iPad - Announced and Relatively Uninteresting - ejronin Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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iPad - Announced and Relatively Uninteresting

There’s that small part of me that is super excited, and then the larger, more logical and practical 4/5ths of me that cringes when I say “iPad”.

It’s not a secret anymore that Apple, Inc. formally announced the device today… and the commentary pouring from the presentation permeates with mixed feelings – mostly cynical:

  • “Apple have made a horse with wheels. Just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.”
  • “The ipad looks completely pointless, its looks like a dom joly (trigger happy tv) sized iphone. utterly disappointed.”
  • “We’re an hour in, and I remain to be convinced that this is a revolution that I need to join in. The iPad is basically Apple’s entry into the netbook market, using the stuff it’s learned from the iPhone. But I haven’t heard yet a really strong reason for why it makes concrete the gap that Steve Jobs talked about earlier. It’s a lot of things, but I’m not sure any of them are problems that need to be solved. The real question is price, and we haven’t heard that yet. If it’s cheap enough to be competitive with netbooks, then there might be something here.”
  • “We’ve heard from the guy behind painting application Brushes, and now Electronic Arts is explaining how you can play games on it. The graphics are reminiscent of the last generation of consoles (PlayStation 2, for example). It’s a little bit like holding a high definition TV screen inches from your face,” he says. Ooh, I’m not sure I’d be up for that.”

 

Apple CEO Steve Jobs launches the new iPad tablet computer Photograph: KIMBERLY WHITE/REUTERS

The device as it is presented seems to be geared more like an API – by itself it’s not very practical or appealing so it’s going to rely on the hungrier, greedier markets to pick up and drive the device into the hands of users, unlike the iPhone who drove the device to popularity. That is the way of Apple though; to create an emerging market by forcing, evolving, and merging existing market concepts through a manner of perceived mechanics until the dynamics of the market relationships fall in rank and file. This’ll be an interesting polarity experiment to say that least, especially on an economic scale.

What we as consumers will undoubtedly see is the highly predicible side of this:

  • iPad hits stores
  • Droves of Apple fanatics rush out to own the newest thing possible (and feel as though their part of a social elite because we’ll see market leaders toting them and Hollywood socialites act as though it’s the greatest fashion accessory (which is what they do when they’re given free things to secretly be part of viral marketing)
  • 1/4 of early adopters will deal with a degree of buyer’s remorse and complain that ‘there’s nothing on it’ that really uses the full potential or that it’s just a bulky iPhone and hat the battery life isn’t what it claimed to be… also some complaints about the screen.
  • Dedicated developers will rave about how ‘cutting edge’ the SDK is for the iPad and how they can do ‘things they’ve never dreamed of’ (*** – if you do it currently then you dreamed of it).
  • Someone will moronically ask “What about 3D?”
  • The keynote 1.5 years later will exclaim that the next generation iPad is “THE” iPad everyone has been waiting for and the media paint an even brighter halo atop Steve Jesus’…er… Jobs’ head.
  • Apple decides to drop the bottom tier price product and stack a one one on top of the top tier - this way Steve can create a problem and fix it at the same time. People who bought the 4GB iPhone lost support for it, then as a 'fix' were given $100 in apple credit - that can only be spent on itunes or in the apple store thereby shorting people of $50 and then getting them to spend more on you (because you're not really going to find much for JUST $100 in the Apple Store and $100 goes lighting fast - its' just enough to get on a near unstopplable roll).

Rinse and Repeat…

What the industry will undoubtedly fumble around with:

  • EA publishes a slew of still watered down titles and makes attempts at catering to the WiFi / 3G capabilities amid the dysfunction of PopCap, using the newly acquired PlayFish to divide the mobile front lines to take on Zygna and whatever is left of PopCap. Due to this, other game publishers will pause and rethink their strategy based on the early adopter numbers and usage statistics. They’ll likely find that they can put a price increase on the games for the iPad over the iPhone / iPod despite the major difference between them being screen real estate. It won’t be until the second generation that developers will be given the hardware within the device to really make something solid in terms of gaming but by then mobile frenzy gamers will have bought into the inflated fad, and be willing to pay more for a more capable game. And then EA will do their happy dance, but somehow manage to ‘oops we did it again’ and Mitch Lasky will sit back in his chair with a “Kottick smile”. Though, gamers will still complain about lack of tactile buttons and odd controls.
  • Retooling the pricing set up to rake in quantity via the iPad over the Kindle, publishers will have consider pushing the content in quantity to make up for the lower prices – given that anything “i” has magical properties and cures cancer, it won’t be too hard at first… or at least until that market dilutes with second rate content from bottom tier publishers looking to get in on the action – or- they’ll take too long to figure out what to do that they’ll find themselves lost in the sea of bottom tier publishers for a period. They’ll definitely have to rely somewhat on Apple’s iTunes / App Store presentation and various social marketing sites to put their name out (and incur a cost in doing it).
  • Pre-existing business-like applications will end up being in two versions based on available real-estate. The big stuff, all magically graphical and fun (for $$ of course) and then the lite, cheap-o deluxe version that gets to the point but is a pain to maneuver through by comparison. I do think though that we’ll see a lot less Adobe getting in on it, as Apple tends to want to push their methods with H.247 and HTML5 over Flash, Air and Action Scripting. I also doubt we’ll see silverlight support soon and Mozilla will find themselves used a lot less, but that's because Apple makes you do thing their way or no way - yay!... pffft.
  • Dell, Asus, and HP will try to edge in on the market with similar devices. We’ll also wee HTC, Sony and LG try to mix it up with a few similar performing but visually different items.

Maybe it’s me, but I took the lack of iPod innovation during last years keynote as a stark clue towards the reality of this ‘thing’ because when you really look at it – it is an iPod / iPhone all blown up (you can’t talk into it yet, though I’m sure that next generation they’ll add the camera for video conferencing via 3G networks), but for now it can be used with a proprietary camera connection kit. As far as I can tell the newish iPhone / iPod headsets with a mic can plug into the bottom so one might be able to use Skype on it (why one would is beyond me). With that said… and with speculation that Apple could get into the gaming arena by 2012, has anyone noticed that Apple hasn’t done anything with or said much about Apple TV? With On-Live failing in demos, and EA talking about digital only, it makes sense to assume that the bond between both companies will create a test bed with EA streaming interactive content via Apple TV in some form or another… and since Apple components usually do a great job of working together… does anyone think perhaps this could be a proposed method of control?

My personal take on it, if you’ve not picked up on it is that by itself this is crap. But it’s not made to be by itself. We live in a digitally social world (how’s that for irony!) and like 3D technology too many industries have a lot to gain by this device to let it fail. It’ll be pushed by the hipsters, the trend whores, and the tech geeks that like to make excuses for using proof of concept devices rather than logical reasons, and it’ll be pushed by media giants as another way to pass opinion as fact, record and film industry leaders to feel more secure in controlled distributions at a higher cost, and developers to continue to find ways to develop content based on platform rather than merit. At least, I feel the first generation of this device will be that way. The second generation will find more users, but less actual practical use due to the multitude of things that can be done. As said by one of the commentators, just because you CAN do it doesn’t mean you should.

I loathe to think what this thing will do for gaming. Lugging around a 9.5″ flat, touch screen device isn’t any more appealing than lugging around a 3 lb PSP, or the ‘too big for your pocket” DSi and frankly most of the existing games are not full featured. In the future when they may be full featured, they’ll still pale in comparison to the console and PC titles, and be over priced for what they are. They’ll be innovative for sure, but there’s a reason why gamers revert to the good old controller and game specific devices – it’s because they just work. When you go playing with multi-use devices there’s the risk that when one portion of it fails, the whole thing fails (like a Cadillac). While the price is appealing, Apple has stated numerous times that “you get what you pay for” interms of device quality and with the price being at what an iPhone costs to more than what a mac-mini costs I’m not so sure that I’m getting much for the money. Especially considering that the pricing is varied on storage and not capabilities (other than WiFi and WiFi+3G).

Image of the iPad price page at the time of this post.

 

If you can’t make out that price set up, here:

16 GB 32 GB 64 GB
Wi-Fi $499 $599 $699
Wi-Fi + 3G $629 $729 $829
  • Prices in US Dollars. International pricing will be announced at a later date.

It might be attractive when you consider that it's well under the initial guesstimated price, but what good is a 3G connection to anyone NOT in a metropolitan area - especially with AT&T as the likely provider? What good is 3G when the standard in the next year will be 4G? Why in the hell would I now want to get an iPod - oh - wait... that's the point. I can't imagine what developer / publisher would want to be on a device that dwarfs the iPod and the existing market there with a device that makes it easy to justify creating the same amount of content and inflate the price due to 'better looking' - I take that back... EA is with 'em on this...

Heh- I wonder what Jeff Brown will say at an Apple Keynote when EA makes "mistakes"... it's hard to backpedal to Steve Jobs - he's known for his blunt and demanding attitudes.

Like anything else Apple related, no one can really tell what exactly things will do – so take all of this with a grain of salt. I have to wonder if it’s designed to scare the pants off of Franklin Covey and Amazon more than anyone else though.

If you’re interested in seeing the full specs of the iPad, check them out on the Apple site here

 

Yes - I'm a h8r... never been a fan of Apple and their schemes... they look good, they act good - but I'm not into being told what to do. I prefer user options. That's me though... you're welcome to love this or any Apple product till you're blue in the face.

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