Wednesday, January 27, 2010

iPad impressions

The iPad is more interesting than I'd expected.

For one thing, even though it's not cheap when you get memory and a 3G chip, the fact that there's any model near $500 is better than I'd expected.

Most of all though, I'm surprised by the keyboard (though I'd like to see mouse support). This is going to steal some Macbook and Macbook Air sales, including in the student market. I wonder if we'll see iPads bundled with textbook contracts.

Between the price and the keyboard this is Apple's preemptive response to the Google-branded Chrome OS netbook due out this fall. Another front has opened in the Apple-Google war. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft announces any software support for the iPad, or if they optimize their web version of Office for the iPad.

It was mildly disappointing that, as on the iPhone, only Apple is allowed to multitask. I still hope we'll see something with iPhone OS 4. The bigger downer is that adding an AT&T 3G chip cost $130!

The cost of the 3G chip is probably about $10. That's a lot of margin, even for Apple. Are there astounding licensing fees? Is this partly to keep AT&T's network from melting down in two months?

Speaking of AT&T, how the heck can they support an iPad with a $30/month unlimited data plan? Their network is already broken; can you imagine the hit from a media-oriented iPad?

Even so, I'm pleased. I'll take a look at Andrew's when it arrives, but I'm also due to get a new iPhone this year. I'm hard pressed to justify an iPad too, especially if the iPhone gets the keyboard option. As for the kids, it comes down to price. If the GoogleBook gets in below $150 it will be hard to resist.

PS. Cringely got taken.

Update: Steven Fry really likes the iPad.

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