One of the ways you can measure the impact a device has, is by how frequently it’s used. A netbook, for example, might look like great device on paper, but a lot of early adopters seem to have switched back to using a full-sized notebook, whilst their netbooks collect dust.
The problem is feature overlap: if a netbook can do some, but not all of the same things a notebook can do – why not just take the notebook? You’ll need a bag to carry either, so there’s only a slight difference in size and weight to consider. Smartphones on the other hand can do some of the same things a notebook can do, but have a clear size and weight advantage, as well as a telephony features that a notebook doesn’t offer.
The iPad might suffer from the same problem as netbooks. It offers a lot of features offered by both other device categories, but it also presents these features in a new, multi-touch interface. But is the new interface and compact form factor enough to convince users to ditch their smartphones and notebooks for certain tasks?
Browsing some of the initial comments about the iPad, most users are initially very enthusiastic, as you would expect with most highly anticipated new CE devices. However, some users are already reporting that the initial excitement has worn off:
Jeff Jarvis tweets:
“After having slept with her (Ms. iPad), I am having morning-after regrets. Sweet and cute but shallow and vapid.”
Update: Turns out Jeff is actually returning his iPad:
[...] “(I) simply don’t see a good use for the machine and don’t want to spend $500 on something I’m not going to use.”
“24 hours later, I must admit I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be using this thing for. The charm is wearing off.”
On a more anecdotal note, I recently had a few friends over for a party and they were playing with an iPad borrowed from work. Most of them were fascinated by the device and wanted one, but couldn’t really see much use for it apart as a “toy”.
Unlike the iPhone, which you always carry with you anyway, the iPad is something you need to actively seek out and use. With many people purchasing iPads without a clear idea what they’ll be using it for, it’ll be interesting to see whether Apple’s latest can win a permanent place in user’s day-to-day lives, or whether it will be yet another gadget collecting dust somewhere. My guess is that it’ll be the type of gadget you use regularly – just not as often as your phone or notebook.
What are your thoughts? Are you starting to get bored of your iPad – or has it already become indispensable?