Thursday, January 28, 2010
Where to begin about the iPAD?
Where to begin about the iPAD? The name? the iPhone OS? ATT? No camera? Lack of interconnectivity? Storage? USB? Lack of ingenuity perhaps?... and the list goes on. I will not repeat what every one has said on the Web and the press. It is now very obvious that Apple disappointed its fan-base with a lack of vision and absence of revolutionary thinking. It seems they hey lost their magic on that one, and the hype that they created is now hurting them.
I am sure that they will recover. Now all the competitors are going to try to move quickly... and of course this is good for us and innovation. This time I am sure that the innovators were overrun by business people who had their fingers in iTunes’ store, ATT and new imaginative ways to perform consumer cashectomies. To add insult to injury, Apple saw the writing on the wall as every day we saw emerge what the users, experts and developers expected to make this a great breakthrough. The iPAD is an ideal case study of the failure to leverage Web communities to create a product that meets and exceeds expectations; this should go in the business book of what not to do in the age of information sharing. Apple lost over 4% when the market closed today.
Now let’s innovate Apollo13-style. What can, after all, I use this iPAD for? It’s a screen, it can be programmed, it can access data, it responds to my touch, it’s feels good to hold, and it is an oversized iPod. Now what? It’s all about the apps. Regardless of the eBooks, movies, pictures, email, games.... this iPAD opens a new world of applications for very specific and unexpected use. I think we will see more business applications come out of the iPAD than the iPhone simply because business applications are process-driven and need to show more screen real-estate than a phone. But it will not be so easy for organizations to think outside the box considering that today’s applications need to be ubiquitous to the enterprise standards. So who will use them? In my opinion it will be defined according to roles and functions instead of an homogeneous platform requirement (after all the data access is/should be supported by server services and not applications themselves; review your IT director’s compensation if that is not the case ;-). I can imagine CEOs and executives changing their reports and dashboards for iPAD applications that provide them with more mobile and instinctive interactions, medical personnel using the iPAD for charting instead of nurse-station or bedside computers, and many other specific uses that the iPhone was too small to do efficiently. I also see new opportunities for information consumption models that involve visual representation of shared and/or large amount of information that require more tactile interactions than retyping a search query or browsing pages and pages of results before discovering what matters to the user. . But, maybe I am being optimistic.
Yes I am disappointed by Apple’s iPAD limitations, but I am interested in the potential it offers for developers and innovators alike. Apple has proven time and again what it can do. That’s what it needs to remember today as the critics speak.
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