At long last the iPad has arrived. The big Jesus phone netbook Kindle iPod Touch is finally in stores this morning and the media is abuzz with excitement. Reviews are coming in and people are tripping over themselves to praise the newest device from Apple. What can it do? What can’t it do? How does it look? Can it make salsa? What does the box look like? You know the drill.
I am more interested in who this sucker is going to kill. And or who it is going to save. So here goes:
1. Kindle / Nook / Whatever Sony Calls their e-book reader (probably eblmstk2018273 or something consumer friendly like that) . Looks to me like it has to kill the Kindles. A very consensus pick for sure, but when you have a device that does a nice job of showing a book in black and white with subsidized software – and then the iPad comes along and has a few 100,000 apps to run on it and does them in color and forces you to raise prices on your books – well the writing is on the wall here.
2. Newspapers. These guys are zombies already – and with the form factor of the iPad – there are only a few relevant papers that will likely survive. Ye The New York Times will still be a must read for many, but getting the pricing right between the print version and the electronic version will govern a lot of the trajectory here. Beyond that, we are moving to a more interactive world – which newspapers are inherently unsuited for. For centuries they have been the voice upon high telling people what they should know once per day (actually it used to be twice a day). Once you have an iPad in your hands and wifi – are you really going to wait till 6 AM every morning to find out what is going on? It’s more of a television world – but hopefully a more intelligent one.
3. Local TV Stations. Every day I see a ton of people on the train watching movies on a 1″ screen on the iPod or iPhone as I travel the rails between CT and NYC. Given the iPad, I assume more and more people would like to watch on the larger screen. The question for the local television stations is whether they participate. Right now, the networks are going around them in every way possible – so I’m not sure these guys have a real strategy – nor have they invested in the technology to get their local feed onto the iPad or any other device. Unless they start playing hard – locally – probably in conjunction with the newspapers – these guys are likely to be on the long slope to oblivion.
4. TV Networks. Alive – although the iPad has nothing to do with it. To ABC, the iPad is just another better outlet for Lost – or any other show. The question is what can you do with the extra real estate. Can you make the experience more interactive with the extra real estate? Can you do more product placement and interactivity comes to the fore? Can you link out to all sorts of fan blogs? For the uber fan, can you make it a more immersive experience? I can see a small google maps window with the characters locations as the action unfolds. Locke / Smoke Monster on the beach looking at Hydra Island, Richard up by the ship, Jack running through the jungle toward Richard, etc…
5. The iPhone. Here’s a non-consensus pick – maybe dead. Let me explain. I’ve used an iPhone since it came out – and let me tell you – it is a great device – but it is a lousy phone. Part of that is the AT&T network, okay a lot of that is the AT&T network, but it doesn’t have a great form factor as a phone either. The old Motorola RAZR phones were better phones, and any Blackberry is a better e-mail device (assuming you want to actually type messages). However, the iPhone did everything else? It is an iPod, a browser, and app machine, and nobody did all of that better and with tighter integration – thus it won. Now you have an iPad in your pocket. So you have an app machine with a larger screen, you have all the tight integration, you have a better iPod or iTunes screen, and you have any of the free VOIP products – so why do you need an iPhone. If you bought an iPad, you have already committed to carrying two devices – so why not make the phone the best one you can get? Yes, you can get 3G data on the iPhone and you can’t get it on the iPad – but over time, wifi will become ever more prevalent (it is all over the place in home or in towns if you are a cable customer as these guys roll it out) and smart cell network operators will offer phones that allow you to tether their 3G networks to the iPad through Bluetooth or a simple cable – so why carry the iPhone – why not a simpler and better regular phone?