Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Quick take on the Apple iPad: It's a PC, sort of

I need some time to think about it, but after listening to the feed of the announcement and chatting with my friend Chris Dunphy, my quick reaction is that the iPad is more like a PC than I expected. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I had been thinking of the tablet as a new, third category of devices focused on content consumption. The content play is in there, but focused on print only rather than video and other forms of media, at least for the moment. But given its features and software, and especially the iWork suite, the iPad is actually more like a low end PC-displacement product: The PC reimagined as a portable, touchscreen device. Content delivery is a part of that rethinking. Nine years after Tablet PC, somebody got it right.

The iWork pricing of $9.99 per module is a knife aimed at Office, and a disturbing precedent for all traditional productivity app companies. If you're in one of those companies, you need to rethink your business model quickly.

I'm not saying the PC is dead (not at all), but it looks like Apple is trying to gradually move up from the smartphone space to chew chunks out of the PC market. So maybe the iPad really is a response to PC netbooks, which is what my Apple alumni friends said a year ago. In some ways the iPad is worse than a netbook, in some ways it's better. I will be very interested to see how it sells against netbooks this fall.

I'll have more to say after I've had some time to digest the announcement. In the meantime, your comments are welcome.

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