The Apple iPad goes on sale in the UK on Friday morning. It is probably the most hyped piece of technology ever. Is it a game changer, or just an over-sized iPhone? The answer is both and so much more, and that is why it will be one of the most important computers ever!
If you have some spare cash, buy some shares in Marvel comics!
The iPad is simply brilliant for reading books, magazines and comics. To see what I mean watch the demo video for the Marvel Comics app. Marvel is going to make a medium sized fortune with this app. Aged comic book fans, who wouldn’t dream of setting foot in a comic book shop, will be suddenly paying £1 to download X-Men #96 that they could never dream of having as a child.
The iPad also opens up a new world for game players. Real Racing HD and Scrabble are the best examples of the gaming potential of the iPad. The large iPad hand held screen with motion sensitivity and the iPhone as a controller is a potent combination.
The built in Safari browser on the iPad works nicely. Video embedded in web pages now makes sense and works well. Browsing the web is now the multimedia experience it has long been trying to be. The iPad is perfect for the sofa, bed and kitchen or anywhere else where a laptop is oversized and over-powered.
Everywhere you go, and everything you do…the iPad can go with you, and there will be an app for that!
The range of iPad specific apps is limited at present but this will change very quickly. The real interesting apps are still a glimmer in someone’s eye (hopefully mine) but expect this device to be used in situations and places you never thought possible. The potential is limitless – think hospitals, schools, shops and restaurants just to start. The European Parliament has preordered 763 iPad’s, one for every MEP. It is good to see the worldwide recession has not prevented our public servants treating themselves to this “vital to their jobs” bit of kit. The iPad will reach critical mass quickly, so get ready to see it in the hands of people on trains, tubes, buses, coffee shops and parks soon – and don’t expect it to be unusual for long.
They say that true perfection has to be imperfect…
As with most Apple launches, the first generation device is not all it could be. The Wi-Fi is unreliable (a weak and poorly located aerial), it takes too long to charge and burns through the battery quickly. It lacks sufficient memory to run its apps, meaning developers are severely constrained when building software. It is expensive to buy and lacks a camera. Apple will of course resolve these shortcomings in the 2011 versions of the device. Indeed, many of these “features” are deliberate by Apple to ensure healthy sales of the 2nd generation devices. The only weakness Apple will not address of course is the price, because they do not do cheap.
The addition of the camera in the 2011 model will make the iPad the killer device for video conferencing. The iPhone 4G (July 2010) will blaze the path for this and the iPad will take it mainstream. The upgrade to the operating system (OS4) to allow limited multi tasking will add massive value to both the iPhone and the iPad and help keep the competition at bay for a little while longer.
Hoping to see Flash on the iPad, er…don’t hold your breath…Steve Jobs is no fool!
Do not expect to see Flash on the iPad ever, period. HTML 5 is the way it will be and the world will follow suit. Sorry Adobe! The choice of Objective C as the programming language for the iPad is not coincidental. Picking Java or .Net would have given a controlling hand in the future to Oracle or Microsoft and Steve Jobs was never going to make that mistake. Having started my career as a C developer back in the 1990’s it warms my heart to see this language making a powerful return. Thirty-Eight years young and entering a renaissance. Now that is lasting power!
Reports vary, but somewhere approaching 2 million iPad’s have been sold in the US to date. In most locations, they are indefinitely unavailable. In the UK, they were available for preorder from 10th May. By 14th May, Apple had sold out the first allocation, and as of now the earliest you can get your hands on one via the Apple website is an unidentified date in (late) June.
The world is changing, and Apple understands this…do you?
The iPad represents a new era in computing. It will prove to be the most significant computer since the IBM/PC of the 1980’s. It will permanently change the operating models for publishing, gaming and video to name just a few.
In 1848, Karl Marx said that power in society lay with the owners of the means of production. In today’s world this is still largely true, but all the factories are now in China. So where does the power lie in the rest of the world? Power in the West at least now lies with the owners of the means of distribution. On the surface Apple is one of the World’s largest technology companies, but what they really are becoming is the world’s largest content distributor. They started this trend with music, which they now dominate much to the record industries disdain. They will continue with books, magazines, newspapers, comics, games etc. The group that controls the distribution of information will be all-powerful in the 21st century. Google started this by controlling content on the web, Facebook are carrying the torch for digital personal information, and Apple is starting the 3rd leg of this relay race. Watch this space, and be afraid if you are a content producer because you are about to be owned by a fruit! The man from Del Monte (Steve Jobs) has said “Yes”.
Check back here next week for an update following the UK launch of the iPad.