27th January 2010, was a day that many have been waiting anxiously over a period of time and the reactions even before Steve Jobs walked out of that stage was tremendous and surreal. Everyone that was on the Internet was busy scouring for last minute rumors and one particularly came from Jason Calacanis (Founder of Weblogs, Inc., TechCrunch50, Silicon Alley Reporter, Engadget & Mahalo.com) where I received many retweets stating that he somehow had his hand on the Apple tablet and was testing it for days and he is spilling the beans as his NDA expired that day. I admit I did go through his tweets but I was thinking to myself this must be a prank as I do not think for a person of his standing would reveal the details and jeopardizing his name.
So the time came, and Steve Jobs announced Apple’s latest creation, the iPad and reactions immediately poured in all over the twittersphere. My reaction as do so many others was the name iPad. Boy, does it sounds like a Sanitary Pad. The best reaction came from Cult of Mac.
Well, like it or hate it, Apple does has the capability of turning a trivial name into a BRAND. Remember the days when Steve mentioned the death of the name PowerBook and is rebranded as MacBook Pro? We all hated it at first especially those hardcore Powerbook users like me. The strongest reaction was from Richard Tibbetts editor of Hyperextended Metaphor:-
However many years later the name became the BRAND that just ingrained into many peoples mind and the word becomes something trivial to all. So it seems the reaction to the brand iPad would be a short term thing because many people in their mind (after reading all the rumor mills) were expecting something more fancy like iSlate (that even make Steve Ballmer quickly named his upcoming tablet as SlatePC) or something as trivial as the name iTablet. Enough said about that; let’s move on to my reaction over the iPad and what I think it would become and would not become.
iPad initial reactions
Firstly I would list down the many general complains I read over the twitter feed and try to put a response to it.
“What? no camera like an iPhone? This can’t be happening!”
OK! Why in the world would you want a camera on a Tablet? Wouldn’t it look odd taking picture with it? I think Steve Jobs is smart enough to know what make sense and what do not. Being said that, a webcam in front of the screen would make much more sense than having a camera at the back like an iPhone. For this reason I don’t know why it didn’t have one; could it be due to some technical reasons? I don’t know but I suspect future version of iPad will definitely have one. A hint to that is the built-in microphone which I suspect is for future use in video conferencing plus an interesting article posted here on an interesting SDK which allows you to take screenshot of yourself.
“Oh! It has no multitasking!”
This was something I wasn’t expecting too. I was thinking along the line that the new iPad would have a new kind of operating system that will revolutionize the tablet. But sadly to me is just another iPhone/iPod Touch OS that make its way into a larger screen format. Nothing as revolutionary as when iPhone was introduce with their Multi Touch technology.
“Why, Why..no Flash?”
Dude, FLASH for however great it is, is going to be a thing of the past with the introduction of HTML5 and AJAX. Just look at YouTube with the introduction of HTML5 videos recently. I see many potential for HTML5 especially for mobile devices over such thing as persistence storage for offline access and things like geo-location services such as the one which Google is using over iPhone and Android. In fact, I believe many developer are moving into this area as they can now develop a single set of application that will work across all kinds of devices that supports HTML5.
“Micro Sim what?”
Ok, I must admit I am not sure what is the decision behind using a Micro SIM as oppose to the usual SIM card that is common to all mobile phones like iPhone but I am sure we will have to judge it some other future times. One thing I know is Apple has the tendency to introduce something which are not common in the industry. (remember Firewire ?) I am not sure where this Micro SIM will be heading to but you can read more about it here.
“iPad is going to kill Kindle for sure”
I wouldn’t bet on it. Kindle is a totally different category all together. It was designed solely to read books and magazine whereas iPad was designed to be more of a jack of all trades media device like browsing, gaming, some editing (via its new iWork), photo viewing (perhaps some minor editing with upcoming apps?), movie watching, reading and perhaps more. Kindle uses Electronic Ink display whereas iPad uses a LED-backlit glossy widescreen display. I bet you can’t read a book under the bright sun light on a beach as you can with a Kindle. So there is no comparison at all when book reading is concern and not to mention the battery consumption of both 10 hours (according to Apple) vs. Kindle’s one week usage on a single charge. One thing I know for sure, thanks to Apple we can now possibly get a much cheaper Kindle.
Part 2 of this series I will touch on some unanswered question at least on my part on the iPad and my opinion on the future of what this platform holds.
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