By now anyone who has an interest in gadgets or computers will have heard about the iPad, which is unveiled by Apple Computer two days ago. If you haven't, think of the iPad as an over sized iPod Touch. Microsoft's Tablet PC flopped on the market about nine years ago, so how will the iPad be different? (Microsoft is now developing another tablet PC called the Courier, expecting to release it in mid-2010. Looking at what the Courier does, I don't think Microsoft will ever be able to get the product right, so I am just going to talk about the iPad for now.)
The iPad is a marvel in design. It is not just the pieces of innovative technology that makes me think this way. Apple Computer has cleverly designed into the iPad the features necessary for it to drive their vision of changing the way people use information technology. I am certain the omission of USB port and of a big capacity hard drive are not an oversight, but a deliberate effort to change the way people will use the iPad.
I suspect the iPad is targeted at an untapped market, namely the non-I.T. savvy people. I have seen many of such people comfortably using the iPhone. They surprise me with their ease at opening up one app after another, look up an address, or show off their digital photos. These people are actually using a high tech gadget without realizing the significance of it. In the same way, I can foresee many computer-phobic people easily adopting the iPad to do the same things the rest of us do on a regular computer (e.g. email and web surfing). This is in addition to the countless number of apps that the iPad can do. Similar apps, if they exist, are far more cumbersome to deploy on a computer. Apple Computer has got the iPad form factor right and it is targeting not so much you and me, but those who missed out on the I.T.revolution. That is why I think the iPad will succeed and Microsoft will still be trying to figure out what went wrong with their Tablet PC.