iPad – great marketing trumps great technology every time

It’s been called everything from the “second coming of pod” through to the Jesus Tablet but finally the iPad arrived (well in video anyway) last night with all the usual Steve Jobs fanfare and hyperbole.

This has got to have been the most hyped piece of technology in recent years. Back in September I posted an article from AppleInsider saying that “despite the fact that no one has seen it, a new survey says that 21 percent of buyers are interested in purchasing an Apple tablet device” and it seems they were spot on.

At the launch even yesterday comments ranged from the typical Apple lovers superlatives through to “it’s just an iPhone with a big screen”. Clearly both points of view are wrong and based on little actual data or experience so here’ what we know

Hardware

  • Apple A4 1GHz chipset (…. wow Apple are now in the chip business !!)
  • 9.7in LED backlit 1024 x 768 pixel, multi-touch display
  • Dimensions of  – 242.8 x 189.7 x 13.4mm and weighing about 700g
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and an optional 3G add on
  • 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities
  • “Up to” 10 hours battery life, one month on standby
  • Accelerometer, digital compass, speaker, mic, dock connector, 3.5mm jack

Software

  • Modified variation of the iPhone OS and “almost all” iPhone apps compatible with the iPad
  • Contacts, email, music, video and photo iTunes synchronisation
  • HD capable (720p) video playback
  • New iBook (eBook) store  with publishers like Simon and Schuster, Penguin etc already signed up
  • iWorks productivity software available at an additional cost of $9.99 with word processing, spreadsheet and powerpoint functionality

… and most importantly it costs $499 (£310) for the entry level 16GB model without 3G, $599 for 32Gb and $699 for 64GB with a 3G facility costing an additional $130 extra – NOTE that it will use SIM Unlocked but use a mini SIM (how many of you have one of those)

As the FT put it “Arriving with few new content deals despite months of heavy hype, the half-inch thick gadget, which looks like a giant iPhone, met with mixed reviews”. Hardly a revolution ??

Trustedreviews.com went a bit further saying “For a product so massively hyped I think it is fair to say Apple certainly hasn’t managed the Wow Factor like it did with the launch of the original iPhone. The iPad is certainly a competent product, but one that with its strong iPhone roots lies more closely to smartbooks than netbooks and keeps in place the typical fenced gate Apple likes to enforce about how its customers use its products.”

In fact, most analysts have focussed on the negatives – particularly the Guardian however to do this is missing the point. A colleague of mine once told an audience of CIOs and technology leaders that great marketing trumps great technology every time …. and he was right !

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