Apple's upcoming launch of the iPad is already having one nice side effect for technology users: Rivals like HP and Amazon are likely to push product improvements along at a faster pace.
- Amazon is looking to hire a software developer to build an "innovative Embedded Web Browser" for "innovative consumer products." You can take that job posting to mean that Amazon is going to improve its Kindle Web browsing capabilities.
- HP talks up its Slate and promises the complete Internet and is using Adobe Flash support as a selling point. The iPad lacks Flash support. The rub: Windows 7 may be a problem for the Slate.
- Even Microsoft's Courier is making a guest appearance.
And that's just the positioning before the iPad hits the street on April 3. Rest assured that a bevy of tablet and e-reader players are going to push product enhancements along at a faster pace.
Would these development plans move along without an iPad launch? Sure, but there would be less urgency.
Add it up and technology fans can only stand to benefit from these developments. The big conundrum is deciding when to buy. Do you wait for Kindle prices to fall? Do you jump to be an early iPad adopter---even though you just know the second version will be much better? Or do you just hang back and see what Sony, Barnes & Noble and others can cook up?
In any case, iPad is likely to light a fire under rivals and that's a good thing.