At this point most people are pretty tired of hearing about the iPad. Those that love it keep raving about it, and those that are dissapointed just want people to stop talking about it. However, I think it’s good to explore exactly why the iPad won’t revolutionize the computer market – and never really had a chance to (even if it had all of features most people expected).
The iPad won’t revolutionize the market simply because it doesn’t solve a problem or fulfill a need that wasn’t being fulfilled before. Apple has certainly released revolutionary products in the past. The iPod brought the ability to listen to digital files on the go. iTunes allowed people to download music legally and safely. The iPhone created a market for mobile applications that wasn’t there before. These products all created a market because they were actually useful. The iPad, however cool it may be, simply doesn’t do anything new. Anything I can do on an iPad I can do with one of my other computers.
If you are interested in video or music, Archos, a little known brand in the United States, has been making similar media devices for years. If you want the iPad for the e-reader aspect, the Kindle is much cheaper (costs half the price, you don’t have to pay extra for 3G, and books are cheaper as well). If you want mobile apps, the iPhone and iPod touch provide what you need. All the iPad does is combine a few features from scattered devices. It doesn’t actually do anything new.
Price is huge factor here as well. $500 for the base model is a lot of money for what you are getting. People have become so used to Apple products being expensive that they think this price point is cheap. It’s not. iPods and iTunes media sell at accessible price points, which is another reason they were able to create a new market. This product isn’t accessible to the general public at this price point, especially because it doesn’t actually provide you with a function that your other devices can’t do.
The reality is we don’t need a new way to consume media right now. I’m happy with my iPhone, laptop, and 46″ HDTV. Carrying around yet another device isn’t appealing to me – especially since it doesn’t replace my iPhone. If the iPad had a camera, GPS, supported Flash, and cost $100 less, I might say it is worth purchasing (but still wouldn’t call it revolutionary). As it is, it’s a neat gadget for rich people. Nothing more.