TechCrunch’s most-discussed stories, 1/31/2010
Well, on this past Wednesday, Jan. 28, Apple finally unveiled its long-rumored tablet computer – the iPad.
Needless to say, any Apple innovation is discussed to death on the intertubes, and the iPad is no exception. See the list of the most recently discussed stories on Techcrunch (screenshot, right): Five of five iPad stories, and this is on Sunday, four days after the announcement of the product (March release, April for the 3G version). And it hasn’t been a slow week in tech.
I think part of the reason for so much talk is because the iPad, for all its sexiness, is evolutionary, not revolutionary. It’s just a bigger iPhone touch screen (without a phone or camera – more on the latter in a bit). People expected it to be – like Mac OS X or the iPhone – an instant game-changer.
With the iPad, we’re not seeing that. So a lot of chatter pro/con about it.
Here’s my take on all this (like anyone cares….):
- I watched the event via live-blogging sites, and – at the end of same – was underwhelmed. The low price – for both the low- and high-end models – was a pleasant surprise, but what the iPad didn’t have was surprising. And, to be honest, a little disappointing. Rumors had the as-yet-unnamed tablet tricked out with just about everything: Front and back cameras, AT&T; and Verizon data plans, crepe maker… But those are rumors.
- Rumors aside, how can a mobile device like the iPad not have a camera (even a crappy one, like the iPhone’s) or a USB port? (Yes, you can pay $30 extra for a USB adaptor that ruins the lines of the iPad…) I smell v2 enhancements.
- I think a lot of people are getting the iPad wrong: Over at Techcrunch, for example, MG Seigler thinks the iPad is targeting netbooks (esp. Chrome OS-based machines). I don’t think so. Here’s the crux of the iPad, to me: The iPad is for consuming content, not creating it. For surfing the web, reading ebooks, watching TV shows/movies, reading email. The one exception to the consume vs. create paradigm is for responding to/creating emails. I think the whole “port of iWorks” to the iPad is smoke and mirrors; who’s going to be pumping numbers in an Excel-like spreadsheet with this puppy? Maybe opening an email attachment and viewing same (consuming), but not creating.
- The iPad can do a lot right now, but it’s dependent on content providers (New York Times and other publishers; app/games developers) to leverage what it can do. I think this’ll happen fairly quickly. I can’t imagine developers of iPhone apps didn’t frequently felt painted into a corner with the iPhone’s small screen/relatively slow processor. The iPad removes both those restrictions.
- Apple’s got to bend in the future to appease developers: Two big hurdles remain. 1) The lack of multitasking, and 2) The whole app approval process. I know Jobs is a control freak, but why can’t I stream Pandora while I’m reading my email?
- I think a good take on the prospects of the iPad were voiced in a Techcrunch guest post by Ethan Nicholas (an iPhone developer): Why My Mom’s Next Computer Is Going To Be An iPad. Money quote: “The iPad is a computer for people who don’t like computers.” Again, Apple’s put a pretty good* infrastructure in place; it’s up to developers to create killer content for it (* “Pretty good” is, even for “my mom,” still missing two key elements: Camera – so she can take a picture of her grandchild and attach to an email; USB port to attach a printer to allow mom to print out picture of some other mom’s grandkid.)
So, will the iPad become the next Newton/Cube or the next iPhone?
I think somewhere in-between. Not everyone will want one, but it’ll be a “pry it out of my cold, dead hands” appliance for others.
And how long until an Android tablet appears?
If nothing else, with the iPad Apple continues to innovate (in this case, evolve) – and forces everyone else to up the ante, as well.
Judged by that standard, the iPad is already a success.