Is there a niche for “Killer” ?

Lately iPad has become one of the most discussed devices – by IT specialists, market analysts, ordinary users. Keeping silent and creating a space for speculation guarantees Apple being atop of minds at no cost to the company. Everybody expected that iPad official announcement and presentation would remove all rumors. But apparently this was out of Apple’s plans – all Apple is about it :).

There exist different points of view about iPad and they are highly contradictory. The thing is that perhaps we all have exaggerated expectations. And are there any grounds for them? Why are we blaming Apple for breaking their promises? Pardon, but have they really made them?

iPad’s main functionalities encompass:

  • E-book capabilities – iBook (with ePub support),
  • A word processor, presentation maker and spreadsheets – iWork,
  • Calendar feature in a Day Planner-style approach,
  • Contact management,
  • Media (music, movies and games) capabilities,
  • Web surfing,
  • E-Mail (working with main e-mail providers and MS Exchange Server)
    and some others.

Dozens of articles about iPad proclaim the following advantages of a new device:

  • Ultrathin and ultralight,
  • Enlarged screen size,
  • 3G (for some models),
  • Long-life battery (10 hours of playing video),
  • Usability,
  • A number of applications already available in Apple AppStore,
  • Color iBook apps support and ePub books format,
  • Possibility to add accessories, etc.

At the same time iPad has its shortcomings as well:

  • No multitasking – perhaps there is no strong necessity of a full OS X-style multitasking but why not to provide an ability to keep a couple of apps in the background,
  • No video camera,
  • No support for Flash – though Flash is a real CPU predator and a battery killer still it is a great part of Web,
  • No USB,
  • Video limitations – i.e. ability to play but not to send from iPad a 720a video to a high definition television,
  • iWork limitations – it can open MS Office and iWork files but save them just to iWork and PDF format,
  • Books store is limited to iBook Store,
  • GPS only with 3G models,
  • Flash memory limitations,
  • Applications will have the same App Store approval procedure as their iPhone predecessors, etc.

Besides there are some white spots – the points Apple keep silence about. Just to provide an example: Which media services could be used – will it be narrowed solely to iTunes? Is it possible that iPhone and iPad soon will be running different versions of OS?

Naturally current shortcomings diminish iPad’s value. But how much would you like to bet that Apple will change that in next generations ? Purely Apple’s style 🙂 – if you need extended functionality of a product simply buy its next version.

On analyzing all this stuff I personally haven’t come to a conclusion what iPad is. All the time iPad is compared to and paralleled various devices. Some call it iPhone and mobile web killer, iPod on steroids and giant smartphone, Kindle substitute. Others claim that netbooks days are numbered.

All this seems to be an indication that public is convulsively trying to define what iPad is and whether it is worthy to be bought. And marketing people are sharply scanning iPad potential niche! Meanwhile, tech specialists with sinking hearts are waiting for iPad release and are ready to catch up the trend and pioneer apps development specifically for iPad. Like it once was with iPhone 🙂 .

It looks like iPad is a 3rd category of device that bridges the gap between laptops and smartphones. The idea about iPad market segment could be defined like: “A human being left on the planet who does not own a laptop or smart phone. Entertainment, gaming, e-reading – this is what may make iPad quite a winner”.

Agree? What does iPad mean to you? Do you consider it worthy your attention and cash? Feel free to leave your point here.

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