I've seen an amazing amount of hype surrounding the launch of Apple's tablet computer. Good job Apple! As in times past, Apple is moving into well-established, but marginal markets with the hopes and expectations of doing something new and different. This device has the potential of introducing people to various forms of cloud computing as well.
I've owned several earlier generations of tablet computers and have always felt that they were:
too hard to use
didn't offer needed applications
weren't flexible enough for my needs
offered unacceptable performance
had too many moving parts, parts were too easy to lose or break (I can't tell you how many replacement styluses I've had to purchase)
made it difficult for me to reuse previously licensed content
and didn't fulfill my requirements for a device that merged the functions of a telephone, camera and computer.
Furthermore, I got tired carrying around cables and power supplies for many devices and just stopped using the older generation tablets.
As we're all waiting for Apple to launch its new gem, a few questions come to my mind. Will this device be able to address all of the previous problems tablet computers have presented? Can Apple and its network partner(s) address the following:
Will the entry price and ongoing costs be acceptable for the utility it provides the owner?
Will the device work well with today's and future cloud applications?
Will Apple try to hold the reigns so tightly that the owner of the device finds it impossible to address tasks that he/she, not Apple, decide are appropriate for that device?
Will Apple make the owner re-purchase content already licensed for other devices he/she owns and uses?
If the device is always on the network, what impact will it have on the network? Apple's iPhone 3G and 3Gs have played havoc with AT&T's network in many cities in the US. Will the new device make this problem worse?
Will the performance live up to people's expectations? While I liked the capabilities of an early Nokia Internet Tablet, I found it unusable because every function took forever to complete. An early Tablet PC was too big, too clunky and didn't offer mobile telephone capabilities. In the end, it too enjoyed a final trip to eBay.
In the end, I suspect Apple will address many of these issues. It is likely that the device will be locked down making it unacceptable to those wanting to load an unrestricted list of programs and content. The network impact could also make it an expensive, but unusable, toy.