More Thoughts On The Apple iPad

Dave Zatz —  January 28, 2010

After catching up on the coverage and sleeping on it, I’ve got a few more pre-release iPad thoughts to share.

More and more I come to the conclusion that the 10″ iPad is a supersized iPod Touch. Which is not a bad thing but, given the current state of the iPhone OS, will be somewhat limiting for power users. And why the Nokia N800, HTC Advantage, or WorkPad Z50, with their streamlined operating systems, never panned out for me. Yet given the OS point upgrade (to 3.2) and the size/power of the iPad, I’ve independently come to the same conclusion as Boy Genius — there’s GOT to be a major iPhone OS 4.0 refresh on the docket for 2010. How could it not include multitasking? As John asked yesterday, “What if your in Pages and need to look up something on Wikipedia? You have to save your work, go to Wikipedia, then go back into Pages.” And I’d simply like to stream Slacker while check email or browsing the web. This HAS to be coming…?

However, if I reduce my expectations, pumped up after months of imaginary iSlate features, and limit my environs to the home (like Glenn and Ben) the iPad – even in its current form – would make a nice home theater accessory or Audrey replacement. The Slingbox SlingPlayer client possibilities are particularly appealing (pictured above). Especially since Echostar/DISH clearly won’t be offering their SlingTV accessory at retail. Although, we need Sling to bump the video resolution streamed to “mobile” clients for maximum enjoyment.

Also, while Jobs and company probably didn’t want to move the spotlight from the iPad, I suspect some iPad enhancements will surface on the iPod Touch and iPhone platforms. iBooks are a no-brainer and will surely be available to the iPad’s smaller siblings. But I’m also hopeful the iPad Keyboard Dock and/or Bluetooth keyboard tethering will be available to all iPhone OS 3.2 devices, as I Photoshopped below.

Lastly, we’ve seen some crazy talk that the iPad will effectively kill Amazon’s Kindle initiative. While there’s certainly and obviously overlap in function, I don’t see the two devices as direct competitors. Kindles run 50% (or less) the cost of an iPad and does one thing very well. Perfect for many. My mom would absolutely love a Kindle. Whereas she’d have no interest in or idea how to maximize an iPad. (Sorry, Mom.) I’d still like to see Amazon release a 3G-less Kindle at $129 and offer a more reasonably priced blog/RSS download plan for those on Whispernet. But they’re not going anywhere. In fact, with their cheaper eBook prices, I predict the Kindle app will do quite well on the iPad.

19 responses to More Thoughts On The Apple iPad

  1. I agree that it has interesting application as a home theater remote control but the price point, $499 without much of a warranty, is high, not Pronto high, but high. An iPod Touch runs 40% the cost and does almost the same thing. Other than that I think this think is a product in search of a business. I have my doubts on whether this category has legs.

  2. “What if your in Pages and need to look up something on Wikipedia? You have to save your work, go to Wikipedia, then go back into Pages.”

    I’m betting that Pages on the iPad has auto-save. That means that you can switch from Pages to Mobile Safari in about the same time as it would take you to use the dock to do the same thing in OS X.

  3. The problem with the iPad is that it’s being marketed as a netbook replacement when it really is a niche product that can’t even really replace a netbook do to it’s lack of features (no flash, no multitasking, no file system, etc).

    Speaking of multitasking, the rumor is that the 4.0 OS will have some form of multitasking, but not true multitasking. Whether this mean dual-tasking or that background tasks won’t close, but won’t actually run in the background (ie: suspended) is anyone’s guess.

  4. I think multitasking IS coming, but will only be available and functional on the 3Gs and above iphones, a 4.0 to be released as well. It would be hard to have an OS update that only covers the latest devices, they haven’t done that one yet and the PR and tech back end for OS and apps needs to be refined. By June 2010, it will have been now three years since iphone 1.0 launch. Many are dying, many have been replaced and the 2G network is just getting worse and worse for users and their experience. By that time, I think they could forsee getting most users over to a 3gS or 4.0 device

  5. I think iPad might not ‘kill’ the Kindle completely, but it will shove it to the fringe the eBook market. The publishers hate the effective eBook monopoly and fixed pricing structure of Amazon. Apple’s iPad will allow the publishers to charge more, and that will lead to exclusivity deals that will cut off the Kindle air supply. Amazon will have to allow publishers to charge more, and either pass it on to consumers or eat it. Amazon is a bit of pickle here I think. The Apple ‘ecosystem’ – ‘walled garden’ is very compelling to both consumers and content owners. Look what they did with music. Apple has a competitive advantage with there content delivery application, and will eventually win the battle for eBooks like they have for music. IMHO, Kindle is going to be niche product, not a market maker anymore.

  6. Tim, How do you think apple is going to get around the fact that after reading for the iPad for 30 minutes your eyes will slowly start hurting more and more the longer you try and read? A lot of people still complain that the e-ink displays on the nook and kindle hurt there eyes, let alone the iPad’s insanely bright and glossy backlight display…Personally I would not want to read more then a website on the iPad

  7. I’ve read a few Kindle books on my iPhone. It’s not great (small, bright screen) but it’s convenient. In the old days when I subway-ed to work, I read eBooks on a Dell Axim. I still think magazines is where it’s at on the iPad. Hope the publishers work out some shared store/reader infrastructure or develop something with the iBook platform.

  8. Why would they have left out a feature that would allow an owner of an iPhone to use it as a modem for the iPad? Do you think it is purely to force people to pay up for this feature (pay more for the iPad plus get locked in to a monthly subscription)?

  9. Ben,
    the eInk thing is a nice touch, but a lot of already people spend many hours reading on computers already. (On much lesser screens.) Whole generations of people spend literally hours at work reading from LCD monitors all day long (sadly), and all night playing video games and surfing. So, I think the Kindle display may certainly ease eye strain and is probably better for reading books, it isn’t enough of a “killer feature” to keep people away. Kindle won’t do the other multimedia stuff, either. Like I said, their will be a market for Kindle, but I think it will be niche. I am betting that Apple iPad will sell more units in the first year than Amazon has sold to date. Within two years, Apple will have a majority share of the eBook market. You read it here first on Zatznotfunny.com!!! (If I am wrong, please delete this post).

  10. I figured out my use for it yesterday… this is the closest we’ll get to an Apple-official netbook. My MSI Wind will never run an OS above 10.5.6 and that thing cost $350. Putting it into perspective, the iPad just seems a little more expensive (but aren’t all Apple things?).

    The iPad is not an “everything” device, it’s an in-between device (reference the first part of Jobs’ presentation). It’s like 3-D TV – I’ll use the iPad for the most part, and, when the situation demands it, I can club up to the MBP.

    iPhone/iPad multi-tasking is this year’s copy & paste. We’ll cry and cry about it and they’ll give in with OS 4.0 or 4.1 or whatever. Then people will complain about something else it doesn’t have.

  11. MacBook Air: “Hi. Wanna be friends?”

    iPad: “No way.”

    [the Power Mac G4 Cube, the Mac Mini and the MacBook Air all begin to chant in unison]:

    “One of us. One of us. One of us…”*

    :P

    *In the classic Tod Browning film ‘Freaks’ a “normal” woman trapeze artist marries a circus midget ringmaster. In the drunken celebration after the wedding scene, the circus performers begin chanting at the woman: “One of us! One of us!”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBXyB7niEc0 [WARNING: disturbing imagery ]

  12. I agree with you about the Kindle app doing well. I downloaded it last summer just to try it out and ended up becoming an e-book reader for the first time. Sure it’s a small screen (on the iPod Touch or iPhone), but my eyes adjusted to the point that I don’t even notice it anymore. On an iPad, this would be a non-issue anyway. Plus, Amazon has been committed to the app and has updated it several times, making it so you can now change the background color, font size, and book orientation. I may someday end up with an iPad, but I suspect I’ll be sticking with the Kindle app for my eBooks.

  13. http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/28/alienwares-m11x-netbook-gets-a-base-price-799/

    Have fun with your iPad toys, Ill take an Alienware M11x which will not only play a crappy run down versions of need for speed, but it will play the full need for speed game and Mass Effect 2(all with better controls the the iPad)! For Less money then the top of the line iPad! Have fun with your glorified $800 e-readers that can do everything half baked and nothing well. Ill stick with a Kindle and a netbook for basically the same money and TONS more functionality. Sorry apple but there is more to computers then Multi-Touch

  14. Yeah, I’ll carry around a Kindle, a netbook, a $50/mo wireless card or a $270 mifi, a Dell slate device, a GPS, etc.

    I’ll just carry all that crap around.

  15. Awesome looking device, just wish it was better at multitasking

  16. Are textbooks available in electronic form these days? I sure could’ve used searchable, full-color ibooks in highschool and college when I was lugging around 50 lbs of Biology, Engineering and Math textbooks all day.

  17. Dave, I agree that the iPad won’t Kill Kindle, but to suggest that the devices aren’t direct competitors is to forget that the Kindle DX, the Kindle most competitive with the iPad is priced at $399 in the U.S. and $489 for the International version. Sorry buddy, but the Kindle DX is dead when up against a $499 iPad. And at $259, the smaller Kindle is going to look like too much of a one-trick pony against an iPad – especially as iPad prices decline over time. I do, however, completely agree that Amazon can continue selling eBooks through the Kindle App on the iPad and iPhone etc. There is definately a future there. But I wouldn’t have wanted to be sitting at Lab126 the moment the iPad was announced. That’s a whole lot of hurt dished out in one sitting!

    …Dale

  18. I’m middle aged and hate wearing my reading glasses. I think I’m not alone on either account.

    Love my ipod touch but sometimes its just too small and sometimes I can’t get wifi. The ipad seems like a nice device to me especially since I don’t use a smart phone.

    It would also seem like a nice device to anyone who doesn’t already have a computer or internet access.

    But for any serious bouts of reading, the Kindle is the best thing going, better than books in my opinion. The screen is perfect for the eyes and page turning is so fast that I get into a “reading rhythm”.

    I think Amazon should offer a stripped down Kindle, no keyboard or 3G (just the screen and the page buttons), it should need to be used with a computer for downloads and purchases.