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01/29/2010 The iPad: We Hate it When We're Right

Apple finally announced the iPad and the frenzy leading up to the event was quickly replaced with people declaring it a disappointment or a success. There seems to be a lot of disappointment because everyone's expectations were sky high. When you've labeled something "the Jesus tablet" there's nowhere to go but down.

As I look, from afar without having even touched one, I think Apple has finally delivered a great mobile media device, one that us techies and experts have predicted would show up at one time or another. And now that it's here, just like we said, we don't know what to make of it.

Mobile Media
The fact that we can access and consume media from everywhere is great. The problem is that it's not much fun to watch a video, look at pictures or read an online newspaper on your phone. It works, but it's not great. You could do all of these things on your laptop, but it's big, somewhat cumbersome, and not always conducive for the media at hand.

The iPad fills the niche of performing all of those tasks neatly. The biggest piece might be the reading one: Reading a book, newspaper or Web site on your laptop or phone is sub-par at best. When you combine the capability of a Kindle with good video and key user functionality you have something you can't get anywhere else.

Will people buy this to consume media? I think they will because it looks like the iPad will make an easier and more comfortable consumption. I can even see reading or watching in bed, something I rarely do with my iPhone or laptop.

The promise of the iPad is that it will add a layer of interactivity onto content. We haven't seen in yet, but you can bet people will find a way to get creative on this one. It's the functionality and ease of use of the device that's key here. Interactive TV isn't coming soon because who the heck wants to play around with TV programs? Somehow TV is just not a Wii, even if it's the same screen.

The size and proximity of the user makes interactive content and advertising much more interesting. The closeness of the tablet with touch control might be the biggest advantage. Built in control of the media is another. Watch for this to explode. Just like we didn't see the App wave coming until it was upon us, I think the same thing will happen, in one way or another, with the iPad interactivity.

Just like the iPod, the iPad will be easy to move around. It'll be easy to carry on a plane or prop up in the kitchen (and remember those tiny TVs people used to have in their kitchens? Gone). Just wait for those cool iPad carriers too.

Most of the complaints have come from people who say the iPad didn't fill an expected need. But Apple and Steve Job's brilliance has always come by creating something we didn't yet know we needed.

Just remember, it took Jesus almost 300 years to become "successful." I'll bet in another three, at most, we'll look at the iPad as another winner.



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