Sharp End: iPad will not fail

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Apple released its latest creation, the Apple iPad, earlier this month. Although its first sighting is in the US only at present, it is expected on these shores on April 24.

When the iPad was announced by Apple way back in January, my first impression of the device was it was merely an oversized iPhone and it would fail miserably. I still think it is an oversized iPhone, somewhere between the iPhone 3GS and a netbook – not quite a phone and not quite a fully-fledged laptop/netbook. However, I have revised my thinking that it will be a failure.

The reason I no longer believe the product will be a failure has nothing to do with the hardware itself but purely the software. The iPad will succeed purely because of the massive variety of software that will be/is available for it. As well as having in excess of 150,000 iPhone ‘apps’ that will work without any modification (albeit they will look a little blocky due to the larger screen resolution), the iPad has more than 1,500 apps designed specifically for it at launch.

Three hundred thousand iPads were sold in the US in the first day of launch, with in excess of one million apps and 250,000 eBooks sold in the first day alone.

Initially the iPad is only available in Wi-Fi versions of differing storage capacities. But later, the iPad will be available with 3G SIMs and will be sold both off-line (SIM-free) or with a network data plan. Hopefully by the time thee device launches in the UK, the 3G version will also be available. I’m sure the networks are falling over themselves to thrash out deals with Apple to offer it with some sort of data plan for UK users.

Apple had a huge hit with the iPhone, in all its incarnations, but it has created an environment for software application that has not been around before. Software developers worldwide have got behind the iPhone and now the iPad because they have been given all the tools to work with. They are easy to use and developers are safe in the knowledge the software they design for Apple devices will work because the hardware has been provided by the same company.

Software designers know their software will work on any iPhone, and now any iPad, because the hardware requirements – screen resolutions, processing speeds, battery and so forth – are the same on all devices.

Full article in Mobile News issue 461 (April 12, 2010).

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