Without going into a big diatribe about how great the iPad is or how bad it sucks, and what the hardware specs are, I thought I’d bring up a couple interesting things about how it is being brought to market that continue to show Apple’s brilliance in marketing.
First, yes there will be Apple “fanboys” who buy the iPad that already have a Macbook, iPhone, or whatever whether they need it or not. However I think the market Apple is really targeting are less sophisticated potential netbook users. Look at Google’s Chromium project’s Chrome OS. This OS is a great idea in my opinion, and this is coming from someone who NEEDS a PC to do his job. People like my Mom have a laptop already but hers is aging, and she never uses any CPU intensive programs. She just wants to use Facebook, surf the net, look at and upload photos, view email, and view a PDF every once and a while. This is all doable in the browser today with all the online sites.
The iPad is targeting this same group of people, but via a typical Apple design approach, they have spent the time to make the integration between several more frequently used applications extra seamless. Chrome OS will be a great experience, and Google’s online apps do integrate and offer a simple user interface, but Apple always has that little bit of extra sex that makes selling their products easy to less-technical users. The backward compatibility with the iPhone apps is also a great way to get a bunch of functionality out of one of these devices for little to no cost on day one.
Secondly, I know Apple is waiting for FCC approval and we’ve seen stories of pending lawsuits, but I think the fact that you can’t order an iPad yet is also strategic. With the Tablet concept having been tried before over the years, Apple is feeling out the feedback of its initial announcement from the current generation of users. I think they have the will and way to make last minute adjustments to the feature set and hardware specs to see this thing hit big. Only time will tell.