Today is launch day for the Apple iPad, the tablet device that is destined to be a PC laptop killer. In previous posts, including ones on eBooks that go back to Gartner Research Notes I wrote in 2000, we described the aspects that an eBook Reader (tablet like device) would need and predicted the year it would appear (2007). Now it is 2010 and we essentially have the second generation device with the Apple iPad.
There are four factors that make the iPad a winner:
1. Platform. Form factor and a great display are the starting points. The hardware isn't perfect, but it has a familiarity to all previous Apple devices. It doesn't have everything, but third parties (see guide from Mashable) will help out here.
2. Operating System. Simplicity and a progressive disclosure based UI design are at the heart of it. For any Apple user, it is immediately intuitive. For any new user, it takes little time to get used to it, except for the touch typing.
3. Content. This is where things start to change. The content available now is tiny compared to what is coming. Apple has figured out the recipe for its platforms and understands that people not only want content (iTunes), but that they highly desire it. Music was the first content store, there will be many more...
4. Applications. Lots of firms are recompiling and refactoring their iPhone apps to work on the iPad. There will be lots of iPad specific apps coming too.
5. User Experience. The last and most important factor is user experience. When people are delighted by a device, that is a great user experience. More than anything else, Apple has figured this out. Like its famous Apple Mac computers and the revolutionary iPhone, the reason Apple is succeeding is because of the superior user experience they deliver. The iPad will be no exception.
So put aside all the hype you will hear. The iPad has just changed the personal computing market and it is a few apps short of being a laptop killer (Walt Mossberg agrees). These are the reasons that the iPad is a winner and probably the reason that you might have one sooner than you think.