So the hype and bluster of another Apple event overshadowed it once again. Let’s all take a step back to reality and realize what we have.
It’s a larger iPod Touch
As has been fairly obvious from the get-go and even moreso with hindsight, this is a device that fills the gap between the iPhone and the entry level laptop. Does this make the iPad a bad device? No, it just means it fills another niche for Apple.
What hasn’t been mentioned yet?
Today was an event to spotlight hardware. Yes, EA and MLB showed off their wares as far as apps go, but there’s more waiting in the wings. This product is going to look better in March when iPhone OS 3.2 is released and developers have had two months to look it over. Apple had to announce the hardware before the software because it likes to surprise people and there’s no way releasing an SDK for developers months ahead of an event will keep it secret for long.
Content is king
Also waiting in the wings are deals with publishers of books, magazines and of course newspapers. There’s a lot that’s happened in the last few months that leads me to believe March could be very interesting.
First there’s last March’s announcement of the subscription model for apps in iTunes. This allowed developers charge for additional content to an app, but not for free apps. Of course when Rupert Murdoch decided he didn’t like giving out his content for free but wanted to keep his app free, that changed in September. This allows newspapers and magazines to put out their free apps and charge for content within them.
Most conspicuously absent from the festivities Wednesday was any sign of an app from the New York Times – whose editor back in October talked about Apple’s “impending slate,” referring to the iPad. Hell, even The Times is saying that “rumor” has it their top brass were in Cupertino looking at it.
Underpromise and overdeliver
Just this week Apple released its earnings report showing off a stellar holiday quarter and provided its guidance for the upcoming quarter. That guidance, as always, is widely considered less than what Apple is capable of and quarter after quarter they prove that right. Underpromise and overdeliver.
That’s what Apple is setting people up for as we speak. We saw the hardware, we saw a glimpse of the software, but just like the iPhone and the iPod Touch, the heart of this is in the software and the app ecosystem. Once developers get a chance to play with this extra space, it’s going to be interesting to see what comes out of it. If Apple got Pages and Keynote to work well on this device, then that opens up a whole new realm of possibilities, especially with the added screen real estate.