The reaction to Apple’s iPad has been extremely polarized. It’s either the Jesus Tablet or a waste of time and effort. My friend Jack called me right after Jobs’ presentation to say why he was so disappointed in it.
“You can spend $299 on a Windows 7 netbook and do all that AND have a camera,” he said (or words pretty much to that effect).
“So,” I said. “That’s Windows and crappy netbook hardware.”
“Well, I guess they’re selling the ‘Apple Experience,'” he said, finally making sense.
The iPad is not, in a feature-wise sense, the be-all, end-all computer for everyone. It DOESN’T have a camera for video conferencing, etc. That’s not a big issue to me, as I don’t do that much, and I have a camera on my desktop if I need to. But, for people like Jack who do video chats, it’s a deal. I wonder if we’ll be able to get a webcam that will attach to the iPad for people like him?
But Jack is a geek (me, too). On the MacBreak Weekly podcast, they talked about whether it’ll appeal to the mainstream, with mixed opinions. But, I got a good taste of how it’ll appeal to the mainstream last night.
As soon as I got home, I pulled up the iPad video on the Apple website and cajoled my wife into watching it. The Wife isn’t a Luddite, but she’s not far off. She reads the newspaper every morning to get her news, she doesn’t read blogs or even know what an RSS feed is. She doesn’t Twitter or, if you can believe, even use Facebook. Her cellphone makes phone calls. It can send and receive text messages, but she won’t send them because it “takes too long to type them out on that keypad.” So, if I want to text her from my iPhone, I have to pretty much send messages that don’t require a response or can be answered with “yes” or “no” (usually typed as “y” or “n”).
But, when watching the iPad video, she said “wow!” no less than six times. More importantly, when it was over, she said, “That’s exactly how I use the laptop now, only it’s more comfortable.” Then I told her about the iWork apps for the iPad and she said, “That would be the perfect computer for me.”
So, selling her on eBaying the MacBook to get an iPad was easy-peasy (as she would say).
I think the only question now is how I’m going to afford a second one, since it’s going to be difficult to get the first one away from her.