We can all breath a sigh of relief that nearly a decade worth of rumors can now be laid to rest in the face of an actual product announcement: the iPad. With the iPad Apple says it is trying to create a new product category, but I think of it more as a merging of a netbook and tablet. Here is a sampling of my thoughts on this new product.
What I like
- It’s a giant iPhone with all of its touchscreen goodness
- It’s more than just an eBook reader
- It’s more elegant than a tablet
What I dislike
I dislike that Apple has locked down this device like the iPhone. I see this device as a computer and as such I expect to be able to do what I want with it. That is, I expect to be able to write my own programs and run those programs on the device with little hassle. I also expect to be able to distribute these programs to other interested people without paying licensing fees. Of course, I see the iPhone the same way, but that’s a discussion for another time. In the end, it creates a barrier that hinders innovation by others.
As a device with an emphasis on great experience, I’m very disappointed that it does not have multitasking. If I’m surfing the web or reading a book, Pandora, Lala, or some other web-based music service is running in the background. The inability to do this on the iPad is a big let down.
The use of the term “multitasking” around the net is a misnomer. The iPhone OS is indeed a multitasking operating system. What is meant is that multiple 3rd party user applications can not be simultaneously running.
My final [initial] opinion
I have some serious reservations about this device, but it does make sense for the target market. If you look at it as a competitor to the current eBook readers on the market such as the Amazon Kindle then the iPad blows it out of the water. The iPad provides magnitudes more functionality and ease of use, but of course at a monetary price hike. This device has a lot of potential just like the first iPhone. However, I consider this device to be a computer and as such I expect to be able to have full control over its operation.
I’m curious about how this device will develop in the coming months, but at this time I’m not inclined to buy one.
Will the iPad be a hit?
My particular concerns are likely not major issues for most consumers, and I think this device will certainly sell well. When compared to eBooks and tablets on the market I think the iPad is an incremental step up. However, I think it’s a misstep to lock it down the same way as the iPhone, and I hope that it is opened up in the near future.