by Scott Anthony
I picked up an iPad in late April when I was swinging through the States. The Anthony family has been experimenting with it during the last six weeks in Singapore. I have five reflections on the device:
- Magazine companies hoping that the iPad will “save” the industry could be disappointed. I downloaded theWired magazine app, but have largely found the experience to be disappointing. Sure, there are a couple bells and whistles, but for the most part I find it to be a worse experience then reading a magazine. You never want to give consumers something they consider worse than existing solutions. What job do people “hire” a magazine to get done? I use magazines to browse, discover, relax, and unwind. A hard copy magazine gets these jobs done very well. Of course, magazine companies find it more economical to distribute content digitally, but they have to make sure that the experience doesn’t disappoint readers.
- The tablet format will transform education. It is utterly amazing to watch my kids use the simple, intuitive device. They have been reading books, playing number games, learning the alphabet, and so on. It’s pretty easy to envision next-generation interactive textbooks with ties to customized tutoring solutions (conflict alert — we are an investor in such a solution, called Guaranteach). And Apple does have a strong historical connection to education. I can also see the tablet format becoming a big deal in healthcare and for salespeople.
- The iPad is rugged. The device survived a tantrum from my two-year-old daughter Holly and an effort by my four year-old-son Charlie to use it as a surfboard!
- Amazon’s Kindle isn’t dead. I have been using the iPad (and the iPhone) for book reading, but I’ve been using Amazon’s Kindle application and buying books from Amazon’s store, and I still throw my Kindle device in my briefcase when I travel. Amazon is working hard to make sure the Kindle format is available on all devices, which is a smart move. It might turn out that the real value of the Kindle device was simply to prime the pump of the e-reader market, with the real money lodging in the provision of compelling content.
- Apple still needs a twist. The iPad has found a comfortable niche in the Anthony household, but it certainly hasn’t replaced the laptop; in fact I find I use apps on the iPhone far more frequently than I pick up the iPad.
Selling 2 million devices in such a short period of time is a testament to the goodwill Apple has built up and the fact that the iPad is a well designed, intuitive product. But I’m not ready to pronounce Apple victorious yet. It could be that the real winners in the tablet world will be application providers that find unique ways to tackle opportunities in education or healthcare or develop other higher end, special purpose applications for the iPad or televisions.