The Latest on the iPad: We're in Future Shock

iPad

In the few days since Apple finally revealed all about its iPad tablet PC the tech world has writhed with excitement and outrage. Tiny nuggets of information have leaked out too, so we've rounded up the best of it for you.

Analysts Cautious About iPad Sales

Over at TUAW they've got a short summary of two different analyst's predictions for iPad sales: Shaw Wu of Kaufman Brothers, and Charlie Wolf of Needham. Apple's own figure for iPad sales is that 10 million units will fly off the shelves in the nine months of 2010 after its March launch.

But Wu notes that about 5 million will be sold, thinking that Apple's overstating how popular the slate device will be. Meanwhile a more-critical Kaufman pins the figure at just 4 million units--still a roaring success, but no comparison to Apple's expectations.

Why so much caution? It's probably a reflection of how different the reality of the iPad is compared with the unicorn dust-sprinkled expectations that resulted from all those years of cumulative rumors.

U.K. to Get 3G iPad Sooner Than Expected

The Register has an intriguing post about the expected delivery dates of the iPad with 3G in nations outside the U.S. Steve Jobs himself noted the Wi-fi-only version was due for a World-wide launch in March, and the 3G-enabled version, connected through AT&T in the U.S., would arrive in April. Elsewhere around the World the 3G-version would arrive in June or July, presumably depending on negotiations with local 3G network companies.

But over on Apple's own iPad page in the U.K., which was updated from its initial limited content with data on pricing, also states "Wi-fi models shipping in late March. 3G models shipping in April." That's in complete agreement with Steve's U.S. dates, and it's unlikely to be a mistake by Apple as the page has been regionalized for the U.K. The Web site also notes that the "3G data plan may be sold separately" which almost hints that there'll be an option to buy the iPad with a non-separate 3G plan--in other words directly from a cell phone network. And this then raises the suggestion that carrier subsidies may apply...which could then push the price of the iPad down by several hundred pounds if you signed up for a two year contract. That would definitely push sales upwards.

Battery Life Questioned

There were many writers who simply didn't get it, and this includes John Breeden at the Government Computer News page. "Nothing from the iPad specs that I've seen really shows any great cause for celebration" he notes, completely failing to do any research on the Internet--research that would quickly have demonstrated that almost exactly the same charges were leveled against the iPod and the iPhone at their launches too.

But Breeden went a stage further, and questioned the whole idea behind the IPS screen, arguing (from what clearly was a spot of Wikipedia reading) that it's not all that great a choice for a portable device. And he even implies Jobs lied about the battery life--and that the screen's power-hungry habits will result in a lifespan of "less than three hours." Breeden's forgetting that the screen is LED-lit, however. And, as is argued over at MacDailyNews, he's not understanding the battery-management powers of the Apple A4 chip, and ignoring that Apple often understates battery life.

Adobe Fires Back

In the spat over the iPad's abandonment of Flash, Adobe launched another attack via its own Flash blog, picking up on what some perceive to be the iPads problems and spinning it right at Apple. "Enabling innovation isn't magic" Adobe argues, highlighting the closed, protected nature of the way it thinks Apple will run the iPad versus its own open stance on open-source development. Nasty.

Future Shock

Some thinkers have examined why there's so much negativity about the iPad. The most compelling argument to me rests on one simple idea: The tech world is suffering future shock. The iPad brings so many capabilities together in one svelte package, resting on the demonstrably successful iTunes ecosystem, and at such a low price that it's actually easier to rail against its supposed shortcomings than to exercise your brain and imagine the amazing uses that will emerge for the iPad over time.

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2 Comments

  • Richard Geller

    "it's actually easier to rail against its supposed shortcomings than to exercise your brain and imagine the amazing uses that will emerge for the iPad over time"

    Possibly, or maybe it's a bigger iTouch surrounded by a lot of uncertainty—in particular about how iBooks and various open platform issues will shake out. Partially because of all the pre-launch run-up, the utility of the tablet concept is already tired; I think a lot of us got that years ago; personally, I'm just a little underwhelmed by what Apple delivered—not bad but not exactly revolutionary.

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    Richard Geller
    http://www.aSiteAboutSomething...