The Apple iPad has been bashed the blogosphere over, even I took a swing at it. Reading through all the problems, I believe we’re missing the point. The iPad is a revolutionary device and it will change mobile computing as we know it forever.
The first thing that I’m going to tackle is where the iPad fits in. That, I believe, is the fundamental key to its success. It covers a lot of categories under its umbrella, making it a ‘must have’ device among ‘must have’ devices.
E-book Reader: There are plenty of e-book readers on the market and more on the way. Most are bogged down by E ink technology in an attempt to mimic the ‘real’ reading experience. The iPad, like the iPhone, uses transreflective technology for its display allowing for easy operation even in direct sunlight. That makes it good enough for almost any conditions thus easily outweighing any advantages E Ink has when it comes to displaying content. Concerning battery life, the iPad doesn’t disappoint with 10 hours of continuous use and up to a month of stand-by time. Millions of e-readers have been sold worldwide with their limited capabilities. The Kindle DX for instance is priced at US$489, just $10 shy of the iPad’s price yet it’s vastly inferior. Coupled with the iBook store, the iPad will be the best e-reader yet.
Netbook: The Netbook started as an in-between device; the device that bridged the gap between the mobile phone and the laptop. With a low price and conveniently smaller size, the netbook got really popular. Running Android, Linux and especially Windows operating systems, consumers started realizing just how limited the netbook was; they wanted more from their Netbooks at that same low price. Netbooks started to grow in size and power to a point where the lines between a netbook and a laptop are blurred. The big problem with netbooks is that they are wannabe laptops. The form factor, Operating Systems, and even manufactures all reek of laptops; this is where they fail. They are deliberate attempts to something that’s already there, a step backwards from the laptop computer. The iPad on the other hand, is an entirely new category. It is an expansion of the brilliant iPhone OS which revolutionized the mobile phone industry. In this sense, it is not a step backwards from anything, but rather an extension; a leap from something that was already brilliant but limited by size.
Enhanced User Experience
One thing I took away from Steven Fry’s take on the iPad is the user experience. He said
The moment you experience it in your hands you know this is class. This is a different order of experience. The speed, the responsiveness, the smooth glide of it, the richness and detail of the display, the heft in your hand, the rightness of the actions and gestures that you employ, untutored and instinctively, it’s not just a scaled up iPhone or a scaled-down multitouch enhanced laptop – it is a whole new kind of device.
I used that extract as I have not handled it myself but his words say it all. From my experience with Apple products, the iPhone and my iPod touch, there is no doubt in my mind that the iPad will deliver an unparalleled user experience, unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Even without multi-tasking, which may actually be a good thing, the device will be very powerful and extremely easy to use.
The number of applications available at the launch of the product, pretty much all the iPhone apps, is staggering. About 140000 in total and obviously more on the way. This guarantees that users will never be bored and developers will continue to deliver on innovation in more awesome ways.
Plenty of room for improvement
Apple is probably one of the best in the industry at maintaining their products and keeping them up-to-date with the newest developments. The iPod Touch 1st Generation was launched in 2007. Over the years it has received updates that have taken it to a whole new level. In that same light, the iPad has deficiencies with Flash Support and other things but there is potential for all that to be addressed. There are some hardware issues, such as lack of a camera, that are more permanent but that’s hardly a deal breaker. It’s possible that Apple excluded the camera to keep the price down, a worthy compromise I think.
In a nutshell
The Apple iPad is an awesome device by a company with a lot of passion for its products. Despite a few shortcomings, the potential of this device is high. With its awesome Operating System, wide variety of applications and its massive screen real estate, it will no doubt change the mobile landscape and in some ways, it already has.