Well it’s here. Or at least it will be in 60 days. The fabled Apple Tablet. I spent a couple of hours today watching simultaneous live blogs with my interactive media brethren at I think for the most part it’s fair to say that the device landed with more of a dull thud then a bang. There was no “one more thing” or big surprises. The iPad is what it is, a large touchscreen device with an iPhone OS. It pretty much met everyone’s minimum expectation about what something like this would be but didn’t really introduce anything new.
Unfortunately for Apple, it seems they are a victim of their own finely tuned hype machine.
The amplitude of the hype raised the expectation to such a ludicrous volume that just about any shortcoming doomed the frenzied public to a “not all I had hoped for” kind of reaction.
What no Camera!? Same Keyboard? No Multitasking!?
There were others complaints as well ranging from the niche (Proximity Sensor) to the subjective (Hate the Name) but for the most part the 3 listed above seem to be the main critiques of the device.
It does seems odd that any portable device today wouldn’t have a camera in it. I mean if the iPhone has one and MacBooks have one, and this device is supposed to fit in between, then why no camera?
Surely it will be included in 2.0 so why buy now?
Here again the hype machine seems to have doomed us all to be disappointed. There has been no shortage of thought and research that has gone into how to enter text in to a touchscreen device and every solution (stylus, virtual keyboard, retractable keyboard, split-corner-thumb based keyboard) had shortcomings.
Surely if anyone could come up with a smart, intuitive solution to text entry, it’s Apple. But alas we were given a reduced QUERTY keyboard.
It’s a true bummer that there will be no multitasking capability included in the SDK. And it seems especially strange considering that Apples main contribution to the iPad Software library right now is the re-vamped iWork Productivity suite. Toggling between, and cutting and pasting into simultaneously running apps is an everyday part of working in a Word Processor, Presentation tool and Spreadsheet Suite. It makes iWork seem gimmicky and not at all tuned for productivity.On the other hand, I have yet to play with with these apps and reports from people that have used the iPad hands-on say it’s very speedy. If these iWork Apps launch nearly instantly than it’s a non-issue from a user perspective. Doesn’t matter though, it’s the idea that feels kludgy.
All of that said, the genius of the iPhone and its kin are that the whole thing is software driven. Included in the string of rumors that led up to yesterday’s announcement was the impending release of iPhone OS 4.0. We can hope that Multitasking will be coming soon enough.
To be fair Apple got some things really right.
The first is price. At $499 for the entry-level device, I think they really hit a sweet spot. This becomes especially obvious when you look at some other devices on the market today. This is especially true when compared to the Kindle DX which is comparably priced. See the chart below.
When you put the iPad and the Kindle DX side by side, all of a sudden the iPad seems like an absurdly awesome value.
The second is the data plan. I would have loved to have been in the room when Apple told ATT that the iPad will be unlocked. The pay as you go model makes total sense here as well. Although I haven’t seen it, it sounded like it’s going to be a seamless iTunes Store integration to purchase a month’s worth of data. So most of the time I think WiFi is going to be just fine but if I know I’ll be traveling or running around in a given month, I can purchase the data plan ad-hoc, hopefully right from my iphone.
I remember when I got my 1G iPhone. As much as anything else the thing that impressed me was that I activated my contract at home, Via the iTunes Store. It sees like this will be the same thing.