Did Apple made a basic mistake with the iPad?

There are so many blogs and comments about the iPad that I feel I shouldn’t add my drop in the bucket, but honestly I cannot resist. This is a blog about entrepreneurship so let’s try to take that angle. What does an entrepreneur do before launching a product? A market research to validate and quantify the need (among many other things of course). So, what about the iPad? I’m trying to figure what need did Apple identify to launch that product.

What is the iPad really? A big iPod touch (without video camera) or a small computer? a bit of both it seems. But what was missing between the iPhone/iPod Touch and my MacBook? When I’m on the go, I can check my email, find my way around. look at some websites, read my attachments (at least skim them), view my photos and listen to my music, etc.. All this in my pocket! Amazing!

Now if I’m not on the Go, I’m working on a few documents, editing videos, sorting my photos, blogging ;-), I can take my laptop on my Lap and watch TV at the same time. Do I need to have a smaller computer for that? Not really..

So what is it in the middle? What’s the iPad? how does it fill a painful need I had? I cannot find the answer.. It’s too big to be a real mobile device that I can carry around all the time (like my iPhone) and it’s too small to really do the stuff that I do on my home laptop. It’s cool, I can grant that, but it doesn’t solve a pain and this is why I strongly believe that the iPad is not going to be successful. Some people will buy it, for the hype, for the fun, because it’s not too expensive, but it’s not going to be a blockbuster like the iPhone.

I hear some people say “and the BOOKS!”. Sure. the Kindle is amazingly ugly but at least with eInk you can really read like on paper for days on a single charge. The Que from plastic logic is even more amazing to me (still very slow though), and those really come as a replacement for paper. No way the iPad can do that.

No. Really. I think Apple has been looking at building an incredible machine but forgot to look at the market opportunity, too product centric. Well, who said Apple listened to there customers when building products? Entrepreneur 101..

So, what’s next? This is where I think the iPad could be a first step to an amazing break through: The first step toward a keyboard less laptop. As an entrepreneur I am very excited about this. I’ve been thinking about it since they launched the iPhone. Imagine that now: Open your MacBook, but instead of a keyboard, you have a touch screen, the size of the iPad. It displays a Keyboard, plus your dock with all the application. You type an application with your finger and it launches on the main screen. That application happens to be iMovie, the great movie editing software from Apple. The keyboard disappears  from your touch screen to give way to a whole bunch of editing tools. going bakc and forth in the movie in a swipe. Cutting with your fingers, slowing down or accelerating with your fingers, etc. etc.. The application could feel like you have a Pro system at your fingertips.

Once  you are done, you drag the dock with your finger from  the top of the touch screen with your finger and launch a game. The keyboard become a Game controller with shortcuts and controls under your fingertips.

This would be the revolution in gaming, and Laptop usage in general. A revolution to that old input system eeryone has been using for dozens of years.. This is the kind of revolution I would love to see Apple doing. And this is the kind of revolution I bet they are aiming for with the iPad.. the iPad is a trial, believe me, once Apple gets enough usage data, the next Gen of laptop will be there and destroy anything you have seen so far.

now I’m excited.


9 thoughts on “Did Apple made a basic mistake with the iPad?

  1. Je te la fait en French :-):
    C’est un produit de salon et familial tout simplement. En tant qu’informaticien c’est un peu difficile de comprendre le concept.
    Quel effet ça te fait de voir quelqu’un dans ton salon à regarder son écran de portable même magnifique comme celui d’un MacBook ?.
    C’est le produit manquant pour l’électronique familial, le chainon manquant pour les enfants et les seniors et l’avenir du “print”.
    Je te rappelle que Steve n’a pas toujours attendu d’avoir un marché pour faire un produit :-).
    Bref moi je suis pour…

    • +1 Eric

      La cible est le grand public, la simplification au max des fonctions, l’operating system ne se met plus en travers de l’experience. Tous les technophiles crient au scandale, pas de batterie amovible, pas de flash, pas de webcam, mais au final, ma mère s’en fout…

      L’iPad a tout à fait sa place sur le casual browsing, email du weekend ou en soirée dans son canapé. Lire un film iTunes dans son lit, partir en vacances une semaine sans embarquer tout son matos.

      En plus, cerise sur le cake, le prix me parait très compétitif

      • Je vois bien l’utilite, et plus je regarde la demo, plus je pense qu’ils ont vraiment fait un tres bon produit. Ce que je remet en cause c’est l’adoption a grande echelle. l’IPad est forcement un complement a un PC ou Mac et n’est pas une machine autonome comme pourrait l’etre un Netbook (j’accorde le fait que les netbook “are not good at anything”). Je pense qu’ils vont en vendre, parcequ’il est sexy, sympa, casual, pas chere, mais certainement pas a grande echelle. Le manque n’est pas assez fort a mon gout.

        l’Iphone est venu resoudre de nombreux problemes que les concurrents ont mis presque 3 ans a rattraper (hallucinant), les Mac viennent aussi repondre a un probleme phenomenal avec Vista & Co en plus de s’adresse a une population qui a les moyens. l’Ipad ne vient pas resoudre de probleme. C’est juste sympa et agreable quoi.

        Je ne vois pas un flop, parceque l’interface dechire, mais pas un gros succes.. On verra!

  2. Je crois que c’est une erreur de penser que c’est d’abord un complément obligatoire. Imagines le truc comme un super Minitel :-). C’est le gap entre l’ordinateur des informaticiens d’IBM et l’iPhone est djeuns.
    C’est mur pour arroser tous les foyers. La force de Jobs c’est d’être un gros geek capable de se mettre dans la peau de M. ToutlemondeQuiNeConnaitRienAlInformatique…
    Pour moi c’est le carton assuré.

  3. yup, agreed… am still wondering which consumers they are targeting with that device (gamers? casual users indifferent to price? Students? Readers?). Agree that it opens new ways to consume content and potentially create new user interfaces… And that’s exciting! But i really don’t see this as an immediate threat to laptops, kindles or ipods…

    Maybe it would be a different story with a different pricing, but spending $800 to have 64gb memory, a battery life which will necessitate to regular recharge (i.e. everyday?) and a relatively small screen (plus no flash, no multitasking, etc…)? Might as well stick to your iphone and laptop for now i think… But, definitely, in the long run, with prices dropping, memory added, etc, this certainly raises a lot of questions for the AMZNs, HPQs and DELLs of the world…

    • looking at what Google is preparing, I’m guessing that some people see it as a good market opportunity.. I think companies and people are just discovering the capabilities of using your fingers instead of a Mouse and they come up with old ideas for new usage.. We will see a shift in the next 2 years toward radically different ways to use a “communication/media” device that will be very very fun I’m sure..

      Also the vertically integrated approach of Apple (combined with it’s success) is a bit scary honestly..

  4. Of course now I look back at this article and I am stunned by the success of the iPad.. It amazes me.. Although I will still not buy one it is changing how poeple consume internet. Basically Browsing the web is still painful with so many sites using Flash, but the Apps are so much better now. The value Proposition in eventually not in the Web, but in the Apps (as it was for iPhone) and the User interaction and user experience has opened so much opportunities that iPad is definitely a Game changer.

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