This week has been filled with anticipation as the iPad is due to hit hands tomorrow. There’s no ignoring the excitement that is careening through the mobile tech world, and even mainstream media is talking about the Next Big Thing. I will be touching the iPad tomorrow along with as many as a million of you given industry estimates, and I’ve done what I need to do this week to get ready for the slate. I’ve been kicking around a change in my mobile connection technology, and I’m getting close to make a move. Come on in and let’s talk about my week in Mobile Tech Manor.
Today is a holiday but that is taking a back seat to the imminent launch of the iPad tomorrow. The Internet has been taken over by reviews, opinions and general coverage of the next product from Apple. It should be old hat by now, but the iPad buzz proves once again how effective Apple is at creating excitement for its products, and how they can ratchet public anticipation up to fever pitches.
You couldn’t even avoid the iPad on network news programs this week, as the slate was all over the news. The folks covering the iPad on the news weren’t very tech savvy as a rule, but their excitement was genuine. It proves that the iPad is going to be a game changer by appealing en masse to the general public.
I am already seeing that in Mobile Tech Manor. This week I was frequently asked if I had “seen the iPad yet” by my friends and neighbors. These folks aren’t techies, and normally don’t care at all about any tech or gadgets I might be testing in the Manor. They usually are satisfied with acknowledging I am the “gadget guy” and leave it at that. But they are asking about the iPad regularly. They know about it, they know it’s cool and they know they are interested in one. That is the proof that Apple is a master of creating product awareness — when regular people are looking for a product before its release.
That is why the iPad will be revolutionary in the mobile tech space. As I am fond of saying, mobile tech grows legs when public awareness is raised about it. As much as we enthusiasts (early adopters) like to think we make an impact on technology, the truth is that impact is minimal. There are not enough of us out there to generate the numbers that are needed to really have an effect on technology. The millions of mainstream consumers, regular people if you will, are what makes a long-term impact on the direction a given technology ultimately takes. And the iPad is already reaching that awareness level prior to launch. It can only get bigger, just as the iPhone made a difference in the smartphone space, the iPad will impact mobile computing like nothing before.
Unlike many of you, I did not preorder an iPad when the store opened. I will not have an iPad just show up at my door Saturday morning like thousands will. I opted to reserve an iPad, so Saturday morning I will head to the local Apple store to pick up my slate. I went this route to get exposure first-hand to the process on iPad launch day. I’m curious to see how many people are at the store, and how Apple handles the early iPad adopters. If nothing else it should be fun. Maybe I’ll take a video camera along to capture the experience.
I was surprised yesterday to find that many iPad apps are already available in the App Store. While most of them are junk, a few good ones are already there and I admit I downloaded a few of them. Part of the appeal of the iPad is how existing iPhone apps will work on it, so iPad owners will be able to put their iPhone apps on it right away. These iPad apps will round out the out of box experience, as the new device will have an instant base of apps. I grabbed Apple’s Pages and Numbers for the iPad already, as I know I will use them a lot.
I have been waffling this week on whether to drop my Verizon MiFi and grab a Sprint Overdrive. The Overdrive is a 3G/4G wireless modem that works like the MiFi but adds WiMAX connectivity to the mix. Houston got Sprint’s 4G coverage this week, and according to the map I have 4G coverage everywhere I need it. That is hugely tempting for me to make the switch, as the speed bump over EVDO (3G) is significant.
I didn’t make the jump due to problems some are reporting with the Overdrive. I depend on mobile broadband a lot, and I don’t want to jeopardize that if the Overdrive is not a solid replacement for the MiFi. The MiFi has been one of the most solid mobile gadgets I have used, and the thought of adding potential problems is not appealing to me.
I may make the jump to Sprint anyway, given its new 30-day cancellation policy. Beginning this week, any new customer of Sprint’s not happy for any reason gets a full refund if they cancel in the first 30 days. That makes it a lot easier to take a chance, as customers now have nothing to lose if Sprint doesn’t live up to expectations. I have a feeling this will sway me soon, and I’ll have an Overdrive. I’ll share that when it happens.
e-Book of the Week
This week I continued the fun ride into Harry Turtledove’s tale of WWII gone horribly wrong. The attempted alien invasion continues in Tilting the Balance. This is a fun read, as a lot of the action is based on WWII historical facts. Just with aliens thrown in.
That’s the week as it happened in Mobile Tech Manor, thanks for sharing it with me. We’ll do it again next week, same bat time, same bat channel. Enjoy your iPad.
Related GigaOM Pro Content (sub req’d)