Warming to the iPad
by Tony Kontzer
Several months ago, I went out on a limb in predicting that Apple's iPad was a tweener device that didn't fill enough of a need to be an instrument of change. While I'm not prepared to give up on that early prognostication, there are increasing signs that I may have underestimated the iPad's potential impact.
Sure, there are the 2 million iPads that sold in the first two months the device was available--far more than I'd have anticipated in such a short time, especially given the prevailing economic winds at the time of its launch. But I'm talking about something much deeper than sales, something more akin to a perception that the iPad is a game changer in the business world.
For instance, there's this very interesting report the San Francisco Chronicle ran last week, detailing how magazines like Wired and National Geographic see the iPad not merely as a new channel, but rather as an industry savior. The story makes references to the iPad injecting hope into magazines that are reinventing themselves around the iPad experience. When an entire industry sounds as it if it's preparing to conform itself to a new device, it becomes pretty hard not to take that device very seriously.
Then there's the little matter of the video game industry, which may be in the early stages of doing the exact same thing. Consider the recent comments of Capcom President Haruhiro Tsujimoto, who called Apple devices, "the biggest source of concern in our packaged-software business." Yes, the iPhone's a huge part of that, but make no mistake: the iPad is the emerging killer video game platform, and Tsujimoto knows that. Think about it--basically overnight, the iPad has established itself as a gaming platform that game-makers ignore at their risk.
Despite such evidence of the iPad's potential staying power mounting, I'm not ready to declare myself wrong, as some writers have. But that time could come soon enough.