I'll admit it. I was sweating a bit while I waited for the Apple iPad event to get under way yesterday. There were so many expectations attached to this product. People were calling it a "game changer," a once-in-a-decade device that would redefine how we interact with technology. And what if they were right? What if my worst fears of an impending Apple tablet apocalypse came true?
Fortunately, it was all much ado about nothing. The Apple iPad arrived, and the IT community sighed collectively in relief. This was no game-changing device. This was no paradigm-shifting über-product. This was an iPod on steroids -- a glorified multimedia player complete with single-tasking OS, limited connectivity options (sorry, Verizon fans), and virtually no traditional I/O capabilities.
Talk about dodging a bullet! Apple could have hit one out of the park if it had actually innovated with the iPad. Instead, it rehashed a bunch of iPod/iPhone bits, spread them out even more thinly across its much ballyhooed industrial-design surface (so long, iPhone camera!), and offered them up as something new and different.
Anticlimactic doesn't begin to describe the feeling! One blogger quipped that Microsoft executives must be bashing their heads against the walls up in Redmond, but I think that he/she/it got it all wrong. The Microsofties are more likely high-fiving each other. Not only did they steal Apple's thunder with a variety of compelling tablet demos at CES (that HP tablet looks like a winner), they did so with a solution that is head and shoulders above anything the iPad can deliver.
Seriously, can anyone really compare the creaky, rigid-looking iPhone OS 3.2 to the flexibility and functionality of a full-blown Windows 7 device? Can you say "multitasking"? How about compatibility with the range of enterprise and consumer applications? Connectivity? The realistic capability to replace your desktop/laptop/netbook?