Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The next big thing?


MP3 players weren’t selling.  Enter the iPod.

The smartphone wars were raging along with no one clearly winning.  Enter the iPhone.

Tablet and slate computers have been humming about at a ho hum pace.  Enter the iPad.

It’s a gigantic iPhone minus voice calls.  Minus a pesky cellphone contract and plus a real physical keyboard you can pop on when at your desk.  But being at your desk is not where the iPad is intended to shine.  It shines in your hands, on your lap and while you’re moving about your life.

Cool?  Being able to browse the web and read your emails on a lightweight device with 10 hours of battery life.  Being able to wirelessly buy books and read them on the fly (Kindle what?).  Being able to run serious applications (word processing, presentations, etc.) and a bazillion other existing iPhone apps on a small device that you can easily pop into your bag or briefcase.

Uncool?  Do we need one more device?  We have smartphones, laptops, e-readers, netbooks, etc.  Will this one replace many of them or just end up being one more AC adapter and monthly fee (the 3G wireless is $30 per month) to go along with all the rest? readers will know I’ve been interested in the manner in which Apple has reinvented itself and shaken the industry through the design and delivery of truly breakthrough products.  See post here.  The big question is: will this thing sell and, more importantly, will it become THE must have gadget for millions worldwide.  I think so.  Why?

  • Pretty low cost, relatively speaking.  Starts at $500.
  • Can replace the netbook/notebook computer for many, many applications.
  • No cellphone contract.
  • Many people will give up their iPhones and Blackberries, choosing instead the simplicity and convenience of smaller, traditional phones and welcoming more usable on-screen and physical keyboards and larger, more readable screens.
  • Amazon has sold a lot of Kindles and Barnes & Noble has sold a lot of Nooks.  The e-reader generation is here and once those e-readers get a look at this thing, it will be hard going back to a single purpose, monochrome, kludgy device again.
  • Those bazillion apps will work on this.  Right away.
  • Ease of purchasing content: everybody has and knows how to use iTunes to buy music and videos.  Now books can be purchased in the same place and in the same manner.  Nice.
  • Apple design.  In short: it’s winning.
  • It’s a platform.  Big companies and aspiring teenagers everywhere are all conspiring to write new programs for this device.  That means they’re all not writing for other devices and other platforms.  The strong get stronger.

Innovation.  Ease of use.  Coolness factor. 

You may not even want one.  But someday, you’ll own one.

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