10 reasons the iPad will be a huge success in Australia
Apple has just sold its millionth iPad – not bad for a product that's only been out for a month. Here are 10 reasons why the iPad – due here later this month – will be a success.
The iPad is coming! The iPad is coming! As the calendar creeps towards the local launch of Apple’s latest darling, the news from Apple
– that the iPad has sold over 1 million units in the US alone over the 28 days since its April 3 launch – seems to confirm that the device will be equally big amongst Australia’s technophilic population.
There’s no indication as to how many of that 1m were bought by people whose sole interest was to eBay them or ship them to friends overseas. Regardless, it’s fair to say the iPad has been a hit – and that the idea of Apple shipping 10m units in its first year suddenly doesn’t seem so unreachable.
If you’re still on the fence, well, that’s understandable: the iPad doesn’t come cheap, after all. But in the long term, we expect it will find a popular following – and here are ten reasons why:
Any other reasons you can think of why the iPad is going to do well? Any of these sound a bit optimistic? And are you going to buy an iPad when it debuts here? Share your thoughts below.
- It’s category-defining and competition-free
Cynics were quick to blast the iPad for all the features it doesn’t have, but those with a more open mind are considering what it is: a device quite without precedent, that improves on any of the weak e-book reader efforts to come before it. It’s not only defining the category, but doing it so well that HP, Microsoft, and others have simply given up trying to beat it – for now (HP is obviously going back to the drawing board since acquiring Palm and its WebOS, but who knows what Microsoft is doing). If Amazon can somehow prevent the Kindle from becoming iPad's biggest victim, perhaps they'll be back – but for the time being, it's all about the iPad.
- Bigger screen = new possibilities
It’s conceptually easiest to think of the iPad as a big iPod touch, but the larger screen makes it far more than an issue of size. Big enough to control with both hands, the larger (and sharper) screen offers far more sophisticated interaction than the iPod touch and iPhone. Apps that just aren't genuinely viable on a smartphone -- such as reading a magazine, or editing a word processing document -- are entirely possible on the iPad. Think of how easy it would be to use a touch-enabled Google Earth application that didn’t require squinting, and you’re on the right track. Apps that felt shoehorned into the diminutive iPhone can, and will, shine on the iPad’s form factor.
- 200,000 apps and counting
Need we say more? Fans of Android like to harp on about how that platform is rapidly catching up to the App Store, the iPad – on its own merits, and by virtue of its iPhone compatibility – is still the primary go-to platform for new applications. Event-related apps like those for the Australian Open tennis and Formula One are likely to thrive with the added real estate, as will topical apps like the newly-released CoPilot Live South Africa are being pitched to assist soccer fans making the quest to South Africa. Apple’s gear is still the centre of gravity for innovation in mobile apps is still Apple’s game – and developers are showing no sign of slowing down.
- Magazines will never be the same
The iPad has been billed as a revolution in book reading, but it’s going to suffer the same problem that other e-book readers have: reading an entire book on the device requires a very long engagement that may not necessarily suit everybody. But that’s not going to stop the iPad from revitalising the hugely fragmented, and geographically ghettoised, magazine market. Zinio and other electronic delivery platforms already enable magazine subscriptions to be delivered to the iPad, which could breathe new life into the magazine market and give Australians instant access to overseas titles at far more reasonable prices. That will more than justify the purchase price of the iPad alone for those used to paying $19 for a copy of Vanity Fair or other overseas indulgences. Caveat: regional licensing issues could take the wind out of this one, if local distributors lobby to limit the selection of overseas content available here. But let's hope they embrace, rather than seek to handcuff, the iPad and its possibilities.
- You can watch (IP)TV on it
Stuck between users who already have TVs and can get most video they want on their computers, the IPTV market has struggled for relevance. With the right iPad apps, however, it’s possible for ISPs to position the iPad as a wireless, go-anywhere TV that can play live TV, videos-on-demand, or other content delivered straight to the consumer via IPTV. Carriers will need to work to get their value proposition right, but the iPad can make IPTV easy to use – without requiring a separate set-top box.
- The business world will love it
While employees have embraced the iPhone en masse, corporate issues over security and control have kept many companies from officially embracing it. That’s changing rapidly, but the iPad offers significant promise for businesses because it – and here, we’re especially talking about the 3G model – can be used to access corporate systems from anywhere. Because it’s not a full notebook, it’s easier and cheaper to manage, and its roster of corporate-class applications make it easy to securely access corporate applications and even user desktops, on the fly. The iPad is perfect for delivering customer-facing information applications, and it’s going to be popular with companies whose employees need thin, simple data entry devices for the field.
- Photo, music, video integration
If you have a Mac (and probably, if you have a Windows PC), you’re already using iTunes to manage your music, videos, and more. The iPad’s easy syncing – and compatibility with iPhoto libraries for Mac users – make it dead-easy to get your content where it needs to be. It may be possible on other devices, but it really couldn’t be easier for those who want to bring their content on the go with them.
- Subsidies and branded devices are inevitable
Carriers have been cagey about the possibility of subsidising the iPad, but its prepaid data proclivities make it a ripe target for compromise. It can’t be long before one of our carriers offers the iPad for free or near-free in exchange for a 24-month commitment and a flat monthly rate for data usage. This sort of thing will fly well with customers who have balked at Apple’s inevitable $1000-class pricetag. In the long term, it’s entirely possible that iPads could be offered by third parties. For example, imagine Foxtel offering a $20-a-month optional iPad, preconfigured to access Mobile FOXTEL, and bundling an app that lets you view program schedules, manage recordings, and control your iQ box equally from your lounge room or at the beach.
- It’s a notebook replacement
Power users may bristle at that statement, but the fact is that the iPad offers enough functionality to satisfy the needs of a huge proportion of everyday users, whose everyday computing needs involve little more than checking email and religiously updating their Facebook pages. Its word processing, spreadsheeting and presentation tools – and keyboard flexibility – make it perfectly adequate as a companion in the kitchen, on the road, or in the classroom. Indeed, the education market could prove to be a windfall for Apple once the novelty of the goverment's netbooks-for-everybody programs wears off. Yes, yes, yes, there are many things the iPad can’t do as well as a MacBook, but by focusing on what it can do you may well find it more than justifies its expense.
- Bigger things are coming
If the iPad can establish its credentials in the market – and there’s every indication it will – it will pave the way towards becoming the gateway to a much larger ecosystem. Its gaming and networking capabilities could make it an invaluable tool for social gaming – think of the Nintendo DS’ ability to play multiplayer games with people who don’t even own the game – and its media abilities would segue nicely with the long-overdue Apple TV update, which will need PVR recording capabilities to remain competitive in a hugely saturated market. Apple could also easily add a slew of features to the iPad to support new products in the future; think “home automation control panel”, "home security system monitor" or "universal remote control", and you’ve got the right idea.