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So the much-ballyhooed Apple iPad was announced on January 27. What do I think?

Well, I reveled in all the hype, blocking off my lunchtime calendar and jumping between 5 different live-streaming tabs on my browser.

And first off, you DO have to give Apple credit for the hype. Love them or hate them, just think about the sheer number of people talking about this product, and the entire industry of bloggers, writers, reporters, photographers, and so on that exist just to speculate and cover this stuff. I can’t think of another company off-hand that creates another sub-industry just to cover it (other than “Hollywood” or “Wall Street”).

However, with this hype, you live by the crowd and die by the crowd. And right now, the crowd is turning on Apple. My take is that the device is certainly not as good as everyone had dreamed it would be (how could it?), but c’mon people… let’s at least HOLD the thing and try it before passing judgment. Perhaps there will be a double reverse backlash where it now becomes cool to say that it IS the new device to have.

In the podcast I dive into why it could be compelling, and the 5 types of people that would use it.

Download the podcast from iTunes, or play it below:


I think the most compelling features could be:

– Super light 1.5 lbs
– Instant-on like an iPhone
– The potential as an eBook reader (which I don’t think has been discussed enough)

So who are the 5 people that will use the iPad?:

1) Professional geeks, early adopters, unwavering Apple fanboys
I am a professional geek. That’s what I do. I love gadgets. I don’t always get the first version of every new thing, but I like to keep on top of it for sure.  I will strongly consider getting it once the hype dies down and I see it, and maybe I can unload my barely-used netbook on someone.

So will early adopters flock to it? I’m not sure. It’s never good to question the unwavering passion of some of the Apple fanboys, but perhaps Steve Jobs and Co have a Macbook Air on their hands. It was very cool, incredibly designed, and you’d think that it would be something an early adopter would love. But I haven’t seen many bloggers pulling one out of a manila envelope.

2) Travelers

We’re venturing into netbook territory, and it’s hard for me to defend what the iPad can do over a light, small, fully-equipped computer. But I HATE bringing out my laptop on a flight. At least with my work-assigned computer, it’s too big, I hate the whole boot up and log in, and the battery life barely makes it halfway across the country.

I’d much rather keep it in my bag and watch a movie or read. Aha… that’s the advantage of the iPad. You can do all that – watch 10 hours of movies (allegedly), listen to your music or podcasts, read an eBook, or easily browse your photos. And… you can simply slide it into the seatback when you get up from your window seat and have to crawl over people, or want to set it aside when you get your inflight meal.

3) Couch surfers
Here’s the scene… you own a desktop, not laptop. It’s in another room. Or you have a laptop, but it gets too hot, and too heavy on your lap while watching TV. The iPhone is just a bit too small for effective web surfing. The solution is that the iPad is sitting on the coffee table while watching TV.

Picture the scene at a Super Bowl party. You’re watching the game, focused on the big screen. Whoa, that crazy commercial just told you to go to GoDaddy or Pepsi or you want to check a stat. No bringing out the laptop and clearing away a pile of nachos and beers, just pass around the iPad.

Or if you’re on the couch and have an idea, you can just pick it up, turn it on instantly, fire off an email, jot some notes down, and put something on the calendar. (OK, I know I know… you can do this with a laptop or your iPhone too… I’m trying here!)

4) Thieves


On 1/27 the iPad was announced. That same day, I’m sure developers were getting together to tailor their apps, publishers were meeting to figure out content, and video game management teams were having breakout sessions.

But what about the ICSE?  The International Cartel of Stolen Electronics?  OK, I made that up, but did you know that 10,000 laptops are stolen per week at airports? And according to a Forbes story in 2008:
– Cell phone thefts were up 33% from 2006 to 2008
– Digital camera thefts were up 25% over 3 years
– iPod thefts were up 91%
– A 2007 study showed iPod robberies bumped up overall crime rates in some major U.S. cities
– Stolen iPods accounted for 4% of all robberies in Washington, D.C., in 2007.

So if I was ICSE president, I’d say it’s the best news since white headphones. While you can’t just stick it in your pocket and take off like a phone, at less than 2 pounds it’s not like the old days when you had to steal a 200 lb Sony Wega TV.

5) 3P: Portfolio Presentation Professionals

OK, another made up term, 3P.  I think the iPad would be amazing anywhere a professional person with a portfolio has to meet with clients. For example:
– Fashion Designers
– Architect or engineer
– Illustrator / Comic Books
– Artist
– Photographer
– Real Estate Agent
– 1:1 Salesperson
– Interviewees

Imagine you’re an artist trying to sell high-end paintings to a gallery. How impressive would it be to pull out this small device and just swipe your way through your best work?

Or what about being a wedding photographer and sitting down with a couple on their couch to show them your best shots?

Or you’re a real estate agent… out in the field, running around, showing people photos, layouts, and floor plans. Maybe it’s to people not used to using a computer that much. Swipe. Here’s the master bedroom. Swipe. Here the map that shows the nearest schools.  Swipe. Add those people at the open house to your contact list.

And lastly, what about on an interview?  I’ll tell you I’d be impressed if you took out an iPad and said can I just show you a few of my projects?

As for the Apple iPad’s prospects with me… it may not have the job yet, but it’s definitely going to get an interview.

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