With the release of the iPad this week, Apple demonstrated their ability to do two things: build desirable products and generate unbelievable hype. Arguably, the second frequently acts to the detriment of the first, in that nothing can match the frenzy of speculation reported by the various rumour sites. However, it seems clear, even at this stage, that the iPad is likely to be a huge success, representing as it does a media device that people really will use in their living rooms for surfing, listening to music, watching movies and TV, and sending email. Unlike netbooks or laptops, it will feel much more natural and available. Even though it does so much less than the speculation considered likely, it does appear to do what it does brilliantly, and given the success of the iPhone it’s clear that people are drawn to the experience of a true computing appliance, without the file systems and the Start menu or whatever.
So, given that I think it’s success is assured, what am I complaining about? Well, this is a social device. It’s about watching, and sharing. It’s about accessing and updating Facebook or LinkedIn or whatever, and sharing with friends what you’ve done. It’s something that will be left in the living room for people to pick up and use as required. And if that’s the case, why is making a video call to friends and family the one thing for which I’ll still need to use a desktop or laptop?
As you can see if you Google for “iPad camera”, the inclusion of a camera seems to have been considered at least, and may arise in a later version. Launching it without this seems to be designed to meet a deadline and price point, rather than a philosophical objection, which suggests it must come at some point. As a result, and even though I think the product is likely to be terrific, I’m keeping my money until version 2 arrives and I really will have the ultimate home media device.