Dear Bob ...
As an IT leader, one of my jobs is to keep up with technology. With that in mind, what do you think of Apple's new iPad?
[ Also on InfoWorld: Get the key information on the new iPad in Galen Gruman's "What you should know about Apple's tablet" and Paul Krill's "New iPad means iPhone developers need to think different." ]
Dear TW ...
What do I think of it? Not much.
That's not much as in I'm not devoting a whole lot of thought to it, not "not much" as in I don't think highly of it.
Most of the commentary on this gadget has all the intellectual rigor of an amateur political blogger. There seems to be much more interest as to whether Apple or Amazon will prevail in the e-book category, whether Steve Jobs has out-netbooked the netbook, and so on than in the actual value of the device itself.
Which is why I liken the commentary to political blogging -- just as political bloggers have much more interest in the quality of each party's tactics than in the value of their policies and lawmaking, so the commentary here seems focused on the Apple-versus-Amazon and Apple-versus-Microsoft angle than anything else -- unless it's the end-user-versus-IT angle.
It's my-team/your-team commentary at its finest, which isn't very fine at all.
So where we are with the iPad? Like everything else Apple does, it's first and foremost a consumer device. But will it be important to businesses? Will IT come under intense pressure to support it as was the case with the iPhone?
Opinion: There are no parallels to be drawn with the iPhone. The iPhone is an alternative to an existing mainstream business device: the BlackBerry. It wasn't a new category -- it was an old category done better (if you focus on the user interface) or worse (if you focus on manageability).
The iPad is in a different situation. Depending on who you are, what you want, and whether you believe what Apple says about its claimed battery life, it's either a slicker Kindle, a cooler netbook (except that once you have enough in it to make it useful in that mode it costs as much as a fairly powerful laptop), or a better-done touchpad computer, albeit without the keyboard (unless you want to give up screen real estate to type).