Like any good fanboy, I followed the Apple event blogs as SJ and his band of merry men trotted out the iPad and its capabilities. The best advice I’ve heard on the internets about the device is “don’t knock it till you’ve held it”. The worst – well – just hit up any of the comment sections of sites like Gizmodo and Engadget – or Paul Thurrott’s site. You’ve got your usual assortment of idiots condemning a device that they haven’t touched.
TMA knows that version 1 of products like the iPad are going to have their limitations – just like the iPhone did in 2007. But then came the SDK, and the App Store and 3G, etc. Even at version 1.0, the iPhone was itself an amazing device, not just because Apple made it but because of what came before it. Do you remember a lot about your cell phone before you got your iPhone? Me either. Those memories are tucked away like a childhood incident of inappropriate touching. The iPhone rocketed to success off the back of an industry that seriously needed – and got – its ass kicked.
TMA also knows the iPad – in the short term – may also be a victim of Apple’s prior successes. 2 of Apple’s most innovative products, the MacBook Air and the iPhone, are the parents of the iPad. The light/thin Air with its non-removable battery and the touch-based UI of the iPhone combined. That awesome bloodline may also limit some people’s perception of what is possible with the device. The iPad is an evolution of 2 existing products made by Apple, not a revolution against crappy products made by others. People may perceive the *want* factor slightly differently because several Apple products share some of its functionality.
I believe the ultimate success of the device – which it will enjoy by the way – will come down to how quickly developers can take advantage of the iPad’s increased real estate and some of the SDK’s bonus goodness like “popovers”. Scaled up iPhone apps are nice, and the fruits of the 2 week development cycle afforded the handful of developers that presented the iPad at the Apple event give an inkling of what’s possible, but what’s concocted before the late March/early April release will be much more of a harbinger of the iPad’s success – in the short-term. No one thought the iPhone would resonate in the market the way it did, but Apple took its revolutionary 1.0 product and proceeded to make measured, relentless improvements to keep it well ahead of the market. Apple’s commitment to that leadership, backed by the App Store model bodes well for the long-term success of the device.
People made retarded comments when the iPhone was announced. There’s as much accountability as there is memory on the internet. That didn’t make a whit of difference with the iPod or the iPhone. It won’t make a difference with the iPad.