27 January 2010

iPad: Apple's netbook?



What's my impression of the iPad? (Sorry, I don't do impressions)
Steve Jobs announced and demonstrated the Apple iPad today. My first thought is that this is Apple's answer to Netbooks. Their approach, unlike most Netbook makers, is to enlarge a phone instead of shrinking a laptop. Since Apple can't seriously think I want to buy an iPhone, a MacBook, and now an iPad as well, and then juggle them around depending on what I'm up to, they either must be targeting Netbook buyers or they just made a big mistake.

Pros:

  • Slick and hip, in the uniquely Apple slick-and-hip way
  • Cooler, more convenient, and probably more capable than most Netbooks. 
  • Familiar interface
  • Familiar apps from iPhone
Cons:
  • Too big for a phone, too small for a laptop
  • Ergonomically challenging: small virtual keyboard, and you have to look down at screen while typing.
  • Doesn't run Mac apps
  • 9.7-inch display but not wide-screen will make watching movies difficult

Interesting product, and pretty much what we all expected in terms of physical format. The twist to me is having a computer-like product that they've grown from the iPhone model instead of shrinking from the Mac model. The question is really: is this a new product segment? An entry into the Netbook segment? Or a miss?

[UPDATE 1415 ET 1/27/2010]
Well, there's the answer, just announced as well. iBook Store. Just as the iPod was a vehicle for Apple to sell Music, and iPhone was a vehicle for Apple to sell phone apps, iPad appears to be a vehicle to sell iBooks and iMovies (and probably apps that are optimized for a larger screen).

So, yes, Apple does expect me to buy all these devices:

  • iPod to listen
  • iPhone to telephone, and as the anchor to location
  • iMac for computing
  • iPad for reading books and watching movies and TV