iPad: Same Content, Different Form

After I got past the unfortunate branding fiasco of the latest and greatest from Apple, I can’t wait to first get my hands on one (like millions of others) and then maybe even owning one (like millions of others will).

There are many pros and cons of this new device, just like there were many pros and cons of the first iPhone. When the first iPhone came out, all I thought back then was “Why?!” However, soon I realized that “because its Apple”, and over the years – after the old colourful clamshell laptops were discontinued and the new generation PowerBooks came out, followed by the MacBooks – we became used to the idea that the latest and greatest will come first from Apple.
Back to these iPaddies…first I think they are a completely different breed of device, different from the Kindles. As far as I know, I can’t have my pictures on a Kindle, nor can I browse the Internet, listen to music, play games, send/receive e-mails and pretty much everything else you can do on your iPhone except make phone calls. Sure you may ask yourself “So what? I can do that on my laptop” but there is a difference. Laptops are much bigger, heavier, and do far more than you may want to do lying on the couch.
The Kindle is an eBook/eNewspaper/blog reader; thats about it. If you have an iPhone, can you deny spending hours just fiddling around with it, browsing, reading, tweeting, listening to music, etc. ? Probably not. Now you can do the same but on a bigger screen, so what is the reason behind this public outcry?
Here’s why I think that is. We – Apple’s customers – became spoiled. We always expect Apple to release the greatest and latest, and we expect that to blow our minds away. For the most part, the majority seem to be undecided and equally amazed as frustrated due to the limitations. People expected it to be a full fledged tablet/laptop, but it couldn’t have been. All the tablet PCs before it have so far failed. Why should Apple attempt going down that path? On top of that history, why should Apple create a product that would cannibalize their MacBook sales? Steve’s diagram clearly set the expectation, it will be better than an iPhone without being an iPhone, but it also won’t be a MacBook. Its a digital content reader.
The fact is, its just a new medium for content delivery, and it may be the holy grail for the newspaper industry. People don’t pay for content, you can’t own the content, but you can own the medium you purchased it on. Take the Davinci Code for example. I bought the book, I watched the movie, and I bought the DVD – others may have also bought the eBook. Each form has its benefits, and each form has its ‘expiry date’. After reading the book once, I probably won’t read it again, but what if I wanted to refer to a chapter later, how do I do that? how do I find it? Will I have the book on me to refer to that chapter?
You have a dinner party at home, and you want to share some photos with your guests. Either you load them up on your computer, or you plug your camera into your TV and show them. The content is exactly the same, the form is different. Showing them on your big screen is more convenient, but you need to find that silly cord first – which you can never find when you need it. You can huddle around your computer or laptop, but thats less convenient, and even less convenient is passing or rotating that laptop around. Oh wait, that iPad is on your coffee table. Same content. Different form.
Now we just wait, and see what happens between now and the launch. The use cases are endless, and are not just limited to content consumption. I definitely see use cases in at least education and healthcare, collaboration, and obviously entertainment. The Kindle and any other eBook reader just don’t have this reach.
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