Apple's iPad: What's it really for?
It's a way to showcase multi-touch tech, open new doors for Apple
Computerworld - If there's one thing Apple is good at, it's keeping the rest of world guessing about new products while generating more buzz than the New Orleans Saints making it to the Super Bowl for the first time. Even though the world knew Apple CEO Steve Jobs would unveil a tablet on Wednesday, the announcement created enough of a stir to take down Twitter briefly and slow Web traffic on a lot of sites.
Post-buzz, reaction to the iPad seems to be mixed. I don't think you can really dispute the cool factor. After seeing even a handful of videos or screenshots showing the new device, most anyone would recognize that Apple is once again reframing how we handle all the data and media that now make up our digital lives.
But after my "I can't wait to play with this" moment, a slight sense of disappointment and confusion set in. Some of it was inevitable after all the hype and rumors of the past several weeks. When many of the dreamed-of features (multitasking, still or video cameras, the possibility of wireless carriers other than AT&T) turned out to be just that -- dreams -- and there was no preview of iPhone OS 4.0 as many expected, some people were bound to feel like a kid who gets sweaters at Christmas instead of a Wii.
Beyond that, though, the target market for the iPad isn't as clearly defined as it is for most Apple products. Is it appropriate for business use? Is it a media player or e-reader? How would it be used in educational environments? Is it just an oversized iPod Touch? Exactly what needs does it meet that a smartphone or notebook can't fulfill?
We won't fully know the answer to those questions until the iPad hits the market in March or April or for a little while after it's released. But maybe the point isn't what the iPad is, but what it represents.
Whatever the intended market (I'll speculate a little more on that in a minute), the iPad represents a lot of important things for Apple. It shows that Apple is still looking to lead and innovate in a wide array of areas, both technically and in terms of how people use technology.
The iPad is the latest and most striking example of Apple's use of multi-touch technology. True multi-touch capability was more concept than reality before the iPhone's debut in 2007. In less than three years, Apple has taken that technology and baked it into every one of its product lines. After the iPhone came multi-touch trackpads on Apple's laptops. Then, last fall, came the new magic mouse. And now it's being used in a full tablet. With each advance, Apple rolls out new ways to interact with devices.
- Office for iPad apps ring up 27M downloads
- Apple plays hardball with iPad Mini reveal
- Apple breezes to PC sales' top spot as Windows share decays
- Analyst tallies perks of September launch of new iPhone, iPad
- Analyst predicts stellar iPad sales in next week's Apple earnings
- Nexus 7 holds up better than iPad in drop, water-dunk tests
- With iPad Mini, Apple would remain tablet king through '16, says IDC
- Apple demands ipad3.com domain
- Chrome for iOS snatches top spot on App Store
- iPad in the Enterprise: IT Must Stay Ahead of the Curve
- Cloud Computing Drives IT and Business Agility Hybrid Cloud Accelerates Time to Value What is the main focus for IT in your organization - cost or agility? Many IT discussions today focus on cost controls rather...
- Infographic:10 Reasons to Choose vCloud Air Looking to create an agile, productive, and efficient IT environment? Read this simple infographic to learn about the benefits that VMware vCloud® Air™...
- Data Visualization Techniques: From Basics to Big Data with SAS Visual Analytics This paper discusses some of the basic issues concerning data visualization, from data size and column composition, to solving unique challenges presented by...
- 5 Hybrid Cloud Starting Points Did you know that more than 50% of organizations are already using or planning a move to hybrid cloud?
- Cloud BI in Action: Recorded Webinar of Customer, Kony, Inc. See how Kony, Inc., a leading enterprise mobility company, is using TIBCO Jaspersoft for Amazon Web Services and Redshift to achieve embedded analytics...
- Cloud BI Overview: Jaspersoft for AWS Check out this overview of Jaspersoft for AWS, to easily and affordably build business intelligence solutions as well as embed visualizations and analytics... All Macintosh White Papers | Webcasts