Saturday, January 30, 2010
The new iPad | The ALPHA Level view...
Wow, talk about hype! I don't recall when there was so much hype about a product launch in the tech industry for a very long time. The problem with such hype is that it can often lead to disappointment because expectations are so very high. In the case of Apple, they have in recent times launched a redesigned Mac book Pro, an amazing desktop device in the form of their new iMac with more features and design innovations than one can count. Not to be outdone by this impressive list would be what arguably the best smart phone on the market, the iPhone.
With all this great technology product out there and so much hype over the new iPad, it's easy to understand why expectations were so high and overall industry reactions were so mixed.
Well it's not my "job" to plug Apple or to sway the balance of public or professional opinion on them as a company or their product line, I think Steven Jobs' reputation and track record speaks for itself in that regard. So here's my take on the iPad.
Quite simply I love it and I can't wait to get one for myself. There are a few factors to consider here and two areas I think well seriously tip the balance in the product's favour. (Points 3 and 4).
Point 1. The true strength of the iPad will shine with its ability to deliver and display content. Since content can have such a dynamic nature, Apple will simply have to hammer out the necessary agreements with domestic and international carriers to make this product fly. This combined with affordable price points for data packages and you have a winner. Developers and other content providers are already behind the iPad 100% because it in itself could be the saving grace to the media and publishing industry. The iPad is the vehicle for these companies to really make money with their content.
Point 2. Initial pricing for the iPad looks good but what of the rest of us north of the 49th parallel. The pricing that has been put out there to date is in US dollars, so what will it cost us Canadians to take advantage of this technology? Price it right in Canadian dollars along with a reasonable data package (point 1), and you have a winner. On the down side Canada is not a large market despite our high per capita penetration of Internet usage. It will be 12 to 18 months before you'll see the product become more common place in Canada, but it will happen. Just look at how long it took the iPhone to get here, but once it did....
Point 3. This is where the product will take off and do so very quickly. One space where Apple has gained ground in recent years is the educational sector. The iPad is" iDeal" for college and university campuses for delivering lesson plans, study material and putting together and submitting essays and reports. With its eBook application, lugging heavy text book across campus will become a thing of the past. The iPad preloaded with text books and other study material will become standard issue for every freshman.
Point 4. For years Apple has fought the battle for business market share. Applications have come along to help it gain some ground but the Windows PC still has the lion's share. This will all start to change now because of the iPad. The iPad will simply make it easier for business to "work". I see it being big in the medical field where nurses and doctors will use an iPad to view patient charts, x-rays and more. Interactive applications will give real time feedback on patients who are on life support systems or simply being monitored as medication is administered intravenously. The doctor will walk into the examination room, pull his/her iPad out of their lab coat pocket and instantly have the results from your recent physical, including blood work and ultrasound images. Yes, I will even go as far as to say that it will reduce your wait time in the Emergency room!
So was there a bit of a let down when Apple announced the iPad, if you look at how high they've set the bar for themselves, maybe. However if you truly take a close look at the iPad and consider some of the potential professional applications for the product, you'll quickly see that it will become a device that will carve out its own niche in business and once again change the way we view the use of Information Technology.
I'll close by adding this comment. As highly as I think of the iPad, I do not see it as being the end of the laptop. I more so think that desktops as we know them today will start to fade out in the next 12-24 months as more people personally and professionally adapt the iPad, make better use of smart phones and laptop technology improves while their costs and the costs of data plans go down.
So there you have it, The ALPHA Level view on the iPad.
I can't wait to get my first one!