As we’ve already reported, Apple’s official announcement of the iPad to be released in a couple months, has sent shockwaves through the technology world. Steve Jobs and Apple have a history of being at the forefront of innovation in the technology industry.
A New Era – The iPad Era?
Could this new iPad foreshadow the shift in consumer migration and mix with telephony and media? Has Apple hit this one out of the park with a new concept for a new era? The reviews thus far have been mixed. Most industry pundits are cautious not to outright pan the device for fear of the boomerang should Apple prove again that it knows better.
Jumping ahead of analyst pontifications, the iPad has been priced at a starting modest $499, well below the industry experts $999 expected price tag. The lower price will entice early adopters and gadgeteers to grab a device and show off to their friends. Apple is confident of two things – 1. Viral effect – Just like the iPod did a decade ago, the new iPad users will bring many more new iPad users – (sort of like a Faberge commercial from the 1970s). 2. At this price, one iPad won’t be enough. You can grab a couple for the members of your house.
We’ve included on this website a handy cross reference chart to compare the iPad with the iPod and iPhone side by side. The features are similar, with the iPhone getting the nod with a camera and phone service. The question that begs to be asked, will users shell out 500 dollars or more for essentially a bigger iPod? The analogy that keeps coming to me is that somewhere in a parallel world, there are giants walking around with iPads that look like iPods in their large hands.
Where’s the compelling game-changer?
iPad vs. Amazon Kindle – Kindle already has an installed base. If Apple is challenging Amazon’s online reader, Amazon has the distribution channel to rival Apple’s iTunes. For the current users of Kindle, is there enough of a compelling reason to switch to the nicer looking (and larger) iPad? Will new buyers be willing to shell out a couple hundred more dollars (at minimum) for the iPad? Our bet – current Kindle users will stay with Amazon. New users will consider Apple’s iPad for it’s added browsing and larger screen.
iPad vs. iPod – Industry analysts are already talking about the possible cannibalization of the iPod Touch market over to iPad. From Apple’s perspective, that’s a $200 minimum jump in per unit sales. That’s not a bad thing. Are consumers really going to ditch their neat, put-in-your-shirt-pocket iPod with all the essentials – mp3, video, iTunes, App store, browsing with Safari (albeit on a small scale), for the added convenience of a bigger screen?
The iPad has a bigger screen
So does my 26″ Samsung HD PC monitor! And with HD it gives me the crispy sharp way to watch iTunes movie rentals. I put my iPod down when I want to watch a full movie (unless I’m on a plane and have time to kill). I don’t see the argument for a bigger screen on an iPod device (which is essentially what the iPad provides).
The iPad has G3 network coverage
iPad and iPod both have wi-fi. The iPad includes The G3 network, which means you can also browse the internet on your subway or bus ride to work. Is it really a convenience to lug around a 9.7″ diagonal screen (without a cover!) under your arms while going thru airport check-in, or on the subway train with your nosy neighbor watching along with you? Our bet – users who want the cool new gadget to show off to their colleagues or to look avante-garde, will run to Best-Buy and grab an iPad as soon as it’s available. The rest of us will enjoy our iPods until we see some naturally compelling reason to switch.
iPad vs. iPhone – Two different devices, different purposes. You want a smart phone? Get an iPhone.
iPad vs. Laptops
I like that my Dell Laptop closes. I like that it has a normal (not virtual) keyboard with tactile keys that I can feel before typing (which touch typists like to do). I like the 15.5″ inch screen for those occasions that an iPod is too small, and I’m not near a big TV or PC monitor screen. The iPad comes with Apple’s A4 processor which pumps at 1Ghz. Guess what, Intel and AMD fly at 1.4Ghz and faster. For business, the laptop is still essential, especially with the newer 6 cell batteries and longer times between recharges. Our bet – Laptop continues to dominate the mobile larger footprint.
The iPad is a cool evolution. It doesn’t seem to have the real innovation that was apparent immediately in the iPod Touch a few years ago. We love Apple products, especially the iPhone, iPod, iTunes, and the Mac OS. The iPad may grow on us, but it hasn’t been love at first site.