The Apple Tablet has finally been revealed and it's now officially known as the iPad. Readers, reporters, analysts and just about everyone else are now wondering if Apple can create a need where one didn't exist before. Will consumers want something that sits in between the laptop and a mobile phone?
As you can see from the image above, it's being placed in between the MacBook and the iPhone. Since I own both I figured I'd go through the exercise of seeing if I could justify one.
I use my iPhone and MacBook daily and tend to use my iPhone for a lot more than making calls. It's a gaming device, an RSS feed reader, a web browser, an e-mail client, and a whole lot more. With the introduction of the iPad, I'm now offered a similar but enhanced experience in the form of a larger screen. At this point it's very enticing, since the demos that were shown clearly showed a very fluid and inviting experience for performing my iPhone-related tasks. However, for this privilege I either have to shell out $499 for the Wi-Fi model, or even more to be able to enjoy surfing and all of the wonders of the iPad from anywhere. As of this writing, it's looking like even though I'm already an AT&T subscriber who pays for an iPhone data plan, I won't be able to just drop in my SIM, since the iPad uses the new GSM micro SIM (a.k.a. 3FF SIM), unless there are SIM converters available.
The iPad was also shown off using a keyboard add-on. I haven't found a price for the keyboard add-on but since I already have a MacBook, there's really no need for one. The MacBook is portable enough--mine's the 13 inch one--and pretty much goes with my everywhere. I can't imagine the iPad making that much of a difference when I want to run around and show a presentation or do some quick spreadsheet work.
My decision gets even more complicated when you take a look at the other features the iPad provides, most notably the ebook reader (a.k.a. iBooks). As Matt Miller pointed out earlier, the iPad is double the weight of the nook. I already have a nook and it comes with a data plan already paid for, so there's no need for the ebook reader portion of the iPad for me. I also think that the iPad is going to have a hard time winning over customers who already have a nook or Kindle for this same reason.
In summary, I like what the iPad is all about but it still didn't hit the must-have that I was expecting. To me it's a fancier, larger iPod touch, with the ability to also connect to a 3G network. There's no way to make phone calls with it, so I can't really consider it a larger iPhone. At a starting price of $499, it's also not an impulse buy. In addition, since you have to think about why you really need it and what it's doing that other devices can't, it becomes a "wait and see", and something that needs some level of justification.
Initially I was sucked in by the keynote, but now that reality is setting in, I see this as what our future could be, but with a market that's already over-saturated with netbooks and iPhones, it's going to be hard for many people to justify adopting this new category of device.