The iPad: The Price is as Important as the Tablet


30 hours after Apple's iPad announcement, everyone has expressed their opinion (examples: Benioff, MG Siegler, and New York Times) ... which seems to be more negative than positive. Not that you need another opinion, but here is my short review:

1. Brad Stone disagrees, but the Amazon Kindle is dead. Why? 2. Because the price of the iPad is surprisingly (and impressively) low. The biggest announcement yesterday was the price. I kept waiting and waiting for the big "splash" and then Jobs said it would start at $499. That price point is low enough that it is immediately competitive with the Kindle while alleviating the pain of not having other key features (more below).

3. The iPad hums. It is a powerful, fast machine that is ideal for web and content consumption: email, web, video, books, etc. The ability to store video, books and music - and access the web through wifi and 3G - in a 1.5lbs device is rather remarkable. Add a 10 hour battery and a familiar touch interface... and content can will consumed in a powerful, brand new way.

4. Many of the iPad's shortcomings can be resolved by software upgrades... whenever iPhone OS 4.0 comes out?

5. Speaking of those shortcomings: Five particular concerns for me:

A. Multi-tasking. Part of the value of a large screen is having the real-estate to run different applications and programs. Fortunately, this can be resolved through a software upgrade.

B. Video camera. I was hoping for an integrated camera for video-chat... this unfortunately cannot be resolved!

C. Flash. As an example, the iPad + Hulu could entertain you during a cross country flight.... but unless it evolves to support Flash, there will need to be "an app for that".

D. Widescreen. Particularly useful for video... but widescreen dimensions would have been nice.

E. The iPad's bezel is ugly. Why is it so thick? Minor complaint but it is wasted space.

Had the device been $1,000 (as we all expected), the above five complaints would have driven me (and many others) away... but at $499, the first two points are incredibly compelling: at the price point, it is the ultimate content machine and nothing else comes close.