So, the iPad’s out. What do we think?
Looking at our wholly unscientific surveys from yesterday, the majority of respondents think that 1) Wednesday’s keynote, when compared to other Apple keynotes in the past, simply did not live up to the months and months of hype, 2) while the iPad might indeed prove to be a significant device, it’s certainly not game-changer on an iPod or iPhone level and 3) the iPad is not a device many of us think we need to buy immediately, as soon as it’s available.
In the above video, accessible via the screenshot, I share my first impressions of the device on “Today’s THV This Morning” with Charles Crowson. Basically, while I think iPad is another beautiful, cool, amazingly well designed piece of technology, I can’t imagine who the device is for. What is the market for the iPad?
The iPod and iPhone had instant appeal to an array of users for several reasons. Among them, they each fundamentally changed the way we consume certain media and conduct everyday tasks. (The iPod changed how we listen and buy music; the iPhone brought the full Web to our handsets and created a new software ecosystem with apps.)
The iPad, while well-designed and beautiful, does neither. All it does is build on existing technologies to deliver media in a not-entirely-new form factor. If you’ve got an iPhone or iPod Touch, you’ve seen these tricks before. And if you have a laptop, you can do all the things the iPad does — and more — on a more robust machine.
So why the iPad? Apple is trying to create a device optimized solely for consuming all types of media in a quieter, less distracting operating environment. This is part of the reason why there’s no camera on the iPad, nor can it run more than on application on the device’s souped-up iPhone OS. With the laptop, you work, you create media. With the iPhone, you answer calls and e-mails, stay in touch and work on the go. The iPad is what you pick up when you get home and want to unwind.
The delineation is fine one. Many people simply won’t see it. And if they do, why plunk down at least $500 (or add to your money data bill if you invest in a 3G version) for what amounts to a mobile media device? I’m not sure Apple has made a compelling case for that.
But — is it Apple’s responsibility to make that case? I’m not entirely sure. Part of what could make the iPad a hit is what’s already made the iPhone and iPod Touch indispensible: the App Store.
*Some Innovation Required
In my mind, it’s going to be up to content providers, including newspapers and magazines, to create fully optimized, multimedia content that exploits every advantage the iPad brings to bear to make the platform work. As it stands, iPad already looks more attractive e-reader than the Kindle or the Nook. If publishers fully embrace the multimedia capabilities now at their fingerprints to create valuable interactive publications, the iPad could very become the media consumption device of choice of readers, college students, young video-gamers and more.
And while we see signs that the video game industry is excited by the new form factor their App Store games can know inhabit, newspapers and magazines’ reactions have so far seemed, well, boring. The New York Times app demoed at yesterday’s keynote was underwhelming at best, particularly compared with what NYTimes.com offers on the Web. Guess what publishers? You still need to innovate. Even on Steve Job’s magical device.
Without innovation from all content providers, the iPad — however beautiful, unique, cool, whatever — will become merely another niche device that only a few of us ever use, a far cry from the revolution it’s billed as.
David Carr – The game changed today
NY Times – Device blurs the lines
GalleyCat – Publishing experts weigh in on iPad
NY Times – Another data hog for AT&T?
LA Times – No revolution, but ‘great promise’
Wired – Where’s Verizon?
The Wrap – What Apple got right and wrong with the iPad
BusinessWeek – Apple’s effects on content partners, the good and bad
LA Weekly – Should Hollywood be afraid of iPad?
TechCrunch – How iPad will put Kindle out of business
Filed under: business, Internet, KTHV, Media, Newspapers, Politics, Video | Tagged: Apple, books, Charles Crowson, computers, innovation, iPad, magazines, Media, movies, Newspapers, NYTimes.com, publishing, Steve Jobs, tech, Today's THV This Morning, TV, video games | 2 Comments »