Friday, January 29, 2010

You and your iPad

I have been thinking about pad computing over the last few days. I am fond of saying that I have needed a hand held computer for decades and I finally got the right one in my iPhone. So when people started complaining that the iPad was "just" a big, fast, iPhone... I honestly started to wonder what it was that they were complaining about.

Yes, as an old school power user I would have liked to have some more ports, multitasking and I would have liked to have a camera, but I understand that I am not the main audience for such a device and I don't see any of these things as destroying it's potential.

Off the top of my head I have has some ideas of who could use this thing right away...

Education (small children)
Flash Cards, Maps, Games, Science apps (Starmap!), Music Apps

Higher Education
Note taking, Lecture recording, TEXTBOOKS!!!

Book Reading
(I will never bring a laptop to bed... I WILL break it). (I understand the whole digital ink debate, but I know people who lie in bed reading text on their iPhone so until there is a Digital ink LCD hybrid device I think many of us will stick with a multi-funtion LCD based device.)

Tethered Photography (Apps and adaptors pending)

Universal Cookbook (Laptops are bad for this in comparison, imagine yours in the kitchen)

Picture Frame (While charging)

Time sheets, other record keeping/logging

Musical instruments (Musical input device)

Medical Use (Doctors can face us again while updating our records)

Then I started thinking of all the "one trick pony" devices that may not be needed if you had an iPad...
Here is my quick list of things the iPad could potentially replace that only do one thing, or are much more limited, and in some cases are much more expensive.

Yamaha Tenori-On LED Performance Instrument - $999.99
Cintiq 12wx - $999.99
(I would have to see if the stylus for the iPad that is available works worth a damn)
Tranzport Wireless DAW Remote Control - $199.99
Sony Reader Daily Addition - $399.99
Archos - 5 16GB Internet Media Tablet - $299
Harmony® 1100 Advanced Universal Remote - $399.99
(The iPad lacks RF and would need Wifi to RF hardware but I bet a company could make a cheap little box)
HP DreamScreen 100 10.2" Wi-Fi Digital Photo Frame - $249.99

Then there is the cheap ass software! I have filled my iPhone with games and fun and even useful stuff for almost no money... Most of the apps I got for free due to the competition between developers and their tendency to put stuff on sale. A person buying an iPad would not likely have to pay much for software.

People seem to want it to be a replacement for netbooks. Well it's not a netbook. people who buy netbooks want small computers. I think people who will buy an iPad are people who want to buy an appliance. Or the occasional power user who wants to ride on their coat tails and will use the device beyond what it was intended for.

This thing is very close to the promise of a low complexity computer for the masses, based on touch and simple well behaved apps. Don't be pissy because it was not made to suit your particular needs... be happy for the people that WILL get a lot out of it, and, if you want... have fun with it until the pro version come out.

Just remember, If its a failure, Apple or some other company may not make the reasonably priced, totally open, 3rd generation or knockoff of your dreams someday.

My wife and I had and interesting discussion and I realized that much of the backlash against the iPad might be attributed to technically savvy people being annoyed at Apple for not building the "high end" version FIRST, but instead having the gall to build a simple and elegant device aimed at non technical people BEFORE they built one for them. These type of folks are used to it working the other way around. They get the cool new thing with all the bells and whistles and maybe a few years later if they "bless" it, then and only then does it trickle down to the masses. Apple has skipped that tradition and just made something that could go right into the hands of grandpa with zero advice or tech support from the wizards on the hill.

The wizards are angered and they are casting magic missile at the iPad.