The minute I touched the iPad at the Apple event, I knew my idea of computing had been transformed, irrevocably and irreversibly. With iPad, I see a clean slate to reinvent pretty much how we think of media, information and in fact the whole user experience.

Photo via Flickr by Mknobil. Indian kids at school with their slates

My fondest memory of my childhood was the day when my grandfather gave me a slate. I was four years old. There was no silicon in that slate — unless you count the silica in the earth itself — that was essentially a thin smooth slab, almost volcanic in color. Along with it came a little piece of chalk, which I would eventually use to write on this slate whose rough edges were covered by a well-made maple wood sheath. I have no idea what this slate cost — maybe one-twentieth of a penny at that time — but to me it was priceless.

For hours at length I would sit with my grandpa and with my mom — learning math, learning how to write proper English sentences, often getting wrapped on the knuckles for messing up my articles. Sometimes I would draw — but mostly I would try and write.

Paper and pencils were expensive and were restricted to finishing up school assignments or “homework” as it was called back then. Over the next few years, whenever I used that particular slate and its subsequent upgrades (it would break way too often), I would start with the proverbial blank screen (or a blank slate). I would write, calculate and articulate.

To me it represented two things. It was a way to spend time with grandpa.  It was also a tool for constant education and self-improvement. Of course, I didn’t know these fancy words then. I just knew it was something I couldn’t live without. The very low-brow slate was the very antithesis of cool, but I just loved it.

It was simple, elegant and utilitarian. It was cheap. And in hindsight it fueled by my imagination, though at the time I had no idea.

On January 27th, when I first picked up the iPad, I was that four-year-old boy again. I felt like I was getting that old slate of mine one more time. Today the meaning of cheap may have changed for me, but the iPad’s elegance, simplicity and utilitarianism is firing up my imagination. Just as I would sit with my grandfather, learning the basics of English grammar from Wren & Martin and then constructing sentences, I am now thinking about what I can do with the iPad and where will we go with it.

The minute I touched the iPad at the Apple event a few weeks ago, I knew my world and my idea of computing had been transformed, irrevocably and irreversibly. I’m not sure why some of my friends, who have helped me shape my thinking about devices, Antonio Rodriguez for example, are disappointed with this device, whose potential is limited only by one’s imagination.

When I look at the iPad, I see a clean slate to reinvent pretty much how we think of media, information and in fact the whole user experience. Why do we have to think in terms of a keyboard — real or virtual? How can we not be excited about the very idea of a media experience based on touch? Why do we have to limit ourselves to one kind of media when building information experiences? Why can’t we leverage everything that is around us — location, social connections and persistent connectivity — to build a whole new media consumption experience?

MLB At Bat for iPad is a new kind of immersive media experience that blends photos, video, stats and real time bews

When I walked out of the Apple event, in an on-camera interview, I told David Carr, media critic for The New York Times, that this device is first and foremost about media consumption. Our world, as I have outlined in many previous writings, is overrun with information. For the past 15 years we have perfected tools for creating information (or content). From camera phones to cheap laptops to open-source blogging platforms, the world of the web has been about creating a tidal wave of media/information/data. What we have used to consume this information is a 30-year-old technology, the personal computer and lately, the cell phone.

While the PC was created for personal computing, it never really became personal enough. The mobile phones weren’t quite cut out to consume content beyond phone calls, some text messages and maybe emails. Today’s smart phones are proving that when done right, they can become great tools for consuming information — from little tweets to Yelp reviews to blog posts to Tom Friedman’s latest rant. The explosive and unstoppable growth of mobile data traffic only reinforces the fact that if you give people a better way to consume information, they will use it!

With that as context, you start to see the implications of the iPad and get excited.  Paul Buchheit, Gmail creator, FriendFeed co-founder and an angel investor, wrote in a blog post:

By focusing on only a few core features in the first version, you are forced to find the true essence and value of the product. If your product needs “everything” in order to be good, then it’s probably not very innovative (though it might be a nice upgrade to an existing product).

The essence of the iPad, as Joe Hewitt, the creator of the Facebook app for the iPhone, says is that “the Internet is an integral part of the iPhone OS, and it is the part of the OS you can tinker with to your heart’s delight.”

This is one of the reasons why I am spending most of my waking (and some of my sleeping hours) thinking about what would be the kind of application a media startup should build for the iPad, in the process creating a whole new media experience. While some folks might be satisfied with their iPhone application for media consumption, I’m not one of them.

We are in the process of building a fairly unique and distinctive iPhone app, but I’m also ruminating on an iPad-only app that leverages everything from its distinctive menus, large screens, location information and more importantly ability to interact with content by touch.

Hewitt, when talking about the iPhone, recently wrote, “Once I got comfortable with the platform I became convinced it was possible to create a version of Facebook that was actually better than the web site!” He was right. Facebook has more than 100 million mobile subscribers and a substantial portion of those are using the iPhone (or iPod touch.)

iPad is an incredible opportunity for developers to re-imagine every single category of desktop and web software there is. Seriously, if you’re a developer and you’re not thinking about how your app could work better on the iPad and its descendants, you deserve to get left behind.

If you are one of those developers who has doubts about the iPad and needs something to change your mind, I recommend you read RoughlyDrafted’s Ten Myths of Apple’s iPad: It’s a curse for mobile developers.

My mind is made up. I have a brand new slate to create upon. I know sooner or later I will be able to create something new on this. The bad news is that I am not a developer. That is my curse. That is my opportunity. I am four years old again.

Related GigaOM Pro Research (sub req’d):

  1. I remember those days :)

  2. Thanks, Om, for sharing this touching piece. I agree with you. The iPad, continuing what the iPhone started three years ago, is going to forever change the way we interact with our web world.

  3. Great article OM. I subscribe to your views and I can imagine myself teaching my daughter maths and showing her science videos on iPad. It is just easier to imagine and that is what makes it great.

    By the way we still call it “Home Work” in India. :)

  4. Malik sahab !
    I am also reminded of that ‘slate’ which I carried till my KG school ! And, yes, I can see why you are thrilled about iPad.

    In a country like India, I wish there was more support for devices like iPad so that children in far-flung villages can learn easily with their new ‘slates’ where the content was already supplied by someone or downloaded.

    Thanks for the nostalgia trip !

  5. Om, I don’t usually comment on blogs too much, but your post resonated with me enough to write this. I completely agree with you that I fail to see how people cannot get excited about keyboard and mouse finally getting obviated! This is as big a shift as the one from console interface (remember DOS?) to GUI and brings the computer even closer to humans.

    I have a short post on this at the following link (Disclaimer: I work for Harbinger Systems, where this post is hosted):

  6. Om, you won’t believe but when I first read about the iPad, I too thought about my first slate! In 10 years time I’m sure that kids will be learning to write on their e-slates, be they iPads or others. Nice article.

  7. Jay G. Ethridge Friday, February 12, 2010


    Great post! Since it’s announcement I’ve been thinking about the new and different ways of delivering content to the iPad. What excites me most is that I think is that people like you and organizations like GigaOM are imagining new ways to deliver content.

    It’s a unique device that elegantly supports the today’s medium and tomorrows.


  8. As much as I like the iPad, I think you are getting confused with tablet devices in general and the iPad in particular.
    Surely all tablets remind you of your slate? Why did the iPad suddenly change your view of computing, it isn’t like there were not devices like this before.
    I think the disappointments with the iPad are mainly around things like the lack of USB, lack of a camera, and the general lack of anything particularly ‘revolutionary’, it IS just a big iPhone.
    The extra screen space gives rise to different usage models, but they are not that clear yet and certainly not exclusive to Apple. Certainly the iPad will define the market for this type of product, but unusually, I would side with Aristotle and say that the classifying item is just the n+1th item, rather than the ideal form!

    1. Paul – the disticition between pad and others is in the *touch” UI, the seamless integration of apps, a new class of apps (other tablets have the same boring Windows apps – how innovative is that?).

      And coming to “lack of” items, they can be fixed in rev2.0. “Revolutionary or not is in the eye of the beholder (errr user in this case).

  9. [...] Also read: Why I am Excited About the iPad [...]

  10. Tech critics so often don’t appear to read tech specs – or even other pundits. Paul – above – for example repeats the canard about no USB which would be critical I guess if you need a USB device perpetually plugged-in. Since there is USB access through the dock. But, why would you need a constant USB device?

    No camera? But, everyone who reads around the Web knows there is a position built into the internals for the camera – and presumes it will either show up by release – or be added in V2. I’d wait till then if it was critical – or keep on using the 2 cameras I already own. My current cellphone doesn’t have a camera BTW. Video conferencing in our SOHO happens via the iMac in the study.

    The iPad fits all the needs I’ve been filling with a laptop as 2nd choice ever since I gave up on Palm to update and improve their creation a few years back. The chuckle is that my partner in one of the blogs I toil at – to whom I gave my last Palm – is now considering an iPad.

    We’ll get one in during early days and my wife and I will swap forth-and-back, MacBook and iPad, so she might experiment and see if it changes and improves her portable needs. We may end up with 2 iPads.

    Om – I love your slate analogy. And I’d add those books my parents gave me to be mine alone while they were teaching me to read. They became some of my most important early possessions. As I reached adult understanding, I discovered a few books worth re-reading my whole life and still have them with me.

    Think of those you might store in your iPad to show to a friend or student, suggest they, too, might read and learn.

  11. maybe bcos you like worshiping apple …..slate you call …where the chalk aka stylus ….how the hell kids/apple fanboys are going to input data …..hold with their let hand and type it by on small virtual keyboard which is covering almost 1/2 of screen…no need to input data or apple fanboys ….who needs camera btw …usb is useless ….multitasking nah thats so out …oh kindle is so bad ..look no color ….battery back of just few weeks versus 7-10 hours …applications you can always be mercy of apps store ….why even consider other tables like notion ink which 2 x battery life than ipad and better screen…its so un cool…

    1. You must be very knowledgeable in technology because you know so many important things about the iPad. I wonder if I can become so knowledgeable one day, too.

    2. Let see – no multitasking, no real keyboard, no camera, closed system, etc. and the repeated use of the “fanboys” label to denigrate anyone who has anything nice to say about the device. Yep, that’s pretty much cover all the talking points. Good job.

  12. [...] OM Malik: Why I am Excited About the iPad GigaOm [...]

  13. Hmm,
    as a kid you used your creative imagination with a slate, now you’re looking at a device which is build for passive imagination (consumption) and believe it’s the same? The creative imagination for most people has to happen on a different device or has it?

    I think the simplicity of the OS is it’s strength, do we really need the ability to run a generalized feature bloated applications in every context? It’s basically what the spreadsheet did to the mainframe, take complexity and shrink it down to just the functions we need in a given context.

    1. Ronald

      Thanks for weighing in on this and good points about the OS and its simplicity.

      The imagination is about building an experience that (as an app) is going to make consumption of content interesting. It is a different kind of a “imagination engine”, one that is fueled by lots of information. YOU and I have e-talked about this.

  14. Om, like some others here I found your piece to be heartfelt and well written and like the other posters it impacted me, but not in quite the same way. You see I have no similar childhood memories to connect to the iPad. I have however been an avid user of just about every form of “tablet” computing device ever created (remember the CrossPad that used actual pen and paper? – I used that for years). So in some sense I’ve been begging the industry to get this one right for a long time.

    When it comes to the iPad there is one thing that I have had just about enough of – the suggestion that to love the iPad all we need is a little imgaination.

    I can “imagine” sitting in a meeting with my iPad, viewing a presentation as it is being given. The presenter makes a particularly interesting point which I want to capture so I reach for my stylus and jot a quick note, all without breaking eye contact or otherwise appearing distracted. But wait – there is no stylus input for the iPad.

    I can “imagine” participating in that same meeting remotely, viewing the presentation on my iPad and simultaneously seeing video feeds of the other participants, just as they see a video feed of me. But wait – the iPad doesn’t have a web cam.

    I can “imagine” reading my email and being sent a link to a cool new show in Hulu by one of my buddies. I click the link, bring up the site only to be presented with an empty box because the iPad lacks Flash support.

    I can “imagine” wanting to get my content from some provider other than Apple (shocking I know) – say I’d like to buy eBooks from B&N because I have a long standing relationship with them. Should be easy with my B&N bookstore application for the iPad. Of course I can also “imagine” such an application never seeing the light of day due to Apples restrictive AppStore policies.

    My imagination knows no bounds, but you get the general idea. So to suggest that those who point out flaws or who have misgivings about the iPad are doing so because they lack foresight or imagination is both condescending and disingenuous. There are real flaws and concerns here, not just childlike wonder and you’ll excuse those of us who are annoying enough to point that out.

  15. I believe you are so right!

    The iPad is limited only by your imagination.

    And the pundits who are disappointed in the iPad are the ones with LIMITED imagination.

    That is a profound statement.

    1. James

      I am detecting a hint of sarcasm here. :-)

  16. I love it when you get philosophical!
    Projects like the Simputer can learn a lot from this.

    P.S. Your Facebook Connect is getting faulty.

  17. Thanks for the inspiration. I too am excited by the iPad, but not just because it’ll be good for consumption, but because it’ll be better than a smartphone for creation, and more personal than a laptop/desktop. The Brushes app shown at the launch is only the tip of the iceberg.

    The very fact it is a big iPhone is revolutionary, as it carries the revolution that was iPhone to a new form factor, opening up way more possibilities than the iPhone opened up previously. Yes, there were models that came before, but based on what Apple showed, it looks like the tech is finally here to make this form factor truly usable.

  18. Nice piece, Om.
    Now consider that the child you once were, the boy who received the slate…maybe couldn’t have received a computer, say, because your parents couldn’t have afforded it. Would your life have been diminished?

    Within only 2 years — my guess — an iPad can be made for a touch over $100. Mobile broadband will be cheaper. Millions of videos will be free. Millions of books and tv shows will be available for 99cents.

    Meaning, this very device that can help spur the imagination and potential of a child will be affordable to hundreds of millions and soon after, billions, of children.

    What might the world look like then, I wonder.

    1. A device “whose potential is limited only by one’s imagination.” I suppose it is just our imagination that the iPad has no USB ports or camera (for video conferencing) or won’t play flash?

    2. I am not suggesting that a device must have every possible feature to be considered good but Om and others are not only willing to forgive the iPad’s limitations but in fact praise them as positives. I suppose it is a testament to Jobs’ genius that he can get people to do this. Okay, so the iPad is for media consumption and I suppose therefore does not need a camera. Consider this – would the inclusion of a camera have made the iPad less or more of a device?

    3. I would have been much happier with this post had it been about tablets in general and their potential to change how we consume media. If it is true for the iPad then it will be true to large extent for at least some of the other tablets that are already being built today.

    By the way, I too used a slate as a kid and loved it but I find he analogy a bit of a stretch. With all due respect to Om and Apple of course.

  19. Brilliant post, Om. The iPad really has a bright and exciting future, and I too can’t wait to see what the developers create for it.

  20. @ideatagger: Of course, a camera that works well would make it more of a device. The iPad, being handheld, will be moving much more than a laptop; thus, the camera needs not only better stabilization, but also some way of staying focused on one thing, like a face (if that’s what’s desired). Apple did get a patent on something like this, but quite possibly it’s still not up to Jobs’ standards.

    Apple has always chosen to launch products sooner with fewer features that work well, and then subsequently add in stuff that people thought was missing (i.e., copy/paste, MMS, 3rd party native apps, push notifications). Apple’s genius has been in getting the initial launch set of features right for most people.

  21. [...] Om Malik, “When I look at the iPad, I see a clean slate to reinvent pretty much how we think of media, information and in fact the whole user experience.”  (GigaOM) [...]

  22. Good post , “learning the basics of English grammar from Wren & Martin”, Yess the Red Book. I had the exact thing happened to me. Long story short , iPad success is guaranteed. But Two issues seems to me missing by one and every tech journalist/ blogger. First, Are we fine with missing 80% of the web video content? The second how many people can afford to carry another gadget apart from Phone/Smarthpone/iPod/tablet/Laptop/Ebook Reader ? It could be a moderate successful product in terms of sales. Adobe from last I read on the internet updates a billion PCs with their flash software. I wish Steve Jobs changes his mind and brings it to the iPad.

  23. The explosion of creation and access to knowledge has been drive by open, ubiquitous and affordable devices. Sadly, Apple is about being close, exclusive and expensive. Apple restricts what people can imagine. Cheap netbooks, phones and other devices, not from Apple, have enabled billions to imagine, create and connect with each other. Slates will be widespread, they just won’t be from Apple.

  24. Nice post Om. I too am excited about the iPad. I cant understand why people are complaining about the lack of a camera, USB ports, etc. Don’t you think Apple is smarter than that? Those features will come in due time, just as pricing may go down. Bottom line is that the concept of the iPad will change the way we do computing and thats something to get excited about.

  25. Thanks for bringing back my memories of 60 years ago!!!

  26. I think you missed the key part of what Joe Hewitt said, which only serves to buttress your argument:

    quote continued “…Of all the platforms I’ve developed on in my career, from the desktop to the web, iPhone OS gave me the greatest sense of empowerment, and had the highest ceiling for raising the art of UI design. Except there was one thing keeping me from reaching that ceiling: the screen was too small.”

    He never claimed the current one is better than the website. In fact, I feel it falls short in many ways and I still prefer the website in many ways. Indeed, I often prefer the touch enabled mobile web site (the one geared to webkit devices) over the native app. In fact, when Joe Hewitt left developing the facebook app for the iPhone, he said he would work more on web standards type applications — and now that he is jazzed up again, I hope he returns to the facebook fold. If you continue reading, his next statement makes this clear:

    “At some point I came to the conclusion that Facebook on iPhone OS could not truly exceed the website until I could adapt it to a screen size closer to a laptop. It needed to support more than one column of information at a time.”

    I think that the Cocoa Touch, coupled with a larger format, will unleash things we never could have imagined. I read a review of the Archos 9 yesterday. Basically a Winodws 7 tablet. The review was basically that Windows 7 tablets just “don’t get it”. Tablets cannot be a desktop with a touch screen and no keyboard. They truly have to redefine the product category…

  27. Jefferson Berlin Friday, February 12, 2010

    Lovely piece, Om. I agree with you about the slate you grew up with (I had a slate and a Mickey Mouse typewriter when I was four). But I can’t agree about the iPad. Not that what you say about its potential as a media consumption device isn’t true. My problem is that as an artist as opposed to a developer, it is the antithesis of what I want in a tablet. I don’t want to draw or write with my finger. I want to use a pen or a brush. I want a tablet on which I can move my piece of chalk and see the words or images that appear in my mind. The iPad does not do that at all. Frankly, to me, it is just another way for Apple to help big media companies and small sell me stuff.

  28. Om, what a neat article. I pictured you when you were 4, and I have no doubt you were a little cutie. It’s refreshing to see some genuine awe around technology rather than skepticism. Apple did create a revolutionary product, and hopefully it’ll provide the same wonder and inspiration to many that the slate did for you as a little 4-year-old.

  29. [...] and computing fundamentally changed the way we communicate, work and consume entertainment – devices like the iPad, and applications like Twitter were unimaginable a decade ago. The same tools that brought this transformation — software, [...]

  30. Very good, Om, I think you caught the essence of the iPad. The naysayers misunderstand the iPad’s intent, because they are fixating on existing markets. Naturally, they can always find something which the iPad lacks. They are not the iPad’s intended market, so nothing will satisfy them.

    Apple designed the iPad, not to be a NetBook or Tablet replacement, but to extend computers to non technical and anti-technolgical people.

    The way you expand markets is to appeal to the needs of the marginal buyer. This is the person who, for some reason, decides not to buy. Often, that reason is price, but it could be a lack of style, beauty and flexibility along with a failure to fill a real need.

    The deciding factor for the iPad is ease of use. Computers started off being very demanding and hard to use. Every time computers became easier, the market expanded. The world wide computer market place is stagnant now — a replacement market. Everyone who had a compelling need to use a computer, and has the necessary temperament to operate one, already owns a computer.

    What do you do about the millions of people who fear computers? Oh! They want to use the internet and miss not getting email, but their temperament rebels at technical matters. This people aren’t stupid; they are just allergic to hard and boring actions. The iPad is anything but hard and boring. If a one year old baby can operate an iPhone to select images, then anti technological people can use an iPad.

    This is an enormous inducement for a child to read. I am assuming that the iPad has, or will have, the ability of Text to Speech. A person can select text and have the computer speak it out as they read. A child with an iPad can still use adult assistance, but often the iPad alone will be enough.

    1. Nice article!
      Slate was great metaphor I can relate to, but that is not exactly why I am very excited about iPad.

      • I like the simplicity, symmetry and integrated experience with seamless connectivity and access to information regardless of time and place. It just removes the formality of a PC or laptop (keyboard, mouse, blinking lights, batteries, wireless cards, 5 minutes of booting time + 10 minutes of crashing time… on and on). On the batteries, just kidding of course… everything needs power obviously. I imagine one day this device will charge itself with some renewable source.

      • In future, I can visualize it as an inexpensive personal video conferencing device that can work like magic. Be there virtually. But first, I need to buy the first version immediately.

  31. Sounds great, if you could actually write on the thing…

    As for being limited only by imagination, no amount of imagination can overcome the deficits in the current iteration of this device.

    Methinks Om’s been fed some Apple flavored Kool Aid.

  32. [...] Why I Am Excited About the iPad [...]

  33. Nice article! Slate was great metaphor I can relate to, but that is not exactly why I am very excited about iPad.

    I like the simplicity, symmetry and integrated experience with seamless connectivity and access to information regardless of time and place. It just removes the formality of a PC or laptop (keyboard, mouse, blinking lights, batteries, wireless cards, 5 minutes of booting time + 10 minutes of crashing time… on and on). On batteries, just kidding of course… everything needs power obviously. I imagine one day this device will charge itself with some renewable source.

    In future, I can visualize it as an inexpensive personal video conferencing device that can work like magic. Be there virtually. But first, I need to buy the first version immediately.

  34. I’d say the iPad has created a fresh slate of the market, erasing huge swaths of established practices and relationships, and positioning Apple in a (potentially) commanding role. I don’t think Steve Jobs would settle for anything less. I have a feeling he’s revealed no more than 10% of what Apple has in mind for the iPad. At a minimum, there’s Apple as a platform of learning and a brand of education, with the iPad integrating textbooks, lectures (video), course materials and coursework, purchased through iTunes U in concert with (probably) top-tier universities who partner with Apple in a iPad-energized curricula. Thus, we have Apple reinventing Liberal Arts, which one slide alluded to (obliquely) in the launch. John Doerr (in Om’s post-launch interview) seems rather excited about this prospect. It is probably one of dozens.

  35. Although I have a publisher (for the last four books and a fifth one), I am going to use a revised, updated version of my first book in an email promotion. That said, it is going to be published as a ebook. Now as unholy as it sounds, I was forced to buy MS OS software, an emulator and a new MS office program just to make the ebook – which won’t work on a Mac once completed without the emulator. And now here comes something that is going to muck up the works – unless you can tell me that this professionally produced, Kindle reader ready ebook I’m about to publish will be able to reach Job’s legions of fans, of which I am one. Do you know whether this is machine will be the ultimate in compatibility (finally) or just another line drawn in the sand?

  36. My thesis on this one is that there was a bit of a natural “That’s It?” predicated on the simple fact that the iPad is an evolutionary device, whereas the iPhone was more revolutionary (relative to what was already in the mobile space).

    That said, I believe that skeptics under-factor the “It’s the Platform, Stupid” dynamic; namely, that there are already 150K apps that will work with the device out of the box, and 100K+/- developers coincidently engaged in the building apps for the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad combined device footprint. That’s a lot of built-in leverage.

    Now, as to the magic and wonder part, I don’t think most people grok how true multi-touch will be a game-changer when you have a device with large enough screen real estate to accommodate two hands and lots of fingers as “interaction” interfaces. That will spawn some real compelling applications, I think.

    A note aside, most people looking at the iPhone revolution never even counted iPod Touch in the equation until this Christmas when “suddenly” everyone realized that there were 30M of those devices out there.

    While I expect a slower ramp on iPad until something like a “TV Anywhere” offering materializes or tools for a Book “re-boot” are slotted into the platform, I expect a similar surprise when the post Christmas numbers are reported.

    Btw, if interested, here is my analysis on iPad:

    Check Mate: Apple’s iPad



  37. [...] – Apple’s (AAPL) iPad is more than just a fancy gadget. “When I look at the iPad, I see a clean slate to reinvent pretty much how we think of media, information and in fact the whole user experience,” Om Malik says. [...]

  38. Maybe you are little bit unconscious because it’s the first computer in our history which is closed the most in the world (no USB, SDcards…). Try to find how it’s profitable the iPad. It costs 229$ per machine and the first price is 499$ without application and so on… You know, in a bad economy the best way to handle it is to create something which already exist and ad the best marketing technics with it and you’ll be Mister Billions…
    To conclude I think it’s a dangerous way for some people. This strategy included to spread a message: “I have all the Apple products and look it’s funny, beautiful[...]“. It’s rare to see products which are who are very relayed by the purchasers themselves. And it’s not about quality, because it’s middle range and not innovative because it exists already. It’s just Apple, formerly we had the British American Tabacco now drugs are changing in technology…

  39. Thats exactly how I felt when I first used a Mac vs MS-DOS or Windows. Then the iPhone/Touch. Now with the iPad I feel like we finally got something that we fantasize or just see in futuristic SciFi movies that looks cool, but impractical in the real world.

    Apple has figured out how to get such a device in our hands today…well in March.

  40. Om,

    Beautiful post. Thanks for reminding me to not be cynical about something that could have the impact that you describe here.

    And here’s hoping that folks @Apple are reading you and realizing that the value of what they could have on their hands if only they could loosen their ironclad grip.

  41. ..Paper and pencils were expensive and were restricted to finishing up school assignments or “homework” as it was called back then.

    Kids still use the term “homework” in this part of the world :)

    Brilliant piece, Om.

  42. Great read. What Apple does better than most is positioning their products in between that space of satisfying both the pro consumer and the ordinary Gen consumer. The iPods and iPhones are devices that’s been easy and intuitive to use with hardly any learning curve involved (babies can use it). Yet they’re also technically advance enough to keep Pro consumers smiling, and thinking of new clever ways to use it (Apps).

    This is the same case with the iPad; I plan to buy the mom one because it’s everything she needs from a computer, without the unnecessary upkeep and headache. And angry calls for me to fix problems. Surely I will be getting one to use the same way I currently do the iPod Touch in the house. I find the iPod Touch more joyful to use for consumption of information and entertainment than a PC, if only it had a larger screen.

    If this becomes a success, it may finally get us closer to breaking away from that 30 year old desktop PC metaphor.

  43. You have hit some nostalgic chords with the article by mentioning slate, though I would not consider iPad equivalent to slate. For sure I would consider iPad as Kindle++.

    In fact, Apple has always been doing the same with all its devices. Pick up the most popular device or a device with great potential (but under utilized) in the market, design a better product, add awesome UI to it, and time it well with all the marketing tricks in the market. Good part is that they always lay grounds for future products. And keep people excited about upcoming products.

    MP3 Players -> iPod -> Future for iPod Touch
    Touch Screen MP3 Players -> iPod Touch -> Future for iPhone
    Mobile Phones -> iPhone -> Future for iPad
    Kindle -> iPad -> Future for iNoteBook?
    Set Top Box -> iTV -> Future for changing the way we watch TV?
    Power PC based PC -> Intel based PC -> Future for releasing OS X for all PCs and killing Microsoft?
    iPhone OS -> Future for make a killing by releasing it to everyone??

    The quality I liked most about Apple that they are able to see a potential of a device early on and capitalize on it before any one else does. But I rarely see a device coming out of Apple which is not imaginable before!

  44. Adding a line to my last post….

    However, Apple does come out with devices with unimaginable User Interfaces which no other device could imagine and later they are forced to copy Apple….

  45. Simply a brilliant article on iPad !

  46. Om, a wonderful tale, heartfelt and important as it helps us cross cultural divides.

    As to the posters in this thread who, satirically, trashed the idea of “imagination” and this device… I say the following.

    There’s a big difference between imagining the potential of the device–the type of uses and apps that have not been seen before– vs. trying to fault the device because it lacks certain hardware features–and “imagining” scenarios where it won’t be useful as a result.

    Hey, I can “imagine” that the iPad won’t be good for guitar strumming or baseball throwing either! :-)

    I challenge those who focus on pointing out what the iPad can’t do to come up with things that it can or could do because of its special design! Prove that you really can use your imagination!

  47. lmao..they’re marketing as a content consumption platform though. Ah well..maybe with version 2 you’ll be able to create.

  48. [...] Why I Am Excited About the iPad [...]

  49. [...] Why I Am Excited About the iPad – GigaOM (tags: apple ipad mobile gigaom ommalik) [...]

  50. Hey Robinson..read my post carefully again with open mind (if you have)….I have not pointed out a single fault with iPad….and for imagination part read my pointers for Apple’s future possibilities…Apple may one day change they way we interact with TV…iPhone OS becoming open for all devices…fueling further innovative applications…can you even imagine how many applications will come to the market if Apple provides tools for Windows to develop applications for iPhone and iPad??

    It is good to be passionate about a company or a product…but it sad to become blind to see some facts…particularly the truth…

    Rest is your choice….

  51. If you’re SERIOUS, you’ll get to work on a touch-friendly redesign of your sites. They SUCK for touch.

    Web Designers: Wake Up And Smell The Touchscreen Coffee!

  52. Hi Om,

    Do you think there is a chance that Apple will launch a iPhone WiFi only version like the iPad ? That will cannibalize on iPod Touch but will complete change the landscape on so called “feature” phones. We know it costs 129$ or so to add 3g to iPad. So theoretically they can make a iPhone WiFi for $300 which can be “free” with a 2 year voice contract. They will completely own that segment.

  53. I think the comparison with the slate is wrong. A slate is by far the more elegant device and as such more open to imaginative development. The iPad is not so open. :)

  54. I’ve re-read this several times and forwarded it around, b/c I think you’re articulating very concrete terms what many people are missing or just reacting to emotionally, which is hard for others to engage with.

    We’re forming our own thoughts (as producers of online video, and the ZIO blog network) and will post them shortly.

  55. You talk about how iPad will change the way we consume media. There is no doubt that such a device is sorely needed today. But you do not talk about whether the device is good value for money. The iPad does not replace the iPhone-like cell phones (roughly $500). It does not replace the laptop (again roughly $600). So you essentially want consumers to spend another $500 (which comes with a measly 16gb memory) for the iPad? Sorry, your analysis makes sense when it comes to media consumption, but the iPad is less than an ideal device.

  56. I think there are four key issues with this device:

    1. The wohle thing in concieved as a pure “Itunes Store Purchase Terminal(tm)” with some very limited www/E-mail/Ipod/Ilife capabilities added. People seeking for a sleek/highly portable productivity device are left with no interest in it and will most probably look for a netbook (which will be even cheaper to buy!)
    2. The lack of even the most basic connectors like USB kills all interest from the creative community. I could have imagined a multitouch version of Ableton Live or Serato Scratch running on it so that mp3-DJs could use it as mabye the most tempting DJ-tool since the Technics SL-1200! Impossible without a decent external audio interface (and perhaps multiple I/O).
      Another example: why can’t I transfer pictures taken on-the-road directly from my cam into Iphoto?
    3. The missing phone capability was a deliberate choice from Apple and therefore the most scandalous omission. Of course the Ipad was never intended to replace your cell-/smartphone, but with cheap prepaid contracts all around you could easily have a second phone number and do some calls occasionnally. To make things worse, Apple, again, inisted on a ridiculous “microSIM” non-standard card just to annoy potential customers not willing to be locked into Apple’s retail foodchain.
    4. Most important of all. THIS IS VERSION 1.0. And like with all Apple lifestyle products, this is a public beta that enthusiasts (also called “idiots”) buy so that they can provide Apple with valuable short- and mid-term experience. There are some serious design flaws (huge frame, rounded backside), glitches in the software and a total lack of interesting software from 3rd party vendors. IT IS NOT INTENDED FOR THE MASS MARKET. Remember the first Iphone? Shiny looks, but completely lo-tech and totally unsuited for business use.

    I will patiently wait for the second Ipad to be released. Maybe then we could see that ridiculously huge frame disappear from around the screen.

  57. I´m also very excited ’bout the iPad. Hope to hold it in my hands fast ;)

  58. [...] The second relates to the IPad. Om Malik has a nice article today (not his first) on why the IPad is a game changer for app developers. I think he is right. Here is the link. [...]

  59. Excellent column. I use One Note extensively and am excited over the possibilities of the iPad and One Note. At least One Note started as a tablet software program. The same would be true for Keynote. I have not seen any indication that those programs would work on the iPad.

  60. [...] Why I Am Excited About the iPad My fondest memory of my childhood was the day when my grandfather gave me a slate. I was four years old. There was no [...] [...]

  61. [...] and a curse for the publishing industry, creating short-term chaos but also long-term promise.  Om has noted that the instant he laid his hands on the iPad, he had visions of exciting new content types that [...]

  62. Great article. And thanks for bringing up fond memories about using the slate and Wren & Martin :)

    I like the analogy of a blank slate. Just think of all the apps that have been developed since the iPhone was released. I’m sure may of them would have never been conceived or imagined had there not been a platform to support it.

    I am sure similar innovations specifically designed for the iPad form factor will be seen in over the next few years.

    Sure there are some short comings of the device that was announced, but the next version will be much better. Jobs being a perfectionist, probably didn’t want half-cooked ideas put into the 1st version of the device. They’ll learn from their mistakes and from their users and make the next version that much better and more usable.

    That being said, I think the iPad is an ideal device for the technically challenged, folks who don’t want to deal with the headache of maintaining a computer Mac or Windows, dealing with upgrades, crashes, install/uninstall problems etc.

    Using ones fingers to touch is a natural technique that everyone has mastered from kids to the elderly and a device that uses touch for navigation can be easily used by almost anyone–who can afford it :)

  63. [...] Volk and Young, I am very excited about the iPad, wondering what different types of apps can be developed for this new [...]

  64. [...]          0 The Apple iPad isn’t even out yet, but already thousands of words have been written about its influence on hardware, media, computing and even ergonomics. It has a [...]

  65. [...] Volk and Young, I am very excited about the iPad, and am wondering what different types of apps can be developed for this new [...]

  66. [...] you look, people are talking about Apple’s iPad. Given the fact that tablet computers have been around for a long time and not [...]

  67. [...] has realized that the interactivity the began with blogging and progressed to social media is now ready to invade our gadgets, thanks to smarter, more power-efficient chips and ubiquitous wireless. So even as attendees [...]

  68. [...] whole point of the tablet may change that. As my pal Om Malik has written, the tablet is about consumption: When I walked out of the Apple event, in an on-camera interview, [...]

  69. [...] despite the high level of anticipation for and proclamations associated with the launch of the Apple device, the fact remains that outside of a few select vertical uses (like medicine), [...]

  70. [...] Om Malik, from GigaOm: The minute I touched the iPad at the Apple event a few weeks ago, I knew my world and my idea of [...]

  71. [...] made me wonder if somehow the iPad would help me overcome the shortcomings of the iPhone. In one of my earlier posts about the device Steve Jobs calls “magical,” I had pointed out that the iPad would [...]

  72. [...] Now let me give you some of my impressions of the device. They may seem a little disjointed but bear with me, for it will be a while before I can make up my mind. One of the hardest things about the iPad has nothing to do with the device itself — but rather is about the legacy of computing we have in our head. (Related: Why I Am Excited About the iPad.) [...]

  73. [...] Now let me give you some of my impressions of the device. They may seem a little disjointed but bear with me, for it will be a while before I can make up my mind. One of the hardest things about the iPad has nothing to do with the device itself — but rather is about the legacy of computing we have in our head. (Related: Why I Am Excited About the iPad.) [...]

  74. This is the best article I’ve read on gigaom, hands down. Excellent writing, Om.


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