Saturday, February 13, 2010

Still pondering the iPad, and tablets in general

It's not even shipped yet, and Apple's iPad has already polarized techies almost as bad as politics has polarized in the last ten years.

On the plus side, iPad's clean design and interface make it attractive.  On the negative, is Apple's notorious closed system.  Foremost in that is the App Store.  While it protects, theoretically, viruses and trojans from reaching the platform, Apple also uses it to prevent apps they feel competes with them.  And most frightening is their ability to delete an app from your device if after initially approving it, they disapprove it.

The control extends to hardware.  Apple sells the iPad in various memory sizes.  They could easily have sold it with 16 gigs but with a memory card slot so you could have as much memory as you want simply by buying memory cards.  That would have impacted their ability to upsell you to a larger, more expensive product, so you lose, they win.

I'm sort of glad I'm not in a position to just rush out and buy one initially.  I think the shakeout of the iPad will be interesting.  Just as the iPhone now little resembles the one first released (remember, apps were not going to be possible?), the iPad will also go through some amazing growth in the first years it is out.

I was building one thesis which has been diluted recently.  I was thinking perhaps having an iPad that was wi-fi only and not the higher priced 3G models would propel the sale of Mi-Fi's.  These small (shirt pocket sized) battery operated devices create local wi-fi atmosphere around you letting wi-fi enabled devices to use the 3G networks.  That way, you could buy one of the less expensive iPad's and still get to 3G.  Likewise the Mi-Fi would let your laptop, your PSP, and your other wi-fi tools all reach the internet from virtually anywhere.  Mi-Fi;'s are availble from Sprint and Verizon.  It would give iPad users a way to bypass the dreaded (by many iPhone users anyway) AT&T.

What diluted that thesis was remembering the wi-fi only iPad does not have GPS in it.  Augmented Reality applications are taking off, and having them on a larger screen then the iPhone would be desirable.

I'll say one thing for Apple.  I've been lusting not for an iPhone, but an Android phone.  But if I had an iPad, then having an iPhone would be logical since any app you buy for one, would work on the other.  Of course, that is likely to be true for an Android tablet.  Again, I think I'm happy I'm forced to wait.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm, interesting observation about the iPhone App Store.