now that the iPad is officially on preorder, the question on my mind is, what will it mean for the digital landscape? this ‘new’ device is not really all that new. it’s a mix between a tablet pc and an iPhone. so why all the hype? good question. to me, the iPad is more a stepping stone than a full-out solution. it’s a tadpole that has the potential to sprout legs and leap into the gadget hall of fame. but it’s not there yet.
the iPad is missing a few things that could make it a breakthrough product. we’ve all heard the digerati complain after Jobs’ unveiling – a certain lack of features will make the iPad useless for most. no multitasking, no photo/video camera, no flash support, etc. i have to agree. in it’s initial incarnation the iPad will be a curiosity and maybe a status symbol more than a revolution. for now, it’s simply a bigger screen version of the first generation iPhone. oh, and without the phone part. good for browsing the net, reading digital magazines and newspapers, but not much more.
i would look to the second and third generations of this product to be much more groundbreaking. if we look at the iPhone history, it wasn’t until the 3gs that the device became truly respectable and a joy to use. as the feature list grew, the better the iPhone sold. it is now one of the best-selling smartphones on the market. the iPad has the same potential. the feature list needs to grow with the next version (and maybe a name change wouldn’t hurt either). the iPad also has the added potential to become the future of portable computing devices. if it can more evenly match the capabilities of a laptop, its popularity could change the digital landscape forever.