Apple iPad an iBomb

The hype meter on the iPad device got so high over the past few weeks that we expected the new device to surf the web, cook a meal, and do the laundry. Unfortunately, the device doesn't do any of that, or anything at all that would make it succeed where other tablet devices have failed.

The hype meter on the iPad over the past few weeks that we expected the new device to surf the web, cook a meal, and do the laundry. Unfortunately, the device doesn't do any of that, or anything at all that would make it succeed where other tablet devices have failed.

What Apple delivered today is a device has a 9.7 inch display, weighs 1.5 pounds, and is half-an-inch thick. The device will use the iPhone operating system and will be powered by new chip made by Apple  a 1 GHz A4. Consumers have the option of 16Gb to 64 GB of storage. The device supports WiFi, has an accelerometer, compass, and built-in speaker and microphone, just like the iPhone. The screen is multi-touch screen. Jobs says that battery life is supposed to be 10 hours.

In addition to WiFi, it will have a 3G option from AT&T.

Here's the pricing. The Wifi-only version, with 16GB of memory, will cost $499. A 32GB version will be $599, 64 GB will be $699, and 64 GB  with 3G will cost $829 (for the 64GB version). AT&T will offer two data plans: $14.99 a month for 250 MB of data or $29.99 for unlimited.

Unlike the iPhone, the iPad will be unlocked, meaning you can use data plans from other carriers.

So, the question is, who needs this and what is it good for? The iPad will come with iBook store. The WSJ pointed out yesterday (member only content)  that publishers are giddy because they believe they can now lock consumers in at a higher price point. Really? I'm going to buy a book for $15.00 to read on this device? On top of the cost of the hardware and the expensive data plan? What happened to inexpensive ebooks? To me, the publishers just don't get it, but that's a whole separate article.

Plus, who wants to read a book on a backlit device> The reason the Kindle works as a reading device it because of its e-ink technology. It's easy on the eyes and like reading from paper. Reading a good novel on a computer screen is not my idea of fun.

Nor do I like the idea of reading from such a large computer device. I don't like having a full computer up against my body. I don't know about you but I can feel certain parts of my body tingling if a computer device gets too close. Once again, e-ink doesn't draw a lot of current so it's much less of a problem.

So what about other computer tasks? For $500 per month, I can get a pretty good netbook/laptop that comes with much more memory and has significantly more features. Indeed, Windows 7 even has touch screen technology built into it. Sure, it might not look as pretty but I'm not trying to win a beauty contest. I just want devices that work.

I predict the iPad will disappoint in sales. It exists in the category between a laptop and a cell-phone sized device. That's a tough spot - it doesn't have the power and functionality of a laptop but lacks the portability of a phone. To succeed at that size a device needs to have very specific applications. All general purpose tablets have failed. There's nothing that suggests the iPad will be any different.

Incidentally, couldn't they have chosen a better name? The product sound like some type of newfangled female sanitary product.

Consumers electronics is a notoriously fickle business. Product cycles are short and today's success is tomorrow's failure. Apple may have redefined several product categories over the last 10 years, but it isn't infallible.

 

Sol Nasisi
Sol Nasisi: Sol Nasisi is the co-founder and a past president of BestCashCow, an online resource for comprehensive bank rate information. In this capacity, he closely followed rate trends for all savings-related and loan products and the impact of rate fluctuations on the economy. He specifically focused on how rates impact consumers' ability to borrow and save. He also has authored a wee

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Comments

  • Alistaire

    January 29, 2010

    Quite possibly, perhaps, the worst and most inaccurate assessment of the new device to date:

    "Indeed, Windows 7 even has touch screen technology built into it. Sure, it might not look as pretty but I'm not trying to win a beauty contest. I just want devices that work."

    Seriously? I know not even where to begin with a statement like this.

  • Ari Socolow

    January 31, 2010

    I would tend to agree about your backlighting issue. Those using the device as a e-reader will probably not find the iPad as announced to be a serious alternative to the Kindle. And, my own hunch is that no device can be successful in the sector between an iPhone and a computer without offering an extraordinary leap-step in the way of voice and video. The iPad doesn't even purport to do either.

    I am a big fan of Apple, but I will avoid this product (at least in its current form) just like I have avoid Apple TV.

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