As most technology oriented people did today around 1:00, i watched the apple event via the live blog on Engadget. I found myself in a few conversations with others at Slamm, and with friends online discussing the relevance of the much hyped product.
Let’s be clear the device is cool, there is no doubt about that at all. But, is it a game changer? Will it change the way people work, live or travel? My opinion is Apple missed two aspects that, unfortunately, make me say no. That is not to say that the new iPad won’t be a successful product or that Steve Jobs is looking for my opinion (I even checked my voice mail again just to make sure). This is simply a very brief view of my opinion.
First on the product in general. As expected from Apple a very sleek, clean design. It looks like a big iPhone which i think is what most of the world expected. I don’t think there was much of a surprise there. The biggest surprise to me was no camera on the iPad. This was being touted as a revolutionary product. I think a lot of people had visions of this being their travel or mobile computing solution. No need to carry a laptop to connect back in to the office. Without, having the ability to Skype with the device in a way that you can’t do on the iPhone (video) or use iChat to collaborate with team members, is a huge void that has been left unfilled. Apple had an opportunity here to bring something to the marketplace that right out of the box changes the way people communicate. It would have resonated with business people, families, students etc. I think they really missed the mark by not making that a priority.
Now onto the presentation. I must say I was very disappointed and bordering on bored during the presentation. It was presented as a big iPhone. We got to sit through the app store (again) and got to see a calendar, mail client and photos. All very nicely done without question. However, I’m not going to buy this device to manage my mail, calendar or photos. It’s great that it does it, but that doesn’t make it a “must have device”. I was shocked to not see them touting a native note taking application for students or business people, or announcing that a certain college is going to offer it’s text books on the device. iBooks is cool, they glanced over at the end after having 25 minutes of a paint application and EA Sports demoing games. This device changing the landscape of the way people communicate, work and live is not by having Madden 2010 on $800 touch pad. Is it cool, of course it is. Would it be icing on the cake if it had that in addition to some reasons to make this a “must have device”? Absolutely.
Instead of showing things that a) are already on the iPhone and b) ancillary reasons to by at best, show me a demo of the new iChat for the iPad or a demo of a Cisco WebeX application for business. Demo brainstorming or a to do list. Show me how i can see my business better on this device, stay connected with my family my friends. Show me how this device makes my day easier, show me why my life is better having this device. Does it allow me to be more mobile more flexible, spend more time doing things i love because it keeps me connected?
Why do i care how many credit cards are in the itunes database ( i know he was showing developers the potential – but they knew the world would be watching). iWorks? Really? Interesting, even cool. But mass adoption of the product as a game changer does not revolve around a business suite that very few people use to begin with.
I love Apple, I own a lot of their products. I really think they missed a golden opportunity to change the landscape of staying connected, much like they did with the iPhone. Maybe it will get there in future revisions, but this device is not a “must have device” for most people that I know. The unfortunate thing is that everyone of them was hoping it would be.