All hail the iPad! Anyone slamming the iPad better wake up and smell the coffee it's brewing (iPad version 4.0 coming in 2013…). Nearly one out of every three hundred Americans now owns one of these snazzy multimedia content delivery toys, and while I'm not saying you have to think the iPad is the second coming, it does irk me when I read of people complaining that the iPad doesn't replace their laptop. It's not meant to!
We all know it looks beautiful, but what Apple product doesn't? The thing about the iPad is that it's a game changer. Yesterday I watched Jamie Oliver's new ABC show on the iPad's ABC player, and it was AMAZING! The stream had seamless ad insertion, spectacular quality, and the screen size wasn't a drawback. Whilst watching the show on the iPad, my friend e-mailed me (from the iPad) to say that he was watching a stream on the iPad, while flying to London. The device opens up the content consumer world. When my 3G iPad arrived I must admit I had real hesitation over AT&T. We have all witnessed either first hand or from friends the somewhat "patchy" 3G reception and loading speeds, but so far, here in Manhattan, the iPad is working really well.
Will we all throw down $499 for one of these sexy toys? Well, no not every one, but in a year's time we all know the cost will be $299 for version one and that in true Apple manner, there will be a regular hardware update, including memory upgrades, cameras, video conferencing, etc. When the price point drops, these will become everyday household implements. You pick up an iPad in the kitchen, check your mail, then wander into the living room, pick up another one and text a friend. Anyone can watch, read and play what they want, when they want -- it's a true media consumption machine.
What it is not, however, is a replacement for a laptop or desktop. The iPad is not going to manage your Microsoft Word and Excel files -- but it's not meant to either. Sure, if you downloaded Apple's version of Microsoft Office (Numbers, Pages and Keynote) and import a PowerPoint file from an e-mail, as I did recently, it will work perfectly in Keynote. But the iPad is NOT meant to replace your laptop. The iPad is a content device.
What the iPad is, definitely, is another wake-up call to traditional media. In under ten years, everything will be on demand, no appointment to view. Products like the iPad will enable anyone to watch anything anywhere. Will it be the savior of the print world? It seems hard to believe that the media dinosaurs will get their act together, but there are some promising signs. On the iPad, The Wall Street Journal is brilliant; USA Today is very good; but The New York Times is a bit crappy. I can only imagine how the magazine world will explode on the iPad. I love Zinio, which allows you to buy thousands of magazines, download them to their player and read them. If you pass any corner newsstand, there are more magazines that you have never heard of on display than ever before. They have always sold their advertising against fictitious readership numbers based loosely on subscription and rack sales multiplied by ridonkulous per magazine repeat reader numbers (I know all about this because I used to run one and sell the advertising). But the iPad enables real figures. At first, I predict they will be small, but soon, as magazines finally transfer over to the web and digital delivery, advertisers are going to expect accurate numbers - numbers that the iPad can deliver. Eeeek! That's the sound of a thousand magazine ad sales people and publishers topping themselves. The iPad will not save the print world, but I do think it's the beginning of a potential turn-around.
So, let's not find fault with the iPad…after all, with one million iPads sold in 28 days, it's easy to see that the iPad is a BRILLIANT content delivery machine and, as usual from Apple, the shape of things to come.
Things I love on the iPad:
- ABC Player
- NPR (superb interface)
- Angry Birds (superb game that I'm addicted to)
- Wall Street Journal
- Yahoo Entertainment (big kudos, this experience is superb)
- The speed of web page downloads
- Ellen's Acres Puzzle Pieces
- Words With Friends