We’ve all heard it now. The most over-hyped non-product in history of the world is finally a product.
It even has a name. It’s not the “iSlate” nor the “Apple Tablet” that people have been using for a while, it’s actually called the iPad (naturally, #iTampon was a trending topic on Twitter soon after).
While many people are disappointed, saying that the iPad is nothing more than an over-sized iTouch, I personally believe that it will be game-changing. Maybe this particular release won’t knock us off our heels, but eventually, with the proper support, a large list of applications, and a little mind-set change from the consumer side, this device is going to be the iPod of “handheld companions“.
Let me explain…
1024 x 768 Portable Screen
Much bigger than a pocket-phone and much lighter than a laptop, the iPad is roughly the size of a thin book. I carry a book with me everywhere I ago, often much heavier than a mere 1.5 pounds (a 13-inch MacBook weighs 4.5 pounds).
This translates to portability. It’s definitely much more portable than my MacBook. With augmented reality moving forward, as well Social Media moving beyond the simple idea of connecting people, the iPad’s 1024 x 768 portable display will add portability to our Social Media uses as well.
I mean, seriously, the tiny images I see on my Nokia 5800 when browsing Facebook are definitely not enough.
It Can Be Your Best Friend; Video, Audio, Images
The iPad is multi-disciplinary; a Web browser, e-mailer, photo album, and a home entertainment device all in one. You can play music, movies, TV shows, read e-books, check out PDFs and and play games. It also works with Apple’s App Store, meaning that it can run the more than 100,000 programs that were first created for the iPhone.
That’s a lot of potential.
It doesn’t have a camera, which kind of kills some of its social media potential, but knowing Apple, they’ll probably release a camera version of it soon after.
The Way We Get News Will Be Even MORE Social
…and I’m not referring to Twitter et al. If newspapers want to continue to exist, they have to cater to the changes happening with technology, especially when it’s on the scale of portable, smaller-than-a-newspaper, instantly updatable gadgets like the iPad.
Imagine this: You don’t want to read yesterday’s idea of what was hot news. You want to know what happened a minute ago. You’re willing to settle for Twitter news, but you would love to hear it from The New York Times. Large media corporations will have to figure out a way to curate the social web to get trustworthy news sources, and they have to eventually open conversations on their websites to be more like Facebook than like a forum.
Micro-payments and Virtual Goods
Virtual goods are the new “wave” on social media, as Farmville shows. With three stores for the iPad — iTunes, App Store, and iBooks — this trend is surely going stronger. The cheapest book on iBooks is for $5 and the most expensive is for $15. I know that books and mp3s are not exactly virtual goods, as you get a real benefit from them, but the addition of these stores signals that the market is ready to start paying for digital goods online.
This will definitely affect social media, it will be a gold-pot for developers, owners, and stores.
(Oh, no, not Second Life all over again!)
The $499 Price Tag Signals Mass Appeal
As much as I love my Apple products, I am well aware that they are very over-priced. But this stuff is cheap, at least in Apple standards. It’s basically a netbook, and will work well for someone who doesn’t need any fancy-schmancy software (unfortunately, I need a dozen for my job).
Mass appeal pricing should scare those companies who haven’t made themselves comfortable online over the past ten years.
Many people will have tablet computers soon. They will be small, instantly updatable, and people will be online all the time. My advice: Get your act together and GET ONLINE. Repeat after me: We love the Web. Social Media marketing is the future. The Real-Time Web is here to stay.
The iPad only confirms these statements.
You can check out the iPad and its technical details on the Apple website.
What do you think of the iPad? And pocket computers in general? Do you think the iPad (or at least the concept behind it) will change the way we live online?
All these questions will be answered in a few years, for now, there’s one thing I know. I want an iPad. I want one now.