I read so many lukewarm reviews of the new iPad that I simply have to write my own opinion: it is an amazing product and it will be a hit. The reason for that is simple: people are lazy. We value our comfort. We value our time. We crave fun. And, we are willing to pay for it.
It is quite simple: we like sitting on the couch. We prefer sitting on the couch over sitting in a chair in front of a desk. When you come home in the evening and want to check your emails for a few minutes, would you rather do it with your family in the living room or in the small home office? Would you rather have a bulky laptop separating you from the rest of the world, requiring the use of a table or a small, unobtrusive device that fits every posture?
It is called casual computing. It is going to be a massive hit from the same reason that I play games on my iPhone even though I have a way more capable PS3. The PS3 takes time to load, it occupies the main TV in the living room and it bothers the surrounding environment.
One should also remember that Apple is still a software company. Yes, it sells hardware which is designed by Apple. But the software is the real unique value here. Apple is going to succeed because of the software. Take the iPad, install Windows 7 and it won't sell half as much. Yes, Windows 7 has multitasking, Flash and it is completely open. If that sounds good to you, there are tablets out there already running it, so don't you have one? Because the desktop OS doesn't fit well with the tablet paradigm. You are getting an awkward experience combined with a resource hog which dictates bulky devices and poor battery life.
The UI is very much like the iPhone. We are used to that UI so there's no wow factor here. Here's what I think: this is a lifestyle device and in order to truly appreciate it you need to spend some time with it. See how well it integrates with your life. See if it contributes to your comfort, if it makes life more fun. Then, you can give a verdict.
- What's the obsession with video conferencing? Who wants to get dressed before a phone call anyway? Front facing cameras are very common in Nokia devices, yet, I'm not familiar with a single person using them.
- I can see why Multitasking is missing. I feel it on my iPhone. However, the combination of apps loading fast and keeping their previous state with notifications (like incoming call or chat) makes it much less of an issue. Eventually, it will come.
- Sites requiring Flash? As a long time Mac user I encounter sites that don't work well with browsers other than Internet Explorer. I use remote desktop for those sites. You can do that from the iPad. In the long run, I do my best to avoid these sites (it's something to consider when picking a bank, a Telco, etc.).
- Keep in mind this is the first iteration of a brand-new device. Let's leave something for v2 (otherwise, nobody will want to upgrade :-).
- This can be huge in an enterprise setting. Think about all the hi-tech action shows (CSI, 24) with their cool tablets.