What the iPad will be

By | January 31, 2010

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Disclaimer: This will sound very Apple Fan boy like!!! I really meant for the article to show that most people need a simpler computer. The iPad with all its hype right now is a great example of what could be

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The iPad is an oversized iPod Touch. There I said it and I mean it. However most people will be happy enough with an iTouch if they had only that device. After all it does most of what people require in a home PC. If you are reading this, you are probably not in the “most people” segment that the iPad is targeting. But let me show you why the iPad will work for “Most people”

For example here is what “Most people” do on their PCs at HOME: Email, Websurfing, Facebooking, IMing and gaming of the solitaire and facebook apps variety.

For most people, it actually means they only need a moderatly powered computer. In fact other than the small screen size which limits how long you can use it for, the iPod touch software can already fulfill most of their needs. Apple is betting that a larger iPod Touch will actually become the home PC for non geeks. The home PC is used for consumption of content, communication and entertainment. It does little serious work/numbers processing nor does it need to run developer IDEs etc.

Here is how the iPad story will play out from becoming a shared home appliance to a personal entertainment device.

Joe a tech geek/ Mac fan boy buys an iPad when it launches. He tries using it for a couple of months and finds it underwhelming. It can’t do what his netbook/notebook can do and his iPhone seems to be already able to do all the iPad can do and even more. Gradually, the iPad is left at home since Joe sees no need to bring this device with him. Joe decides to leave the iPad at his parent’s home the next time he visits.

Joe’s mum, Tina, who has been struggling to use a PC for over a decade discovers the iPad. The touch interface is surprisingly intuitive for her generation. She also understands that like electrical appliances, each app has its own single use. She setups her email, opens safari and after a week, the home PC is never switched on again. When she cooks, instead of printing out a receipt from allrecipes.com like she used to, she instead now uses the allrecipe app she downloaded from the app store.

In the next few months, Joe’s Dad, Tom, also discovers the iPad. Tina uses it for about a hour a day sending emails to friends and doing some facebook so there is still plently of time that Joe’s dad can use the iPad. Tom is a heavy user of the iPad. He spends hours a day reading on the iPad. There are newspapers, ebooks and magazine that could fill up his day.

As Tina and Tom increases their usage of the iPad, friction arises on who should get priority. To relieve the tension/potential conflict, Tom goes out and purchases another iPad. After all its only $499.

Now with an iPad of her own, Tina brings the device out regularly when she meets her friends. The iPad is a great device for sharing photos and playing multiplayer games. Tina friends get iPad evny and soon own their own set.

New York Times: Nov 23rd 2010 : Geeks buying iPads from their Moms and Dads for Thanksgiving

You’re headed home next week to a turkey feast with all the trimmings – and Mom and Dad’s computer. You know what’s going to happen.

I keep getting these pop ups, he’ll say. It’s just been so slow lately, she’ll say. I keep seeing this flashing picture of a roulette wheel that just won’t go away. Can you take a look at it?

That is what used to happen every year when geeks get home. This year something is different. For the first time, geeks can do something about it. John, like thousands of tech geeks fed up with the yearly PC fix ups, have purchased iPads to bring home to their parents this thanksgiving.

“My mum has been asking if an iPad can replace the PC at home. She saw her friend’s iPad and is totally in love with it. So this thanksgiving, I am getting her an iPad. I am hopeful that I will won’t be getting anymore support calls for the next year.”

Like the Wii, the iPad seem to be catching on as a gift for the less technologically savvy segment of the population. The parallels are uncanny. Both innovate on user interfaces, both are cheaper and underpowered compared to their counterparts and both are hugely popular with the non-geeks.

–Sarah Green

Written on my iPad