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48 Hours With Apple’s iPad

Posted by Gary Hamel on April 5, 2010

I scored a couple of iPads this weekend.

Don’t even think about getting one for yourself without buying one for your significant other—unless you have some perverse reason for stoking the flames of resentment.

The world “fanboy” doesn’t begin to describe the ardor of the Apple faithful who pre-ordered the iPad. By 3 am (EDT) on launch day (Saturday the 3rd), over 3,000 comments had been posted on a discussion board dedicated to tracking the progress of iPad shipments. (Who knew you could get real time data on flights out of Louisville, Kentucky—the international hub for UPS?)

Yes, there are limitations to the iPad: no multi-tasking, no browser tabs, no USB port, no built-in camera. I expect some of these to be remedied in future updates.

The iPad won’t change how you do your computing, but it will sure change how you consume your media.

It’s going to take a while for people to “get” the iPad. Unlike the iPhone, the iPad is creating an entirely new category of devices. Just about everyone had a cell phone before the iPhone launched, but the iPad doesn’t really have any antecedents. When compared to existing netbooks and tablet computers, the iPad is functionally unique. A class of one (for now).

I can’t imagine a better way to read a magazine—so I hope all of my 20+ subscriptions will soon migrate to the iPad.

I haven’t bought a CD in five years (thanks to iTunes), and don’t expect to be buying many books in the future either (thanks to iBook).

The iPad isn’t a Kindle-killer—well, not if you read all your books sitting by the pool in direct sunlight; but if you don’t, it just might be.

If textbook publishers get on board, Apple may save millions of kids from the orthopedic dangers of overloaded backpacks.

I’m hoping for a transparent screen overlay that will hide all those hideous fingerprints.

Steve Jobs was right: It feels like you’re holding the Web in your hands.

The iPad is a great way to play Scrabble with a friend who is similarly equipped. No one is going to peek at my letters now.

Yeah, the product architecture is closed. But with thousands of apps coming and the entire Web available to you, it feels more like a friendly hug than a straitjacket.

“Old media” had 10+ years to figure out the whole “e” thing—and mostly failed. Now it’s Steve Jobs’ turn. That’s (mostly) a good thing: he actually gets “ease of use.” But still, you’ve got to feel sorry for the incumbents. First Wal-Mart, then Amazon, then the parasitic aggregators, and now Apple—all determined to strip away their profits.

With the iPad, Apple has come close to realizing its ambition of making the term “computer literacy” about as meaningful as “refrigerator literacy.”

I’ll never take my laptop to bed again.

(See Gary’s other recent posts on what makes Apple successful here and here.)

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