The iPad

I believe that the iPad is a misunderstood device. Those who love it love it, and aren’t necessarily sure why. Those who hate it hate it because it’s not what they want. This polarization is due, I believe, to the misunderstanding of what the iPad is, and what it is meant to accomplish.

When I first heard of the iPad, I was “underwhelmed.” I was disappointed that Apple would make a tablet device that did so little in terms of computing. I wanted a full Mac OS that would run all my programs like Illustrator and Photoshop. I wanted to use it as a way to draw with a pen like a Wacom Tablet. That, however, is not what the iPad is meant to do.

One of Apple’s strengths as a company is finding a product that is in the market, but not well defined or established, creating a product that is better to fill the needs, and releasing it with Apple’s expert showmanship. The iPod was by no means the first MP3 player, but Apple has successfully swept in and taken the entire MP3 player market. Even Zunes are referred to as iPod devices and not MP3 players! I believe that the iPad is Apple’s answer to the “netbook.” It is no secret that Steve hates netbooks. They have small screens, small keyboards, and limited capabilities. Yes, it runs a “full” operating system, but trying to do Photoshop on a 7 inch screen sounds like no fun at all. The iPad makes consuming information (which is what netbooks are mostly used for) such as reading, browsing, and watching a complete delight. The iPad is large enough to not feel cramped, and the onscreen keyboard can disappear, which means more space for the media you are viewing.

This is why consumers like the iPad. I think it’s a very nifty product, and fills a gap that netbooks just couldn’t. I however never felt the need for a small device to consume information on. I think my iPhone is fine for that, and anything more is what my MacBook is for. That’s not to say I would not own an iPad, but rather I would not go out of my way to own an iPad.

It’s the perfect device for consumers of information and media. Not the device for creative professionals. It fills a need in our market, and with Apple’s ability to dominate the market, we will finally see the death of netbooks.

I for one am waiting for a MacBook Touch…

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