(image ) While the world watches the next coming of Jobs, I reflected on my gut feeling as to the iPad, and why that feeling is inherently one of disappointment (see my predictions 2010 (#5) and my post earlier this week).
And I’ll admit, this one is not entirely logical. But then again, I don’t always base my predictions (or my business decisions) on pure logic. Sometimes I just go with a feeling.
So what is my feeling about the iPad? Well, to be honest, it’s simply this: I want one. I want to play with it, I want it to work the way I want it to work, I want it to do everything I wish a device like this should do. I am the guy, after all, who wrote his master’s thesis on the Internet-connected tablet and its impact on the media business (yes, I really did. In 1991-92).
What? Wait a minute, Battelle, you’re saying you WANT one, AND that it’s going to disappoint?
Yes, stay with me. Here’s why: When Apple introduced the iPhone, I really, truly did NOT want one. And it became a game changing hit. I eventually caved and got one (but don’t use it much), and I still have major reservations about the platform. When Amazon introduced the Kindle, I really, truly, did NOT want one. I eventually caved and got one (but don’t use it much), and I still have major reservations about the platform.
But the iPad? Oh, yeah – I really, really want one.
Which, to my mind, almost dooms the thing immediately.
Why? Well, because it can’t possibly live up to my expectations. I want one for entirely irrational reasons. I want one because it holds the promise of all that might be good, right, and perfectly executed in the world of computing, media, and culture. The iPad is the Obama of devices: It’s all hope, inspirational oratory, intelligence, and good intentions.
But as we have seen, a year later, reality (whether business or political) often gets in the way of intelligence. It looks like the iPad will adopt the iPhone approach to apps in full, so that’s one more distribution orifice created, for example.
In any case, I’ll probably get an iPad. And one year from now, I’ll probably be disappointed. Irrationally disappointed, but still, disappointed.
I guess we’ll see. I hope I’m wrong. I’ll probably be wrong. If I am, I’ll cop to it (and reset my gut to boot).