“Why not wait until everybody has it?” Very easy.
Everybody won’t get them. True, Apple is aiming the iPad at people who don’t
do computers, but the device requires that the user at least has Wi-Fi. Why
would a non-computer person have a broadband Internet connection? Such
connections certainly aren’t cheap, and I don’t see even Obama giving them
away. Last I heard, approximately 65% of American homes have any kind of
broadband service. That’s a bit less than those with computers. If you’re
a person who isn’t interested in computers, are you really going to spend
$35-60 a month for Internet access? As much as Apple wants to attract the
unwashed masses, the very design of the iPad is going to restrict it to
households that are on the Internet.
More to the point, even the people who are ardent fans of
the iPad call it a "toy." what they mean is that the iPad is for
those folks who spend the bulk of their Internet time listening, reading, or
watching something. These people are referred to as "content
consumers." however, if you use your computer to create things, whether
you share your creations with others or keep them for yourself, you need more
of a computer. The iPad can certainly be used to write email, and there are
people who swear they can use their iPad to write articles. In general, though,
people find that the best position for the iPad is in their hands. That makes
it difficult to create or edit documents.
Some would have it that the iPad is the first in a line of
products that will replace television as the primary entertainment device. The
underlying assumption here is that the Internet will eventually replace
over-the-air broadcasting, and I have already expressed my view about the
likelihood of the Internet becoming universal. Even if that happens, I think
the form factor of the iPad, that’s the shape and size, is wrong for shared
use. Sure, an iPad could be much larger, but isn’t that a television that still
requires broadband service? That means no more free TV.
What I see happening after the novelty dies down is that the
iPad market will follow the pattern of other Apple products. If you’re a fan of
Apple, you either already have an iPad or are drowning in drool while waiting
for yours. Otherwise, a lot of people who have computers will buy an iPad, use
it for a while, and then forget about it. Not that there’s anything wrong with
it, but I think it’s going to appeal mainly to people who already have fast
Internet service and are lightweight users uncomfortable with more traditional
computers. I don’t see any compelling reason to wait unless you’re hoping Apple
will add a camera.