The iPad isn't Thursday January 28, 2010, 0 comments

The iPad isn’t an oversized iPhone.

If the iPad were an oversized anything, it would be an oversized iPod Touch, since it (currently) lacks the ability to make telephone calls. Many versions also lack the assisted GPS available in the iPhone, again making them more like the Touch.

The iPad isn’t a netbook killer.

The Netbook killer is in fact the modern Netbook itself. Too many features, too much cruft. The original purpose of the Netbook was to be a small, limited function computer that wasn’t a pain to take everywhere. Modern Netbooks are laptops, with (slightly) smaller screens.

I can hear all the gear-heads and tinkerers freaking out right now, because of the ‘closed’ operating system, because of the ‘closed’ app process and store, and because it’s made by Apple and they just don’t want to like anything Apple makes.

I can also hear them whining that the iPad doesn’t do anything that their Netbook can’t. It’s just a glorified, overpriced and under-featured Netbook. Nevermind the best-of-breed touch screen, never mind the operating system. Never mind the sheer joy of using it. And, never, ever mind the way you interact with it.

Whether or not people realize it, the iPad represents a fundamental shift in the way people not only use computers, but the very way they think about them. And no Netbook is ever going to do that. Steve Jobs was wrong, in my opinion, to draw the Netbook parallel in his presentation.

If anything, the iPhone and iPod Touch are more like miniaturized early iPads. Perhaps they were Apple’s way of teaching people how computing is going to work in the future, without scaring them away.

The iPad isn’t a metaphor.

Millions of people know how to touch their data instead of try to fit computing into a stale and difficult metaphor, thanks to the iPhone and iPod Touch. Now Apple has given the world something more useful.

The iPad isn’t a finished product.

The original iPhone bears very little resemblance to the current iPhone 3GS in terms of use and even appearance. The same will hold true for the iPad. Apple is again proving the value of one of the core principles of the Umbrella Manifesto, the one pertaining to perfection:

Perfection is a goal, not a destination. Create something today, improve it tomorrow.

The iPad isn’t a perfect product.

But it’s on the right road.


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