OK Mac fanboys, the dust has settled so I can now begin to talk turkey on the UberTablet blog. I mean, can I really call this the UberTablet blog without facing the new reality of Apple releasing a Tablet which intentionally helps make Tablet mainstream? No!
If you can’t be bothered reading feel free to catch my thoughts on today’s Australian Macworld Podcast (edpisode 19). Today I was interviewed by no less than four media sources about the iPad and its possible effects on the current Tablet landscape. My initial reaction after the launch was one of relief, given Apple could have landed the potential knockout punch to change the current Tablet landscape forever. Then as the dust settled I began to realise just how calculated, conniving and clever Apple is.
I could begin by mentioning what I don’t like about the iPad, but that would make me look silly and perhaps too cliché for someone who has spent most their adult life working with Microsoft Tablets (and now we need to make distinctions about what Tablet fence we sit on). What I would like to discuss however is why Apple released the Tablet they did, and not the one everyone was waiting for!
Reality is that Apple are a double-edged sword which rely on a very tactful cooperation between their hardware engineering team (in this case the guys that made the iPad and the new A4 Processor) and their software engineers (the one’s that hacked up the iPhone OS and threw it on a 9” display). Between the two they provide the richness in experience the PC world can only dream of and if you add the might of Apple marketing people then you have an equation for PC devastation. So why is there all this sense of disappointment in the air?!?
The reality is this…Apple did not make the iPad for the people, Apple made the people for the iPad!!!
If you're not already aware, Apple is doing everything in their absolute power to drive users to their three main revenue generators, i.e. iTunes, AppStore and now iBook club! Look at the AppStore alone, it has estimated between $20 and $45 million dollars in revenue as of May 2009 (as reported by Tech Crunch via Venture Partners numbers). If you don't believe me, watch the main campaign marketing video and you'll quickly hear the mention of all three clubs - showing just how important the message is given they highlighted it on the one video everyone was guaranteed to watch after the keynote!
The reality is that the iPod was the beginning of this global paradigm shift Apple created, iPhone the cherry and perhaps iPad the straightjacket. Think about it folks, with the lack of ports, the lack of operating system function, lack of camera and lack of processing power, the richness of this unit will not come from the hardware as much as it will come from the software experience housed within (or accessible therein).
What did iPad stand to gain from the inclusion of a camera? Nothing! Apple don’t currently have their finger in VOIP or Video Conferencing (as a main revenue generator) so it goes without saying that at the design stage when the topic of the camera came up Steve quickly said, “f%^&* it off boys!” (Or something similar…LOL). I mean which manufacturer, PC or other, would in their rightful mind launch a new device and NOT include a camera, unless their intention was not to create a device but to create a portal. Don’t get me started on the ports (USB or SD), the processor or the lack of pen input! All very achievable at the same price.
This device (and quote me on this) is nothing more than a clever portal, or gateway if you like, to Apple’s three main revenue generators, i.e. iTunes Store, AppStore and iBook. At this stage I should clarify that Apple did not make the world’s best Tablet, nor did they intend to make the Tablet everyone was waiting for; what they did is ensure a profitable business venture for many years to come!
Yes I believe this is a portal to their cash-cows, and yes I believe it was clever on their behalf, and perhaps even timely. What I am uncertain about is when the dust really does settle and users begin to experience this Tablet for reasons other than iTunes, AppStore or iBook will the euphoria remain?
History tells me that most everyone will go for the highest spec’d device which ultimately means spending the most dollars. The end result of all this outlay may offer the largest hurt when you try and work outside of Apple’s intended use. Only time will tell just how engrained Apple’s paradigm has become in our culture, and just how resourceful users are at experiencing outside of the box Apple is creating. Ultimately it may be such a great experience that no one will care and the portal to all or desires is only but an iPad away. With all its Apple sexiness, air-ness and drool appeal we may all be blinded anyway! LOL!
For me however, like GottaBeMobile’s Amy and perhaps Warner, I will stick to the plethora of PC based tablets I have (many Core2Duo, many with dual camera, full Operating Systems, USB ports, SD slots and screens with touch, multi-touch and pen support) and enjoy witnessing iPad’s wave of enthusiasm and new found lovers of Tablet related technologies surge its way around the globe!