Today, Apple announced their latest product - the iPad. Yes, it's a tablet. Yes, it looks like a really big iPhone. Yes, it's slim. Yes, it's super light. Yes, it has 10 hours of battery life. And yes it can be used as an ereader. It even comes with a new iBook store
Almost everything about it is really stunning.
It is basically an iPhone... or maybe an iPod Touch... with a much bigger screen. Which gives you much better screen space? And because of that you got much better designed apps.
What does it do? Well, everything you expect. It runs Safari, mail, photos, videos, itunes, maps, contact, calendar, YouTube, and notes.
But, the biggest and most important announcement is that it actually also runs every single iPhone app ever made! So it comes with Facebook, Tweetie 2, Things, Dropbox, Photoshop Mobile, Apple Remote, UStream, all the iPhone games, Linkedin, Cooking apps, Shazam, and everything else you can find in the App Store.
This is huge. No other tablet maker will be able to match that. This is why the iPhone rules supreme. While the Android might just be a better phone, the iPhone just blows it away because of all the apps.
But, on top of this you got iWork - Apple's own "Microsoft Office." So you can actually use this as a computer. You can write documents, create presentations, and then show the presentation from your tablet connected to a projector, and you can create spreadsheets.
Apple has always had a great connection with the New York Times, and because of that, they obviously had to show off the special New York Times app. Now here is the thing. Many people will be talking about how the iPad is now able to save the newspapers. Because now we can actually get apps like the Times "Sports Illustrated." This is now a possible reality. But, as I wrote in my article about newspapers vs. tablets, this is not what we want.
We want news, not newspaper apps. I read at least 100 different news sources everyday, and I will not start up 100 different apps read to them. We just want news, and we want it all delivered to a really striking personal news aggregator.
Note: I think it is only a matter of time before Feedly creates a fully working web version for the iPhone/iPad
Apple played it safe. They opened up their own iBook store, for ebooks, and my guess is that Jeff Bezos (the CEO of Amazon) has already told his top developers to create a stunning Kindle app for the iPad. But, when it came to news they held back - not wanting to further disrupt an already scared industry. So they talked about newspaper apps instead of news.
We will hear a lot of talk in the next 6 months about how this can save the newspaper, but it won't. As longs as they focus on the packaging, instead of the content, the newspapers will fail.
Besides, the iPad is just like the iPhone. The really stunning thing about the iPhone was that it wasn't really a phone. The phone part is just a very small part of what it can do. An iPhone is actually a tiny tiny tablet.
In the same way, the iPad is not anything. It's not a tablet compared to any other tablet you have seen so far (running windows as if it was a desktop computer). It's not an ereader, because it can do so much more. It's not a digital newspaper. It's not a computer. It's everything.
Like the iPhone, the iPad is simply a platform for people to create stunning apps in a very portable, always on, always live, and always connected way.
There is however, one thing that it lacks. Like an iPhone, you still kind of need a "real" computer. It's still mostly just a "secondary" device. It's something you sync with iTunes, but if you don't have a real computer, how can you do that. Sure you can subscribe or buy things via iTunes on the iPad - but it really does not have enough storage to work as a computer.
There are also many questions in regards how to work with files, can you use it to update your blog - and if you can, how do you prepare the images? How do you use it for video - not watching but editing.
It's kind of like Google Chrome OS. It can do a lot of stuff, but it lacks the real flexibility of a real computer.
I am still going to buy one (of course). It is coming out in 3 months, it only costs $499 for the 16GB model - but you should probably aim for the 64GB model. It's version one - so unless you really need it (or are an Apple geek like me), you might want to wait a bit for the rest of us to discover all the quirks.
But, no matter how you look at it. The netbook market just got a very nasty wakeup call. Just as the ereader market just looks silly now. The Kindle looks like something from 1997.
I don't think the first version of the iPad will really disrupt our world, just as the first version of the iPhone didn't. But the world did change today. You are no longer able to create a tablet, ereader, or a netbook, and just slap some kind of operating system on top of it.
We now got a real tablet... not a computer in a tablet format!
notice: Update - Feb 2, 2010 - Why Apple isn't supporting Flash.
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"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
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