January 28, 2010

Updated: My thoughts on Apple's iPad

As you know Apple's iPad was publicized yesterday. In the past months, especially yesterday, it received a lot of media attention - during launch it crashed twitter.

I have a few likes and dislikes about this product. It's not the product I expected and sadly I'm quite underwhelmed by the device.

My likes
  1. iBook Store - this is a perfect strategy for Apple. They changed the music industry with iTunes Music Store, they changed the mobile application market with the AppStore, and I have great confidence that the iBook Store is going to turn the e-book world upside-down. The device, with a beautiful 9.7" screen, is meant to read books, the iBook app seems to add a certain depth to the screen, that gives you the feeling of reading a real book - looking a lot different than an e-ink screen. Literally flipping a page, gives your eyes the short break they deserve after reading a page (or two, depending on your iBook configuration).
  2. News papers - What NYT showed off during the keynote, is what I expect the print industry to adopt to get them out of their crisis. Give me a newspaper - for a fee - daily, to a small-ish reading device. The content is dynamic (embedded videos), social (quickly share newspaper articles to twitter, facebook), crisp and always up to date (updates could/should be pushed directly to the device when the events progress). I'd gladly pay a dollar a day for a newspaper like that, I think NYT is on to something with this - despite it (still) being free. This device is going to be a game changer for the print media industry.
  3. Portable Gaming - Obviously this device isn't going to be able to compete with Ninentdo's DS or Sony's PSP Platforms, but in an abstract way I think Apple's defining a new niche market for portable gaming. It's not your phone, it's not your DS, it's not your gaming laptop / computer or your console. It's a beautiful portable gaming device, lie on your couch and play a game on a light, comfortable device without having to strain your wrists on your laptop, hold a tiny controller (including PSP) or screw around with a bloody stylus.
  4. Custom Silicone - This is a fantastic strategy for their mobile devices. By keeping this production and design in-house, they can lower the cost of production, keep margins high, and will have a lot faster turn around times from design to production on a chip than they would if they stuck with Samsung chips. First reports are saying the 1GHz Apple A4 System On A Chip is blazing fast and perfect for this kind of device.
  5. iPhone OS - Millions of people already know how to use this platform, and have all these applications associated with their Apple ID. All these apps work on iPad? Amazing if you ask me. I can do what I do with my iPhone on a 3" screen on a 9.7" screen on the couch and have a more ergonomic, fun way to do that.
  6. Unlimited Data - This. Is. Fantastic. $30 unlimited data without a contract? Beats the hell out of the $30/m - 6GB - 3 years I'm on right now. We'll see how this launches in Canada.
  7. GSM Unlocked - Take this thing anywhere, to any network - your choice.
My dislikes
  1. iPhone OS - A device this size (and its potential), for my needs, requires multitasking. I want the ability to sit on my couch, chat with friends, read Wikipedia and work on my Assignment(s) at the same time. Why is there no multitasking? I can't see this product destroying the netbook sector anytime soon with missing multitasking. On a device this size Push Notifications can't make up for this lack. If ChromeOS can do multitasking, why can't this?
  2. 3G pricing - Come one. $130 for 3G? Enough said.
  3. iBook launch - Quickly compare the Apple Canada iPad and the Apple USA iPad page. What's missing on the Canadian one? iBook. The only thing that's inclining me to purchase this device is missing for non-US devices.
  4. Camera - Personally I think device is literally screaming for at least one camera, be it front or back. "Steeeeeveeee! Give me a camera!" - The opportunity for ridiculous augmented reality apps just went up in smoke with the lack of the camera. What about iChat?
Additional dislike
  1. Resolution: 1024x768 is a nice resolution, but what about 16:9? During the keynote Apple was showing off Star Trek - what looked like an iTunes purchase / rental. It had the top / bottom black bar - there seems to be a lot wasted real estate. I assume 1024x768 was chosen to keep the same aspect ratio for existing applications.

We'll see what the second generation brings. Perhaps the actual launch will bring the iBook store to all launch countries?

Time will tell, for now - no iPad for this kid.