One thing that struck me with this iPad feeding frenzy is that nobody seems to state the obvious. They all seem to be wondering what it is that makes this gadget special. In way it’s not supposed to be special, the iPad is just a computer.
When the iPod came out it was expensive. I mean nobody was going to buy a music player that cost at least 5 times as much as any other MP3 player and didn’t have a radio. Everybody agreed, it looked nice but no one in their right mind was ever going to buy one. Needles to say they where wrong. Which is why I guess that many of the technology pundits are on the fence.
When you look at the market it’s aiming for it’s certainly sitting on top of the netbook food chain. And what do people use netbooks for. It looks like that these things are mainly to access the internet, some incidental word processing and for those jet setting conference speakers it’s also tweaking their presentations in powerpoint. Powerpoint sucks and on a tiny screen it’s gotta totally blow. For many real mobile users it’s fulfills a need. For others it’s just cheap. As a replacement for a laptop it’s crap. It’s doesn’t even come close to being a phone. Maybe a huge Blackberry. Twitter can work on a watch so that’s not the killer app either.
A netbook is portability of an general purpose internet device at a very low price point. No more, no less. The iPad sits in the upper end of that price range and does all the things we need a netbook to do but better. Well that’s what Apple is saying. Considering the amount of effort they’ve put into this thing I wouldn’t like to bet against them. Neither do many of the pundits.
What struck me about the iPad is that Apple has gone to great lengths to get the things we do with computers to work on the iPad. The iPad is a computer. It isn’t going to do anything special, like all other tablets it’s just a computer. When I look at the revered Mac OS X it still feels unnecessarily messy and detailed. Despite all their effort it still has too many buttons, so to speak. With the iPad they’ve been able to get rid most of the techno crap that drives us crazy. We just want to surf the web, book a restaurant, read an article a even a book, type a quick e-mail, maybe listen to some music and maybe watch some trailers. The overall experience will be better because the iPad OS is built as casual system to be used in a casual setting. Laptops aren’t very casual, they’re great on a desk and recently also great as a desktop replacement but kinda suck on your lap. Which is little sad. If Job’s presentation is anything to go by then it seems that the iPad and armchairs are made for each other.
It’s a casual device for casual computing. That’s exactly what most people use a computer at home for.