The Apple iBad

Today, amidst much speculation and general fanfare,  Apple announced the release of their new best thing, the iPad.  Okay, I have to say it – awful name. Right out of the gate I was thinking about Kotex’s red dot campaign. This blunder, and that now only one measly vowel separates two entirely distinct product lines, makes me think that the marketing folks in Cupertino ate some funny apples. Some might call the iPad a natural evolution of the iPod, and so it’s okay to muddle the brands.  I’m not biting.

The iPad is essentially an iPhone with a 10 inch screen.  It runs the iPhone OS (i.e. no flash or multitasking).  It will run most of the same apps as the iPhone, which is cool on one hand and lame on the other.  Developers still use the iPhone SDK to design apps, even those that will run solely on the iPad.  Hardly revolutionary for the device that Steve Jobs claimed “Is the most important thing I’ve ever done.”

Full disclosure, I’m an iPhone nut.  I love em.  The original device was truly revolutionary, and each new generation offered major enhancements in usability and functionality.  I have trouble counting the number of people I have personally persuaded to buy one (no strong-arming necessary, I assure you).  So, two and half years after the release of the iPhone, Steve Jobs gives us the same device, but with a ten inch screen.  People are understandably irate. Sure there is a 1 GHz processor, and some other hardware enhancements. Yeah the pricing point is very reasonable.  It is only a half an inch thick and weighs just 1.5 lbs – very cool.  It would be a truly amazing thing if it were not for one insurmountable problem – the iPhone is cooler.  I don’t know about the rest of you iJunkies out there, but my biggest complaint about the iPhone isn’t screen size.  It’s the nonsense that they fail to address in the iPad. Having no flash support is inexcusable.  I’ve got a 486 that will run flash (well, maybe on a cold day).  There are no USB ports, just a 30-pin connector and a pocketful of adapters.  The base model only has a 16 GB hard drive, which is – not to be redundant – the same as my 2nd gen iPhone.  It can’t even run every app in the app store.  There is no support for wireless syncing with iTunes.  Steve Jobs claims it has 10 hours of video playback time on a full battery charge, but for some reason, I bet it’s closer to six.  Listen to Steve pitch it, even he doesn’t seem convinced.

What all of this boils down to is that the iPad is not competing with the laptop market at all.  It is trying to create a new market whose target audience wishes their iPhones were bigger (and didn’t make phone calls).  Maybe some of the iTouch folks will be lured in, but I put my money on this being an iFlop.  Or an iDon’t care.  I think at the core of this debacle is Apple’s paramount focus being placed on a low pricing point.  It’s almost as if they all got in a room and said, “We must build a tablet with a base price of 500$, now how do we do it?”  What they should have said was, “We must build a kickass tablet that revolutionizes the industry, now how cheaply can it be done?”

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~ by Wil Finley on January 27, 2010.

3 Responses to “The Apple iBad”

  1. Agreed. during the keynote the audience only applauded three times. two of those were after steve was like “what do you guys think huh?”

    their stock price and this video show it all.

    but I feel your pain, I was watching it live and thought it was a total joke. Not having OS X on there is a deal breaker. I have a late 2009 ipod touch that i love.

  2. One of the reasons that I faithfully stand by Apple despite asshole attitude is because they are always so careful with their branding and their technology. To me, this entire product is just one big huge giant f’n fail whale.

    I still can’t get over the name. It seems impossible that the powers-that-be at Apple didn’t see the obvious sanitary napkin innuendo. So that means they (or more likely, Steve) chose to name it iPad despite the inevitable jokes.

    It is instant brand dilution from the minute they announced it.

    • Yeah, that’s what I was thinking, Steve Jobs’s pet project. The folks at Apple couldn’t deliver on Steve’s dream, and he insisted on pushing out a watered-down, poorly-named product anyway. I imagine that they will use a similar business model to the iphone, though, and update the hardware every year – so maybe in a couple of years the ipad will finally be worth buying.

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