Friday, January 8, 2010
Apple shakes things up with the iTablet
The Apple iTablet is big news. Some say it's a game changer. According to my business associate Michael Klosner, it's basically a hybrid iPod Macbook; an ultra-portable laptop with Apple's killer user interface design. The iTablet comes with a 10" screen, and according to the rumor mill, may be released in even smaller sizes as well. It's powered by Intel's new Atom chip.
It sounds cool, but as a consumer, the iTablet probably won't do it for me. I'm a power user with high performance demands. My iPhone fulfills everything I could want in a PDA. So the question becomes... who is going to use the iTablet?
Fortunately for Apple. the iPhone will serve as a customer conversion tool in the PC wars. The iPhone just plain rocks, and will give a lot of PC users faith in Apple. The market that would find the iTablet most useful would be business travelers. I also see this as direct competition to Amazon's new Kindle, which is rapidly acquiring cool new features such as wireless content downloads. The iTablet may edge the Kindle out of the market since it offers greater functionality and potential value. I suspect that the older generation who find computer operating systems too complex will feel much more at home with an iTablet on their laps. The iPhone operating system is just so intuitive. So there are some niche markets for the device, but nothing in the mainstream.
While I may be wrong, I think that the PDA-phones and the mini-laptops will continue to be the big profit makers. PDAs are just so easy to carry around. Laptops are easy to type on and ergonomically comfortable, not requiring you to stare directly down at your lap. Would you really own an iPhone and an iTablet?
PC World's Michael Scalisi makes some bold, pessimistic predictions about the iTablet. You can read that article here. He makes some convincing points, but personally, I'll reserve all judgments until the product hits the shelves. Never underestimate Apple.
at 4:50 PM