I’m not convinced I need one!
I remember vividly the moment I knew I needed an iPod. I was on the back side of Mammoth Mountain, waiting to get on Chair 14, and the guy in front of me had white wires dangling from his ears. It wasn’t even 2002. The device had only been introduced only two months before. Been trounced by commentators as overpriced and unnecessary. But if you owned a Rio, as I did, and you contemplated FireWire transfer and a thousand song capacity…you wanted one. But that day at Mammoth was when I realized I needed one. With that desire that makes you run to the store, lay down your hard-earned cash and emerge with a smile on your face.
Steve Jobs gets the question. Of need. He lays it right out. At the advent of the presentation. Even revisits the question again at the end. But he just didn’t close me.
Oh, he had me at the beginning. As he did those in attendance. Who gave him the anticipatory ovation a rock star gets before he even said a word. He wore none of GaGa’s outfits, in fact he wore running shoes and a mock turtleneck, but you knew he had something to say. Like our old rockers, first and foremost, we wanted to hear the music.
But what Steve kept saying was "It works!"
Okay, you’re Apple, I expect it to work.
I can see the engineering triumph, all the touch points, the design, even your own proprietary chip. But why do I need one?
Not to surf the Web. This isn’t 1995, when most people didn’t have computers and ordered up a PC just to be able to play. Everybody’s got Web access. And so many have smart phones. And since the iPad makes no calls, luddites are going to buy iPhones/Blackberrys/Androids first. Sure, the fanatics will have to have iPads the same way they needed Apple TVs. But Apple TV never really took off. Will the iPad?
It’s about having a killer app.
Actually, an iPhone/iPod Touch is good enough for this, you get the idea, especially at the resolution the iPhone takes pics.
Well, there is a mobile gaming industry, Apple is positioned as a player, will the iPad emerge as the dominant portable gaming platform? Doubtful, it’s just too big. But it’s possible. As for information apps, they work just fine on the iPhone, and don’t you want to use them on the run anyway? Hell, whipping out your iPad on a Paris street corner seems like an SNL routine.
Productivity apps? Like iWork and Keynote? Love the price, $9.99, but how often do I want to generate a presentation on the fly? As for superseding the laptop… Well, did you see Steve hunt and peck on the virtual keyboard? Maybe he doesn’t know how to touch-type. Still, this is a stopgap device, that does nothing better than a laptop at first glance. Do I need to surf the Web in my hand? My laptop is good enough for that.
How about movies?
Yup, you can take the iPad on an overseas flight and watch a movie and not run out of juice. So maybe the portable DVD player market will be affected, but I don’t watch flicks on flights anyway, and if I get the urge, what they’re purveying is good enough, long flights tend to have more choice. However I do appreciate the cover that turns into a stand.
It all comes down to books.
Now the iPad makes the Kindle look like a toy. It’s got a better interface, and color. But naysayers will state that it’s uncomfortable to read for long periods of time on a computer screen. The Kindle’s E-Ink technology is supposed to solve this problem, and it does. But the Kindle is not backlit. And oftentimes, the best technology does not win. People love MP3s, usability is better than CDs, never mind vinyl.
So now it becomes a battle of price with Amazon. Expect Kindle cost to decline, dramatically, very soon. But Amazon has one great advantage, the $9.99 price point for books. Apple is endorsing higher prices.
And speaking of prices, buying TV shows and movies never really took off at the iTunes Store, do you really think this device is going to make a difference?
Where was the Netflix plan? Where was the innovative pricing?
As for saving the media industry…whew, there was no word of that, probably because all the content providers are afraid of playing ball, fearful that Apple will start out as a friend but end up as an enemy, dictating prices, their entire business model.
The iPad is almost like a computer without software. Why do I need one again? There’s no MacPaint, like on the original Macintosh. There’s nothing revolutionary. I give Apple credit for building it, but I’ve got to give them credit for building the Cube too.
Even the presentation dragged. It was almost like hearing the follow-up to a classic album. You want the new one to be great, but the more you listen, you come to realize that the first one was unique. The iPhone was a breakthrough, the iPad? The presentation almost devolved into parody, when everybody kept saying how great the product was. Products truly this great sell themselves.
Maybe if I get my hands on one I’ll change my mind.
But for now, I’m gonna pass.