as we recently passed the second anniversary of the iPad’s introduction to the world, some questions have arisen. here are my opinions on some of them.
iPad is not a PC
in the latest quarter, Canalys began computing their PC sales numbers with the iPad included. because of this, Apple became the number one PC in PC sales worldwide, beating out HP, the previous holder of the number one spot. since then, the argument of whether the iPad qualifies as a PC entered into debate, again. i stand firmly on the “not a PC” side of the debate, and here’s why: first, it was introduced as the beginning of the “post PC” era and marketed as such. it’s intended to be a device to eventually replace the PC and is thus not a PC, even in the eyes of it’s chief creator and marketer, Steve Jobs. second, the iPad is the first of a whole segment of tablet computers based on this new, rebooting of the concept. back in 2000, the tablet design and segment was ushered in by Bill Gates; a PC based design running a desktop OS that essentially came to market more simply as a reverse-faced notebook with stylus and touch input. because of many factors, including the redundancy of the notebook design, mandated use of a stylus, less than optimal OS, and lack of touch oriented, third-party software, this first attempt at tablet computing failed miserably. this new formula involves an ultraportable design combined with a mobile-class OS to create a tablet that is more of an appliance than PC. third, the mobile OS and simplified form factor results in limited I/O compared to a PC, marketing itself primarily as a media consumption device with creative capabilities rather than a standalone centerpiece of your computing world. because of these factors, any modern tablet that fits the new standard set by iPad is not a PC based on definitions used to define the PC. it is an internet connected appliance, a product segment first carved out by the Chumby.
textbooks are cheap when compared to iPad
welcome iPad to the realm of education. Apple has chosen to start a new push into the classroom as educators have begun to fully realize the potential of tablets in the classroom. the first action was to get the support of the major textbook publishers, make content easier to create using the new iBooks Author, and provide a distribution system with the enhanced iBooks 2. the agreements are there, content is soon to follow, but we are lacking the most important step and that’s getting iPads into the hands of potential users. to expect parents to afford iPads for their children in the public school space is ludicrous, and like textbooks, if schools expect children to use them, they will have to provide them. because textbooks will now be coming off their budgets, that cost can now be diverted directly to iPads, but that won’t completely cover the cost at $449 per student. Apple will have to make the iPad more affordable to ensure school districts can afford to buy and maintain fleets of iPads… this is where iPad 3 comes in.
like the iPhone before it, Apple continued to sell the original iPad as a refurbished device alongside the iPad 2. the original iPad lacked some basic features, like cameras, as Apple’s intent was to simply test the market. once the market had been defined, Apple released the iPad 2 with the feature set expected for a device of it’s nature, and like the iPhone 3G, will end up remaining as a bargain priced, introductory model alongside the iPad 3 once it goes on sale to the public. it is the iPad 2, after a year of manufacture lowering it’s cost per device, that will likely see a steep education discount and made available for school districts to supply classrooms en masse. dont be shocked to see an Apple line-up starting with a 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad 2 at $399 entry-level device with an “education only, bulk purchase” price of $299. because of this, expect the iPad 3 to come in a 32, 64, and 128GB capacities and with a $50 bump in price across the whole lineup; the increase will subsidize the cost of offering 128GB of NAND and a quadrupled “retina display” yet still allowing Apple to advertise “iPads starting at a new low price of $399.”
iPad pushed out iPhone, kinda
iPhone ushered in the death of iPod, iPad is forcing iPhone to take it’s place. what’s been parroted as, “Apple couldnt decide what to release,” as the excuse for the iPhone 4S release being delayed into October instead of the traditional WWDC summer release, was actually an intentional, strategic move by Apple. the truth? with iPod sales flagging and iPhone having taken the place of an iPod for the majority, iPhone was pushed to headline what was traditionally a fall music event. this works for Apple for many reasons: what used to be an exciting reveal right before the holiday shopping season has been revived with the hope and hype of an iPhone release. it smooths out a previously unbalanced annual release schedule having two high impact releases, iPad and iPhone, in the first half of the year then coasting with a dying iPod segment into the holidays. it also helps to put more space between their two biggest sellers to help manage crowds between releases, reducing strain on their retail stores, distribution, and manufacturing. the moving of iPhone to fall was a strategic move for Apple, so dont expect any “iPhone 5” announcement at WWDC in 2012… or ever, as it’s now a fall event. get used to it.
so how do i know these things? i dont. i simply looked at it. instead of listening to rumors and speculation by people who know just as little as i do about their plans, i focused on logical explanations for their changes in relation to their fixtures. my explanations make sense to me based on their public actions. it makes a lot more sense than anything any analyst or fanboy has ever said about Apple. so come on back and have a laugh at my expense as my predictions fail to materialize as the year continues.