, and over time I hope the price will come down further. If it does, and if Apple markets it strongly, the product may be able to find its own market.


Meanwhile, I'm sure the iPad will have an important impact on some other companies. Namely...

Nokia: Step your game up. Several years ago, Nokia said it was re-creating itself as a computer company. Now Apple says it has re-created itself as a mobile company. Not just a mobile company, but supposedly the world's biggest mobile device company as measured by revenue. Whether that statistic is actually meaningful or something Apple manipulated through clever accounting, it must have driven the Nokia management team nuts -- which was undoubtedly Apple's intent.

Now Nokia has to decide whether it wants to compete with Apple in yet another product category, at a time when it already seems a bit overwhelmed. It's a very tough decision. (And please don't tell me the N900 is an iPad competitor. It's too small.)

Is Kindle in trouble? Not yet. The Amazon Kindle vs. iPad competition is going to be very interesting. My first reflex was to say that Kindle is in trouble -- iPad is a much more capable device, and the convergence advocates will tell you that a general-purpose tablet will eat a single-purpose e-reader. But Kindle is half the price of the iPad, even less when you factor in the cost of 3G for the iPad plus a service plan. Plus its screen, although only black and white, produces less eyestrain than a backlit LCD display. I don't think Kindle takes a big hit in the near term. In the long term, I am worried about Amazon's ability to compete with general-purpose tablets, but maybe Amazon's goal is to own the bookstore rather than the book reader. In that case, they should make sure the Kindle app works really well on the iPad.

The one thing I'm sure Amazon should not do is attempt to compete with Apple in the general-purpose tablet business. That's like challenging the Australian national rugby team to a drinking match.

The mobile operators: Pay attention to your pricing plans. I think this will be one of the most interesting floats in the iPad parade. Apple is now making its second attempt to bypass the subsidy model used by the operators. If Apple had been willing to bundle a two-year wireless contract with the iPad, it probably could have gotten the device subsidized down to about $299 or $350. But the downside would have been a $60 or higher monthly service plan, with soft caps on the amount of video someone could browse. It will be interesting to see how customers react to Apple's choice, especially when other companies sell subsidized net tablets for very low initial prices. In the phone market, Apple had to give in and accept the subsidy. We'll see if history repeats itself.

It will also be interesting to see how AT&T makes out with the revenue from iPad subscribers. At first glance, $30 a month for unlimited data sounds like a bad deal for AT&T. But keep in mind that data plans usually include several hundred dollars for the subsidy; the operator supposedly doesn't even turn a profit until sometime in the second year. With these plans, AT&T makes money from day one. So it may be able to make a better profit than you'd expect. Still, it seems a bit odd for a company with a network as congested as AT&T's to be adding a device designed to stream high-quality video from the web.

PC application developers: Pain.
If the iPad really is Apple's vision of the future of personal computing, it's an ugly world for today's PC application developers. By pricing the pieces of iWork at $9.99 each, Apple has effectively created a price ceiling for major productivity applications. How many PC app companies can make money at that price per unit? And remember, that's the ceiling. It's time to start rethinking your business model...


No matter how well the iPad sells, it's a very interesting experiment worthy of the Apple brand, and I'm sure it'll drive a legion of imitators from Asia. I wish we had a few more hardware companies like Apple who were willing to mix up the market like this; innovation would move a lot faster.

26 comments:

Michael Mace said...

(Responding to comments made on my preliminary post about the iPad, earlier today (link). I moved the thread to here so we could have a discussion in one place.)


Stuart wrote:

>>The iTunes Store has Hollywood movies and TV shows, and it sure looks like the iPad can both purchase and play them.

Good point. What I meant to say was that there wasn't a dedicated video store like iBooks.


Anonymous wrote:

>> i am particularly impressed with the announcement of unlimited 3G for $29/month and no contract. lets hope it is really unlimited and not capped.

Indeed.


Peter wrote:

>> you'r trying to be nice and it's clear you head isn't in to it.

No, Peter, I'm just sharing an opinion that you happen to disagree with.


>>I bet you don't buy one of these devices.

I bet you're right, but I wouldn't buy a netbook either. So I'm not the target customer.

In my opinion.


John wrote:

>>I expect they'll drop the price by $100 in a year, so I'll hold off getting one until then.

When you do, please come back and let us know what you think of it.


Mike wrote:

>>Those who have an iphone already know this - it is designed to be attached to a particular PC/Mac. To upgrade a firmware version, to back it up, it assumes one is attached. You can't just have an ipad by itself.

Good point, and I'll be interested to see if the iPad works this way.


BANUDK wrote:

>>problem is they are trying to attack netbook segment from price point perspective using upgraded iphone/itouch platform .

I think you're right.


Elia wrote:

>> I've wanted an all-in-one tablet like device for reading for years. If Apple's battery life is really 10 hours then this is perfect.

Yes, the battery life is very impressive, especially in such a thin device.


>>Now... if I could only get software for it that would replace my pad of paper, I'd be really happy.

Don't get me started on that. It's not clear how well that would work on the iPad anyway. The iPhone's screen is not well engineered for note-taking -- styluses do not work at all well (I tried one). The iPad may be the same way.


Antoine wrote:

>>What stops a person from going VoIP with this device?

Good question.


>>has AT&T just made themselves into the dumb-pipe that carriers have been scared to adopt?

For this device, yeah. But the operators are less scared of being a pipe for non-phone devices, and perhaps that is how AT&T views this one.

Also, what choice did they have? Give up the business to Verizon or TMobile?


Bergie wrote:

>>it is Apple's attempt to rethink the PC in a beautiful, easy-to-use way, but to also at the same time impose a complete control on what happens on the platform.

Agreed.

jodyfanning said...

This doesn't affect the Kindle in the slightest.

Amazon is interested in selling ebooks. They have previously stated that the Kindle is just a way to get it started. There are already Kindle apps for the PC and the iPhone. I wouldn't think it is long before there is a remade Kindle app for the iPad as well.

Rohan said...

If you mean a "Windows-based PC killer", you might be closer to the mark, but still not completely accurate.

I don't think this tries to compete with the laptop or desktop. For Pete's sake, no multi-tasking and no USB ports! Maybe this is the direction in which the productivity / office smartphone makers should have gone, but that's again talking in hindsight.

Net-net, with the movie and multimedia focus, I still think it's more for the individual user rather than the official one. As Apple says, hands down.

Andrew said...

I'm not quite sure why you think the iWork pricing is so profound. There are (theoretically) adequate competitors to Microsoft Office today which are free and offer full PC compatibility - OpenOffice and Google Docs, depending on your needs. What is game-changing about iWork on the iPad?

Bob Russell said...

Just my initial reaction, but I suspect that Apple had a different reason for hitting hard the Office applications and ease of the onscreen keyboard - to overcome buyer obstacles. I bet that when they did market research and focus groups, they found that people would be hesitant to buy the iPad because of preconceived notions. One would be the distaste of onscreen keyboards, and the other would be that it wasn't worth the money if it wasn't going to be able to function like a netbook-replacement. (Not because people want all netbook functionality, but because they want to justify the purchase in their own mind, and they need to feel like they are buying a computer, not a phone or iPod at that price. In the end, the average consumer is probably contrasting the iPad with e-book readers, netbooks, phones and media tablets.)

ce's geekbook said...

The IPad launch will be a huge $$ maker for Apple. and this launches a whole new avenue for Apple on the revenue generation side. But with that said ..

The first generation seems just to be another gadget to carry around. It can not replace a Laptop or even a NetBook for that matter. For even normal day uses ie. no multi-tasking, Flash support, Document processing ... ect.

Nor will it even replace the iPhone or iPod Touch ... try carrying this around in your pocket much less taking it to the gym.

It definitely looks cool but just will not be on my top list of have to haves.

Avi said...

Not the first thing I'd think of - I'm more in line with Bob Russell's rationale for iWork - but you have a very interesting take. One supporting point for your argument: the first thing Steve said about the iPad was that you can change the background. Well, that's one thing you can't do on the netbook version of Windows 7.

By the way, I tried typing on the iPad in both portrait and horizontal orientations. It feels exactly like what it is - typing on glass. Apple's superb error correction helps, and if you use the flip case as a stand, the angle is much improved, but you're still typing on glass.

Tamas Simon (Sic) said...

"...they don't seem to be reaching out to individual authors the way I expected"

Keep in mind this is only step#1
They need content to sell the device.
They need to bring in the publishers.
They can allow authors to bypass the publishers and sell directly through the iTunes Book Store in step#2

I also think this device will be great for reading PDFs which is the most popular legit and pirated format on the web today... snd it sucks on e-Ink.

Anonymous said...

i think this may have an interesting impact on mobile device pricing in general.

two years ago i would have expect the price of basic netbooks to be well below current levels. instead they have been improved a bit but are at the same or higher price. this goes against tradition high tech price trends. but there is a reasonable explanation. lower prices would not only cut into margins on net books but also draw more customers away from higher priced laptops.

apple being the premium brand that it is has now set a top end price for tablets. chrome, android or whatever other future tablet hit the market will have to be significantly cheaper.

this could set off a whole new price revolution.

Tim Meyer said...

I really don't think Jobs did that great a job in explaining the value proposition.

- It is a poor music player, as it doesn't fit in your pocket.

- It is a poor VOIP device, as you will need to have a headphone all the time

- It has a poor text input, though I have not used the keyboard, thumb typing is much easier on a smaller device

- It is a poor book reader from the point of view that you need to subscribe to a data plan to make it work unlike the Kindle or the the Nook.

Apple believes in the "gap", but I am afraid it is neither fish nor fowl.

It may be perfect for hospitals and text books (need color), but I am wondering what else?

Michael Graff said...

For me, a netbook (or other tweener device) doesn't have to be "a fully functional Windows notebook computer", just a fully functional web browser.

Maybe that means Google's ecosystem is a better fit for me than Apple's.

Compared to the upcoming ChromeOS, the iPad browser seems incomplete.

Olivier said...

A deception I would say. People were waiting for a Macpad (tablet with OS X, full functionality) but it is understandable Apple rather wants to strengthen their Iphone ecosystem. Still IMHO, based on same assumption to use Iphone OS, they could have done the followings:
- iphone OS 4.0 with multitasking and support for higher resolutions
- an iPad accessory (<200USD) which only has the touchscreen and battery (no chip, memory), connects to the Iphone (or can host the Iphone) so that you can have iphone running on bigger screen. Then with bluetooth keyboard and mouse, you have a "full PC" based on the Iphone (more powerful Iphone with better camera to be announced in June)
- an iBook accessory, same as above but with e-ink display for reading books (<100USD), sync with Iphone (or Mac/PC) over bluetooth, no need for cable/connection all the time.
(when technology allows it, they would then have an Ipad accessory with both LCD touchscreen and also E-ink layer)
- more details about iBook store -> subscription to newspaper, comics, ...

They might do all that in future, who knows.

Will wait for Maemo 6 device and new Iphone.

Anonymous said...

in this day and age of wide screens i have to say that i find the 3x4 aspect ratio to be a bit odd. is it just apple trying to be unique? does Steve Jobs believe that is a much better ratio(personally i prefer it to the new wide screen ratios)? some other reason? perhaps extra screen real estate for advertising or a chat window while watching wide screen hi-def videos?

Anonymous said...

one interesting outcome if the ipad and/or other small tablets start to take off. they may be used for many tasks that cell phones are being used for now. the end result could be a move back to a small and simple cell phone with no or limited data for many people. users who start to carry an ipad and use it extensively for email may decide to give up their blackberry for a smaller, simpler, and much cheaper(in monthly fee) phone device.

Michael Mace said...

Great comments, folks!

Some thoughts...


Rohan wrote:

>>If you mean a "Windows-based PC killer",

Yeah, that's what I meant. Or more accurately, low-end home-use Windows netbook personal computer.


>>I still think it's more for the individual user rather than the official one.

Oh, absolutely it's not for office use.


Andrew wrote:

>>I'm not quite sure why you think the iWork pricing is so profound.

Because it's a very aggressive price for an office product with Apple's thoroughness, quality, and branding. And because it sets the standard maximum price for every other PC-quality app on the iPad.


>>There are (theoretically) adequate competitors to Microsoft Office today which are free and offer full PC compatibility - OpenOffice and Google Docs

Haven't used Open Office in years, so I can't comment on it. Have used Google Docs a lot, and as free software it's cool. Compared to paid software it's mediocre, low-featured, and sometimes awkward to use. I am a fan of Google Docs, but it has a long way to go in my opinion.


Bob Russell wrote:

>>Just my initial reaction, but I suspect that Apple had a different reason for hitting hard the Office applications and ease of the onscreen keyboard - to overcome buyer obstacles.

Could well be. Although they could have achieved the same checkoff item effect without spending a long time demoing the products at the announcement.


>> In the end, the average consumer is probably contrasting the iPad with e-book readers, netbooks, phones and media tablets.

Absolutely.


Avi wrote:

>> the first thing Steve said about the iPad was that you can change the background. Well, that's one thing you can't do on the netbook version of Windows 7.

Ahhh. That explains the demo.


>>By the way, I tried typing on the iPad in both portrait and horizontal orientations. It feels exactly like what it is - typing on glass.

Yuck. I dealt with that sort of keyboard at Palm (most notably the projection keyboards where you typed on the tabletop). My fingertips got sore quickly.

Thanks for the hands-on report. I wish I could have been at the announcement. There's nothing like hands-on reality to cut through the speculation.


Anonymous wrote:

>> lower prices would not only cut into margins on net books but also draw more customers away from higher priced laptops.

Nah, the PC guys don't have that much control over pricing. If prices haven't dropped further it's because that's what customers are buying.


>>apple being the premium brand that it is has now set a top end price for tablets. chrome, android or whatever other future tablet hit the market will have to be significantly cheaper.

I agree with you on that.


Tim Meyer wrote:

>>Apple believes in the "gap", but I am afraid it is neither fish nor fowl.

Yeah, me too.


Michael Graff wrote:

>>Compared to the upcoming ChromeOS, the iPad browser seems incomplete.

Well, let's see how the upcoming Chrome tablets look. But I agree with you that a Flash-free browser makes even less sense on a tablet than it does on a smartphone.


Anonymous wrote:

>> in this day and age of wide screens i have to say that i find the 3x4 aspect ratio to be a bit odd. is it just apple trying to be unique? does Steve Jobs believe that is a much better ratio(personally i prefer it to the new wide screen ratios)? some other reason?

All are possibilities. Or this aspect ratio might be easier to hold (a widescreen aspect ratio would make it really top-heavy in portrait mode). Or maybe they couldn't get wider glass at the right price point.

fpillet said...

Michael, I think a lot of commenters are completely missing the real message that Apple is carrying with the iPad.

Let me phrase simply what I think about it, and what meaning I attribute to the iPad announcement:

"This is the next generation of computer user interfaces, and we're committed to making this mainstream".

My reasoning is the following:

- the iPad form factor is coming dangerously close to a laptop's. The screen is already the size of a netbook's, but the user interface is radically different from the one you'll find on usual netbooks, which are just scaled down versions of desktop computers.

- the user interface defined by the iPhone has been improved upon, and augmented to offer paradigms that fit on larger screens.

- You have certainly noticed that traditional windowing and file management are gone. Even though they have the screen real estate to do it, they simply don't think that it's appropriate for non-tech users.

- This will also validate whether Joe user really needs a keyboard or not. I think that with the right kind of on-screen input method, you don't.

In my view, the actual hardware features of the iPad are not important. What counts is whether or not Apple is going to be able to get this kind of user interface accepted by the public. If this happens, as I tend to think, they will have succeeded at doing something no other company has managed to do on a large scale: change the way people interact with computers.

They are positioning the iPhone OS as a platform for the future, one that may not immediately replace desktop OS X, but paves the way for devices to come. If I'm correct, this will spawn a whole generation of computers that don't have or need windows, a finder (or a file explorer), a task bar or what we know as a menu bar.

I don't have any idea of what kind of machines they are going to do next, but I think that Steve Jobs' vision is to get done with old style computer interfaces, and go with something new.

If Apple sells as many iPads as I think, you better get used to that kind of UI, because that's what everyone else is going to copy tomorrow.

Olivier said...

@Florent Pillet: Good point, something I had in mind but could not put it yet in words, thanks.

Still as you can see in my comment above, I am not sure Apple is taking the best approach to achieve their goal (the one you describe).
So then we could wonder whether they really have such goal at all.

Michael Graff said...

Michael Mace said "Well, let's see how the upcoming Chrome tablets look. But I agree with you that a Flash-free browser makes even less sense on a tablet than it does on a smartphone."

There will be Chrome tablets? What I recall from the ChromeOS announcement is that Google is aiming at a netbook formfactor (but thinner/lighter/cheaper, I hope).

Florent Pillet said "This is the next generation of computer user interfaces, and we're committed to making this mainstream"

Good point. I'm not sure the traditional keyboard/mouse interface translates all that well to a touch screen. That might be part of the problem with the various Windows-based tablets over the years.

That would explain why this is an iPad and not a MacPad. And it suggests an AndroidPad is more likely than a ChromePad. Maybe we'll even see a webOS pad.

But while the current smartphone/finger interface translates well to larger screens, I don't think the current smartphone web browsers are good enough for a tablet.

Anonymous said...

First of all I would like to say congratulations for this great blog, very interestings posts!!

Also I would like to share my personal catastrophic thoughts...

0) Ipad = 9,7" Iphone, they have reinvented the wheel, and they have created a great expectation and again "the cheapest worldwide communication campaign" all the news, tech blogs.... around the world have covered in one or other way the announcement of the ipad.

1) Previous devices like UMPC´s weren't that successful among consumers. It also has some kind of similarity with the disaster Palm Foleo (the idea of something between a smartphone and a laptop and sync whith a smartphone)

2) Holding a 9,7" device with your hands while you are typing mmm I'm a bit pessimistic about the "typing experience"....

3) Maybe I'm wrong but I can´t imagine someone using it away from a couch. I can´t figure someone using it on it's desktop, or cafe.... So if most of the time you are going to use it at home, a data plan shouldn't´t be a requirement...

I haven't been an iphone user but I'm trying to imagine at what point users decide to use their smartphones or their ipad, or their laptop when they are at home. I think we are so tired of hearing that smartphones are the "all in one device", will the smartphones cannibalize the Ipad??

Bob Russell said...

Do you think that the reasonably priced $30/mo 3G plan was negotiated in conjunction with no browser flash support and no camera? It would eliminate video conferencing and many highly graphic web sites, thus potentially reducing bandwidth requirements. No keyboard may also have helped convince them of reduced bandwidth requirements. Certainly the device type is a big factor in bandwidth usage, as can be seen in the difference between phones and notebooks. It might just have been enough to help with the 3G data rate.

Bruce Princeton said...

My initial reaction when I saw the Apple iPad was confusion. What functionality does this device offer over and above the Apple iPhone? And what market is Apple aiming this device at?

Army ration Packs said...

It’s the Apple’s business model and it’s working for now. They lock the platform offering one way to buy all the software, music, movies and now books you need using a simple interface in a secure environment. It’s all the average use needs. iTunes is now the biggest music seller in USA (here, in Brasil, it does not sell music, only apps) and people are happy with it. Why change?

Marat said...

Nokia already has a netbook, Booklet 3G. So, Nokia and Apple are head to head now.

mallwitt said...

I can't really say that I'm impressed with the iPad. As Tim Meyer said "this is neither fish nor fowl".

Touchscreen (glass) typing is fine on a mobile device. Tapping away on my iPhone is ok in portrait mode, but quickly becomes annoying in landscape mode. I don't see that I'd enjoy it on the iPad's screen; and how to hold the thing while you type? Propping it up on something gets the viewing angle right, but the wrist angle wrong. Laying it flat allows you to type well, but you can't see anything. Just try this with a 180 degree laptop screen. If you're going to sell iWork as useable on this, the keyboard becomes practically necessary. If you are a professional creating content on the go, you'll probably have a much more capable laptop. Most users will probably just wait till you get home/office before typing up extensive.

The screen aspect is strange. A widescreen device might be a bit heavier held in portrait mode, I don't think that outweighs the pros of a widescreen. If the proportions were jiggered a bit, slightly narrower and taller, you'd have a device about the same size, but much better optimized for all sorts of media. Landscape and you get great movies and newer TV shows. Portrait and you get a good reading experience (reading becomes more difficult the wider the medium, books have that proportion for a reason).

Multitasking is a disappointment. Yes it takes more power and memory, but nothing is more annoying than having to exit and restart an application becasue you needed something from another one. If you are lucky, the app is written well enough to start where you left, but that's not always possible and most apps don't. So you wait 5 seconds. Each time. Your users won’t want to bother (I hate it on my iPhone), and that's not good. Apple needs users to load up on software to drive the ecosystem. Training them to not want to change apps drives down demand.

I'm not sure developers will love the larger screen when they stop to think about it. You and Apple should know how device form and size, impact use and UI design. The interface that works well at one resolution doesn't at another. Buttons along the bottom are great, until the screen is twice the size and you've either got enormous buttons or a tiny misplaced toolbar. The windows start button works reasonably well on a 15" screen, but it's horrible on a netbook. Then there is the issue of implementation. Does the SDK provide for specific screen sizes? If so, what happens when Apple adds another one? Recompile/redesign the app? Apple's strength with the iphone/itouch has been that the software environment was the same, so apps could be compiled once. This fractures that, and is (and leads to) the very complaint that Android and Palm programmers face regarding differing specs. It's not a big concern yet, but how close can the code base stay with wildly different hardware specs/capabilities?

The LCD screen is nice, but I think in this form factor, it's limited. I think apple jumped the gun and let themselves be pushed into making the iPad before the tech was really “there”. E-ink has come a long way and it looks promising, but color and even fast motion are a long ways off. I actually expect that e-ink will be dead in a few years, killed by Qulcomm mirasol displays (www.mirasoldisplays.com). Color, video, and huge battery life. This is what Apple needs if it's going to kill netbooks. Maybe gen 2.

Right now, I'll stick with my iPhone. It does most of the same stuff the iPad will ever do (and if it doesn't Apple will have fractured its App ecosystem), while being pocket-able. If I want ebooks, the Kindle app (along with others) is out there, as you pointed out. Or I can by a Kindle for $250 (and probably less in 2 months), and get limited web free.

Bottom line, the iPad is another Apple TV. We'll see how long it takes Apple to realize that.

Kevin said...

The iPad will not suffer the fate of the AppleTV, because it's not a single-purpose device. And it will sell in the millions; even a quick perusal of the SDK reveals that there's much more to it than was shown.

It's not an issue to fracture the App ecosystem because it's obvious that the iPad has a huge screen leading to new capabilities, and people will understand that. What's stupid is fracturing an ecosystem for a family of devices that are more or less identical.

People are too quick to look to the past and see what's missing (see Mac, iMac), than to look to the future and see what's been added. As apps are written to take advantage of multi-touch gestures, and fast-focused processing, people will be pleasantly surprised, and the most of the missing stuff will be quickly forgotten.

Cecil said...

I have to say Michael when I first heard about the I-Pad I was a little up in the air too. In the past I have especially not like ouch screen keyboards. In spite of that I am really curious to get my hands on one those things and play around with it. As a sidebar, I was hoping I could exchange blogroll links with you. I would very much appreciate that. Thank you!