Originally Posted by jhsonderb
I guess I am going against the grain of the all of the previous posts, but my impression of Apple’s new product is quite favorable.
I think it's exactly what Apple should put out at this time. It's simple, elegant, affordable, and while it may not do everything that everyone wants, what it does do, it does very, very well. And that sums up Apple in a nutshell.
Sure, you could add a camera, a usb port, an SD card slot, an FM radio, and a second dock connector, but all that would add to the cost and folks would say "it's too expensive." And you could make a replaceable battery, but that would also add to the cost and folks would complain about the lower battery life. And you could add multitasking, but folks would just complain how slow the device is instead of raving about how snappy it feels.
Engineering is a series of compromises, in which you balance many competing priorities and possibilities in order to create the "best" product you can. Problem is, not everyone ranks their priorities the same, or agrees what "best" actually means.
Remember, this isn't supposed to be a Laptop Lite that will solve all your problems. Instead, they're creating an entirely new category here. Much like they did with the original iPod. These days mp3 players are ubiquitous and Apple owns the market, plus they created and own the digital download market as well.
I think the iPad will take off as a portable "home" device, useful for carrying around the house and doing those tasks that just aren't worth dragging the laptop out for. And it will be a hit with city commuters, to help amuse and entertain them on subways, trains, and buses, not to mention making those long plane flights slightly more bearable. Digital artists will use it as a combination portable portfolio/sketch pad. And students will flock to it as an all-purpose notepad and media entertainment device.
Especially once they get all the textbooks on board. There's huge money to be made in that market alone (which Apple will also own completely), never mind indoctrinating a whole new generation into the Apple cult.
And yes, there's the potential for the iBook store to take off the way the iTunes store did, or the App store has, giving a boost to fiction, non-fiction, comic books, newspapers, magazines, and even movies.
Think of it this way: before the iTunes store, CDs were readily available and so was free, downloadable music (albeit with murky legality and difficult interfaces). Apple simply created a way for consumers to easily and legally purchase music tracks, and
gave them the hardware to enjoy it on. Yes, it's a closed ecosystem with a restrictive DRM (a concession to the music companies to be sure), but it's easy and it just plain works. And that's Apple's specialty.
You can still buy hard copy books and magazines, or you can look a lot of stuff up on the web for free (including many newspapers and magazines), but there isn't yet an easy way to buy this content and have it all available in an easily portable format. Yes, you can carry 2 or 3 books and a half-dozen magazines around, but you could also have carried a stack of CDs with you 10 years ago, although nobody really did that.
Come on, how many of you simply stuck 6 CDs in the LT's changer and forgot about them?
I've had an iPod on my bike for almost 10 years now, and thus have pretty much my entire music collection available anytime I want it. And again, it just plain works, the way the iPad will just plain work, and thus folks will be willing to pony up a few $$ here and there to get the content they want when and where they want it.
And yes, that includes movies, at affordable prices and stunning resolutions.
So Apple wins on the hardware sales, the content providers win by being able to charge for their content instead of giving it away online, and again, Apple wins by taking a cut of those sales, and by increasing those sales to levels never dreamed of by most folks. Just as we've seen before with music and apps.
So if you still think the iPad falls short of your expectations, remember this is version 1.0. Much as the original 5 Gig iPod was version 1.0 of that device, and look where it's come to now. So if it helps, just think of the iPad as an iPod Touch XL, with a lot more potential.
Trust me, they're already working on the next upgrade to both the iPad and the iPhone, and it'll be awesome.