April 04, 2010

iPad Thoughts

It seems everyone who has an opinion and the ability to type somewhat coherently has an opinion about the iPad. And, seeing as I always have an opinion AND the ability to type more than coherently, here's my two cents.

The iPad: it's cool, but ultimately it's just another gadget that's going to further dilute an already diluted IT savvy marketplace.

People who love technological innovation will make a seamless transition to the iPad, and that number of people is no doubt in the millions, so Apple will once again swim in a Scrooge McDuck money bin full of cash.

But, really, people who have grown to love computers, will continue to prefer computers; and people who have grown to love Blackberries and other PDAs, will continue to prefer those gadgets; and people who have grown to love iPods, Zunes, Droids, etc., will continue to prefer those gadgets.

And newspapers, magazines and other legacy media will continue to scream "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!!!" and continue to lose their audiences.

For all its hype, the iPad will not save any particular industry segment, although I have no doubt many news media organizations will flock to the iPad, only to get financially burned, yet again, by the rapidly evolving world of technological innovation it has failed to understand and adapt to time and time and time again.

The bottom line. . . the line at the bottom. . . is consumers who have grown accustomed to a world of readily accessible and free data and information, will not acquiesce to any new online model that says "Pay Here." Granted, the digital world has gotten considerably more choked with data and information that's gotten increasingly more difficult to navigate, but given the choice between jumping digital hurdles for free, or paying to avoid the hurdles, the vast majority of online users will opt to jump through digital hurdles to access free content.

The iPad is just another digital distraction; something the media will fawn over but, ultimately, it will be just another in a long line of digital gadgetry that has a loyal following, but has a tough time gaining converts from other digital gadgetry. And the digital marketplace will continue to become even more diluted and confusing.

And, I guarantee you: someone, SOMEWHERE, will figure out how to craft spam for the iPad. That's as certain as death and taxes.

Posted by Ryan at April 4, 2010 07:57 PM | TrackBack

Oh, I dunno. I mean, I don't think the iPad is anything special, but the iPod was certainly a revolutionary product. Not that it (or is) anything special technologically, but its relatively low price point, the reliability of the design, and the simplicity of the interface made MP3s, which are generally inferior to other compression formats, into the dominant form of audio media storage. And iPhones make mobile internet access practicable in a way it didn't used to be with laptops -- and that has definitely changed the way certain industries operate.

I tend to think the iPad is the worst of the iPhone and a laptop, combined into one overpriced and somewhat oversized product -- it's too big to put in your pocket, no port to plug in an external keyboard, and the glass keyboard isn't responsive enough to be really useful for typing. But it's a step in an interesting direction -- the direction of complete and constant connectivity, and of a sort of digital backpack of stuff that everyone carries around with them all the time -- some books, a few TV shows, email, phone, camera, video camera, etc. But if someone can make a laptop with a really reliable and responsive interface (basically, a good keyboard), a fast processor, a long battery life, a good screen, a lot of storage, and then have the whole thing be reasonably durable and cheap? I think you're going to see all the legacy media just funnel right into that. Once the market is there, the DRM will follow. It just hasn't been worth anyone's time to come up with a genuinely workable system yet.

Sorry. Rambling. Wife's out of town. Never know what to do with myself when she's not home.

Posted by: Joshua at April 5, 2010 10:25 PM
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