After seeing the keynote (watch it here), there were some interesting things I noticed and wanted to talk about with this new device. First off though, I currently use a 4+ year old Dell Inspiron 700m laptop and I carry around a 60gb iPod Video. Both of which I will need to replace sometime soon as both are starting to slowly die on me. With that, I’m always looking to see what I can replace each device with without breaking my rather small bank account in half as a poor medical student.
The most surprising part of the whole announcement for me was that this iPad is running an Apple customized A4 processor. So, Apple is almost completely vertically integrated now, they make their processors, their own batteries, their own multi-touch technology, they control every piece of hardware that goes into their machines, they write their own operating systems and control their own online store where you can buy music, movies, television shows, applications, games, podcasts (free), educational materials (iTunes U) and now electronic books (iBookstore). Jobs now claims that Apple is now the largest mobile devices company by revenue… something that should concern Jobs at some point because the US has laws against monopolies and while being as vertically integrated as I mentioned just now is fine for a small company, once that company gets large enough, that kind of power starts to get noticed by government officials.
This new iPad is very similar to the iPod Touch/iPhone (it just doesn’t have a phone). The iPad basically runs on the same operating system as the iPod Touch, it’s just BIGGER (almost 10inches compared to the 3.5inch iPod Touch), can play HD video and with a longer battery life (10 hours of use with 1 month of standby time). The iPad will also run virtually all of the 140,000 applications that are already available for the iPhone/iPod Touch.
Since Apple’s current 3.5inch hardware has 2 different skews that have been immensely successful, it’s not too surprising that there are going to be 2 separate skews for the new iPad, a wifi version that starts at $499 (basically a GIANT iPod Touch) and a version that also has a 3G internet data subscription option starting at $629 (almost like a GIANT iPhone, just minus a phone or camera).
The other thing I noticed that was interesting after reading Engadget, is that Apple now has a way for you to buy into their vertically integrated ecosystem for almost any amount of money. To gain direct access to all the different online stores from Apple’s mobile hardware you can pay as little as $99 to buy an iPhone (with a 2 year contract), you could pay $199, $299 or $399 for an iPod Touch, now you can pay $499, $599 or $699 for a wifi iPad with 16, 32 and 64gb of storage space respectively, you could buy any of those previously mentioned iPad with wifi models and add 3G internet access from $629 – $829, after that if you shell out $999 you can spring for their basic 13inch Macbook and from there you can pay buy into the 13inch Macbook Pro for $1199, the 13inch Macbook Air for $1499, $1699 for their 15inch and $2499 to start for their 17inch Macbook Pro and you can customize those laptops to your hearts content to set the price to any amount under $6,500 FULLY loaded for a single purchase. So it seems that Apple is basically bridging the price gap between their $399 iPod Touch and their $999 Macbook to give customers new ways to access all of their online stores.
From previous experience with the iPhone/iPod Touch, I was not surprised when the wifi only iPad didn’t have a either a front-facing web camera (for video chat) or a rear-facing camera (to take pictures) since the iPod Touch doesn’t have either of those features, BUT I was VERY surprised that the iPad with 3G DIDN’T have either or BOTH of these cameras since all iPhones have rear-facing cameras and ALL of their laptops have built-in front-facing web cameras. Maybe this is a feature that will come later, maybe not. Who knows?
It is also disappointing that with the larger screen and faster processor that you can only run one application at a time. That means you can’t surf the web while also keeping a chat client open.
I am not going to try and guess how successful this device will be since Apple has done quite well ever since Steve Jobs returned to Apple, but at this point, when I replace my 6ogb iPod and my old Dell laptop, I will probably just go with a new iPod Touch and a Windows 7 laptop for now, iPad or no iPad.
**Update 2009-1-28 – Upon further analysis it will also be interesting to see how specialized industries, like the medical profession write applications and start utilizing this type of device, it is specialized markets like this that have already shown the willingness to utilize tablet technology in the past. Maybe companies like Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health will write special charting applications to use for accessing medical records in a more hands-on sort of way. Time will tell.
Verizon Wireless has come out with some pretty scathing advertisements recently and now, they have started cranking out a fresh set of new Christmas themed ads… sure it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but the early bird catches the worm, right?
Now I still think the iPhone on AT&T is still going to sell better than gangbusters this holiday season, but now AT&T‘s biggest competitor is really taking their ad campaign hard at AT&T‘s sparse 3G internet network availability.
Thanks to Engadget for pointing this out!