I’ve just read through John Gruber’s *very* complete iPad review and I had a few thoughts I wanted to share. I’ve been lusting for an iPad since the mostly positive reviews starting flowing, but in my head I know the right thing to do is wait.
My idea of the future is in some ways represented by the iPad. It’s trim operating system can do things quickly using less hardware. It’s easy to use. And… it’s native software is locked down (I’ll try and duck a few tomatoes for that one).
Now what is the iPad lacking? Two key requirements: identity and easy communication. The iPad really doesn’t know who I am. Sure it has my credit card number thanks to the app store, but that is just about it. The key thing Gruber noted in his post was Google’s advantage with the Nexus One. As soon as I log in, it knows everything about me. Make no mistake, this is fundamental.
A tablet should be to the home phone what the smart phone was to the cell. The internet is fundamentally about communication, and that’s where the iPad failed. Sure, you can load up a chat client, or you can check your email, but I’d argue (and other would too) that the iPad is made for consumption.
My vision of the future electronic household is replacing every home phone with a tablet. Too expensive? I doubt it. Think Android. Now think Google Voice. Starting to see the picture? Small screens and camera prices are dropping like a brick. When will we see sub $100 tablets? Sub $50? (I’m sure advertising will also subsidize some prices like Google already does with Android phones)
What’s even better is that these tablet’s will carry my identity and online “state” from tablet to tablet. (Hey maybe those built-in camera’s will even add facial recognition in combination with a password for extra security.) If my wife took the nice new tablet, no problem (deep breath), I can pick up right where I left off on my older one.
I’m not dismissing high-end, luxury “computers”, I still think we’ll have those, but that’s not what I want my tablet to do. I just want something I can read, browse the internet, and communicate with. I don’t think this will come from Apple though, and they’ll miss a big chunk of the industry because of it (but I guess commodity items really aren’t Apple’s bag anyway).
I still might be interested in an Apple tablet that was nice and big and played the next edition of the Civilization game and played nice movies, but I’d want the screen about twice as big (accelerometers are lame btw).
I am also in the camp who believes app stores are a fad. I think we just need web application distribution to behave more like the app store. If I designed a web application to look exactly like an iPhone app and put an icon on the iPad, would anyone notice? Not really. HTML5 will hopefully put the app store to bed. We just need to create better web applications.