Apple’s release of iPad, a new multi-touch gadget with 10” display is making a lot of buzz in the marketplace. So far there is skepticism on the demand, utility and future of this type of device. Historically, Apple has a reputation of developing products that are disruptive in nature and truly game changing. From iPod to iTunes to iPhone Mr. Jobs and his team have changed how people use digital gadgets and consume digital content. Apple has a responsibility to defend this reputation and iPad might have fallen short in the minds of some critics. Critics claim iPad is an iPhone without a phone. Of course it looks like an iPhone with a bigger screen but there is more to it. As I learn more about this device, my opinions are shaped contrary to those critics.
At a very broad level, there are two types of computing device users. People who use PC for productivity (workers) and people who use PC for genuinely personal use. The category of people who use PC for personal use is growing faster than ever. Social networking sites like Facebook, Orkut, Bebo or CafeMom have increased number of digital content consumers. These users want a computer for web browsing, music, gaming, sharing photos, watching videos and consuming other digital content. The ultraportable devices (Netbooks) are invented solely for this kind of PC users. If you look at Apple’s line of products you will soon realize that this segment is particularly underserved. iPad will server this segment really well. And look at the beauty of research Apple has done, we all know that this segment does not buy high ticket items thus iPad starts at just $499.
I think critics are too focused on eBooks on iPad and how Apple is trying to change eBooks publishing business. Yes the whole story of re-writing the publishing rules should be debated but don’t lose the sight of this cool computing device over just eBooks. iPad can do a lot more than just reading books online. Yes, Kindle iPad can do a lot more than you can. At least for now.
I wish Apple can improve the device with just two more things a) allow all Mac software to run on iPad not just iPhone apps and b) install a camera in front of the iPad so people can do live chat. These two features will make it a true device of the future.
From where I stand, Apple has successfully defended its reputation!