Presumably Jobs will have the iPad folks “vanished” along with their little note pad, too.
While my invitation to Apple’s event was presumably lost in the digital ether, I have seen the coverage of the device and hence think I am fully qualified to engage in some commentary.
While touchscreen tablets have been around for a while, their acceptance has been lackluster at best. However, Apple has worked its media magic once more and seems to have the world in a fine frenzy over their tablet device. Of course, whether folks actually buy it as they did the iPod remains to be seen.
Speaking of the iPod, the iPad seems to essentially be a big iPod Touch. This is both good and bad. On the good side, the iPod Touch is a great piece of hardware and what is essentially a bigger version means that users will have all that Touch goodness with more screen space. Plus, users will have access to the apps for the iPhone/iPod Touch.
On the bad side, one reason I like my iPod Touch is that it is small enough to carry about easily. While the iPad is smaller than a typical laptop, it is bigger than the iPod Touch or iPhone. As such, it is not as easy or convenient to carry about. I can put my iPod in my pocket or strap it to my arm. Not so for the iPad-carrying it would be like carrying a book or netbook.
Of course, when I carry my netbook I get a full computer for my carrying effort. It can run normal programs such as Firefox, Word, Dreamweaver, Elements and so on. Plus, it has a keyboard for text entry. As presented, the iPad does not run normal Mac programs. So, for example, I could not use it to run the program I use to record my grades, Micrograde.
Naturally, there are iPhone apps that provide some of the functionality of standard programs (for example, Documents to Go provides what amounts to a mini version of Office) and with internet access the user can (possibly) run online programs.
It also comes with an iPad version of iWork, so it does have that as an office option. Of course, I don’t use iWork, so that is not terribly compelling.
If the iPad had been a full computer rather than a big iPod, I would have been sold on it. Since it is a bit smaller than a normal laptop and I rather like the iPod Touch touch interface I would have found it very useful. However, a big iPod is less useful to me, since I need the ability to run standard programs rather than just iPhone apps.
I do, however, see some obvious uses for the iPad. As noted above, a user can get some of the functionality of normal programs by getting the right Apps. So, the iPad can be made to function like a normal computer. Also, it does provide a larger screen for browsing and watching videos, which are two killer functions.
Of course, since the iPad falls between an iPod Touch and a netbook, someone who already has both of these might find the iPad less compelling. I predict that sales will be good-which is hardly going out on a limb. Then again, I do have this vague feeling that consumers might think “why should I buy an iPod that I can’t fit in my pocket?” I’m sure Steve Jobs has the answer.