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Early Thoughts on the iPad


by Stephen Becker 1 Feb 2010

Guest blogger Bart Weiss is the Artistic Director of VideoFest. So the next big Apple thing has finally had its unveiling, and now it’s time to see what this iPad is really about. Of course, I have some thoughts on this. And, like any new techno thing from Apple, how can I not like it? […]

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Guest blogger Bart Weiss is the Artistic Director of VideoFest.

So the next big Apple thing has finally had its unveiling, and now it’s time to see what this iPad is really about.

Of course, I have some thoughts on this. And, like any new techno thing from Apple, how can I not like it? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go to the Apple Site to watch the Steve Jobs keynote.

My favorite comment about the iPad so far is somebody calling it an iPhone for old people (I had an aunt who had a phone that big with very large numbers).

The people most interested in iPad’s success are publishers of books and magazines who hope this will mean subscriptions and sales of a new kind of publishing. If anybody can do it, Apple can.

The most interesting part of Jobs’ keynote is watching him posture as he uses the device. We used to talk about the posture issue when talking about people watching video on computers. We sit up to work, we sit back to watch, and so it was thought that people would not lean back in front of the computers (what were we thinking?).

But Jobs is sitting back in the kind of position that you would while reading a book. This, like everything else, is, I think, very deliberate.

This is a new category of computing. You deal with it differently. I see the iPad as a thing you have around the house or the hotel room or airplane while traveling, not so much in your hand as you walk and drive around. The big question is: Will enough people want this new in-between device? While we need a phone and a computer, most of us don’t need this, We want it, which is different. And it is expensive. I am not saying it is not worth it – it makes the Kindle look like something from the 80s. But will enough people spend $600 and up?

In all consumer electronics, you need to have some group pay the big price before it can come down to the more accessible price. For VHS and DVD, it was people interested in pornography who would pay $500 for a VCR to get something they otherwise could not obtain. But will there be a group that will pay for the iPad? I don’t know, but I hope so.

In my view, Apple made a mistake by not having a contract on the 3G service. I know all of us with iPhones are complaining about AT&T dropouts. But if you had a two-year commitment, the price of the iPad would be subsidized and it wouldn’t seem like a major hit to get one. Consumers (and Apple) would get over the hump a bit easier.

As for me, I will probably wait until version 2.0. The current model lacks a camera/flash and a few other things that will surly show up soon. People who are using version 1.0 iPhones have probably already given them to someone or are wishing they had a new one.

It is clear that, going forward, we will consume media in new, more intimate ways. I think this iPad helps us see the future. Oh, and my birthday is in July if any of you want to get one for me.

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