Kindle-Killer? Future giant iPhone? Probably neither, but there are some interesting things to consider in Apple’s new iPad.
Far be it for me to add noise to all the hoopla around Apple’s iPad, announced several days ago. But after reading numerous reviews, and seeing a few sample usage models, some observations come to mind.
Kindle Killer? Using a more “standard” LCD color display, it’s likely to be viewed (at least by some) as not as easy to read as the Kindle and other dedicated “e-Reader” devices. It’s likely to have a MUCH better user interface than the Kindle, but that won’t make the screen easy to read. On the flip side, it will have color – making for a new opportunity for publishers to put out content to a device that folks may want to read books and news on.
It will certainly be interesting to see how the market for books settles down between Apple and Amazon. Until the industry gets cross-platform capabilities to work right, and allows me to move my content (that I bought) from my Kindle to my iPad, I’m going to be reluctant to make any big investments in either hardware or content.
Giant iPhone? Some had hoped that perhaps one could use the device as a cross between phone and laptop, and get the best of both in one device. Alas, no phone, no camera in the iPad.
Most notable, to me, is not the question of what device it might kill, but what new path it might start. If, instead of viewing it as just a tablet (nice in itself, for the kinds of things we do today with “tablet-ized” notebook PCs), if one adds a keyboard (already being pitched as an add-on), what emerges is a potentially very capable notebook replacement for e-mail, web browsing, book and document reading, etc. Not sure if that’s what Apple has in mind, but it does look attractive from that perspective – but only if they put enough application power on the device (read – what apps can I run, and what will it cost?) to make it useful for those people.
One key remaining concern for me is Apple’s continued stranglehold over apps for the device. I understand the desire to make the experience robust and secure for their users, but they’re also conveniently stifling competition in the process (witness Google Voice for the iPhone).
Other missing features to make it really useful in this mode (and for other things as well!):
- USB or other suitable connectivity
What do you think? I’ll be interested to hear.
For other good reads on the topic, check out:
10 Features missing from the iPad (eWeek)
The iPad Questions Apple Won’t Answer (InfoWorld)
A tablet based on Google’s Chrome OS? (HotHardware)
A compendium of blogosphere comments assembled by CNN