the iPad and the bigger picture

Discussion in 'iPad' started by InsertName, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. InsertName macrumors member

    Oct 5, 2009
    Since the keynote the other day, I've been wondering why so much has been made of the device itself...and so little of other aspects of the offering. Eventually I thought I'd put it to you lot to see if my opinion is that of a crazed fanboy--or if it has some reason to it.

    Firstly, I like the iPad, but I'm one of those who will have a real use for it; I hate carting a laptop around between the States and Europe on business trips, and I have a wife about to return to university, who ALSO hates carting a laptop around. So, done, we'll be having them after the first revision. Simple for us.

    I can also understand the disappointment from those who expected the second coming and got, well, a very nice looking tablet that's essentially a grown-up iTouch. Taken at face value, it's not that impressive.

    So why would there be suggestions that Steve thinks this is the most important thing he's ever worked on?

    Perhaps the clues lie outside the device itself.

    Firstly; the current pricing schemes for mobile phone contracts, and how they are applied are an unpleasant constraint to say the least. Everyone knows that the iPhone (and all other offerings) can do a lot of what the iPad will...but always on an insanely expensive plan that is binding for, in general, two years. The news that an unlimited data, contract free plan will only cost $30 a month has, I think, blown the mobile industry apart. AT&T just got held down and beaten until they gave up the first genuinely reasonable pricing plan I've ever seen. Now, in order to compete in the data market every other carrier will have to come up with something comparable. Apple have, essentially, changed the market utterly on that front. I'm amazed more hasn't been made of this demolition job.

    Secondly; that natty little keyboard/charger peripheral. Cute isn't it? Thing is, I reckon it's a pointer to something much, much more. Imagine if the US public library system starts installing those things, or if a major university does the same. All of a sudden REAL cloud computing is here. Much has been made of the low storage capacity of the iPad--but why would you need more when so much is stored in the cloud? The way has just opened up for a TRULY mobile computing experience. You get up, you wander downstairs with the tablet, read the paper on it, go to university, dock it in the library, access dropbox, do some research, wander downtown, watch a video, dock it in a coffee shop, access whatever it is you want...and so on ad infinitum. Oh, and remember, you're paying about half what you're paying now on a comparable mobile phone contract.

    That's my take--the iPad is nice, stylish, slick, and everything I'd expect from the Apple vision of the future--but it's how its presence can change the landscape that's truly impressive. There are other tablet companies out there, and netbooks can do more etc. etc. But which of them have just changed the pricing structure of an entire industry, and opened the way for the next generation of mobile/cloud computing?

    Let the flaming commence...
  2. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    Nice post.

    My "counter" if you will is this. Apple DID do a good job at convincing ATT to break from their standard operating procedure. Most significant is the no contract.

    But since the iPad is not a phone - there's no reason for a voice plan contract.

    Laptops don't have restrictions on data. The iPad will no doubt have restrictions on what can and can't be streamed over 3g (i.e. no slingbox, etc). Same with Skype. In short - anything that will eat significant bandwidth and/or compete with voice services over 3G.

    That's why they were able to get the rate at $29.99 a month (unlimited). Because that's what ATT charges right now for smart phones. And the iPad, from what was expo'd - has the same data usage potential/restrictions.

    The 250 meg plan is good for a lot of users who will just be using this to surf/email and not do anything too too heavy.

    So the pricing isn't what's amazing. It's really in line with what is already in place. The lack of a contract is what is a great benefit that Apple brought to the table.

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