This post was published back in 2010. It may not function as originally intended or may be missing images.
The iPad: It wasn't created for us.
I've had some time to think about today's release from Apple, the iPad. I'm finding that the more I think about it, the more disappointed I am. But I know why: The iPad was not created for us (and by us I mean the tech crowd).
Take a look at today's release. Remove all of the changes to the software and the new iWork/iBook products. If you look solely at the hardware and the device itself, there is nothing revolutionary here. There are no revolutionary new input methods, no new integrated additions (like the compass was to the 3GS and the camera to the Nano) and nothing new in form factor (aside from size).
Now look at the software. While the default apps like Mail, Safari, Photos, and Calendar got a refresh, the OS itself is fundamentally the same. The home screen simply has more space in-between the icons and a background image. In fact, even though you have a bigger screen, you still have the same number of icons per page. There is no multitasking, no OS-wide gestures, and no major APIs opened to developers.
The problem is the tech community expected to see iPhone OS 4.0 today. We expected to see something we hadn't seen before.
All Apple did today was release the same product they already have, only bigger.
And you know what? It's going to work.
The iPad is targeted towards all of the users who simply need a device to browse the web, check email, watch videos, go on Facebook, and play a little Farmville. And as Apple knows, this market segment is a LOT bigger than the 'I need multi-tasking and Minority Report style input' crowd. I bet that for the majority of people in Yerba Buena Center today, the iPad will not be their mainstay machine. Most of them will buy it, play with it, or develop on it, but most of our computing will be done on laptops and desktops.
The iPhone and iPod Touch have been incredibly successful. If Apple released a new device today that required a steep learning curve with revolutionary input controls and a new OS unlike anything we've seen before, your mother would not care. Your non-tech-savvy friends would not use it. What Apple is doing is simply taking something that works very well and making it reach a little farther.
So what I'm really disappointed about is how much I got sucked into the hype cycle this round. I'm actually really excited to read, watch, play, and develop on this device. The iPad is a going to be a great device, it's just not the technological savior we were looking for. Still, as I look back at all of the really amazing things we all hoped the iPad would be, I realize that these ideas are now out there. It may or may not come from Apple, but now it's just a matter of time.