The iPad Morphing Machine
At first I was disappointed, but last night I got to watch the key note presentation and having reflected over night I think the iPad is more important than I first thought. But let me come to that soon.
Why was I disappointed:
- Lack of Flash support in the browser. Flash is everywhere on the web. We use Flash objects in our Xero charts and my little boy lives in Club Penguin. That lets down the ‘best browser experience’ claim.
- The camera didn’t make it, so obviously there is a version 2.0 coming soon. Also the big bezel looks very V1. Version 2 will be nothing but screen. So the iPad creates a dilemma. I want one, but there is a better one coming.
- For business it’s not a note taking device so it doesn’t replace the A4 notebook I carry around in my bag. With no stylus it can’t be a Microsoft One Note, but applications like Things will allow tasks to be entered. For the iPad to be used in business it has to work like a pad – where you can write on it, but not look like you’re checking your email. Apps might bridge this gap. I assume that ActiveSync still works but connecting to Exchange is conspicuously omitted on the iPad site.
RWW also advocates holding off to version 2: 5 Reasons to Wait for iPad 2.0
Clearly the iPad overlaps the iPhone and the MacBook. The question is, is there a space in between for an eBook reader and intimate lounge surfing device?But the bigger aspect of the iPad is the user interface style. Remember that iPhone and Mac OSX is the same operating core system, which is how Apple has been able to port the iWork applications across quickly. This is a huge competitive advantage to Apple.
What was revolutionary about the iPhone is that it is a Morphing Machine:
The iPhone is the information appliance that Raskin imagined at the end of his life: A morphing machine that could do any task using any specialized interface. Every time you launch an app, the machine transforms into a new device, showing a graphical representation of its interface. There are specialized buttons for taking pictures, and gestures to navigate through them. Want to change a song? Just click the “next” button. There are keys to press phone numbers, and software keyboards to type short messages, chat, email or tweet. The iPhone could take all these personalities, and be successful in all of them.
When it came out, people instantly got this concept. Clicking icons transformed their new gadget into a dozen different gadgets. Then, when the app store appeared, their device was able to morph into an unlimited number of devices, each serving one task.
This concept greatly simplifies computing. PC style computing of multiple overlapping windows and a file system is difficult for non technical users to grasp. The iPhone ease of use is now being applied to larger devices. And with the keyboard dock this maybe a great primary device for 95% of the population.
As you can see in the examples above, the operating system is practically invisible on the iPad.
So while there is overlap, the iPhone/iPad and Mac OSX allow Apple to play with both modes of operation. The iPad can become the simple to use computing device for the masses. Therefore iWork on the iPad is significant.
What I’d like to see now is the MacBook Air become more of a convertible device that allows the relaxed browsing experience of the iPad but still has the full multi-tasking power of OSX. But then I’d only need 2, not 3 devices.