I was really looking forward to getting the future Apple tablet. Then at some point I thought: “it will be a cool device, but it will cost about $1000 just like everything from Apple, and it will probably arrive to the market somewhere late 2010”. So I chickened and bought a nice new netbook Compaq Mini 311c.
Turned out, I was all wrong: the iPad will arrive soon, it’s seemingly not overpriced, and it’s totally not cool. Let’s start by comparing iPad to Mini 311c and then see if the tablet is good for anything at all. I won’t compare GHz’s and GB’s. They are in the same price category, similar size, the tablet is slightly smaller and lighter. Let’s get down to consumer characteristics:
|Battery life||6 hours||10 hours|
|Web surfing||any browser, plugins, Flash||basic Safari, no Flash|
|Apps||anything goes||AppStore only|
|Gaming||real 3D games like COD6 run||very basic|
|Video||720p screen, 1080p HDMI||standard|
|USB||3 ports||needs adapter|
So, I can use the Mini for web browsing, video chats, HD video, gaming. I can use iPad for lame web browsing, and for …. AppStore browsing. iPad is not a normal computer, is not a multimedia device, not a gaming device, not an eBook reader. To further add to the offence, it’s locked into the AppStore.
Obviously, Apple is up to something. They can’t just deliver a device, which is not good for anything at all. What they are trying to do is to invent a new product category. Something like “a household tablet to read e-magazines and for occasional web-surfing”. The fact that the category name is so long is a bad sign. It means they will have to educate consumers about how their iPad is nice and useful.
But it won’t help, because their product is very ordinary. With iPhone, it tooks others 2-3 years to deliver similarly cool devices. With iPad, it will be eaten alive by the competition this year.