Are You Ready for the iPad?

The world of tech is about to change again next month when Apple releases the new iPad tablet.  From the reviews so far, it looks like a giant iPhone with a super fast processor.  The demos make it appear pretty snazzy at delivering books, videos, and all of the apps available for the iPhone.

But there are a couple of interesting questions to ask about it.  What will it be used for?  Put even better, what would you use it for?  That is my question for all of you blog readers.   If an iPad dropped into your lap today, what wold you use it for?

For portability, we use laptops and smartphones to check email and surf the web.  So, does the iPad fill a real need, or is it a solution waiting for somebody to tell us what the problem is.  People don’t watch a lot of videos on the go, although short clips might be nice and even a TV show or movie in the back seat of the car might be handy on a road trip.

It may turn out that the iPad is evolutionary as much as it is revolutionary.  What sets it apart from other so-called netbooks is the touch screen interface.  If you are used to tapping on an iPhone, then using the iPad would not require any new training.  In fact a larger keyboard would be quite pleasant since it would be so much easier to type and there would be fewer mistakes.

But here is Apple’s dilemma as I see it.  They are hoping that the newspaper and magazine industry will jump at the chance to sell subscriptions for the iPad.  But if readership is falling for the print versions, and they’ve been available free online for about 15 years, why would people want to pay for a half dozen or more subscriptions?  Sure the layout would be snazzy, but people who read online are comfortable with their bookmarked news sites.  If those are suddenly taken away, how many people would pay a monthly rate for any newspaper?  I doubt if I would.

The Kindle has proven that people will read books on a portable device.  So, there is a market there, but hiking the price to $15 for new books sounds a little steep.  My guess is that there is a lot of dreaming out there about cashing in on online media sales.

My final thought is that the iPad by itself would be a fun thing to play with.  But its ongoing usefulness will depend on the applications that become popular.  That and the question of whether people would rather run those applications, be they games or browsers or social networking apps, on an iPad badly enough to want to buy one.

Let me know your thoughts.  This will be interesting to watch as it unfolds.

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One Comment on “Are You Ready for the iPad?”

  1. Nathan Lott Says:

    Even at $12 – $15 for an ebook that is still almost half the cost of a hardcover book which runs $24 or more. It will be great for students who don’t have to lug a ton of textbooks around. If I had one it would be at my bedside for reading. Reading RSS feeds will be easier. If they optimize the current iPhone games it will be an amazing gaming device. Imagine playing Bejeweled on it. The Pianist app would be awesome and you could be playing life-size or almost life-size piano keys. Speaking of music, musicians could put sheet music on it. For those who love comic books, it will probably be amazing although I heard that a typical comic book size is 12 inches and this will be 10 inches. Independent authors could publish their own ebook apps as they do now and include a host of multimedia content besides text and color pictures, but also video and audio. It could also be a simple laptop for people who don’t want to do complex multitasking and just want to check email and browse the web.


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