This is part 2 of the series on my take of the initial reaction to the announcement of Apple’s new creation the iPad. I have talked about the general responses and criticisms from the general view I gathered over the Internet and I will spend some time here to talk about what I think the future iPad will hold.
Some initial unanswered question
Prior to writing this part of the article, I had some unanswered questions as to some of the technical points of the iPad. Firstly is about the applications. How is it that the developer going to maintain two sets of a single application for two screen size of the iPhone/iPod Touch and the iPad not to mention the different UI interfaces such as menus, panes, and windows. I just went through the Apple SDK documentation and it did mentioned a feature call the Universal App where by a developer can maintain one binary for two different set of interfaces. So there you go; problem solved but am sure binary will be bigger from now on having two set of UI instructions.
At the event, Apple review to us the new iWorks for iPad. It looks great and not to mention cheap and at $9.99 it would definitely set a standard of how a software would cost in the future especially for those which are running on a Mac OS X platform. Now the question is since the iPad, like its counterparts (iPhone/iPod Touch) does not has a file folder hierarchy like the Max OS X does, how are the document files going to be stored and shared between a Mac? Would it work like how we sync our songs and videos? After much digging, the answer lies in what they call a Shared Folder.
Honestly, I would prefer the iPad (even to the extend of iPhone and iPod Touch) to have a common folder system that can be access by all applications. Imagine if applications such as DropBox , iDisk or any other applications can have access to the same folder system, it would be perfect to integrate everything nicely and have files sync across the clouds transparently.
iPad and what the future holds
Content is King
As I have mentioned earlier, there are many strong reactions (positives and negatives) over the announcement of iPad. I am not going to say more about what people’s reactions are as I am sure you can google it. Now, let’s talk about what the future holds for iPad. Remember the reaction when iPhone was launched back in 2007? No multitasking, no apps, no 3G, too expensive , no copy-cut-paste, no MMS, no stylus and blah blah blah, and it will never sell; move back the clock to 2010 (3 years later) and we have over 40 million iPhones sold, over 140,000 applications and over 3 billion of applications downloaded. I am suspecting the same will be apply to iPad and 3 years from now you will see an iPad everywhere you go.
One interesting thing I noted over the Steve’s presentation; He emphasized, “We’re a mobile device company” but I think the subtle hint was “We are a media content delivery company”. Many wanted an iPad as a computer device that can perform like a netbook or a laptop. I think is safe to say Apple strategy since the day of the iPods has always been the contents rather than the hardware. They want to be the King of contents, delivering a full spectrum of media experiences to its customers via its hardware. They started of with Music, then Movies (both rental and non-rental), Applications, Games, and now the “Print” media which are books, newspapers, magazines and comics. There is a reason after all when they changed their name from Apple Computer to Apple Inc; that’s to say we are now no longer just a Computer company, we are a content delivery company. One more thing I wanted to add into this is since now we have iTunes Store, AppStore and the latest iBooks Store, why not merge all this services into one single coherent store for instance an AppleStore? I hope Apple would take note on this.
Apple’s mobile devices roadmap
Let’s move beyond what the iPad can or cannot do for a while here. I think generally many people (unless you are a geek like me) missed something very important over this iPad announcement, and that is the new Apple A4 chip. For those of you who do not yet know, Apple had recently acquired a chip manufacturing company call P.A Semi and iPad is the first product in Apple’s range that uses its own CPU. SOC (Systems-on-a-chip).
If you have watched the demo, you would have noticed how blazingly fast it was. The demo on the Maps application is super fast. And this A4 Chip, I believe will be the key towards the future road map of all Apple mobile devices maybe including the next generations of MacBooks. There is a good article written on this here by Daring Fireball.
The future of mobile applications
I am sure by now many existing iPhone apps developer will be cranking their thought processes into making use of the screen resolution to come out with some nifty innovations. I am very excited about this. Imagine having the ability to run an iPad version of Photoshop and do a quick editing while having a coffee at Starbuck laying down comfortably on a couch and immediately post the photo online. Ain’t this more true to a sense that a Tablet is more like a “Laptop” than a laptop? I am sure with such a big screen size, couple up with multi-touch and accelerometer, we are going to witness many applications yet to come that will blows your mind away, just like what happen to iPhone with Augmented Reality Apps and many other innovative apps such as those that enable us to search for news, foods or movies based on where we are.
Courtesy from mattbuchanan
My Final Note
The question now is would I buy one? Hell yeah! and I admit I am a sucker for all things Apple. Now, the next question is how and when am I going to use it since I already have a MacBook Pro and an iPhone? The answer is simple really. Doing all my work related stuffs while I am at my desk ie Word Processing, Photo Editing and whatever you can think off, I will stick to my MacBook Pro hooked up to my beautiful 30″ Apple Cinema Display. If I am on the road, walking around, or having a quick lunch I will use my iPhone. How is it I am going to use the iPad then? Say when I decide to laze on the couch or at Starbucks enjoying my coffee and killing time, it will be a good idea to catch up with blogs, perhaps editing one, catching up with my emails, doing some photo editing, reading an e-book, or even perhaps watching a movie with an iPad solely because of its screen size. Not that this cannot be done by a laptop or a netbook, but how many of us can truly lie down on a couch with those hot beast on our laps, right?
For those who were psyched about iPad and got disappointed after that is because they are having a mindset that a tablet is a can-do-all computer, very much what Microsoft is pushing but failed. Sorry folks, I don’t see it that way. If you want a computer go get a computer. iPad will never going to replace a Macbook or a Netbook. It is design for different set of purposes, hence if you have seen Steve Job’s presentation you will noticed he emphasize on one very important issue about iPad being in the third category of device in between a laptop and an iPhone:-
So there you have it; my long winded analysis of what I gathered so far and what I think this mobile device will be in the future. And if you are like me, prepare to break your piggy and get swept away by the possibilities of what it can do.