Almost two week are passed since the iPad presentation and I haven’t still said a word about it, but now I want to say a few words about what I think.
Let’s rumors all together
First, an assessment summary: Steve Jobs’ keynote particularly disappointed me, and also the only product that was introduced in that occasion, the long-waited iPad. Well, for me, they could wait another couple of year and make a better product. The fact is: everybody waited for a tabled, and when I say “tablet” I mean that thing that as some peculiar characteristics. iPad has none of them, so what Apple introduced is not a tablet, is a new category of devices.
This is a fully justified move if made by a company like Apple, renew the market with a brand new product. Apple’s goals were fill the empty space between iPhones and MacBooks, but nearly everyone expected a device powered at least by a full OS, multitasking, wireless sync, bluetooth, a Flash-capable browser, and so on. Rumors about such kind of device by Apple started at least in 2005, and went by in time, since arriving at the incredibly level of hype we touched with hand in the last month.
I had a dream, as many others: I wanted a complete portable device that could fully substitute an iMac, thinner and more portable than a MacBook, touchscreen as an iPhone. Now I can have what many call an oversized iPhone, a sort of big credit card for accessing the 3 Apple Stores for content: iTunes, App Store and the new iBooks. I think Apple could really revolutionize the market with a complete tablet, but maybe they are revolutionizing it even more introducing such a new device. It’s almost predictable that at Cupertino they’re already working on the next version, in which we’ll perhaps see a front camera for video conferencing or some others great and really wanted stuff, but now the hype and excitement has noticeably decreased and recent polls show that a bigger portion of people isn’t interested in buying one after its presentation, comparing to previous results when it was only a bunch of rumors.
Having said that, I also add that iPad will sell, will sell a lot and not only because there’s a bitten apple onto it. If people won’t buy it because they really need it, because of its features and functionality, they’ll buy iPad for fashion and word of mouth. People, mostly teens, already knows Apple’s great and most successful products like iPods, MacBooks and iPhones, and as Steve Jobs said during the keynote, people already knows how to use the iPad even before having bought it. Apple stakes all on ease and simplicity, and in my opinion iPad will be a great success.
I don’t think I’m gonna buy the iPad, for a simple reason: I already have one, and it’s called iPod Touch. I can do almost everything the iPad does, there’s no iBooks but I have the great Stanza that does the same things greatly, there’s no iWorks but I don’t really need it, if I have to create a presentation or a doc I can use Google Docs in any case. I love apple products in general, but I have to say that I love open source too, and iPad it’s a closed closed and closed again, with very few possibilities of personalization, DRM potentially everywhere, very important restriction for me. For an average user, no: iPad works brilliantly and just does what is supposed to do. That’s the matter, I’m not an average user and I watch around myself where I can see that the tablet wave is big and moving faster. Plenty of alternatives are out there; I’m actually very interestingly watching towards the Google one. Nexus One was a great response to iPhone (even if Google doesn’t like this statement), now I’d like to see a great tablet device competing – or completing, if you want – iPad. I massively use Google’s services and a Chrome OS-powered tabled would really mean having them handy.
One last think it’s about the recent repartee between Apple and Adobe on the Flash side: iPad doesn’t support Flash, and this really means have a compromised internet experience on such a great and capable screen. For Steve Jobs, that’s not a big problem because in a few years HTML5 will replace Flash mostly on video handling. I totally subscribe this, we need to make room to standards every time it’s possible, but maybe it’s really too early for HTML5, in fact it’s still only a draft but it’s glad to see that big companies like Google and of course Apple are pushing for it.
So, I didn’t like iPad (did I already say this?), its introduction it’s a mix of contrasting old and new features (e.g. VGA output support and no Flash support), but we have to understand that Apple is constantly trying to improve the user experience of its customers, and iPad is the response. Users want a device that fills the gap between iPhones and MacBooks, and that just works and does what it has to do. Ease and simplicity, for user’s sake.