Apple iPad: Out of this world hit or colossal failure?

apple-ipad-6

As someone who loves technology, I was very interested in the Apple announcement this past week.  I read some of the live blogging during Steve’s presentation and have read some of the pundit blogs in the last few days.  Most of the reactions I’ve seen are either: Apple hit it out of the ballpark (see Apple ][, Mac Plus, original iMac, iPod, iPhone) or Apple just delivered another dud (see Apple Lisa, first Mac laptop, 20th Anniversary Mac, Mac Cube, Apple TV). So which is it?

I think the iPad will be successful in certain scenarios, but first let’s rule out where the iPad doesn’t make sense. iPads won’t be used in the enterprise.  The form factor doesn’t make sense for typical office functions for extended periods of time (the occasional document editing on weekends might happen).  Plus, enterprise IT only likes devices that can be centrally managed and Apple has a history of not playing well in this space.

I also don’t think it’ll be a laptop replacement.  As the laptop has replaced the desktop, it is now the main computing device.  It’s the thing that we attach our devices to (printers, scanners, extra storage, etc), the thing that we use at the office and the home to get work done.  The iPad won’t replace the laptop for any of these scenarios.ipad-apple-large

The iPad can serve the casual computing niche extremely well.  What do I mean by casual computing?  For me, it’s the time that I spend with the laptop surfing and reading my RSS feeds in my family room with the tv on in the background.  It’s for the times when I need a trivia question answered (like when we need to find out where we’ve seen that actor before via IMDB.com).  Or during the sixteen hour drive to Disney World, when the kids want to watch a movie.

One thing I would need for vacations, would be the ability to get photos off the camera and onto the iPad, so I could then post them to the net.  (I like to get copies of my photos onto Google photos just in case something would happen to my camera before I got home.)Lenovo-IdeaPad-U1-Hybrid-Notebook-Slate-Tablet-Combo-screen

So when am I going to get one? Eh, I’m not.  The price is just too high for me to drop on a casual device. I’ll continue to use my laptop for both work and some casual.  Our desktop (a Mac Mini) will still be the main computer in the house, with our finance, photos, and music.

If I was going to spend money on a new device, I think a better fit would be something like the Lenovo IdeaPad.  It was announced at CES this year.  It’s a small laptop, with a detachable screen.  When the screen detaches, it changes from a Windows based machine to a custom Linux machine, with functionality like that of the iPad. For just under $1,000 you get two computers in one.

Only time will tell if the iPad is deemed a success. I’ll be looking back at this post in a couple of years to see how things actually turned out compared with how I think today….

Print | posted @ Sunday, January 31, 2010 3:55 AM