To borrow a line from Scrooge, “I’m as giddy as a drunken man.” With today’s Apple iPad intro, it feels like Christmas. I was glued to Engadget’s live blogfeed of the announcement. Apple is leveraging its iPhone technology in a new tablet format, adding bells and whistles like unlocked, no contract, and cheap 3G data plans, a keyboard dock and the iBookstore. But once again, as we’ve seen in the past with Apple, the whole may be larger than the sum of the parts.
In the tech industry we pay homage to “innovation” as the ultimate springboard for leadership positioning and killer differentiation. Lots of companies make products, but only a few reinvent how we learn, communicate and experience. Remember trying to use a pre-iPod Mp3 player? Mine was a Diamond Rio; frustrated and ticked off are two reactions that come to mind.
Remember how you felt the first time you used an iPod? For me, it was the same feeling I get when I step foot in a new country. Wow, this is someplace different, and it’s cool, and a little scary but I’m happy to be here and I want to discover this new place.
The iPhone gives me a broader, more fulfilling experience. While typing is a little less speedy, I now have - in one device – painless Internet, much better viewing, a decent camera, games, nifty video, all the music I love, instant social networking connections, an e-book reader and access to over 140,000 apps. Nice trade-up.
The iPad isn’t perfect (bad name; doesn’t multi-task; no webcam; no widescreen; no GPS) but it may hold similar long-term promise.
If I was a newspaper or magazine publisher, I’d be more hopeful. This device has the potential to help reinvent the publishing industry like iTunes reinvented the music industry. As I watched today’s New York Times demo, it reminded me of the Harry Potter movies where animated video moves across “The Daily Prophet” student newspaper. The iPad features drop down context menus; re-sizing of pages with a pinch; and embedded video inside articles. If the content providers and app developers get onboard with this vision, it could be a reinvention of how we read and learn.