My iPad arrived two days ago turning me into a four-year old boy on Xmas eve. Yesterday, a queue of cooing colleagues snaked around my desk. Everyone wants one.
So two days into ownership, this is what I think it means.
1. It WON’T replace laptops … Not yet anyway.
iPad is a device for consuming media, not for creating it. It’s hideous to type on. But lovely to browse with.
It’s much nicer to swipe and tap with your finger than to point and click with a mouse. So whether tablets get physical keyboards or laptops get natural user interfaces, this will change device design.
2. It’s ALREADY the device I want to use for casual surfing.
How did I ever manage without something that’s always on, weighs nothing and doesn’t burn my thighs? Enough said.
3. It WILL change the way I consume newspapers and magazines.
WIRED magazine on iPad is highly readable and wow-inducing. It pushes the boundary of what’s magazine and what’s interactive media and for the first time ever I would RATHER have a magazine in electronic than print format.
Talking of formats, I’d much rather read the Financial Times on my little iPad than wrestle with a print broadsheet on the train.
Coincidently, my WIRED magazine subscription got delivered on the same day as my iPad. I still haven’t opened the paper version.
4. It MIGHT change the way I buy books.
Integrated search, in-line dictionaries and the ability to carry half the British Library in my hand are nice.
But I wrestle with this. You see, my Mother was a teacher. My maternal grandfather was a Cambridge academic. I’m co-author of a book (here … thank you for asking). Books are in my blood; almost religiously. I love the novelty and utility of eBooks. But they don’t take me back to when I was six years old and my Mum read poems to me. There’s almost something sacrilegious about them.
Maybe that’s just generational change-resistance.
5. It WILL make me pay more for media.
Hello iPad. Goodbye free content?
I know several entrepreneurs whose attempts to charge for online content succeeded about as well as King Canute’s wave management. iPad apps might possible turn the tide against free content because the experience is so good.
Pricing models for iPad media content are a little Darwinian right now. They range from The Times £9.99 per month subscription to Men’s Health’s $2.99 per issue to Wired’s free content. Which pricing model proves the fittest for the iPad environment remains to be seen. But I personally think it will be disruptive of the free content model.
Is the iPad useful? Definitely. Is it compelling? Hmm … kind of. Is it a disruptive innovation? Possibly. Is it the end of the laptop? No.
Now, repeat after me:
I must not blog about Apple. I must not blog about Apple. I must not blog about Apple …