Posted by: mikepearsonnz | March 30, 2010

The Apple iPad: Groundbreaking or Hype?

Like it or not, the new Apple iPad is coming! Its US release date is April 3, with the NZ launch not likely to be far behind.  After months of feverish speculation and hype, Apple’s presentation of the iPad to the world was greeted with typical geekish negativity.  Tech bloggers slated the device for its lack of multitasking, its lack of a camera, its lack of openness, …, and the list goes on.  However sometimes we lose touch with what people want from technology. Maybe it’s time to put some positivity back into the picture!

This post is a brief summary (Part 1) of my lunchtime presentation to the NZCS Wellington branch  about the potential of Apple’s new device to encourage new ideas and new ways of doing things.


  • “Many analysts have criticized or worried about Apple’s (perceived) lack of netbook strategy, and its model of offering high end machines in an era where PC makers were all racing to the bottom”
  • “It’s like Yoda said, you must unlearn what you’ve learned,” he says, referring to the 40 years that the mouse and keyboard have dictated how we interact with computers
    Jeff Han, Wired

The Apple Lisa was revolutionary — the Apple iPad will be revolutionary.

  • The Lisa was first introduced on January 19, 1983 at a cost of $9,995 US ($21,693.67 in 2009 dollars). It was the first commercially sold personal computer to have a GUI (which presented the concept of menu bar as well as window controls)  — Wikipedia

The revolution is the multitouch user interface.

Mulitouch interfaces are a new paradigm being commercialised by Apple; you have to unlearn 40 years of app interface design.

The challenge will be whether developers can be innovative and develop revolutionary apps for the new interface.  The iPad screen will be of a sufficient size that a personal multitouch interface will be useful.

My thoughts about the iPad

  • The iPad is not meant to be an oversize iPhone.  It is more likely a giant iTouch for games and browsing.
  • An intuitive appliance (toaster) with no boot time and 99.999% reliability;  to read ebooks, browse the web and answer email will be popular with SeniorNet, but not with geeks.
  • The iPad’s 4:3 ratio screen size is exactly the same as traditional standard-definition TV.
  • TV episodes have not sold as well as music or apps in iTunes store; will the iPad make TV episodes more popular?

Video references:


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