Today's announcement was again another master stroke from Steve Jobs. However, most in Techland are unimpressed by the device. Its name seems to offend some women, if the blogs are to be believed. Its lack of Flash is still hitting hard in some circles; the OS being possibly some flavor of iPhone OS 4.0 and not OS X 5.1.X seems to be bothering a lot of people, even though these things don't seem to upset people in the Netbook arena running a watered down Linux or Android system.
To call this a big, fat iPod Touch would be close, but not completely precise. It appears to have created a niche unto itself. It's not an eBook - it's a lot better. Yet, it's not a portable laptop - it's less than that. It is a class all by itself.
It appears to beat the Kindle, something that I was about to buy in December to read more books. I believe that the pricing is the killer app! A lot of people expected $1,000. What they did was segment the market, while still keeping even the top model below the price of a MacBook. Brilliant ! They now have segments in just about all markets: The Sub $500 market will get you the low end iPad, any series of iPhones or iPod Touches; 500-999 will get you a used Macbook Pro or a MacBook or any series of iPads; 1000-1500 will get you a Macbook and a low end Macbook Pro or a desktop iMac fully loaded. 1500-2500 will get you an extra fully loaded iMac, a super duper Macbook and a fully loaded Macbook Pro. 2500+ will get you a Mac Pro - the PC looking separate machine with a monitor separate. They own this entire genre. Not to mention the fact that everything talks to everything else.
Some are ticked off that the iPad has no USB slot, but why would you need it? It's an advanced eReader basically, not a full fledged computer. And what about the iWork series on this thing? $10 buys you brilliance. So, they have Price, Products and a large developer population. The No-Boys (and they are mainly boys) say that this product is too lightweight and will fail dismally.
I say "NO!" The product is pure genius. I believe that many women will purchase this product. Mainly because it doesn't get in the way of doing whatever it is you are doing. There is no Operating system to worry about; no virus shield etc. The 3G option without a contract is again pure genius. I can see myself going away for a week and staying on 3G while I'm out and using the hotel wifi for everything else. I think that the only thing that will remain is whether AT&T means it when it says Unlimited Wifi or if it's 5 Gigabytes?
I think that Apple will learn a thing or two from Palm however. I don't think that Steve mentioned Iphone OS 4.0. I think that that will come either next month or during the iPhone presentation. Why is that important? Because I believe that we will see MULTI TASKING during 4.0. Jobs actually listens to the criticism. This is a 1.0 device. But I will probably still buy it to talk with all of my other Apple products. The syncing and the Sphere is just so compelling.
But look for OS 4.0 to take a gigantic hint from Palm with its opening page. I don't think that we will be thumbing through pages and pages of apps. I expect to see some kind of folder.
So, to my original query. Who will buy the iPad? Doctors, healthcare workers, people who like reading books, women, not kids and not teenagers, some tech savvy users, but not most, but definitely those who do not "like" or "get" computers. At $499, it's going to be compelling. It's better than an eBook reader; better than a Netbook and with excellent productivity software, it outshines a lot of laptops.
I think it's going to be a Winner. Uber-Geeks sit this one out!