The shortcomings of the Apple iPad have been discussed ad nauseam by the so called “experts”, so I will not talk about it. But by now it should be obvious that the complete user experience is what separates Apple products from the rest. It was not the first MP3 player, but the combined experience of the device + the iTunes store made it the favorite player of the masses. The iPhone was not the best phone, but the combination of a clever user interface with the App store made it the preferred computing device of millions. One needs to take a look at the complete user experience and not just at the isolated pieces.
With the iPad, in my opinion, Apple tried to build something on top of the advantage they have with the iTunes and app store cloud services and borrowed a page from Microsoft by creating a device that is just a white canvas for developers to make useful and unique for each owner
Instead of packing the Mac OSX into a new form factor, they chose to carve a niche that keeps the Laptop/desktop business intact until we see if indeed the concept of light clients and cloud computing can be taken to the next level by developers and by users. If anything, this is a blueprint for computer manufacturers to follow with Google’s Android.
Watching Steve Jobs presentation, I realized that the big news of the day was not the launch of a new device called iPad that aims at making the “tablet” format something useful for the average consumer. Steve Jobs redefined Apple in less than 2 minutes.
It is not every day that a CEO redefines a company and Steve Jobs did that twice in the same event by redefining what the company is about and who the competition is. Steve redefined Apple as a “Mobile Device” company, redefined the competition by aiming at Sony, Nokia, Samsung, and by not naming the usual suspects. He also emphasized the value of cloud computing by combining under a superior user experience the Apple back-end services (iTunes, Apps store, Mobile me) and their line of mobile devices.
I speculate that a silent announcement was made about monetization mechanisms. They proved they know how to make money with micro transactions by selling billions of products at one dollar each. Now with that bigger screen and the Apps Store, alternative monetization models are more appealing. Location based mobile advertising is not limited to sms coupon codes or to minimalist display ads that are almost impossible to click on, or limited to annoying low-tech ads floating on top of a video in Youtube.
Maybe the iPad is not just another way to surf the web and do social networking or email, but is the platform for a new generation of communications, entertainment and productivity applications, the platform for taking video to the next level, just like it happened to music.
Combined with the Apple back-end, we are potentially looking at a platform to make advertising a valid monetization mechanism for developers of light applications, assuming Apple can figure out how to streamline the digital advertising process where there is a lack of standards, abundance of inefficient manual processes and inefficient tag management technologies to measure performance.
I missed the many flaws of the iPad as Steve Jobs distracted me by redefining Apple and potentially the way digital media, beyond music, is consumed and paid for.