You’ve heard the grumbles:
Sitting on the sofa, MBP on my lap, iPhone in my hand. Do I really need an ‘in between’ device? No.
What’s a bit dissapointing about the iPad is that it’s *exactly* what we expected… and we’re used to Apple exceeding our expecations
if you have an iPhone and a MacBook Pro, why would you need an iPad?
The problem here, is the people doing the grumbling. We (geeks) aren’t Apple’s target audience with the iPad.
We may consider it yet another piece of gadgetry that makes it a little easier to read RSS feed items in bed, or check your email while you’re taking a poo—but the truth of the matter is, that’s all it is to us.
But Here’s the Magic
Think of your parents. They probably aren’t terribly tech savvy, but you buy them a laptop anyway. A laptop is a very powerful device even with average hardware specs, you can do a lot with it. But the ability to do a lot comes at the price of reduced usability. Introducing more choices means more mental hurdles to jump. To us (the geeks), these hurdles are skipped, we’re used to computers and we don’t even think when using most basic functionality. The iPad removes all of these choices, and as a result, increases the inherent usability of the device for those who normally have to jump those hurdles.
Think of those whose lives don’t revolve around using a computer for anything more than entertainment. The iPad is, and let’s be honest here, perfect for this group. Extremely lightweight, easy to throw in your book bag. Plays music, video, let’s you browse the web, read books, and so on. These people don’t need the power of a laptop the way those of us who use a computer for work do. The iPad does exactly what they want to do, and it does it well.
Think of those who travel. Many of these people have a laptop and a 3G connection card. Why? So they can check their email and file documents on the road. The iPad with a 3G connection does this, and does it well.
Think of those with desktops who want to do some mobile computing. Most people’s definition of computing is just working on stuff in Microsoft Word, or browsing the internet.
I think you can see the running theme here by now.
So Why the Lofty Title?
If the iPhone revolutionized the usability of smartphones, the iPad just did the same for laptops and netbooks. It’s a completely different take on the de facto standard. It targets the average computer user, not those of us who use a computer all day at work. It creates a UI and capability set that adopts the 80/20 principle of usability. It does nearly everything this crowd wants it to do, with 20% of the bullshit interface getting in their way.
It brings mobile 3G based computing to the mainstream, if we thought the iPhone took the internet to the mobile realm, this takes it even further. This makes a move where some people may not purchase an at home internet connection. If the iPad does everything you need, flip the bird to Comcast and only pay $30 a month for unlimited 3G access—anywhere.
So while we the geeks may feel under-impressed, there’s a whole new market Apple just tapped—and it’s going to take the internet to another level of ubiquitousness in much the same way as the iPhone. And, well, we all know the impact the iPhone has had.