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Where the iPad is Revolutionary

As I just wrote in my last post, I don’t really think the iPad is a revolutionary device itself.

But I do get why people think it provides a glimpse of the future. In this way, it’s a little like the iPod, which basically showed the way to the iPhone (except the iPod was so new and so fresh and so powerful, it qualified as a truly revolutionary device in it’s own right).

As I’ve used the iPad the last day, it’s got me dreaming of the device that I think Apple will most surely build that will revolutionize computing: an extremely lightweight, thin MacBook that supports touch and runs OSX.

Microsoft tried to do something like this with their first tablets but they ran, well, Windows. And were the opposite of elegant.

I’d love a device that combines my Macbook and my iPad. Where I can toggle between a touch-driven app and regular, keyboard laptop functionality. With their new A4 chip and Jony Ive and Steve Job’s vision, Apple can and surely will make this device. Can’t wait. When they do, that will be the revolutionary device, and the iPad will have paved the way.

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One thought on “Where the iPad is Revolutionary

  1. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this for the last few months, too. The conclusion I’ve come to is basically:

    You and I are NOT the target market for the iPad. We wish we were; we’ve got enough Things We’d Rather Do On An iPad-Like Device to convince ourselves that buying one is a no-brainer, but… although I’m sure Apple appreciates our custom, they’re not looking at us “traditional” Mac-buying folk to make the iPad an iPod-level success.

    The iPad is really, truly aimed towards people like my dad, my sister-in-law, the guys I have coffee with at a local coffee stall (very un-Starbucks-like)… people who have been made to “feel stupid” whenever they touch a Windows PC, to the extent that they’re VERY reluctant to touch anything else that calls itself a “computer”…. but who see all the useful things you can do on the Internet. People who’d like to be able to send email to their kids halfway around the world, or who’d like a wider variety of news viewpoints than the (tightly controlled) local media provides, or who want to learn new things.

    Those people don’t want “a computer.” They don’t care about all the other “great” things you can do on a “real” computer, because every time they’ve touched a computer, it’s been a negative experience. You and I know that Microsoft do that on purpose, and why; we also know that most non-techies don’t understand… any more than you are likely to understand the variables that go into making a great roti canai or teh tarik. We don’t need to know; we just know this out-of-the-way stall that obviously holds the flipping patent, because it’s so much better than we’ve ever had anyplace else.

    Apple want to be that stall. Actually, they want to be the company that brings thousands or millions of those stalls to millions or billions of customers who are willing to pay them for that access. The iPad threatens to be the tipping point, the K-T event, that separates the old-media controlled-scarcity economic model from the post-media continuous expansion of functionally unlimited abundance.

    “But we’ve already got that with the Web,” you sputter. Yes, we do. How many people use the Web every day? Out of 7 billion or so people on the planet? You have to use a “computer” to use the Web; sure, cell phones have browsers now, but they’re primitive and still too complicated for a lot of people. The iPad isn’t anything that will remind most people of a Windows PC — and that’s exactly the point. That’s why Apple’s been on this “magical” advertising kick; they’re telling people “Yes, it is FM. But we’ve turned the FM into something that you can actually use… just by touching it.”

    Companies have lusted after that market for decades… and insulted people’s intelligence by bringing out something that was obviously a stripped-down, broken subset of another product aimed at techies. (Think of the PCjr, or Microsoft Bob.) Techies like us might argue that the iPad is stripped-down, but from the viewpoint of its target audience, it’s not at all broken.

    AAPL at $500, anyone?

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