Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tablet Post Mortem

Okay, so even some of my "safe" predictions were wrong. This thing is basically an iPod Touch on steroids - bigger screen, faster processor. It does run the iPhone OS, which is still called the iPhone OS, and not all that much has changed. I can't talk specifics because the new SDK version that supports the iPad is under NDA, but if you know how to program the iPhone, you know how to program the iPad. They didn't even change the major version number (much to my joy, given that we've got the version number in our book titles).

My thoughts: at $499, it's amazing. Now a lot of developers are a little disappointed. Frankly, we're not the main intended audience. For a lot of people, this is the perfect computer. For my mom, who doesn't really like computers, for example. This combined with the keyboard dock is all the computer she wants or needs. Her music, her movies, she can e-mail, browse the web. That's all she does and would do. That's all she wants from a computer. The iPad does all that and doesn't confuse her with a desktop paradigm, she doesn't have to remember to empty the trash, or try to traverse the file system to find things.

A lot of people are wondering if there's a place for this. I have no doubt. At this price point, a lot of people will go with this over a frustrating $350 netbook. I'm actually considering going with the iPad for my kids when they need new computers. At this price, I can afford to. They would have iWork, Mail, Safari, and can play some games, and that's the vast majority of what they do.

Now, for me, I don't really have much of a use for this. I'll buy one, maybe even two, so I can develop for it and play with it. But it would never suffice for my main computer, and I'm not sure there's really a need for it since I have my iPhone. My interest in this device is professional, but I'm not a typical consumer.

The iPhone wasn't successful because geeks liked it. It was successful because everybody (well, almost) liked it. I think that's what's this is going to be. This is a non-geek's computer. This is the perfect computer for somebody who does e-mail, surfs the web, plays a few games.

I hope there's a way to get pictures and music onto this thing other than through the iTunes store or through a Mac. I hope this thing is capable of standing completely on its own. I'm not sure yet if it is, but to me that seems like the most important thing. If I ONLY have an iPad, can I get pictures off my digital camera and onto it? Does the keyboard dock have a USB port. I don't know, but if not, I think it will be its Achille's heel, because I think the biggest pool of potential users of this thing are non-geeks who will use this instead of a Mac, not in addition to one.
Apple has an accessory called the Camera Connection Kit that allows you to pull pictures directly into the iPad from a digital camera or SD card
And, fortunately, it doesn't have Flash.


John Long said...

There's an accessory that claims to be able to allow you to transfer your pics from your camera to the iPad.


iPad Camera Connection Kit:

The Camera Connection Kit gives you two ways to import photos and videos from a digital camera. The Camera Connector lets you import your photos and videos to iPad using the camera’s USB cable. Or you can use the SD Card Reader to import photos and videos directly from the camera’s SD card.

Brian said...

Yes, thank god it doesn't have flash!

I am thinking background apps will come with a new version of the OS.
I am thinking they didn't want to make much changes to the OS while they were still deciding on the hardware.

Timos said...

I have one problem with the iPad - no camera. If I was to use this as you describe - for every day needs - a very intimate part would involve voip and video chatting. Other than lack of camera I am very excited about the device and hope that it will be successful.

K. A. Barber said...

I am also thinking that the background processes thing will come in an OS update closer to the developers conference. I am only slightly disappointed in the iPad and will buy one as soon as I can mostly for development, though i am sure my wife would love one of these.

On side note, Brushes looked really cool on the iPad in the demo segment dedicated to it. Nice to see a successful iPhone app in a shiny new iPad robe........

Maen said...

Well... I saw it, I liked it... and then I started reading.
What can I say? the hardware is amazing.But the software... well I don't need a bigger iPod.

Mac clearly missed quite a large groupe of consumers : the students. I hoped for something with a pen to annotate slides in your own handwriting, to quickly sketch what the teacher is drawing on the blackboard... That's the point of a tablet PC, isn't it?
And it's not just the students, it could have replaced paper everywhere a quick sketch is needed.

I agree with you, it'll sell ok. But it's definitively no revolution on the tablet market.

Let's hope for a iPad pro.

Dominus said...

I think that Jeff is right about it being the computer that computer-phobes will buy. I also think that he's right about it being enough computer for most kids.

Contrary to Maen's opinion, I see school districts standardizing on the iPad as the choice for electronic textbook delivery. With that and iWork, it solves a lot of problems for them, among them cost and reliability issues, while at the same time creating a new range for textbooks to cover which can include A-V content. Lower publishing and delivery costs can raise the textbook publisher's margins.

"quickly sketch what the teacher is drawing?" There's an app for that.

Dominus said...
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TerryG said...
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TerryG said...

no Flash... But I hope Apple Safari will be upgraded soon to support HTML5. This open standard was designed to get rid of proprietary web plugins like Silverlight and Flash.