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.