Apple iPad - The Netbook/Tablet PC/Low End Laptop Killer

Check out the top 7 rumors about the iPad and how they faired in today's iPad announcement.

Well, I'm impressed with what Apple's put in the new iPad. My view on the iPad? It will be a big hit. iPad is a Kindle, netbook, tablet PC and (to some degree) low end laptop killer. The iPad is also a viable alternative to laptop use in many situations. I consider the Apple iPad a "lifestyle" version of the netbook or laptop, rather than a desktop "lite" experience running on a smaller device. iPad will do for laptops/netbooks/tablet PC what the iPhone did for mobile phones - change the game.Here's my net-net on the Apple iPad announcement:

  • Hardware choice - A
  • Battery life - A- (minus because more is better)
  • Screen quality - A
  • Screen size - B
  • Onscreen Keyboard - B (with lots of questions)
  • Camera - F
  • Video playback - A
  • Game potential - A
  • iBook potential - B
  • Newspaper potential - C
  • Accessories - A (primarily because of the keyboard doc)
  • Price - B (other than price gouging for additional memory, overall pricing is agreesive, right between the iPhone/iTouch and lowend MacBook laptop)

How did the 7 iPad rumors from my 7 Apple iTablet/iSlate/iPad Rumors That Will Live Or Die post fair? See my inline comments below.

LIVES: Apple iSlate/iPad will run the iPhone OS

Comment: It's a no brainer now, but any other option than running the iPhone OS would have wasted all of the mindshare built around the iPhone and iPhone OS.

I've said for quite some time that the only OS that makes sense for any type of Apple tablet device is the iPhone OS. Though Apple's Mac hardware sales continue to impress, the iPhone and iPhone apps are what's carrying the momentum for innovative computing devices and exciting new applications. Going down the Mac OS X route would have led to an Apple tablet plagued with many of the same issues Windows Table PCs have experienced. Using a desktop OS designed for pointing devices (mouse, trackballs, trackpads, arrow cursor, etc.) on a tablet hasn't paved the way for massive tablet use, as compared to the iPhone OS and Cocoa Touch framework designed specifically for touch user interface on mobile devices. The iSlate will run (an updated) iPhone OS.

LIVES: Apple iSlate/iPad will run existing iPhone apps

Comment: It only made sense the iPad would run iPhone apps. The double pixel view is a nice addition.

It would make a world of sense for Apple to leverage the existing base of iPhone apps, arming the new iSlate with an established App Store and proven software catalog. This too is another reason it makes tons of sense for the iSlate to run the iPhone OS rather than Mac OS X. There have even been articles on Network World about network traffic on Apple's campus showing up to 50 new devices running the iPhone OS and iPhone apps. The ability to run existing iPhone apps will be a huge plus for the iSlate.

LIVES: Apple iSlate/iPad apps will fetch a higher price than iPhone apps

Comment: Apple's iWorks $9.99 price sets the bar for iPad specific apps. While some 3rd party iPad apps will be priced above this, $9.99 is the new normal.

It's feasible that a larger screen device like an iSlate could support bigger, feature rich, more sophisticated apps with a higher asking price than your typical $0.99 - $1.99 iPhone app. On the other hand, if the iSlate follows the iPhone approach to hardware, applications will continue to be seriously memory and processor constrained, as iPhone apps are today. Apple's shown that smaller "narrow" apps, doing just a few things really well, is a very viable mobile software model. I suspect Apple will stick with this narrow app strategy for the iSlate, saving on memory, processor and battery consumption. Narrow apps likely means app prices will stay close to their current $0.99 - $9.99 price range.

LIVES: Apple iSlate/iPad will make the App Store model profitable for developers

Comment: App developers can now create new kinds of apps that leverage the capabilities of the iPad. Can software companies make a living on $9.99 price apps? They're going to have to - it will be the new normal.

I'm hearing more and more questions raised as to whether selling (or giving away) apps on the iPhone App Store is a viable software business model for application developers. With 120,000 plus (or whatever the number is now) applications on the iPhone App Store, you know the lion's share of those apps aren't bringing in much, if any, revenue. Short of a runaway hit, slogging it out with 119,999 other apps for App Store shelf space and customer mind share is no easy path to revenue.

There's a strong argument to be made that the price of iPhone apps will be driven to zero, as our software model continues to shift to free apps and content, sustained through upgrades, value added services, additional content, and in-app advertising revenues. And the number of iSlate devices won't likely reach the same kinds of numbers we've seen in iPhones sold, so the addressable market for iSlate specific apps will be smaller as compared to the iPhone market. Not clear at all yet how the iSlate would change the dynamics of selling mobile or iPhone OS-based software other than adding still more devices to the growing iPhone user base.

???: Apple iSlate/iPad will save the print industry

Comment: Despite the beliefs of some really smart people I respect, I'm very leary this alone saves the newspaper and print industry. Authors, book publishers, and newspaper companies must make a huge shift in their business model and my experience is it's a very tough thing for most companies to do. I think it's more likely the new media companies will emerge, buying out the name brands that don't make it.

If all the Apple slate gives us is an ebook reader that competes with the Amazon Kindle and Sony ereaders, then the day will be a pretty big disappointment. I think most everyone agrees that the era of traditional print news media, and possibly even books, has come and gone (or is at least in the process of "going".) Will the iSlate save the newspaper business? No, that's very doubtful. The iSlate may in fact be a decent ereader but it will have to possess some serious battery life to be a viable alternative to other single purpose ereaders. We know ereaders and digital content will be one of the uses of the iSlate, thanks to McGraw-Hill CEO's slip on CNBC yesterday, but expect more than an ebook and enews reader from the Apple iSlate.

DIES: Apple iSlate/iPad will run multiple apps at the same time

Comment: Nope, no concurrent app support. Even the live blogger at Engadget commented that some of the apps look a little silly swimming in a big black screen. This this hamper the iPad? No, we'll see multi-app support someday but for now Apple is riding this single app at a time model until hardware and battery technology are at a point that Apple can deliver the user experience its known for.

One topic I haven't heard many rumors about (though it's implied in many mockups and videos) is whether the iSlate will introduce the ability to run multiple apps concurrently on the iPhone OS. With larger screen real estate, running a single application at a time on the iSlate seems rather limiting, especially if native iPhone apps will also run on the iSlate. At least the ability to have multiple apps open, with only some of the apps running in the background (like Springboard or other system functions) seems reasonable to expect from the iSlate. Anyone recall Switcher, the transition software Macs had before the original Mac OS supported multiple concurrent apps? Who knows, maybe Apple will surprise us with the ability to run multiple apps on the iSlate. Seems like a reasonable possibility to me.

DIES: Apple iSlate/iPad will sport a webcam

Comment: No webcam, no camera. Look for it on the iPad Plus. :)

Your guess is as good as mine on this one. It's a toss-up, though I'm guessing the iSlate won't have a webcam. While there are some great use cases for a webcam on a tablet, most tablet users would likely chose improved battery life over additional power sucking hardware that cuts into valuable battery time. Maybe there will be a webcam on the iSlate Plus sporting an external battery pack? lol.

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