A lot of people don't believe it, but steve jobs is right... The iPad is an important device. Why? Not because it's something magical (personally I think he said that simply to generate fervor and to try and raise everyone's awareness), but because of what it represents.
I have been thoroughly disappointed in computers now for a number of years. While there are many, many computer enthusiasts out there who are hell bent on having the latest, greatest, biggest, fastest and most energy consuming devices out there, I'm not one of those people, or computer techs for that matter. There are so many whiz bang features out there that with each year there is something new to be excited about. But I'm not one of them. There was a time I was, but not now.
Why is this? It's mainly because computers since the early 80's have been more or less the same. This is the same with laptops and desktop systems, and both Win/DOS and Apple systems. There has been innovation, and experimenting in form factors, primarily on Apple's part, but inside, they have been still the same and followed the same WIMP (Window Interface Mouse Pointer) interface as all computers before it.
After all this time, where is the real innovation? What has been done to substantially improve the end user experience, how computers function, what they represent and how they are used?
That is where the iPad comes in. Is it the best at what it does? No. Is it riddled with bugs? In it's first software iteration, yes... But that will be taken care of. Does it have the best user experience? No... Not yet.
Down the road, maybe it will or maybe it won't. But honestly, I don't care if it does. It has so far achieved what Steve Jobs and Apple wanted: market penetration and inevitable saturation. This alone will ensure the arrival of the next evolution of computers.... Devices that have closed environments where the user experience is controlled and changeable to only a certain degree. Software for the device is controlled as well through a gatekeeper which will help ensure the elimination, or eventual, of viruses, spyware and malware. This is also important to ensure a higher level of quality for the software that goes on these devices. It's all very important because the "fast and loose" way that software is distributed and installed now on operating systems is the main reason for the problems we have now. This is why devices like the iPad are so important.
The iPad was the first and there will be many more, from vendors like Dell, HP, Gateway, Acer, and smaller vendors like ibuypower. These devices will offer a lot more: bigger screens, sensory feedback while typing, cameras, better screens, clever software, etc. But they will all follow the same foundation too this time around. All will offer their own "market" for software, and their own closed ecosystem. There will still be the big computers and laptops that offer users the full-on computing experience we all know now, but they will grow to see smaller and smaller market share and they will become less prevalent in homes, corporations and schools because there will be less problems with these new types of computers with their closed environments. As this new form factor matures, these touch screen computers will offer much more, in terms of both the software and the hardware. It's no surprise to me that Apple made the iPad the way it did. It's meant to be a closed device meant for media consumption. It's not meant to be a computer as we know it. Many of the early critics failed to see this. Multitasking isn't important on the iPad because it's meant to be a casual device... Not a computer meant for real work.
This will all change however. The iPad is the first, and represents a certain niche. It's meant for a specific purpose. It's existence however represents far more. That's why Steve Jobs considers it his most important product. The best thing he's ever done. In time, it will represent a game changer- a real shift in how we do what we do with the type of computing devices we use. This is an exciting time now. It represents the beginning of more change in the computer industry then we have seen since the 70's and it's the sole reason I'm not nearly as frustrated with the junky computers with moving parts that accumulate dust and break down, and the operating systems which attract viruses for a myriad of reasons (no... Linux and Mac aren't safe either).
Now, we're finally starting to get computers that are pretty much maintenance fee, are easy to use, and are high quality. It's an exciting time now, as this is only beginning. Let's see how all the competing vendors answer with products of their own, and how the subsequent software market adjusts.
The days going to come when I walk in to Starbucks, and find everyone sipping their lattes while each posting status updates with touch devices (and not laptops) from HP, Dell, Gateway, and Acer... Each with their unique features and benefits, and each with their own manufacturer controlled way of distributing software to the device instead of boxed software from Staples or Best Buy. Welcome to the future ....
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone