Steve Jobs’s Magic

I know that no one out there really wants to hear my thoughts on new personal technology, but no one’s forcing you to read this. So here are my first thoughts on the iPad, Apple’s new 10″ tablet.

The resurgence of Apple in the last decade has been based on its ability to simply design and build better products than anyone else, in part because it does a better job of understanding what consumers actually want than anyone else. They are also extremely good and marketing and selling; who would have imagined that Apple would also turn out to be better at retail than any other electronic company? But I wonder if, with the iPad, the Steve Jobs magic is running low.

Of course, as David Pogue says, we are now in Phase 2 of any new Apple product: “the bashing by the bloggers who’ve never even tried it.” The theory is that because Apple knows what we want better than we know ourselves, the thing will sell, despite its obvious shortcomings. In the case of the iPad, the obvious shortcoming is that it can’t replace a cell phone (not only does it not make calls, it’s simply too big to whip out when you need to make a call) or a laptop (unless you use your laptop solely to consume content). Yes, you could add a physical keyboard, but then you’ve got a laptop with a stripped-down operating system. (It has other major shortcomings, like no Flash and no multitasking, but those will no doubt be fixed in later versions.) So Apple has to convince people they need yet another gadget.

You could argue that this is what they did with the iPod, but my recollection is that MP3 players were already a rapidly-growing category at the time; Apple simply built a much, much better one. In addition, the iPod is small, so adding it to your panoply of gadgetry is physically easy; the same is not true of the iPad. (Apple’s other great products–the iMac, the MacBook,  the iPhone–are simply better versions of products people already knew they needed.)

The best evidence that the iPad could be a big success is the e-reader market (Kindle, Nook, etc.). After all, people do already carry around books and magazines, and many of them have decided that a Kindle is a lighter and more flexible way to do that. And people who use their laptops mainly to surf the Internet and write short emails could downgrade to the iPad. So maybe Apple is trying to repeat the success of the iPod in that market. But as I recall, the killer early features of the iPod were the click wheel (which made it possible to browse through a large library on a small screen) and, especially iTunes–not the store at first, but the fact that Apple was the first company to make it really easy to rip CDs and synch them to your MP3 player (even if it defaulted to a proprietary format at the time). I don’t think there’s anything comparable here, since the Kindle has already nailed the content distribution problem, and has the biggest catalog. And to be truly useful, the iPad requires you to pay $30/month to use AT&T’s already overloaded network.

The iPad is also going to go the “open platform” route, letting developers create applications for it, which was a large though probably overrated element in the iPhone’s success. But while this was a major step for phones, the iPad will be competing with tablets built using Windows and Android, which were always designed to be open platforms for development.

So, in short, a product that most people don’t need, except for one market where it’s behind. That said, I think it will still be a success, though not nearly as big as the iPod or iPhone. I think so for two reasons: first, the product probably is just better than anything else in the category; and second, the Apple fan base is so big and so devoted that it will have blowout initial sales and then build momentum of its own. As developers figure out new things to do with tablets, they will probably figure them out first and best on the iPad, not whatever bloated and slow version of Windows Microsoft chooses to put on these things.

Personally, I would rather they had put the effort into making a better, faster MacBook Air, but that’s just me.

By James Kwak

50 thoughts on “Steve Jobs’s Magic

  1. Just wait. I think the utility of the iPad will become more evident as time goes on. And you don’t really need the data plan if your home or office has wifi – I belong to a network of Mac site folks, and none of them are planning to buy the 3G model. If you did pay the extra $130 for that capacity, you could just pay the $30 for a single month if you were taking a vacation or business trip, for example.

    These things will be on the coffee table or in the kitchen. “Honey, whats the weather supposed to be today? Oh wait, just hand me the ‘pad.” And so on. “Pad” will become generic. By the time they’re released, tons of magazines and newspapers will be available on the device, not just ebooks. I think we have to wait and see, but I think the potential is huge.

  2. My only thought is to agree with some who say that the name iPad demonstrates an organisation with a very strong masculine orientation.

    In addition, as a retired bod with the odd year of sales and marketing experience behind me, if the price makes it as much an impulse buy as anything else, then it may be successful irrespective of whether or not it changes our behaviours.

    Yes, I know that was two thoughts!

  3. I think the chattering classes are missing the obvious.

    When I think about how I’m interacting with the web today, in all its forms – text, audio, video, in all its purposes – news, commentary, active or passive entertainment and all its iterations – paid content, professional journalism, fiction, non-fiction, free or otherwise – no one existing device is really ideal. My MacBook Pro is robust, but a bit of an encumbrance and almost always in need of an AC outlet long before whatever mobile experience I was planning is actually over. My iPhone’s readability and capacities to allow me to interact with or implement changes to content are, unfortunately, inversely proportional to its mobility.

    The iPad, on the other hand, seems to fall into the golden middle, with a stunning combination of utility and portability. Think about how web-centric all personal computing has become, and then imagine your iPad with Evernote, NetNewswire, Safari and the tailored versions of iWork on board. Toss in iTunes with few gigs of whatever music enhances your productivity, along with a game or two or ten for when you need a break. And the TimesReader and a book or two, plus the iBookstore versions of The Atlantic or The New Yorker. And all of this in a 1.5 pound, 1/2-inch thick trade-paperback sized slice of glass and aluminum.

    This is a whole new kind a widget…

  4. There has already been some buzz about how the whole point of iPad is to target the recession-resistant/proof public sector educational market (think textbook substitute and some of the limitations – no keyboard and no Flash ads – begin to seem more like planned features rather than bugs…).

    Apple computers *do* have a long history of disproportionate penetration into educational markets (amazing what gets bought when it is somebody else’s money getting spent…and the ostensible “customers” get paddled for complaining…).

    Great…so we can shortly look forward to a Jobs-sponsored multi-year political jihad complaining about the fearsome “iPad divide/gap” that will both leave the poor even more destitute and info-poor *and* “guarantee” that America will fall hopelessly behind Asian iPad-packing nations.

    Unless of course, we drink Chairman Jobs’ koolaid (actually, I see Gore as the pitchman on this – he needs a gig after Climategate) and cough up a few hundred extra billions so that no child will be left without an iPad.

    NEA rejoice!

  5. Are we done with the sanitary napkin jokes yet? It’s crazy that people imagine Apple didn’t catch the humor in the Ipad name. Perhaps they thought everybody would have a laugh and move on.

  6. Given Apples ability to create markets, I think in 2 years when you hear the word “pad” you’ll think Apple, not “maxi.”

    What’s the first thing you think of when you hear “pod?” I doubt it’s plant biology!

  7. Two words for you:
    Education and Healthcare. And after that any industry that needs text intensive yet rapid and portable computing.

    Steve said that this is “the most important thing he’s ever done.” He is well noted to have made numerous comments regarding the importance of education and teachers. I think he views this as the new textbook. Since every child in the country will be on one of these things within 5 years, they’ll be used to using this form factor for the rest of their lives. He’s a master at looking at slow growth markets or building the market with his product. One tool the pundits lack.

  8. “[…] it does a better job of understanding what consumers actually want than anyone else.”

    Apple, or at least Steve Jobs, actually cares about that job, and is willing to satisfy it with moderately priced products. There aren’t many companies that do in electronics. Sony, maybe.

    As for the iPad, one thing it comes with is eBook deals with five major publishers: Penguin, Hachette, Macmillan, Simon and Schuster and HarperCollins. Charlie Stross thinks it’s going to be a huge win in the student and medical support markets, and he may be right. One of Apple’s smart choices is to stay out of production and publishing. Which sounds funny, but take it from an old bird who used to hang out on the telecomm wires: that’s a very wise choice. Telecomm companies and electronics manufacturers are forever trying to go into publishing and production, but the business models are very different, and the only one I can think of that’s been successful is Sony. It also keeps Apple out of competition with firms which provide product they can distribute. Being able to, basically, tax media is a much more certain business than producing media, which is always a bit risky.

    As for its networking capabilities, until the telecomm firms are willing to adopt a moderately-priced open business model, “just do wifi” is a smart choice.

  9. There are two things I do find interesting about Apple. I might be wrong, but as far as I know they are farly not as good at marketing and selling their products overseas as they are in North America. And it is guys in Taiwan who are responsible for the hardware part of the technology, so that leaves most of Apple’s work in branding and marketing.

  10. it’s a slick looking device but I’ll stick with my kindle. eInk, no monthly subscription fee, and super long battery life is a good enough feature set for me. I tire of having the web ‘at my finger tips’ distraction when trying to do serious reading anyway.

  11. “The iPad is also going to go the “open platform” route”

    This is disingenuous. Apple maintains complete control over which applications are available for the iphone. They also censor some of the most useful applications, such as, google voice, simply because they want to protect their or their partner’s bottom line. Apple also has a history of trampling on open access to information, as exemplified by their shameful support of drm and their abuse of software ip laws. Apple has been caught using open-source software without proper attribution and/or without making the source code available. IMO, they are one of the worst corporate citizens in the USA.

  12. I am going to wait for the iTampon — the smaller, more convenient, less obtrusive version of the MaxiPad product that’s easier to carry and more convenient to use, maybe something more the size of a Sony Pocket Reader. I can easily put a Kindle or Sony Reader in the side pouch of my laptop case and pull it out to read a book while on one of those interminable airline rides to someplace I’d rather not be (Cleveland in winter? Puh-LEEZE!). Not so with an iPad — it’s simply way too big.

  13. In no way shape or form is this an open platform.

    Every application must be purchased through the iTunes App Store, after having first been approved by Apple.

    Good luck getting Microsoft Office (instead of iWork), competing instant messenger applications, mail application..Google Voice anyone?

    It’s the most closed platform ever introduced.

  14. apple is and will continue to be successful not because of product design, but because of integrating content delivery into the product; itunes.

  15. I do not see what distinguishes the IPad from a netbook. Netbooks are pretty light and certainly the computer manufacturers could make the keyboard detachable and add a touch screen. Netbooks already have wifi connectivity and usb ports for expansion. I just do not see what added value the IPad brings. You can buy a perfectly good netbook for about $300.

  16. I think we must look at this differently – we are moving our dominant internet usage model.

    First it was browsing
    Then searching
    Now it is App’ing (or using Apps)

    Apples products enable that – indeed they are the ‘platform’ for Apping

    But once this is how you interact with the web – two things become largely secondary. One is the OS and the second is the browser. What matters is the library of tightly controlled apps – that do what they are meant to do and do not take over the system.

    Don’t get me wrong you still need a broser – but is is of secondary importance – ditto for a search engine.

    In this case an open platform may result in a bad user experience, but a closed, quality controlled ecosystem guarantees a good experience.

    In fact the use model of iPAD will be the new form of web interaction (i.e. via Apps). In fact this is the one thing that all the netbooks are missing – they are stripped down PCs and not web consumption device.

    IMHO, this thing – in terms of units sold – should surprise on the upside.

  17. Marian,

    would ‘nt say so.

    Apple is to a big part Steve Jobs.

    Think Apple II, 1st Macintosh, Lisa, Next, Pixar, (NOT Newton)…

    His basic idea always has been elegant usability in a holistic way, then gathering a group of likeminded people to implement.

    Actually I had the luck seeing Doug Adams on a Apple developer conference 1994 or so, presenting his idea of a portable communication device very much like the iPad, a time when Jobs was NOT at Apple.

    Adams was of a like mind as Jobs.

    Do’nt know wether Jobs resonated with that, because Adam’s presentation was not recorded, as far as I know.

    This is NOT simple branding like Nike and all the rest, but something a good company should do: Controlling the whole process from the Top down, giving the user his fair share, and ofcourse the company its.

    Apple has for example a long tradition of designing custom chips and interface concepts, like the Apple desktop bus, which is history now.
    Now its the A4 processor in the iPad, whose main intent is to extend battery-operation to >10hrs.

    A necessity e.g. for a student being on campus for a whole day.

    Jobs is noncompromising on issues like that.
    Same with smooth videos or a scrolling behaviour which just feel natural etc.

    Jobs is the soul of Apple. Always has been.
    (Wonder what will happen with Apple without him.
    Some other Coca Cola guy probably will ruin the company.)

    Compare this to Bill Gates, whose ‘talents’ are totally different.

  18. My Acer Aspire One netbook has the following advantages over the iPad:

    1. Runs all Windows applications that I’m familiar with from use on my office.
    2. More memory, more processor, more hard drive space
    3. USB ports for sucking in movies, photos, etc. for publishing to the Internet.
    4. Runs eBook reader software from allowing access to the Amazon Kindle store, from B&N allowing access to the B&N store, etc., not tying me to a single proprietary eBook platform.
    5. Has a real keyboard, so I can do blog postings and such much faster than with a virtual keyboard.
    6. Has essentially the same battery life — around 7 hours with WiFi turned off.

    The only downside of my Aspire One compared to the iPad is that it’s a bit thicker and heavier than the iPad. Otherwise it’s basically the same size, but much more functional.

    I repeat: At its current size (which is not “pocketable” in any reasonable-sized purse or laptop-case side pocket), there just isn’t any point to the iPad despite all the iLunacy surrounding it. And for those of you who whine “but… but… STEVE JOBS!”, I’ll point out that Steve’s Apple Lisa was a miserable failure, as was his NeXT computer. And let’s not forget about the underwhelming Apple TV, or Apple’s failed xServe project that has sold about as many servers in its entire five-year existence as Dell sells in ten minutes, etc. etc. etc. Just because Steve Jobs is involved doesn’t make it an automatic success… it has to MAKE SENSE first! My iPhone? Makes sense. My MacBook Pro? Makes sense. The iPad? Not so much.

  19. depends on the size of the iPit.

    You Americans are soooo Victorian.

    Us Evangelicals do not use iPads because…

  20. bought a Samsung netbook N140 for my son for use in the universty

    Those are pragmatic devices.

    Having piles of all sorts of computers all day around me, I for myself definitely am searching for something different.

    It’s probably my hidden affection for the arts and elegance, which will give the iPad a try.

  21. agreed.

    it’s closed, but not MOST closed.

    Apple’s philosophy for most of the time has been, to restrict user choices.

    I think it was at Sculleys time, when Apple issued the phony credo of ‘We believe in standards’ which was a lie in the first place.

    There is a tendency to limit choices for the bilateral good.
    Symbiotic, so to say.

    It is a form of reacting to the ‘paradox of choice’, i.e. constraining choice which is Apple-philosophy.

    So: E.g. no ‘compatibility’ problems, which eat up monstrous amounts of mental energy.

  22. I think that the iPad will replace the laptops that many physicians are using today to document their patient visits. The killer application for this transformation will be a speech to text app which will finally replace the keyboard.

    Many doctors can’t type and many older ones shy away from computers entirely; data entry is relegated to nurses or other staff members.

    But all doctors can talk and what could be nicer than a high resolution, easy to use iPad in front of you to enable you to be all you can be.

  23. “The iPad is also going to go the “open platform” route, letting developers create applications for it, which was a large though probably overrated element in the iPhone’s success”

    Preposterous. A platform gated by the app store is not “open” in any meaningful sense, except that Apple prefers to not do the actual work, and instead simply “app-proves”.

  24. I spend a whole lot of time on the net consuming content. All I need to do in addition is be able to manage content like my blog or make comments. The idea of this product being a mobile library also has great appeal. IMO oddly…the internet and blogs have reintroduced people to learning. The Great Conversation has gone electric and it is exploding. How do people learn? They do it by reading and writing. My guess is that SJ’s previous successes were not luck. My guess is that this will be another.

  25. I need a phone to call on, not to squint at and distract me.

    I need a small-form mp3 player almost never because, to me, it’s distracting in almost every activity if it’s the secondary.

    I would consume a lot more content online if I didn’t have to whip out the laptop or sit at the desk. First commenter is right, just “hand me the pad.”

    And I don’t need a Mac.

  26. James,
    I think you and others may be missing the point. The iPad is intriguing because it vastly expands the screen real estate devoted to touch entry and multi-touch maneuvering. That may seem a trivial consideration given how familiar we now are with multi-touch entry because of what the iPhone started, but to move beyond the confined real estate of the phone to what is a real screen I think will come to represent a marvel of convenience for a lot of folks, even those who love keyboards. It will be such an attraction that folks will quickly come to want the same multi-touch capability on their desktop and laptop screens.

  27. James,

    I agree with Bill. I’ve seen several lackluster takes on the iPad along the lines of your comments here, and the one thing they all have in common is the failure to recognize the role of large-screen touch (particularly multi-touch) in the future of the iPad. This will enable, not only new kinds of applications, but also, potentially, use of the iPad as an input or control device in many settings. For example, if I were the makers of this $2k touch-screen controller for musicians, I would be crestfallen upon seeing the iPad demo:

    JazzMutant Lemur

    How long before a clever developer finds a way to use an iPad to do much of what Lemur does?

    Without too much imagination, the iPad could also be used to replace similar controllers that are mechanical. It could replace several such devices, while costing much less than any one of them. Admittedly these are niche markets, but there are multiple such niches the iPad can intrude on.

    Who knows if iPad will be a success or flop. But I think the yet-unrealized potential Bill highlights, associated with large-screen multi-touch, makes success pretty likely.

    [BTW, I only recently discovered BaselineScenario; thanks to you, Peter & Simon for such a thoughful blog!]

  28. I was pretty surprised how many of my friends got iPhones, and I’M a MacHead (Mac since 1992, seven macWorld visits, have tutored it for $). Point being, it’s a fun purchase, and not that expensive. I think it will have a solid start, and expand from there. For better or worse, I’m more of a consumer than a producer– and I produce more than many folks I know.

    “Wait! You haven’t seen Miss Carolina yet? Oh, yagotta! Hand me the pad!”.

  29. Forgot to say– I don’t have an iPhone, and find it easy to resist not having one. so it surprised me that apple’s making money off my many friends who HAVE bought one, who just gave in to impulse.

    Also, this is the first month that FIVE friends of mine have announced they are switching to Mac from PC. (And announced, a little proudly, on Facebook or email)– between iPHone, Ipod/iTunes and macbooks, there’s a cachet there. Underestimate it at your peril.

  30. My $0.02: It’ll be a success, in that it will 1) be reasonably accretive to Apple’s revenues, 2) not accomplish this by cannibalizing iphone, ipod, or Mac sales (or at least not too much) and 3) not pulverize the company’s margins in the process.

    Perhaps it is a little disappointing, but that’s probably because the iPad is more or less exactly what everyone was expecting, and unless the company’s new gizmo actually allowed Steve Jobs to teleport on stage people would have been underwhelmed. It doesn’t mean folks won’t buy it… and beyond Apple fanatics there are plenty of people who can come up with something useful to do with an electronic device that’s more weildy than a traditional laptop but larger than an iPhone. Especially when (as is inevitable) the price drops.

    I doubt it’ll be another iPhone, but it’ll definitely produce quite a lot of revenue for the company.

    Disclosure–the family owns quite a lot of stock in AAPL so I’m not totally unbiased.

  31. My 7 year old granddaughter occasionally forgets and touches the screen on my iBook to make something happen.

  32. Don’t underestimate “e-ink”. I own a Sony eBook and it is quantitatively better for reading than any LCD based device, which the iPad is. For one thing, it works fantastically in direct sunlight.

    I can’t say for the Kindle, but also the Sony eBooks are very thin and light and thus are as easy to hold as books in one hand. I don’t think the iPad is nearly as thin and light, thus I think it fails in that regard.

    Given that fact that it doesn’t multi-task as well, plus that all apps have to pass Apple’s scrutiny (yes, they have an open API, but that doesn’t matter if you can’t get the application where you want it), I’m with Krugman – it’s a “whyPad”.

    Honestly I think they blew it – it should have been better and was too early to release. That may doom future revisions of the product.

  33. Apple seem to always find a way to make the market stand up and take note – what concerns me about this particular device is that is somewhere between a lot of the other devices on offer and the size is a worry for me.

    I carry my notebook with me only when I need to as that is just too bulky and do the rest of my work on my smart phone.

    Will I change to something bigger – only if it does more than everything else put together

  34. I am too lazy to try to get some deeper insight into the matter. But when it comes to the iPad processor, it seems to be designed by a British company and manufactured by a South Korean one.—its-an-arm-cpu-and-the-gpu!.aspx
    Putting your stamp on an existing chip does not really make you a designer of it.
    On the other hand, they of course are very good at what they do. Which as I said I believed is mainly selling the stuff.

  35. Peter,

    I think you’ve got it. The i-pad will replace the net books and then the notebooks. I think most people see that the net books are doomed, less capacity at a similar price; but the lap tops won’t be needed for most people much longer either. When you think of it the most real heavy typing you do on your lap top is at home. For that the i-pad has an easily attached key board. But lap tops are really too heavy and cumbersome to tote around with any facility. Hence the i-pad. Additional memory and computing capacity can easily be accessed so I see this replacing everything except for architechts, artists and those needing quite a bit of memory and computing power on one machine. For the rest of us I think this is the future.


  36. Sorry James, you’re a little off on the most important impetus for Apple’s success over the last decade, and indeed, over the entire life of the company…and that is their ability to seize upon new applications (also known as the “killer ap”) like nobody else does.

    Yes, the technology and design is fabulous (I’ve always been a loyal Apple user and wouldn’t be caught dead using anything PC oriented). However, that’s not why they’re successful.

    In the beginning, Apple seized on the graphical user interface as the basic software application that transformed the personal computer industry. Then Windows began copying it and because they were better at anticipating market demand in the early 90s, had more PC-based products available when the market needed it and Apple missed out on capturing the lion’s share of the market.

    Apple waned for years until the Internet came along and Apple once again seized the killer ap with the introduction of the iMac to gain market share and tremendous riches. But then everyone else became Internet friendly and their influence waned again.

    Then came the iPod. And again it wasn’t the design that made it successful. In fact, it sold next to none for two years. Then they began running ads encouraging the use of the product for “ripping” music and the music companies sued Apple for encouraging copyright infringement. But Jobs being the genius for recognizing opportunities for furthering the advent of his devices, convinced the record companies to agree to the concept of the iTunes store…and that is the killer ap that made the iPod take off and later the iPhone with the iPhone ap store. It’s not the design, it’s the applications. And from the graphical user interface, to iTunes store to the iPhone ap store, nobody has been more brilliant than Jobs at recognizing the importance.

    The question is whether there’s a killer ap out there for the iPad which can’t be satisfied by MacBooks and iPods and iPhones. I personally haven’t seen it yet, and until it appears, I don’t believe the iPad will be a great success. It might find a substantial audience and it even might make a modest profit, but until if finds a killer ap that can’t be satisfied by their other devices, it will merely be a competing device to the Kindle, et al.

    Here endeth the lesson for the day.

  37. I agree with the very first commentator, TaosJohn – the iPad is going to lying about the home as a data window, and as an augment to conventional media channels.

    Older people like us have got really hung up on the desktop, and whether we need other devices that do slightly worse.

    The younger generation just want access to the Internet, everywhere. The hardware is almost irrelevant, except that the slicker and more gorgeous and cheaper the better.

    Cue tens of millions of iPad sales…

  38. Problem is that a) the iPad is the same size as *much* more capable netbooks like my Acer Aspire One, which is faster, has more programs, has USB ports (for attaching things like movie cameras and such to post stuff to the Internet), more memory, more storage space, and so forth, and b) the “always on the Internet everywhere” market that you’re talking about is better addressed by a smaller device, something the size of a Sony Pocket Reader or Nokia N900, not by a gigantic 10″ pad that doesn’t even play Flash videos.

    I have an iPhone because it replaced: an iPod, personal GPS (for city use anyhow), a phone, and its Internet access is reasonable. I am one of those “always on the Internet” types you describe — as in, I take my freakin’ iPhone into the restroom with me when I take a dump to read the latest tweets in my Twitter stream, that’s how lame I am — and frankly, the iPhone OS is a PITA. I want to be able to keep an eye on my Twitter stream and inbox while posting a reply on this blog, and pop over to my inbox or Twitter stream in mid-reply to quickly respond to something that just came in. Can’t do that with the iPhone/iPad OS. A netbook works *much* better for this, it has real multi-tasking. I don’t see the iPad supplanting netbooks in that respect.

    For that matter, the iPhone itself is increasingly looking primitive compared to the latest Android phones, which *do* have that sort of integrated always-on-the-Internet experience. The latest Android phones even have microprocessors as fast as Apple’s iPad processor. I don’t think I’ll be replacing my iPhone with something else anytime soon because I have too much “buy-in” to the iPod ecology (have a stereo in my car that can be controlled by plugging an iPod’s USB cord into it, for example) and it solves too many problems for me (on-the-road Internet access, GPS, quick note-taking with Evernote, etc.), but I have no (zero) motivation to add an additional device like the iPad — it solves no problems for me that are not solved already by netbooks.

  39. The other problem is (i) it’s a luxury device (cellphones, particularly, are an easy buy because you *have* to have a cellphone; and MP3 players were an age-old market – thing portable cassette players) and (ii) there’s a lot of competition.

    Since it’s just a glorified iPhone Touch, people can undercut on price (with comparable features) with Android-based (and other Linux-based) devices (Like the MSI tablet or the JooJoo/TechCrunch tablet). The obvious “step-up” is a Windows 7-based PC; because it supports (good) handwriting recognition and multi-touch. Windows-based Tablet PCs are already big sellers in healthcare and other verticals – it’s unlikely that the iPad will dislodge them with closed development, incompatability with existing infrastructure, etc.

    The iPad is also less functional than a Netbook for on-the-go work… and if you want a tablet, you could be (for less than $400) the Asus T91 (, which is a convertable tablet with (resistive) multi-touch and handwriting recognition.

    Unless iPhone OS 4.0 revolutionizes things – which it might – it’s looking like another Apple TV to me.

  40. I disagree. Compared to Microstupid they are the patron saint of good deeds. They only implemented DRM at the insistence of the record companies and then removed it (perhaps you’ve forgotten Steve’s letter to Apple customers) when the timing allowed it. “worst corporate citizens in the USA” is a troll comment.

  41. It’s clear that you, Badtux, are not Apple’s target. Your comments will be recorded by the wayback machine, however, and the iPad (terrible name, btw) will be a huge success. Not overnight, but for the long haul. Media consumption is where computing is heading and it will be harder to find a device better for doing that on your couch than this device.

  42. Having digitized all of my movies (hundreds), my Apple TV is the greatest entertainment invention ever FOR ME. The thing microsoft shills cannot understand is that Apple does not pretend to cater to EVERYONE. Even though they are a “niche” operating system of 5% or so, 90% of all high end laptops purchased today are Macs. From a business perspective, you have to admire their cherry picking ability.

  43. I agree. I have made similar comments on my blog. (here)

    My points are:

    When iPod and iPhone were launched
    •These products had clearly-defined purpose/benefit
    •They revolutionized the product category
    •They were so complete and perfect
    But Apple does not have any of these qualities.

  44. I agree. However, you CAN also access the web through the Kindle. I can’t imagine reading an entire book on an LCD screen.

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