Get real, geeks – The iPad is the Apple for Mum, not you

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daniel-smallThis is a guest post by Daniel Tenner, CTO and co-founder of Woobius, a web-based document sharing tool for architects, engineers and designers. Woobius is his second start-up. Daniel spent four years consulting at Accenture with large investment banks. One day, he decided that there were more exciting and fun things to do in the world, and went start-upping instead. He holds a Masters in Physics from Oxford University. He also blogs at and on various other sites. This is his take on the iPad.

To much of the geek-sphere, the iPad is somewhat of a disappointment. It’s underwhelming – there’s nothing all that surprising in there, no “oh, and one more thing” to throw some real techno-magick spices into the pot. We saw it coming from a hundred miles away, so now that it’s finally here, there isn’t much surprise left.

I think part of the reason for this is, as usual, that the first round of people interpreting the meaning and purpose of the iPad are all geeks – developers, designers, and assorted Macheads who already own one or two macs at least, and an iphone. I believe the collective “Meh” is absolutely right from this crowd. Yes, the iPad is a nice-to-have, yes, I’ll probably be getting one, but it’s not really all that revolutionary. It doesn’t do anything that we can’t already do with our iPhones and Macs, after all.

But geeks and assorted Macheads constitute a relatively small percentage of the computer-using people around the world. The vast majority of the world is still using Windows PCs. And for them, an iPad may be exactly what they’ve been waiting for. Let me elaborate on this…

Most people don’t need a computer

Most people have a computer at home. For some (like my mom), it’s an ancient Dell laptop they bought years ago. Others have bought into the netbook trend and invested a small amount of money into a machine that, for most people, can only be irritating to use (slow, small, ugly, and burns your lap – not a recipe for success). A few have actually paid good money for what was supposed to be a modern machine, and actually turned out to be yet another annoying slow, painful-to-use, Windows-based machine infested with trial software, spyware, and sometimes viruses.

In today’s (western) world, not having any computer at home makes life difficult. My mom needs some way to check airline ticket prices, to find out the weather, to go on Facebook, to buy movie tickets, to check her email, to call me on Skype, and a thousand other little uses that aren’t very taxing or challenging for either her or whatever device she’s using.

She doesn’t really need a computer in the same sense that I do, though. As a programmer, I need a machine that is powerful, that I can mess with under the hood, that I can do everything with. My mom needs a reasonably priced machine that Simply Works and does all those simple things that she wants to do when she’s at home.

In short, most people don’t really need a proper computer at all.

And they mostly don’t want one. Many people spend all day working in front of a computer, and they simply don’t like the idea of coming home to yet another computer that looks just like the one they use at work.

iPad: the uncomputer for the masses

Apple has grandiosely claimed that the iPad is creating an entirely new product category, and I think they’re right.

Many people are comparing the iPad launch to the iPhone or the iPod – dismissed by tech critics, who were ultimately proven wrong by mass adoption of the devices. There is something to this comparison, but it’s not quite fair. Both the iPod and the iPhone attacked existing product categories and made them so much better that they wiped the floor with their competition. The iPad is attempting to create a new market. A great many of the people who bought an iPod had other MP3 players beforehand. I’d wager most of the people who end up buying an iPad have never owned a dedicated tablet computer, and never considered that it would be worth owning one.

A better comparison is with the Nintendo Wii. While Sony and Microsoft competed in the cut-throat market of consoles for gamers, the Wii also created a new product category: consoles for everyone else. It worked pretty well for them – it turns out that there’s a lot more non-gamers than gamers, and making a device that appeals to 95% of the population sells better than making one that appeals to only 5%.

And that’s exactly what Apple is doing: making a slick “uncomputer” that’s tailored to those people who don’t actually need a computer. Many gamers ended up buying Wiis too, and I’m sure many geeks will buy iPads, but the real money-maker will be those who don’t even have a Mac, and probably won’t ever have one because it’s too expensive and they don’t need it.

The price point is also just right for this market – $499 is around the range of a cheap laptop or an expensive netbook. The applications balance is right – focus on email and web, with a good helping of medias, games and various practical apps. The gorgeous look is of course going to appeal to everyone. Once it has a video camera (inevitable for the next iteration), it will do everything that normal people do with their laptops at home today.

The only question, in my my mind, is, what will these people do when their cheap old Dell finally clonks out? Right now, to use an iPad and iPhone effectively, it seems you still need some kind of base station. So when the old Dell gives up the ghost, will people buy another one? Pony up for an expensive Mac? Or simply decide that the iPad is good enough and they don’t want another laptop?

  • JCred

    Good article (if you’re into apologist puff-pieces from Apple fanboys).

    • victoria

      iPad is not a game-changer, although it might be a budding device made for a non-existential market again.

      Just think, what it could replace in the future? (Your Coby, PMP device, Your LCD in your Car, Those vtech for the kids, etc)

      I believe, this year won’t be an iPad year. But believe me, after 3 years.. I think we will look back and remember this day, why we disdain iPad so much, because it turns out on that day. iPad is a part of your home already.

      More details:

      • boden

        But it doesn’t have a quantum power source, 3D holographic display, or a telekinetic interface…
        Why weren’t they thinking specifically about me when they made this thing. It’s all about me right?
        (throws tantrum then sulks)


      • Josh

        You aer not funny, sir.

      • Austang

        Haven’t we had enough with the lame iPad articles yet? Come on Tech Crunch! What are you doing!?!

    • Etrigan

      ‘Apologist puff-piece…’

      Very well-put, and very accurate. Apple could have come out with a red prick painted blue, and these guys would still find a way to justify it as a great product.

      • nick

        + infinity

      • yeah

        or better yet using devin’s college humour post from cg, apple could have release a product with a kick me sign bezel and yet people would smother it with love and rational.

    • dave "the Apple Fanboy"


      I totally agree with the author of this post.

      iPad is the essence of the Personal Computer for the masses.

      • Jane Doe

        Exactly. It will be huge, just like the Volkswagen Beetle, because it works right and doesn’t cost a fortune. Perfect for the casual types. The rest of you people, get back to work at your dual screen, quad core, MIMO connected workstations and stop fooling around on Techcrunch. I said NOW !

    • kyle mullaney

      I think it is a great article and I get the point. Something we also need to consider is that this is going to get the iWork suite out to more people. It is more user friendly that anything Microsoft makes. Also, it is prettier and pointed at ascetics and word is not! When people need a computer I think having had this will make buying a Mac even more inviting. you need music and you get an ipod. You needed a phone you bought and iPhone. Those would not bring you to a mac but now you need a portable computer here it is. When you need a desktop you will think maybe a Mac is right. That is the key. This device will lead people that way.

      • Mark A

        “It is more user friendly that anything Microsoft makes.”


        On what basis?

      • dennis

        …on the basis that everything that M$ makes basically suxs in the category of everything.

        trigger happy idiot…

      • Steve Benjamins

        If you’re looking for empirical evidence that’s probably not going to be cited.

        If everyone was to stear clear of generalizations in a comments thread most comments would be written off.

        His comment is speculation but still worded correctly imo.

      • nik heger

        The exclusion of the webcam is baffling – everyone needs a camera on their computer at home these days, as we use skype, iChat, and maybe even make the occasional YouTube video.

        The article is spot on, and those that write negative comments here pretty much do nothing except out themselves as yet another geek who doesn’t get it.

        PCs – and by that, I also mean Macs – suck for normal people. I know this because I fix the computers for them and tell them how things work. A lot of times, as I try to explain something, I realize midway through that it makes absolutely no sense. How do you explain that you need to repair permissions, or that a drive by virus can install itself via IE without you doing anything? Does it make sense? No.

        It’s too complicated.

        The danger for the iPad is that it may be too simple. No webcam – how do I do Skype then? Oh a USB add-on, not very elegant now is it?

        Also, tomorrow there might be a new thing we do with our general purpose computers that the iPad can’t do because its creators didn’t anticipate that use.
        How will my wife get her music onto the iPad if she didn’t have a computer – this question remains unsolved. How will she copy music that a friend gives her on a USB stick or a CD? Managing music and email are the only things my wife does with her computer. She doesn’t even surf the web. But if one of those doesn’t really work on the iPad, then it’s not for her.

      • Dave Ward

        I too was miffed that there was no webcam because with the new third party widget for Skype you can do real cheap teleconferencing. However I believe that Apple has been trying to keep the cost down as much as possible in order to be able to offer the incredible starter price of $499 which I just was not expecting,

        Like Apple stated in their video they are trying to get the iPad into as many hands as possible and the only way that they can do this is to make the price within the range of as many people as possible. Apple does offer a camera adapter but I don’t think that would work very well for me.

        The other thing to remember of course is that this is just the first version, and much as we would like everything included at the beginning it never works out that way. I’m sure as time gives on that other versions of the iPad will include many more features and third part developers will provide some awesome applications.

        If you are one of those people who must have everything first then realize this comes with a high price. I am so glad that I held off getting a Kindle because I just knew that something better was on the horizon and of course I was right. For 10 bucks more than a Kindle DX you get so much more.

        However you have to jump into the game at some point otherwise you would be waiting for the next best thing forever. It’s just a question of which is the right point for you, but regardless there is always a trad off with the fast pace of technological changes. Personally for a starting price of $499 I think apple did an awesome job.

    • evilbillcosby

      admit it

      you are just another verizon sour-puss stuck with half baked android

      the ipad is straight 21st century
      so check your 20th century computing paradigms at the door

      I’ll see you in my rearview mirror

      • no-multi

        Android = multitasking
        iPad = no multitasking
        iPhone = no multitasking

        21st century huh? Have fun with your overpriced giant iPod touch, idiot.

      • Backslash Billy

        All you Microsoft lovers can go backslash \ yourselves by reading DOS Dementia for Dummies.

    • Emily

      Mom here. So glad the iPad is on the way…would’ve preferred something more 5X7 than 8X10 so it’d be easier to tote, but it fits all my most important specs.
      Keeping the iTunes library, photos, files on the main Compaq desktop which, when it dies, will be replaced with an Apple desktop which will also be tethered to cable because Mom likes that security for banking and shopping, etc.
      Since we’re dealing with Mom here, designers please keep in mind the aesthetics…no more computer casings that look like dull-grayed laundry or lint-attracting matte blacks…get stylin’!

    • Yo Steve

      Actually you do have a very good point. I have been bashing the ipad since launch, it was such a disappointment, but this may well be its killer app: people who don’t have a computer, but then the question is how many people is this we’re talking about?

      My mom would actually be a perfect match for this, but only because she doesn’t have a computer at all, other older folks I know who have computers usually have some cheapo dell and I wouldn’t see them upgrading to this unless it had a very clear compelling advantage relevant to them.

      The crippled safari browser (no flash) and no background apps are again major drawbacks too. Pretty much all news sites that have video use flash, and watching/reading news is a major reason older folks go online for.

      It would make so much more sense if you could be reading a book/watching a video on this and see an incoming skype chat request at the same time…

    • amy wilsch

      I have one mac (that crashes, imagine that) and several PCs and I am not all that impressed with the iPad. Sweeping generalizations tend also to annoy “the developers, designers” who are not all “mac-heads”.

    • amy wilsch

      exactly. I am a “geek – developer, designer” who’s not a “mac-head”, and sweeping generalizations tend to annoy us too

    • Brad Nickel

      Excellent article and on the spot for the market he discusses, but I frankly believe this is an excellent business solution and I will use it as such even though I am a geek, because I do almost all my business computing in the cloud/via the web and as such, this is all I really need with iWork on it. There is a significant and growing market of folks that operate like our business operates and as such I think everyone is missing the point when it comes to this device. Instant on, beautiful, easy to use, powerful and fast, and always connected. It is a no brainer.

    • robert

      great line… not sure that is exactly what this piece is, but cut throat anyway.

    • yeah

      i couldn’t make it past the whole, “meh” underwhelming impression of this maxipad only comes from tech people especially the apple niche, but i read up to the ipad: uncomputer for the masses and i couldn’t help shaking my head. you know not everyone who comes to tc is some techie person and anyone with a brain who knows how to spend good money knows that this first gen ifail is not what they should buy. fine if they don’t want a computer…but wasn’t this supposed to be some sort of tablet? but it’s not one really is it? i don’t think you should be doing apple’s jobs for them. you’re basically saying they are trying to appeal to all the people who just want something to do/something to use like people who use the kindle as an alternative to reading books when they laze around or dewind or the wii people and gamers. hmmph.

      • yeah

        i read the rest of the post. you’re right if you’re only talking about moms who are not tech people. also just to note apparently the wii is losing market share. slaes of the wii is down down down down dowwwwnnn. i love it. nintendo doesn’t care just like their no care comments about the ipad, because as we all know nintendo is going to come up with something better than the wii. lol.

  • Tawnie

    I am a mum and I would not buy an Ipad. Even my mum who is also in love with Apple will not be buying one. I have a phone ( a droid) that basically does everything an ipad does and it was far less expensive. ATT stinks here so I won’t buy an iphone either. I have my market list on it, my calendar in gmail, my email, recipes, kid calendar. In short everything I need on a phone in my purse. I do not need a large tablet.

    • Dan

      You’re a mom, but you didn’t read the article very clearly. Mom & Geek are not mutually exclusive, and if you’re posting on TechCrunch, you fall into the group of people dismissed in the first bit of the article.

    • abugida

      Tawnie, You’re mistaken on the price comparison. The Droid ist $499 without contract, just like the iPad.

      • kthejoker

        How odd. When you add 3G to the Droid via contract, it makes the price go … down.

        Please. The iPad is just a giant iPhone. The whole point of the iPhone was it did everything a PC could do and *FIT IN YOUR POCKET*.

        This takes away the neatest feature of the iPhone without adding anything useful.

      • RHoltslander

        This is NOT like a giant iPhone. It’s like a giant iPod touch. You can’t make phone calls on it. This isn’t going to be good for the non-tech savvy either because all the non-techies I know expect to just cruise the internet and will wonder why they get that lego brick saying that the Flash plugin is not there. There are ways around it but they won’t be able to figure that out. This device seems to have the worst of both worlds.

    • JB

      Normal moms don’t read Tech Crunch.


  • Adam

    I had the same “a-ha!” moment today, after initially being really disappointed with the iPad announcement. This will finally introduce my mum to email and the web. She’s both vision-impaired and a technophobe. Tap, pinch, zoom. No mouse. Get lost? Home button. BUTTON. It’s an appliance, like her microwave and TV. She couldn’t care less what makes these things tick, that they’re “closed”, only that they work when she pushes a button.

  • Kin

    they have no choice but to replace their base machine,
    cos ipad and iphone all need to sync with a base machine…..

    so they cannot live with only iphone and ipad

  • paul baldovin

    Dugg for accuracy. Wait I’m on TechCrunch! When I saw the ‘pad’ I thought of my suburban sister will want this. Her laptop overwhelmed her and the Apple stuff she has she likes.

  • Kushagra Udai

    I get the feeling that the author is a little biased towards Apple in general – while I agree, that the iPad is nothing revolutionary, his assertion that he’ll buy one (in spite of the fact that the title of the article is just the opposite), is a little disturbing – I mean, smart phones today come with equally powerful hardware (read Nexus One), more features albeit with a smaller screen but at a lesser price. And his claim that netbooks do not serve the same purpose as the iPad is a little stretched. Not everyone is willing to adopt the touch interface, just yet. Also, most netbooks are more powerful too – in fact, with the new Atoms and maybe Ion, the iPad’s hardware is wimpy at best. The EeePC, for example, is better alternative, in my opinion – cheaper, more powerful, but without the touch. And considering we’ve managed to do so well without touch, for so long, I’m sure we’ll manage without it for the foreseeable future, all the more so, when we take into account, the financial excess we have to pay for it. And while a lot of users and mac fanatics will argue that the OS alone is worth the excess premium, I’ll disagree – windows 7 is equally good – from my experience.

    By the way, for those who are going to attack me saying I’m a windows fanboy, I’m a linux user at heart who loves to try out new OSes. I’m an Ubuntu user, mainly.

    • Jonas


      “And considering we’ve managed to do so well without touch, for so long, I’m sure we’ll manage without it for the foreseeable future…”

      Well, we did fairly well without the mouse for several years, and without color LCD:s, and we had those disk drives that many thought they needed when apple dropped them.

      Still, today most people use the mouse, and have large screens etc.

      I think you – and many other – fail to realize the potential of this PLATFORM and what it will deliver in the form of a fluid and dynamic user interface that is always tailored to your needs.

      We WILL still have more “advanced” computers etc. but for everyday normal wired activities this clutter-free intuitive touch experience will set the standard for the coming 10 years.

      So, don’t get hung up on what it showed us this week but what it will show us in the coming year and years to come.


    • nik heger

      I think people overlook and under-estimate the touch aspect.

      I had this experience after using the iPhone for a while – a computer with a mouse and keyboard, and separate screen seems plain stupid to use. What, I can’t wipe, pinch, flick? The MacBook Pro multi touch pad doesn’t really make up for it, it’s not the same.

      I think if you use an iPad, you will suddenly find that other computers are plain idiotic to use. Keyboard and mouse are just crutches.

      And before the geeks here say that touch screens have been around since Bill Gates declared tablet computers the future of computing 10 years ago – not really.

      iPhone and iPod touch screens are an order of magnitude better than anything that came before. Before we were strapping wings to our arms and flapped as hard as we could. Now we have an airplane.

      • Cec

        Stupid, idiotic? Yeah, no. There are many use cases where a mouse and keyboard obliterate touchscreens and viceversa. For finger-touching to be widely adopted you don’t have to give up the mouse and keyboard. They’re still the best at what they do. If all computer screens were touch-based our arms would be constantly fatigued.

      • Paolo

        Writing comments here is a good case for using a keyboard. Virtual keyboards are just too slow. I think that this length is about the limit of what’s bearable to text on a touch screen. However I concede that the average Joe is slow even with a keyboard. Yes, the iPad is not for geeks.

  • candraadiputra

    interesting post, many bloggers and writers iPad perceive as less promising products on the market. Your writing is reversed is very attractive conditions

  • martin_tf

    Great article. I can’t wait to get one of these because I will use my computer less. We’ve reached the point where the next leap in computing is to remove the computer from the experience. Apple have realised this and are making the first big steps.

  • N

    exactly, geeks won’t like it, I don’t think they (we) are supposed to, its too limited in many ways.
    I see it as more of a content consumption appliance, and the key word here is “appliance”- simple, easy to use – watch movies, read books everywhere (including bed:)), do some interactions all for the non-sophisticated user (aka “the masses”) the question is whether it’ll open up a new category- yet to be seen, not by reading analysts but by watching how the market accept it in the next 2-3 years (which i assume will include upgrade in the HW and in the SW)

  • mky21

    Next they will remove us from the experience too since they will decide us lowly users are way too uncool for the Godly Apple experience :-D

    • Dino

      It’s amazing how many people don’t understand what the ipad is. Appliance is absolutley the right word. Not everyone needs a blender but if you do you buy one. Same with the ipad. And just like a blender you turn it on, press a button and “it just works”. John Gruber had the perfect analogy. It’s like an automatic transmission for your care. Sure some people like driving a manual and there are cars for you but most people, 95% in the US drive an automatic. It gets you where you want to go for the most common tasks that people us computers for. Throw in 140,000 apps, music, movies, and books and portabilty and you have a winner. Leave one lying around in house with mom, dad and a couple of kids and I bet you it won’t ever be untouched.

  • Pavlo Zahozhenko

    And how moms are going to operate their iPads without iTunes? Dependence on iTunes makes desktop/laptop a necessity.

    • Jon

      iTunes in the CLOUD.

  • Sean

    I’m no fan of the iPad but I agree it’s probably a good all around “computer” for most people who have simple needs – web browsing, email, and perhaps a few other things.

    I think the comparison with the Wii is spot on. A simple touch interface may finally be the way that most computer-phobe people will finally be able to use a computer. It doesn’t take much thinking to use your hand to interface directly with the iPad. Just like the Wii finally opened up video games to the masses… as a somewhat hardcore gamer I’m not a big fan of the Wii but I can understand its appeal because its simple to use. The iPad has the same thing going for it.

    I’m not going to get one though. I have zero interest in this type of interface for a computer. But I can see the appeal of it to a lot of people who have simple needs and have nothing but problems with normal computers.

  • Milton

    The HP/Windows 7 slate should be better than the iPad.

    • Dave Power

      Why? There’s already been plenty of Windows tablets and they have all failed. Microsoft have a chance if they release a touch UI as good as Apple that doesn’t hog resources. They are just too complex.

      And although MS courier device is nice, splitting the screen in half was silly. Can’t really watch a movie across two screens.

      This is not an overgrown iPhone as some say. It’s capapble or running far more powerful apllications thanks to the CPU boost and has a screen large enough for a useful UI.

      Sure, I can browse the web on my iPhone, but it’s not very comfortable. Great for a phone though.

    • Etri


      It wil be better for Mum, because Mum is already familiar with Windows, and Mum likes websites that run on Flash, Mum is on a budget and Mum likes using a webcam to chat with the kids.

      I’m eagerly waiting for the HP Slate myself. Not least because of the pen input that works so well on Microsoft tablet PCs. I cannot believe Apple produced a so-called tablet with no pen input.

  • James Paterson

    100% agree. I’m not an Apple fanboy (I’ve used a PC pretty much my entire adult life) but – despite moaning from the geekorati – I think Apple has scored a direct hit with the iPad. As you say, “Most people don’t need a computer”. The same thought occurred to me while I was watching the launch:

    The iPad IS a game-changer.

    Needs a camera though…

  • Stevie Wonder

    Why Moms? Even I don’t want to work on another computer at home. Ipad should be the next choice to Toshiba Satellite Pro that I am using to type this comment. But Mr Jobs, I need a really powerful processor that I don’t want to wait for minutes for surfing a page.

    • yeah

      this post is written because overall this ipad is being shafted, even by non techers, and there needs to be an explentation about the potential of this platform to create another niche to the tablet/netbook which are now deemed too complicated and too strong of products because once again apple has created a first gen limited (crap) prodcut for people to use. i mean if this guy is going to point out that it’s for the mom’s then it really must be for the female elderly, or the females with small kids who are enamored with the iphone ui. i think this is about the mom’s basically because apparently mom’s or elderly or motherly females are not tech saavy enough to know not to spend 500 bones on this maxipad, and want everything simplified to the basest of aesthetics because they just want things to work. i wish a female had written this post. infact i wish this son had said this ipad is for stupid elderly dads as well who are overwhelmed by their pos pc’s with complex hardware and ui. aside from that kudos to him cause he’s the only one peddling this perspective. i hear a lot of this isn’t for tech people/geeks (which i’m not), but i’ve never heard that the apple ipad whis is isLate is for the moms. i bet the mothers will love this.

  • popupbooster

    Mums are watching Oprah and similar shows.
    Mums will only buy things if “Oprah” says so (Remember when “This is Twitter” she said).
    That’s a different market.
    A market Apple isn’t reaching or little influence.

    Samsung is in that market: consumer electronics.
    Samsung integrates mobile phone, TV-set and portable pc on one application platform.
    That’s what the consumer will like.

    Samsung has the capability of pushing and deploying this thanks to their control of the electronic consumer market.

  • popupbooster

    Mums are watching Oprah and similar shows.
    Mums will only buy things if “Oprah” says so (Remember when “This is Twitter” she said).
    That’s a different market.
    A market Apple isn’t reaching or little influence.

    Samsung is in consumer electronics.
    Now it integrates mobile phone, TV-set and portable pc on one application platform.
    That’s what mums will like.

    Samsung has the capability of pushing and deploying this thanks to their control of the electronic consumer market.

  • Tom

    Wait till your Mom calls you because she cannot see her favorite knitting site because it uses Flash.

    • Etrigan

      Sorry sir, the features missing from the iPad are not those that appeal only to geeks. I am no geek, and would never buy the thing.

      And the point is not whether Mum would like it or not- the porblem is whether she would have liked it more if it didn’t have so many missing features.

      What happens when mum wants to load pictures of the kids from her digital camera or another PC? Since there’s no USB port, she has to buy an adapter plus a camera connection kit. Wouldn’t mum be happier with a simple USB port on the iPad?

      What if Mum wants to help the kids with their homework, and the educationalw ebsite for the kids is heavy on Flash animations (they all are), or mum wants to play casual word games in Flash? Plugin required.

      What if mum is missing young Junior who is away at college and wants to videoconference with him? Oh dear- no webcam. The iPad is just a brick when it comes to communication. Poor Mum.

      What if Mum, bless her, is on a household budget, and realises that eveything she can do with the iPad she can do with a $300 netbook? The netbook has a USB port, webcam, and can show Flash websites. And she can use Excel to do her shopping list while writing an e-mail to Dad.

      I’m sure you know Mums are very good at mutitasking? And that’s a word the iPad doesn’t understand.

      So sorry dude, your Mum argument is not very convincing. If you want to be an apologist for the iPad, you need to find another niche demographic it theoretically appeals to.

      Personally, the only one I can think of is rabid Apple fanboys and girls who will buy anything Apple puts out because they think it makes them cool and it looks nice and shiny.

      • Etrigan

        Oops, comment in the wrong place. I was actually agreeing with Tom. Comment was directed at the author.

      • yeah

        no explanation needed. your comment was self explanatory. didn’t read like you were agreeing with the op at all.

  • Tomas Herman

    Im not sure if im getting a iPad yet. I think HP slate + software might be quite good

  • Mike

    The argument about needing a computer in addition to the iPad i feel has a very limited lifespan.

    The iPad can be setup without a computer and download media directly from the 3 stores Apple offers. If the rumours of a cloud based iTunes is true then the limited capacity of the iPad would become a moot point too.

    Also it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to adapt timecapsule to act as a local store of all your media content.

    I only sync my iPhone about once a month just so i have backup copies of the media i’ve downloaded on it.


  • joshdean

    While I agree that the iPad will appeal to people who don’t like/don’t use/ are scared of computers, I think the iPad is much more than a latter-day Webtv. Its not just for people who need less than what a regular computer offers. Its for people like me who need much MORE that my smartphone and souped up laptop can give me. Frankly, I think its for everyone, regardless of how tech-savvy, who demands a rich multi-media reading experience via a form-factor which doesn’t require squinting at a teeny screen or clumsily navigating a netbook keyboard. This need will eventually be met by a publishing and app development community that will make tablets a required item in every household, alongside laptops, netbooks and smartphones.

  • Lou Natick

    Christ, I thought nobody fully understood this.

    Of the articles, blog posts, and forum discussions I’ve read so far, the most common response to the iPad has been to label it ‘underwhelming’ because of its tech specs or because of what it’s (supposedly) not capable of. That doesn’t just miss the point, it misses it by five miles. But Tenner gets it, and he gets it enough and explains it well enough that I feel it a waste of time to list my reasons for agreement.

    However, a few words to those who fault the iPad for its tech specs:

    First and foremost, because the iPad is a new kind of device in a market unto itself, tech spec discussions, both in praise and in criticism, are irrelevant. Without a true basis for comparison, it is impossible to conclude one way or the other. To give an analogy: let’s say I invented a new board game five minutes ago, one that nobody else has played yet. I am the only player. Can I logically label myself good or bad at that game? Or, more to be more analogous, can anyone else label me a good or bad player? Tell me what weaknesses I have in my gameplay? No. The only thing you can do is guess, based on your understanding of the rules and your own hypotheses regarding what the best strategies likely are. But let’s be honest: your hypotheses are likely wrong. Not only that, but they’re more likely to be wrong the more complex the game is. Nobody fully knows how the iPad’s capabilities will be used yet, beyond the obvious like playing multitouch games, watching movies, sending email, etc. (Almost) nobody knows what it’s like to use an iPad with just its core functionality in place. And (absolutely) nobody knows what it’s like to use an iPad with apps which fully take advantage of its capabilities and the system they’re housed in. No-bod-y.

    Secondly, regarding tech spec discussions which revolve more around how the iPad will perform in sales:

    The idea that market performance relies wholly or heavily on tech specs needs to be thrown in the trash. As a techie who frequently converses with both techies and non-techies about such things, I’ve found that this belief extremely pervasive in the techie world and extremely…not…in the non-techie world.

    The most best, most relevant– and in my experience, convincing– coutnerpoint to the aforementioned claim: why the iPod, of course. If you took only the tech specs into account when trying to predict the iPod’s success, you would of course conclude that it was destined for failure. Compared to its main competitors, the iPod had less memory, it was more restrictive, supported fewer file types, had fewer features, etc. But it WON, and it won big. Real big, considering the amount of competition. So there you are.

    • Ian

      You’re right, it’s not about tech specs. It’s about what the target market is going to want to do with it.

      And if the target market is non-technical moms with no other way of accessing the web, then without Flash in particular, this is still a crippled device. I have a non-technical mother, and an even less technical mother in law. There is no way I would consider recommending that they spend $499 on an iPad that wouldn’t play their favourite Facebook game (my mum, and most middle aged women that I know, seem to live on Farmville), allow them to go to their bingo site, or play the soap opera they missed yesterday because it’s streamed through Flash rather than some format that the iPad has got built in.

      • Gregory Pierce

        So see, this is where the argument starts to fail. If it were really ally about Flash as many would want us to believe, the iPhone would be failing – or at least people wouldn’t be surfing more from iPhones that competing platforms that HAVE Flash. The simple fact is that Flash isn’t the crippling factor that people want it to be, just the same as not having an e-Ink display means that people won’t read books on it.

        As for cameras – there is no mature market for “mums” or anyone else video chatting with their kids or anyone else today – certainly not here in the states. People will rush in and say “sure there are a lot of people who do this” but they are NOT the mass market and likely the segmentation has shown that people really don’t care so much. How many of you have cameras on your laptops that are honestly video chatting all the time? Yeah, thought so.

        The original author is 100% correct. This is a battle that will be won or lost in the hands of developers, not tech specs – and there are a LOT of developers out there that will come up with reasons for people to have this device by virtue of the app store.

      • yeah

        you guys just need to look to oprah. you think oprah and her minivan don’t know how to use skype? do people really think mothers are this stupid and untechnical just because they might not be involved in the scene or the language. the ipad lacks as a full product, even as a full base entertainment system. it’s sad because maybe had they pushed back a couple of months they would have release a first gen product that was on par with what’s out now and then push for innovation in their 2nd update or something. but once again the ipad is not for tech people. it’s not for normal people. it’s for mom’s like my mom who basically aren’t tech savvy. it’s too bad my mom is too sensible of a person. if this post was striving to explain what the ipad would be for the market or for people, it wouldn’t have picked mom’s as the simple base common factor but untechsavvy father’s as well. the truth is the ipad is for us all. some of us truly will not buy it because we’re disgusted and don’t want apple to think we will take it up the behind anytime they see fit, while some of us will buy it because we simply do not to come home from work to use another computer or play on some sort of gaming system or read books or whatever. we simply just need the ipad. it provides us with everything we need.

  • Jeff

    The author brings up some valid points but the mom doesn’t need the iPad to replace casual use of the laptop — that’s what the iPhone is for, and why the iPhone was so powerful.

    Plus, the $499 price tag is prohibitive. Remember that Joojoo device that was universally panned for having the same price? Yeah, $499 is a lot of money.

  • Sonja Bernhardt

    Aren’t we geeks victims of expecting too much. Yet we all know more follows. Bet they sell BUCKETS and then the vip things we want eg. multitasking, VOIP, camera, computer features will come.

    Apple is a victim of success and hype we helped drive.

    I expect this WILL be a game changer in the end….

  • Alexander Lawford

    At last. If this product was designed by the ‘geeks’, everyone else would hate it. To the people saying “my ‘productX’ does everything this does for less”, it’s not about *what* it does, it’s about *how* it does it. ‘Geeks’ care about the what (specs, features), everyone else cares about the how.

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