Yesterday, as everyone -- including me -- expected, Apple introduced their first big foray into the tablet computing market (if you don't count the iPhone as a tablet) called the iPad.
Which, even I, as an Apple fan, has to admit-- is a stupid name. iSlate, or even "Tablet" would have been better, but, whatever. (Plus, Fujitsu owns the "iPad" trademark, so we'll see what it winds up being -- remember "iTV" changed to "Apple TV" at launch.
Am I interested in one? Yes. I am interested because it's just enough for me to NOT have to carry around my laptop bag anymore. Potentially eliminating the need to carry anything outside of a jacket. (Using a jacket like the Scottevest line: http://www.scottevest.com/ -- which is just handy, all those pockets.) 90% of my work could be done a device like this, and I'm just happy about that.
I don't think people are overwhelmed by it right now in this iteration because people feel it's just a big iPod Touch. Well, fine. I have to kind of agree with that idea, but look at how far the iPod Touch has come along since it's release. It's not about the platform people, it's the APPS. We'll see what happens in 60 days before it's release. We'll see what happens in a year.
There is going to be a completely different class of Apps developed for this thing. I fully expect even people like Microsoft to develop a version of Office (or maybe use the online office) for this thing.
Think of the possibilities for a couple markets:
A) Schools. Imagine school children, colleges, high schools, etc with this thing as a standard issue device. Think of what is going to come about as far as accessibilities to text books, not having to carry them around anymore. Think about taking your quizzes and tests online, doing your homework online. The elimination of the wasteful use of paper is coming in a big way.
B) Medical application. Think of a doctor being able to walk around a hospital, every patients records, xrays, results, insurance cards, everything. Accessible with their fingers. Think about the Doctors being able to make notes right into the patients online chart.
These are just a couple examples I can think of off the top of my head about the possibilities for a device like this.
Now, how should we treat this device from a security perspective? It's a mobile device, but it's not a phone, it can't make phone calls. (Native phone calls, not through Skype.) It's not a laptop, it's more mobile than that.
I would have to say that'd we'd need to treat this device as a phone. For the most part, it's a platform that has near ubiquitous access to the internet. Any Starbucks, Barnes and Nobles, etc. Then with the cheap 3G access available on it, I think there is going to be a whole class of people (maybe the sub-20 year old demographic) that would use this as a computer. They don't need anything else for the most part. My wife doesn't need anything more than this device. Will you be able to print from it? Probably not, but that's really the only thing I see that needs to be added from a software point of view for this to replace most computers. My parents would use this instead of regular computer, most people would, if all they did was process email and read web pages on it.
This is the perfect couch device, this is the perfect "train" or "plane" device. There are a ton of possibilities for this thing, not necessarily at launch, but in a year/two years from now, this may be the computing platform that we are all using.
I'm really only disappointed in one thing. No face forward video camera for teleconferencing? Hm. Well, let's think of this thing sitting on your lap. Ideally the camera would need to be up higher, level with your face, otherwise people on a video conference with you would be looking up your nose the whole time. Yes of course you could prop it up, but that's not going to happen all the time. That's really my only disappointment.
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