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Articles: The iPad- Was I Blown Away?

In my last article I opined that Apple would either blow me away or cause me to go a little ho hum on the product.

We know now what it is... so did it blow me away? Again, I will emphasize that I'm only writing from a personal perspective here. After all, Apple does a terrific job of telling you what you want. I don't really need to add to their very professional, slick messaging. But for me personally... the answer is "no."

Oh it's definitely pretty cool. I'll probably end up with one at some point partly because that's the business I'm in. If I was a real road warrior I might consider it since it's a lot less to carry around than a MacBook Pro, and keeping up on emails is about 90% of what I have to do out there. But I will have to try the virtual keyboard first. I type a lot, and if a virtual keyboard just doesn't cut it for me (although I'll readily admit it'll already be light years ahead of the iPhone keyboard for me), I might not worry about it.

But they didn't blow me away because it doesn't do anything I didn't expect, which is what would have blown me away. Grace to Apple, however, for the fact that blowing their customer base away is a little like expecting the home run record to fall every year. Pretty hard to do, especially if you can't take steroids.

Questions, questions, questions

I have questions about the keyboard, and about whether I really could read a whole book on their screen. The liquid ink of the Kindle just makes reading so easy, so I really doubt I'd figure on the thing being a replacement for that. I should also qualify that while I own an iPhone, I really don't use many apps. And in the end, a computer is just a resting place for applications, so if there are some really cool ones that I'll want to play with on a bigger screen, without my phone's battery life draining before my eyes, I might gain interest. Watching movies while traveling probably just got better and easier as well.

But the monthly fees would annoy me... I already feel as if Americans spend too much money on monthly subscriptions, whether it be cell phones, cable, bottled water or the wine of the month club. But of course Apple is in business to make money, so adding what will probably be an ancillary device with monthly revenue is nothing short of genius... for them.

Perhaps my feelings are colored a bit by the comparison of the product to the hype that led up to it. Apple has become ingenious at doing nothing to create all that hype. By being secretive, they create a frenzy of speculation and guesses that must be valued at a billion dollars of free publicity. What a coup. The thing would have had to be able to replace my TV, heating blanket and microwave to live up to all that hype. But in the end, in my opinion, it's just another cool product that will look a little long in the tooth a year or two from now. However, I think the OS and perhaps the style will be a springboard to some of our computing future. I think that may be what it will be remembered best as.

The prevailing thought in the company is that the iPad is a so-so name. Surely we'll see some fake commercials playing on the name in the vein of feminine hygiene products. Personally, I feel it goes pretty well with the name iPod, which was an odd name when that first came out too. So I think it's fine.


Not quite changing the game

I guess the way I'm feeling is that for every pro, there's a con, and for every con, there's a pro. For me, the iPod was only a pro... I had no interest in MP3 players before the iPod was introduced. I would say the same about the iPhone; I didn't really give a rip about smart phones before they introduced that. But the iPad doesn't approach those game changers for me. It's just a nice product that a certain percentage of people will absolutely love, and the rest will absolutely ignore.

Lastly, you have to give credit to Apple for putting a beautiful gloss on a style of product that has already been introduced by other companies. No one makes things like this more attractive or elegant, nor gets as much publicity out of it. They're a machine, and I have no doubt they'll make plenty of money with it. One day I have no doubt that something similar will replace my MacBook Pro. But I'll still be annoyed at having a monthly bill that replaces something where I have none.

Getting one is clearly a personal choice, and clearly there will be people who absolutely love it. We'll be selling them, and happily so. But I also don't mind, despite being an Apple reseller, providing an alternative voice to the Apple marketing engine. After all, you, our customers, are by far the most important asset of our company.


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