It didn’t live up to the hype. Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s an important step towards the future of media consumption and eReading. But was it equal to the hype? No. Did I expect it to be equal to the hype? No. Could anything short of the second coming in 3D live up to the hype? Nope.
For folks who have followed the leaks/speculation on the tablet for a while, there wasn’t much news in the announcement.
So quickly, here are my thoughts:
- It’s a terrible name.
Not surprisingly #iTampon was a rising trend on twitter after the announcement. The jokes write themselves. In fact, they wrote themselves years ago on MadTV. While this isn’t a Chevy Nova, it’s a bad name for a product.
- Is it going to be a sucess? Yes.
The price point works. Will it be overtaken by Android slate format tablets? Yes. But they won’t get as much press. Nor will a single company control as much of the market share.
- Its running a build on the iPhone OS
The iPhone OS has done more for Touch than any other Moble OS, so it’s not surprising that Apple stuck with what works.
- What’s surprising by its absence (camera, multitasking, flash)
The lack of Multitasking and Flash are legacy issues tied to the iPhone. The failure to implement both is dumb and will need to be corrected. No Flash is especially troubling when imagining the future of cross platform enhanced books. I’m curious about why no camera was included. It couldn’t have affected the chipset that much…
- $12.99-$14.99 for eBooks?!
I’m unconvinced that Apple will be able to get away with charging on average $2 more for eBooks than Amazon, B&N, and other eBook resellers.
- How will 3rd party reading apps do?
Likewise, I’m very interested to see how 3rd party eReader apps perform on the iPad, in particular the Amazon Kindle Reader and Blio.
- 3G for Data Transfer only
The 3G models are data transfer only. I had been hoping that they might handle voice as well. Still the tablets have bluetooth capabilities and built in microphones, so Voice over IP is a possibility.
- Clogging a clogged network
$29.99 a month (no contract) unlimited 3G internet access isn’t going to help AT&T’s network load or pricing problems. But when Apple says “jump” they ask “how high.”
- Unlocked doesn’t necessarily mean unlocked
Having unlocked 3G doesn’t mean that you have 3G. According to reports the tablet won’t get high speed internet access of T-Mobile’s network as it doesn’t use the correct 3G frequency. So you’re not quite as free as you might expect.
- Pricing and the “premium” option of 3G
I’m a little curious as to why the addition of the 3G and SIM card results in a $130 premium. My gut (and experience with product development) tells me that Apple is taking a hit on some if not all of these devices… not a terrible one (especially if AT&T is subsidizing), but a hit none the less. Given that the current 8GB iPhone costs approximately $175 to manufacture and that doesn’t include development costs, I have a hard time believing that the 16GB iPad can come in at $499. If anything, I suspect that they’re making the loss back on the 3G models.
- Who wins in Apple v. Amazon?
I’ve seen tweets from folks in publishing who seem giddy about Apple challenging Amazon. I’m not sure if this is a win:win scenario, especially given Apple’s across-the-board application of a 30 (Apple) /70 (Publisher/Developer) profit split. I suspect this is more like one Empire versus another with publishers, creators, and readers caught up in its wake.
As far as the overall effect on the market and on user practices.… Well, rather than writing my own account, I’ll turn it over to Berkman Fellow Doc Searls who wrote the following, incredible articulate overview of the pros and cons of the iPad platform for users:
“I got a ride home tonight from Bob Frankston, who was guided by a Nexus One vocalizing directions, serving as a better GPS than my dashboard’s Garmin. Earlier in the evening Bob used the Nexus One to do a bunch of other stuff the iPhone doesn’t do as well, if at all. More importantly, he didn’t need to get his apps only from Google’s (or anybody’s) “store”. And if somebody else wants to make a better Android phone than this one, they can. And Google, I’m sure, hopes they do.
“One big lesson here is that the market’s ecosystem includes both the vertical silos and the horizontal landscapes on which those silos stand, and where all kinds of other things can grow. Joel may be right that “the average consumer” will have no trouble being locked inside Apple’s silo of “simple, closed Internet devices”. But there are plenty of other people who are neither average nor content with that prospect. And I’m betting that, in the long run, they comprise a bigger market. Not because their numbers are larger, but because the room for growth is so much bigger.“
Aside: Between twitter, blogging, and eMail lists, I’ve had a lot to write about the future of eReading and the iPad. Lest anyone think that I’m getting too big for my britches, let me assure you that I don’t assume anyone is reading any of this. Part of my goal is to simple get my thoughts straight on most of this since I’ll have to talk intelligently about it at two upcoming conferences. I fully acknowledge that despair.com is right in saying: