Sunday, January 31, 2010

iPad What is This Thing?

I just opened an email about the new iPad and frankly, I was blown away. Okay, okay, let me not get too carried away. The iPad is nothing more than an oversized iPhone, right? Well, no, just like the iPhone, it can’t make any phone calls. Ouch! Hey just kidding, what do I know, I don’t even own an iPhone.

But an iPad, yes, I’d love to have one. Where can I order one? I think it’s just what I’ve been waiting for. Not that I can get rid of my laptop and replace it with an iPad, but since the iPad comes with a virtual keyboard, it sure comes close.

The iPad offers the best of all worlds. It’s the kind of product that I envisioned when electronic Tablets first emerged. This device is a natural progression from laptops or Netbooks, it is much lighter (only 1.5 lbs.) and more portable, and that makes it more accessible and easier to use than a laptop. It functions just like a regular computer via integrated Wi-fi, plus you can access a database of over 140,000 apps and plenty of iBooks, in full color, of course, all for about $499. What’s not to like? I’ll take one!

Sorry nook, so long Kindle, but I think that the issue of e-ink technology vs. IPS Display Multi-Touch screen technology is a moot point here. Bezo's answer to the iPad is the Kindle DX, which is about the same size as an iPad, except that it looks like a gigantic calculator, and it still comes only with a black and white e-ink screen technology that according to Bezos, promises to catch up with full color displays in about a year.

The make or break point here is barely the pricing, which is about a $10 difference between the Kindle DX and the iPad. Yes, The Kindle DX is priced at only $10 less than the iPad. ($489, I think this is laughable.) These two products are clearly in a market all to themselves for the moment, however, the iPad has blurred the lines to the point of no return. The question is: How many ebook enthusiasts are willing to pay a little more for all the extra features the iPad offers? If you do the math, it's easy to see how and why the iPad edges out the Kindle DX in so many ways.

People are looking for accessibility and a wide range of features that makes their lives easier—an all-in-one device. The iPad offers all this and more for about the same price as a standard eReader. Plus, it's much more stylish and fun to use. Looks like a no-brainer to me. Right now, the iPad rules and I don't think that will change for some time to come.

So what’s next in the land of eBook Readers? Knock-offs, of course. A year from now, you’ll have your choice of dozens of models from just about every computer manufacturer you can imagine. The competition is on folks. If you like Apple products, look no further than the iPad. Otherwise, wait for the barrage of new PC tablet products that are now on drawing boards.

How will this affect pricing? I think the price of a PC Tablet will bottom out at about $399, which means that the price of both the Kindle and nook Readers may drop considerably, to about $199 each. Then again, these eReader products might hold their own in the marketplace as a separate entity from eTablets altogether and their current pricing could remain intact. Which is to say that there’s always room for more electronic gadgets like the iPad, regardless of the price.

But as always, Apple leads the way in innovation--exemplifying capitalism at its very best. But Apple beware. If Jeff Bezos does in fact come up with a full color e-ink touch screen technology, which he has already bought from another manufacturer and continues to develop, the iPad could get a run for its money.

At any rate, the iPad is still a very exciting, revolutionary and fun product and I can’t wait to get mine in March. Here’s a demo that shows off its amazing features!

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