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Apple's iPad Tablet - Magical Device or
A Poor Excuse Not To Buy A Laptop?
On Jan. 27th, 2010 Steve Jobs introduced Apple's iPad to an enthusiastic audience in San Francisco, the home base of Apple. In a nutshell, the iPad is the iPhone expanded to the power of 10. All the features of the very popular iPhone presented in a larger version.
What, you were expecting more?
Well, the iPad does have some great selling points... under $500 for the 16-gigabyte version, 1Ghz Apple A4 Chip, 10 Hours of Battery Life and the High Definition 9.7 inch IPS Display will probably present the web in a whole new light, especially when you add in the "touch-screen" elements.
"Holding the Internet in your hands" is what Jobs calls it.
Most potential buyers and users of the iPad will be very familiar with this "touch technology" since it's front and center in many Apple products such as the iPhone and iPod Touch. However, with the iPad, you have a much larger display area to play around with - which is never a bad thing.
However, since Apple has already laid the groundwork in those previous devices, it's hard to swallow how this new iPad is as revolutionary as Jobs claims. You can't pull the rabbit out of the hat twice and expect the same reaction. Magic doesn't work that way!
Perhaps what's more revolutionary here has nothing to do with technology but everything to do with marketing and production. The iPad is built in-house, with mostly all Apple components which is amazing in our today's out-sourced business world. Then you have the presentation and control of Apple products (iTunes, iBooks, Apps Store...) streamed or purchased through a portable device with no physical copies of the media - no DVDs, no CDs. Essentially from a marketing perspective, the iPad will basically be a retail store placed firmly in the hands of millions of users around the world, if the iPad follows the lead of the iPhone or iPod.
Now that's revolutionary marketing on a massive scale if consumers snap up the iPad. But will they?
Already, there are many complaining about what the iPad DOESN'T have:
And then there are those two ridiculously large Adapters if you want to plug in something like a camera. Will these negatives outweight the numerous positives in the minds of potential buyers? Guess that question will be answered in the coming months, but the iPad does have some great selling points and deals to sweeten up the potential buyer.
As mentioned before, the entry level iPad can be bought for under $500 which will bring in many low-end buyers. But you also have higher priced versions such as the 32-gig version for $599 and the 64-gig for $699. Some models have 3G built in but the cost will be around $130 and there are two plans which run for $14.99 for 250 MB per month and $29.99 for unlimited usage (AT&T, month-to-month, no contract).
There is Touch Typing with an on-screen keyboard but you can buy an external keyboard for $69. You can also purchase a dock for this device and several other accessories. There's a calendar which will also be convenient to have in this device. Then you have the e-mail app which looks very similar to the iPhone interface, but with a larger screen which will make it easier to read. You also have an photo interface where your photos are arranged in groups.
Then you also have the popular Google map application featuring Google's Street View, which opens up a whole area of usage since the iPad is after all a mobile device coming in at 1.5 pounds and half an inch thick. This is not as portable as an iPhone but much better than a laptop or netbook.
Of course, it will have the Apple Apps Store built in, as well as access to Five publishers: Penguin, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins and Hachette. So eBooks is a major feature of the iPad which could spell bad news for Amazon's Kindle if the iPad becomes popular with the buying public.
The jury is still out on that point but there are several factors why Jobs and Apple may have a real winner on their hands. The iPad plugs neatly into two of the hottest markets of the moment:
The netbook and the eReader.
Apple is especially taking full aim at the growing netbook market which was pioneered by Asustek in 2007. These devices have proven popular with consumers who want a laptop but not the size. They want all the features of a laptop but just in a portable device which they can easily take with them, no matter where they go. The iPad will be in direct competition with this market.
But what about the other consumers who are planning to buy a laptop, will they now consider the iPad instead? Possibly, but not likely, it would all depend on the size of the laptop they're considering? If they want a desktop replacement laptop - they won't even be giving the iPad a second look. However, if they're looking for a 'thin and light' portable laptop then the iPad will enter the picture and these buyers will probably give the iPad some consideration, especially since it's from Apple - a brand name many people like to show off.
Perhaps, an even bigger challenge will be presented in the e-Reader marketplace. E-Readers are simple hand-held devices which you use to read and download books and newspapers. Amazon's Kindle is probably the best example and the introduction of the iPad must be giving them some concern. Basically, the iPad is a souped-up sports version of the e-reader; why have a plain model when you can have this flashy number with a whole lot more features and style?
The iPad combines those two categories of mobile computing and may just prove too irresistible for buyers to ignore. Give them a deal they can't refuse and they probably won't. Apple and Jobs are probably counting on this fact.
Once Apple has captured most of the mobile market with the iPod, iPhone and now the iPad, the next logical step is to control all the content streaming through their devices. Since Apple is doing everything "in-house" with iTunes, iBooks, Apps Store... they should take that control even further by having a total say in what's presented on their devices. Obviously, Apple's next logical step would be to create its own search engine and take on Google for the the whole enchilada.
Now that would be revolutionary if not magical.
The author is a full-time online marketer who has a keen interest in all things laptop and runs an online Laptop Guide featuring the latest top gaming notebooks. Copyright 2010 Titus Hoskins.
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