A few interesting things doing the rounds on the internet. Apple knows it's taking a challenge but makes sure you note that it is in the best position ever to do so: 50B$ company, 75M iPhone OS users, 150,000 Apps and tens of thousands of dedicated developers and an extremely successful multimedia shop which is being reproduced to sell books. And enough excitement generated to guarantee the first few million sales sight unseen. Also, they are extremely vertically integrated and have huge long term contracts to guarantee the supply and price of the key components. As Apple warned us last year, they have most probably reduced their margin significantly to make sure nobody would undercut them on price. If a ten inch tablet is the solution, nobody will beat Apple in the foreseeable future.
A ten inch tablet held vertically (portrait) is not an accident. It is what our reading material has evolved into over hundred of years. Held with slightly bent arms, it is the size of image we expect from our computer screens and TVs. It is natural and comfortable. Apple being Apple, they have spent years refining the smallest touch gesture to make sure it was simple and intuitive. They started from scratch and kept nothing whatsoever from the desktop/mouse paradigm.
While they didn't dare say it this time, the iPad might really be the computer "for the rest of us". Not a mini laptop but something new that will be more than enough for many people who couldn't really use a computer until now.
Seeing the iPad, I wonder if our generation has used the most complicated computers ever and that they will now become simpler and simpler to use with their increasing internal complexity well hidden.
While there are a few obvious omissions in the first generation tablet, I am most disappointed by the lack of a powerful, interactive, multimedia publishing framework. So far, there is the simplistic ePub and some magazine and newspaper publishers have been left to program their own reader App but that could change completely with a formal, standard framework. What about an encapsulating engine based on HTML5 which would secure the content and add DRM? Cartoons and magazines would come running and many successful blogs could publish lucratively that way. About the competition with free information, Apple (and others) proved that people were ready to pay a reasonable amount for quality material that would be free of the disturbance of unrelated advertising. I can think of a number of magazines I would love receiving on my iPad, enhanced, enriched and mostly free of advertising (I stopped reading Diver magazine when their ratio of editorial to advertising dropped below 20%). They can cost less than one dollar each and still be profitable. No distribution costs and no waste.
I wonder how long it will be before we see such an application/framework. My guess is 50 days.