The legendary Apple CEO Steve Jobs launched the much-awaited consumer electronics item “iPad” in San Francisco, USA, yesterday (January 27, 2010).
Powered by Apple’s “own” processor code-named A4 running at 1 GHz, brilliant 9.7” LED display (Apple calls it IPS technology) with 16 to 64 GB of “flash” memory, 10 hours of battery, Wi-Fi (802.11n), Bluetooth (2.1), GPS and accelerometer, the ½” thin Apple iPad weighs a mere 1.5 pounds. Filling the gap between a smart phone and a laptop / notebook computer, Apple iPad is designed for a great experience in Net browsing, e-mail, photo / video viewing, music, games and interestingly reading e-books.
Powered by Apple Safari iPad gives the best mobile browsing experience; the form factor is large enough to render full web pages very well. The “touch” keyboard is almost the same size as most laptop keyboards, enabling the user to do mobile e-mail as if one is working on a notebook. The large and brilliant screen allows video, music & photo organizer to be powerful, yet intuitive making iPad a great mobile multimedia device. Apple iPad is a great mobile gaming device. To add to the “wow” factor Apple iPad is an excellent mobile e-Book Reader too!
Will Apple iPad be a game changer? Many of us believe so due to the following reasons
1 Apple consistently creates products that stand out amidst crowd
Launched in 1984 Apple Mac computer was not one more PC; it redefined the “Personal Computer”. Apple followed it up with PowerBook in 1991, Power Mac in 1994 and iMac in 1999. Mac Book Air introduced in 2008 was great design innovation. No wonder Apple sold a record number of 3.4 million Mac computers in the October – December 2009 quarter!
Apple introduced iPod in 2001, It was NOT the first portable digital music player; by combining innovation in design (the dial pad for example) along with iTunes musical stores, iPod today is synonymous with MP3 players! Apple has sold more than 250 million iPod devices in nine years (nearly 21 million in the last quarter (October – December 2009) alone!
In 2007 Apple launched iPhone, a smart phone amidst a market crowded by Nokia (with more than 400 million handset sales globally), Motorola (the company that invented mobile phones), Palm Inc (the smart phone leader), RIM (BlackBerry maker who was the unquestioned leader among mobile e-mail devices), SONY (the consumer electronics giant) and Samsung & LG (Korean majors). Within two years Apple iPhone has become a leader with its revolutionary “multi-touch” interface, a winning combination of smart phone, mobile Internet device and iPod; every manufacturer including Nokia was forced to introduce a “touch” phone, though none could match Apple iPhone in terms of intuitive user interface. Apple sold nearly 9 million iPhones in the last quarter (October – December 2009). App Store an online “application store” has 140,000 applications today with more than 3 billion downloads in less than 2 years.
Apple iPad introduced yesterday combines a mobile computer, smart phone and e-Book Reader and is likely to storm the e-Book Reader market as well as PC market
2 iPad avoids earlier mistakes
Tablet PC is not new. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has been spearheading Tablet PC for the past seven years. Tablet PC attempts to use “touch”, but limited to “stylus based writing”. By incorporating “multi-touch” across all applications, iPad goes far beyond a “Tablet PC”. The media has been talking of Apple Tablet PC (with even a name iSlate) for months; Apple took everyone by surprise through iPad that integrates touch (that too with no stylus). The form factor is correct and the 10-year battery life would be the “killer” feature.
3 iPad leverages existing ecosystem
iPhone leads the smart phone pack primarily due to “applications” that can be easily downloaded from “app Stores”. There is a record 140,000 strong set of applications to choose from. By making EVERY application from iPhone App Stores to run on iPad Apple has decisively made iPad the best Tablet PC! By tweaking great applications (word processing and presentation, for example) Apple iPad will be the best PC. Thanks to 9.7” screen, the “virtual” keyboard on the screen is almost the size of normal keyboard permitting full e-mail functionality. By running iTunes with full functionality iPad is a great multi-media device as well
4 iPad will shake up the e-Book Reader market
With Apple launching iBook Store with MacMillan, Penguin, Simon & Schuster already signed up and opting for ePub “open” format (unlike Amazon’s proprietary format) Apple iPad might change the dynamics of e-Book Readers!
5 Apple iPad is priced right
The media has been projecting a launch price of $ 1,000 to $ 2,000 for Apple Tablet. Surprisingly Apple has priced iPad at $ 499 (Wi-Fi version) and $ 629 (3G version). The data plans are $ 15 per month and $ 30 per month unlike the $ 60 per month that typically telcos charge for data plans today
Steve Jobs summarized the launch as “our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price”; the first impression, if it is any indication, makes one conclude that Apple iPad will be a game changer product. It will be interesting to watch Apple reaching the product to customers and they in turn lapping it up or not over the next 11 months.