Posting in Design
Could the iPad actually fail? Or will it be greeted as a data liberator, its march through the market a cakewalk? Don't knock that statue of Bill Gates off his pedestal just yet. Here are six possible scenarios for Apple iPad fail.
Throughout the last few months of hype there has been one unspoken assumption. This is going to be big. This is going to be huge. This can't miss.
There's evidence for that. Steve Jobs hasn't had a failure since Lisa. Tablets are a form factor people have liked for decades, something just waiting for some Apple innovation. Niches like books, pioneered by the Amazon Kindle, have made the idea more attractive.
What could possibly go wrong? Why, the iPads will be greeted as liberators. It will be a cakewalk.
I've been going through the hype, and the reality, building toward the iPad's launch. I have been able to document at least six general ways in which all this could go wrong. So don't push that Bill Gates statue from tech's central square just yet!
1. Sucky battery -- Battery technology has not kept pace with other areas of tech, and the iPad reflects this.
The iPad uses more power than an iPhone, so the rechargeable lithium-polymer battery has to be replaced "at the shop." It will cost you over $100, and you'll lose your data, because they're really just shipping you a new iPad.
2. It's just a fat iPhone -- The curved back of the iPhone, on which the iPad is based, makes it hard to control. Did you know it's a right-handed device? The buttons on the left are designed to be pressed with the tops of the fingers on the right hand. If you are sinister like me (left-handed), it is no fun. And now you're doubling-down on that?
There is a reason the first thing a lot of people get for their iPhone is a case. It not only adds comfort, but stability, and protects the phone when it (inevitably) falls on the floor. The iPad design doubles down on that, too.
Notice how in the Oscars' ad (above) the user has created a new way of dealing with the computer? Not sitting upright, like at a desk, or standing up, as with an iPhone. He's lying on his back, knees-up. Sounds cool. But try it for a few hours straight.
3. Apple's walled garden -- Apple's developer and user policies for the iPhone have more in common with cellphones than the PCs you're used to. This is causing pushback, and helping open source developers justify switching to the Android, despite the iPhone's enormous market lead.
It's one thing to accept Chairman Steve and his Disneyfied content policies on a phone you keep in your pocket. It's something else to accept them on your main computer. If you want a Big Brother, you'll at least want to choose your own, not have him built-into your device.
4. Connectivity -- AT&T, Apple's partner on the iPhone, does not expect to sell a lot of iPad data subscriptions. They see it as a WiFi driven product. And sticking any wire into the thing sort of defeats the purpose, don't you think? (Or did you notice that detail?)
But is WiFi ready for PC prime time? WiFi is currently a point technology. It's not mobile the way cellular is. One way Apple could get around this is by aligning with Clear, the Comcast-Google-Sprint WiMax network. But when did Apple ever align with a market laggard before? Or with Google?
5. Content -- This is Apple's ace in the hole, but with the iPad it may be more like a deuce or a trey.
That's because Amazon has spent as much time and effort cultivating book publishers for the Kindle as Apple has spent cultivating music publishers for the iPod. We can accept a single store solution for a music player or phone, but, again, will you do that for the equivalent of a PC?
And won't movie studios, along with everyone else, be looking now to get a better deal than those signed years ago with Apple, on the promise of iPad riches? The music guys have already pushed the price of songs to $1.29. What will they charge for movies?
6. Competition -- The iPod and iPhone were launched into a virtual vacuum. There was nothing like them at the time which had gained any market traction.
That's not true here. Not only is the Kindle a big-seller, but tablets are an established niche for Microsoft. Everyone and their Uncle Mike is delivering tablets to the market this year. That means you won't have to settle for Apple's rounded form factor. You can have a tablet in any size you like, any shape, with or without a keyboard. Yes, it will do Windows.
A lot of people are betting I'm wrong. They're betting that Steve Jobs can once again redefine computing with the iPad, creating a new type of consumer device everyone will want, much as they want their iPhones and iPods.
Maybe he will. But he's now in the position of the New Orleans Saints. He's not sneaking up on anyone anymore. The rest of the tech league is gunning for him.
Mar 17, 2010
Lets see, the world could end. That would kill the iPad. The world could starve due to the wheat blight coming. 2012 will be the end of the world so there is always that. LoL... Just loved the real stretch that you had to go for to find these. What about most netbooks just fading away cause the iPad is easier and more fun to use for email and surfing the web. and if you really need to type and spread sheet,,, there is apps for that. And 140,000 more already on sale at the iTunes store. Sure hate apple all you want. But I have a strong feeling you will be severely wrong. Just a thought, en
@ OC cramp, I think you are spot on. It is the perfect device for the grandmother set. People who get easily confused by computers love the K.I.S.S. interface of the iphone. I sure my mother will buy one and love it. She wont mind the lack of OSX. And if they, the over 50 crowd, or under 15, dont need to do any serious work, then this might just be the thing. I love apple, but I dont understand the lack of usb for a keyboard or a flat back to put it on a table. Or an isight camera to casually do skype google video chat. But then again, I am not your mom.
i just wonder how many will actually spend $500 plus accessories for pretty much a product that's more a conversation piece then anything else? I mean I sit around surfing on my computer because I can do so much on it. Multi tasking is a way of life. I had a iPod Touch and my complaints about it are pretty much the same for the iPad. It's just not something I will spend money on.
Never mind how it will fail. I'm interested in how people will use it. I've never seen one and probably won't for some time, but when I do, I'm wondering if it might be something my mom might want to use. She's 82 and she'd like a nice, light, easy to use computer. The tablet form would work for her if she wanted to sit on her couch and surf the Web, or even send emails or blog if the touch display keyboard is any good. Does anyone who's actually used one think this is a good option? pc
That is Microsoft Pads...Apple laid down the specs and if MS/Intel/Dell/Hp can out engineer Apple then they all deserve to go out of business...Come on..if Dell doesn't introduce an dPad with 32gigs, Dual Core i2 processor with MS word/excel for $499 then Apple will eat their lunch... Sorry MS/Intel/Dell/Hp
And get a hard back book. The only electronic books I own are ebooks that deal with IT. That is because I can carry them to any job that I am at. I don't have to do that with books I read for fun. Sorry, isn't happening. Besides, I hate Apple for the same reason I hate Microsoft. They are proprietary and want to control the world. Its bad enough I have to deal with one 'me or else' company because of work, I am not going to tie myself to another one for pleasure.
on #1... thought about this years ago when I first heard rumors of an Apple tablet: Apple was going to break new ground with their tablet (in this case, thats questionable it being just a glorified ipod-touch). What they needed to do was team it up with a special edition model that had batteries from A123 Systems. Sure it'd cost more, but it would last over 20 hours and would charge up for over a full day of use in under 5 minutes. It would've been a great way for this new energy density to be presented to the world, and given Apple an edge untouched by anyone else in the industry. (as well as boosted A123 Systems stock price through the roof). I know A123 Systems won't be able to provide enough cells for mass mass production on the level of hybrid cars until lithium from desalination plants is made more readily available to them but this would've been a great way to get people prepared for the mindset, as to say, if a Toyota Prius can run for ~10 miles on just the batteries now, how about 25, and charge to the first 20miles within 5 minutes. The world would be begging A123 Systems to release product faster, and their capacity for production of this level is already in line with their current cell lines with DeWalt and the after-market packs they sell for Prius' now.