Form factor [8.5]
It's a Web pad that meets expectations for Apple's industrial design reputation. The most notable thing is that, while it isn't the first one, Apple is among the pioneers, and not an aggressive follower. Apple beat all of the major OEMs to this market.
Apple priced iPad low enough to remove price as an objection, and even low enough to make potential competitors re-evaluate their Web/media-pad plans. Apple didn't leave a lot of room under their pricing for less-amazing products. Apple took the netbook price challenge seriously and has a serious response in iPad.
The app store ships about 400 new applications per day. Read that again. Now look at the top selling programming language books on Amazon. iPod Touch has evolved into a game and social media platform, as well as being the continuation of the iPod product line, and iPad inherits all of this. Apple announced two new application/content categories: e-books (and periodicals), and iWork. And it is the best Web pad yet devised.
It's a big iPhone. The software appears to be very well executed, and enables iWork and other new key applications. But it isn't a breakthrough. Not even a big “Wow” factor. There was a chance Apple would send Google's Android team back to the labs, but no put-away shots here.
People who have seen it firsthand all remark on the speed. Apple has entered the ARM CPU business at the front of the class. Success here is crucial to Apple beating netbook economics. However, Apple probably does not dominate this business, and you can bet that would-be competitors are looking at Qualcomm Snapdragon and other fast ARM CPU spec sheets this morning. Apple may find themselves at the front of a very competitive race.
A lot of software effort had to have gone into fully exploiting the GPU, and into other unseen system software, leaving less time for visible UI improvements.
Did Intel make the right move selling off XScale/StrongARM and going with Atom? What will it cost to make Atom competitive and keep it from cannibalizing high-end CPUs?
Apple has created and continues to exploit the best ecosystem in the business. When will Apple's would-be competitors, Nokia and Microsoft among them, learn they cannot succeed by copying a subset of Apple's ecosystem? Google has built their own very powerful ecosystem and can make their own rules. Everyone else needs to take this more seriously or face continued failed market entries. Legacy category dominance is not an ecosystem.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Form factor [8.5]
Posted by Zigurd Mednieks at 8:51 AM