Why the iPad Will be More than Just a BIG iPhone
The imminent launch of the Apple iPad is drawing many comments from both sides of the aisle. On one side, the extremists argue that this device will be the largest innovation in recent tech memory. On the other, naysayers reduce the new device to simply “an oversized iPhone.” In other words, the iPad will simply and exactly replicate the feeling and experience of the iPhone–but with a bigger screen.
While it’s too soon to tell (very few have actually seen one), our hunch is that this device will be a game-changer. Here are a few reasons why.
1. A bigger screen is more than just a bigger screen. If you think about it, a larger screen is not an incremental change–it’s a shift. Joe Hewitt, a developer, explains why in an insightful post. Essentially, we will begin to do things on an iPad that we can (but probably wouldn’t) do on an iPhone. For example, we can watch a movie or draft a document on an iPhone, but most people don’t. In short, a bigger screen is a bigger deal than we think.
2. Instant-on. This is bigger than we think, but the iPad will turn on instantly (i.e. within a second or two) while a laptop can take up to a minute or two. It’s a awkward moment in a lunch meeting to wait for a laptop to boot up. The iPad should solve that problem.
3. It’s smaller than a laptop. It has many of the abilities of a laptop, but a fraction of the size. It will be easier to tuck it under one’s arm walking into a meeting. What’s more, airlines currently frown on putting laptops in the seat pocket in front of the passenger; an iPad solves this problem with its smaller form factor.
4. Longer battery life than a laptop. Lengthier battery life is a good thing for users. It’s prolonged battery life will make it easier to go about your day (or weekend) without the worry of tucking the power cord in your bag.
5. A third device will find a place. The common argument is that while many are currently willing to carry around both a computer and a phone, they won’t be ready to carry around a third device. That’s probably a safe assumption, but one could also make the argument that the device’s abilities, form factor, and instant-on will give it a new niche and create a new place in our lives.
6. E-reading needs a polish. Steve Jobs must have been bluffing when he said that “people don’t read anymore.” The iPad is making a pretty big bet on the contrary as it appears to be taking the e-reader concept to a new level. If you’ve used a Kindle, you may have noticed that while the e-paper technology is amazing, the experience of looking at your library of books and flipping pages is far from an engaging experience. Take a quick look at this view of the forthcoming e-reading experience on the iPad and it’s clear to see that this one will be–well–better.
7. New avenues for the publishing industry. It’s no secret that magazine and newspaper publishers need a life preserver. While you can read a newspaper on the Kindle, it certainly doesn’t come close to replicating the experience of holding a daily newspaper in your hand. You miss too much content, the layout provides no guidance on story emphasis or importance, and there are no photos or visual elements to speak of. Magazines are in the same boat. The iPad will be a much better experience and while you can read on the iPhone, it requires a whole lot of pinching and sliding to see all of the content!
9. Don’t bet against Steve Jobs. It’s hard to imagine that Jobs would release this product if it wasn’t a big deal–a game changer. He’s certainly missed before, but it seems as if his track record over the last decade would suggest he’ll make huge waves with it.
10. People will Buy It. Like most Apple products, their loyalists (a huge group) will buy it. Gadget-lovers and kids will need it. This will result in an installed base of users that will generate critical mass for software publishers, something missing in other devices and part of the reason that the iPhone and its App Store have flourished. More users will perpetuate more innovation and creativity…a cycle that just might snowball.
The iPad is not without its flaws and it would have been nice to see a few more features (like a camera) out of the box. But then again, if Jobs included everything in the first version, he would have nothing else to sell us next month!