Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Apple iPad -- a Netbook or Tablet Killer?

Apple has just announced their latest must-have product -- the iPad. Positioned as a lightweight Panel/Tablet PC that can surf and deliver media, it is touted to be a new category killer that might displace traditional tablet PC's and, gasp, netbooks? The 9.7-inch screen positions it as somewhere between an iPhone/Smartphone and a full-fledged notebook.

I can see this product competing directly with tablet PC's. But the netbook? I think what people do on a netbook is very different. I don't see myself (ever) doing word-processing on an iPad or working on my spreadsheets, or even doing heavy email. Presentations, maybe.

This product, however, can be very exciting in the fields of medicine, advertising, graphic arts, and education. If Apple can perfect the battery life and render crisp text, it can even kill Amazon's Kindle e-book reader. Or maybe add a stand at the back and, voila, instant digital picture frame. Or prop it behind the front seat of the car, and you have an instant in-car home theater system.

I would imagine most of the apps here will be web-based as there are not a lot of developers writing software specifically for Apple. Although Apple claims that the iPad will follow the AppStore model used by iPhone/iTunes. Majority of developers are still on the Microsoft platform, which is also the same OS used by tablet PC's. So it would be curious to see if they can really dislodge the tablet PC's by just sheer look.

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