Sunday, February 7, 2010

iToast! The iPad is a flying toaster!

Okay - I feel pretty darn good that I called it perfectly ...7 months before Steve Jobs took to the stage:
  1. That NetBooks aren't worth much and don't do anything well
  2. That they'd call it the iPad (not the iSlate, or iTablet)
  3. That it is the Phone Operating System (POS) that eventually matters!
For now, the iPad addresses the "form factor discontinuity" that I spoke of  - i.e., is the larger non-phone device that's not my superbowl TV (large-screen HD). Right now, you still have to carry your iPhone and the iPad (and pay twice for wireless?!). That's gotta be fixed ... see below about v2 and v3 ...

The first wave of the pundits said "meh" after the announcement; a few positive reviews are finally trickling in!

This is the first salvo from Apple, and the iPad's still missing a couple of minor things, which I'm sure
will come in v2 (after they've sold a few million v1's), but here's why I (like Joe Hewitt) think the iPad is a significant development:
  • This effectively kills the Kindle (toast!) as we know it - no reason  to buy a solo B&W display when I can have full-function hi-quality color. Kindle can try to do SDKs etc. - but it would have to start competing on an even basis or it's toast! Dell had better "reconsider" their minitablet strategy :-)
  • It effectively kills the need for/definition of the traditional Netbook (toast!) - anything smaller than the iPad screen will cause derision! Anything as big or larger, with touch capability, will be as expensive. Apple's hit the ball price $499 into the netbook ball park! I expect they'll continue to adjust this and add features to make advanced users pay $800+). Does this mean that this is the only thing out there? No - it means that this defines what else is out there!
  • It does not kill the iPhone, like some suggest - you will not use the iPad as a replacement for the iPhone today. Netbooks and iPads don't fit in your pocket! (therefore not toast). In fact, since you'll have to carry both for now, Apple's getting recurring revenues for a while from Apple diehards! (ka-ching!)
  • The iPad is not just a larger iPhone! There are applications you cannot effectively use on the phone that you can on the iPad. You can edit documents on it, you can finger-paint on it. Can you imagine how Adobe's rubber-stamp tool will work on this with 2 fingers? ...and yes - you will be able to hang it up on the kitchen wall for live TV at breakfast.
  • It is always going to be a full superset of the web browser! Anything that works in the cloud will work, some things that don't work in the cloud/or need the hardware will work too! And as God said ... better :-)
  • A masterstroke here is the inclusion of the finger-special productivity suite (iWork). This makes the iPad the full-stack computer, addressing 90+% of what people do on a laptop today. 30 bucks (slick experience) vs. hundreds of dollars (Office - slick experience) vs. free for cloud-tools (functional experience).
  • For students, this is the one thing they need - the book reader (esp. with textbooks), the presenter, the report-generator, the browser, the facebooker, the free messenger, the iTune-r, the finger-based iSketch-er.
  • This is the laptop of the future! Typing a lot? Plug it into the keyboard and you have what you need - i.e., dock it at home, dock it at work, and pad it on the bus/train! Tell me again - why do I need a "laptop" any more, unless I am a developer?
  • Most importantly, this sets the stage for a new consumer computer operating system (POS), which offers the best of both worlds - full function web-based applications based on HTML5 (which also hurts Flash) as well as a whole set of slick (and surely getting slicker) applications, which will work very seamlessly across the phone and the "laptop". And yes! Android is a logical contender. A future POS developer station? Just the iPad (with SDK) + iDock! (throw in a larger screen). 
  • This does eliminate one important inconvenience with the iPhone - the need to sync. This finally gets the download stuff - music, books, etc. wirelessly. Wired sync is toast! (Thanks to Android for pushing this first)
  • If the iPad is a wild success (we'll see how this survey changes over time) and Apple does not capitulate on including Flash, then is Flash at a Flashpoint (toast)? I'm not convinced about this one - it's a little muddled, like their VOIP position was. But if YouTube, etc., also go HTML5, there's a confluence of factors.
  • V2 of the iPad? - video camera for videoconferencing and multi-tasking for things like background Pandora, VC, VOIP.
  • V3 of the iPad?  is just the display with connectivity to the iPhone in my pocket - setting the stage for the iScroll. That, my friends, will be an expensive display :-)
Let's iToast to that!