iPad fever

Today it was announced that Apple’s new baby, the iPad has sold more than 300,000 units on its launch day in the US.

Now that is pretty impressive going for any product that has been on sale in one Country for three days.  When Steve Jobs showed off the iPad for the first time on 27th January he said it was “The third category” between smartphones and laptops.”  He also told us “Netbooks aren’t better at anything – they’re slow and have low quality displays,”

This of course angered many and reading various tech Blogs you have about 70% of people saying it is too expensive, does not allow the use of Flash on websites together with various other moans and of course those who will shout ‘My Netbook can do so much more for less money.’ The other 30% seems to be praise from the Apple lovers which, as usual starts a comment war with said Apple lovers between Windows lovers and last to the party as ever the Linux faithful.

I sit back and wonder to myself what is the point of this device? Is it really a ‘third category’ in computing? And finally would I need one?

Yes it looks very nice, the 9.7 inch display looks a dream, the light weight, the thin design, the smooth aluminium back and it’s simplicity in use.  Sure we have had tablet computers before, and they failed to catch on.  You know why?  They were computers.  They ran Windows in tablet form and they failed.

What so many seem to miss is what the iPad is all about.  I am sure I am not alone here, I will keep my mobile close at hand, it is never switched off and as the battery runs down so over night as I sleep I recharge it.  I don’t do that with a Netbook or Notebook computer.

So imagine this scenario. I am in my front room and as I watch the latest race in the Formula one session.  I want to get some info about where Hamilton is in relation to Button and know I can get live race timings online but I have to get the Netbook out and turn it on.  I wait for it to boot and load up windows.  I wait for it to load the web browser and finally I get to the content I want, all the time balancing the thing on my lap trying to type and move the mouse about with the small touchpad.  Come on, it is not the easiest of things to do.

So let us say I have an iPad.  I’d treat it as a phone, always on always close at hand.  I’d pick it up like a book from the table, unlock it and tap Safari to go online.  I’m there already there with little fuss. I see all I need to.  I think to myself, has that order from Amazon been shipped? Let me check my emails, yep should be here in a day. Hmm let me just open up the Facebook app see what is going on there…Oh that’ll be the door better just put this down again.  You get the point.  And some may argue this is like the spoilt kid in the sweet shop ‘I want this I want that’ and perhaps that is true that you pay over the odds to get what you can elsewhere, just a little easier and faster.

The point of the iPad is the simplicity of consuming media.  Whatever that may be.  Yes it costs, yes the Apps will cost more than on an iPhone or iPod Tough, yes if you want an eBook you will likely be charged more than if you own a Kindle and there are many other ‘negatives’ but that is part of getting something made by Apple.  And many will question all the above and sure you can do all the above on a Smartphone, a Netbook or Notebook – but it is just not quite as easy and simplistic an operation to do.

And as Dell, HP, Sony and the like bring their own tablets to market, with built in cameras and better hardware they will still be ‘Windows based computing devices’ which is why they will sell but a few, and the iPad will sell in the hundreds of thousands.

The iPad is not Apple’s OSX on a tablet and because it is a large iPod Touch/iPhone that is easy to use and can be treated as an always on device much the same as phone – is why it is a ‘third category device’ and why I will be getting one myself.


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