by PJ Bickett
Many people have been asking me this past week for my POV on the iPad, so I figured I would share with you in case you wanted the 1,000,000th POV. If you are already sick of hearing about the iPad, you might as well hit ‘delete’ now. For those that read on, I am going to try to keep this as short and interesting as possible.
To start, by no means do I think that the iPad is “revolutionary” as it is just the convergence of several existing technologies (many Apple’s) into one device. However, I unequivocally believe that the iPad is the biggest “game changing” media device now and for years to come!
It is important to note that I used the term “media device” and not “eReader,” as the “reader” is just one of many functions this device provides and why the iPad is in an entire class by itself. The Nook, Kindle and Sony’s eReader do not even come close.
As a result of the iPad truly being one of the most complete “media devices” ever created, the biggest opportunity for its success is the fact that the iPad will mean many things to many different people: from an entertainment device (portable DVD player and iTouch in one) to a functional work tool (eventually replacing the HP TouchPad almost every retail salesperson uses for ordering) to video gaming to educational device (Apple is working with several school districts to provide curriculum on it) to even comics (had to mention something relating to Archaia). It is for all these reasons, the Apple Brand Power and marketing prowess, and the fact that it really is more than an eReader that it will remain to be relevant. (A very important note is that Apple is already creating the third version of the iPad, so just imagine how many amazing new tools, features and functions will be available on this device.)
Now, while I have heard the many “pitfalls” (I list the three most common ones below with my response to each), not even these pitfalls have prevented an estimated 250,000 pre-orders, plus an estimated 375,000 additional units sold this weekend (reminder it is only Saturday)!!!
Pitfall: It is too big and doesn’t fit in your pocket.
Response: Neither does your laptop or portable DVD player, but we figure out how to keep our favorite gadgets within arm’s reach. The iPad is no different. In fact, because it is an Apple product that manufactures have confidence Apple will not change dimensions in the coming years, you will see plenty of carrying merchandise to make sure you can have it tied around your neck if you want to.
Pitfall: It is not unique and doesn’t do anything special that your iPhone or laptop doesn’t already do.
Response: I couldn’t agree and disagree more at the same time. Granted, while the iPad isn’t an original idea per se, it is the device that fills the gap between what your iPhone/Smartphone provides (minus the phone feature, even though you can add Skype to it and use your iPad as a phone through your wireless internet connection) and laptops. Additionally, unlike software programs for computers, you have millions of “apps” that are inexpensive and powerful. Also, most importantly, less than 1% are created by Microsoft! While not a conscience reason to people, it is a big factor.
Pitfall: The iPad is a “want”, driven by personal desire, not a necessity as the iPhone is because of its phone component.
Response: While I agree it is driven by personal desire, it is because of that alone Apple will sell millions in the coming months. What is also important to understand is how much easier it is to “gift” an iPad versus an iPhone. When the price comes down to about $200 for the first iteration of the iPad as it is expected to do right after the Holidays this year, parents, grandparents, college students, friends, and bosses will see this as a great gift/present to give and not have to worry about what cell carrier you use as they would with the iPhone.
Now, for my friends who are specifically interested in my POV for comics, this is just one example of why I am feeling good about digital…
Obviously every media outlet is covering the “hype”, but the one article I read that I felt was most telling of what the comics industry has to look forward to was by CNN. Out of it, it was the quote from a 40 year old that made we feel even more confident about the future of digital comics:
“[The iPad] is perfect for reading digital comics,” Crosland, 40, told CNN by phone Saturday afternoon. “I tried to use it on the phone, and it didn’t give you that same feel. … Comic books are designed for a large format, so you can appreciate the art and read it. It’s difficult to do on a small device.”
While this is only one person’s comment, it is important to note a few things about what the person said:
1. He “tried” comics on the iPhone, but just didn’t enjoy the experience
2. He actually enjoyed his experience in viewing comics digitally (not a fad)
3. He is 40 years old!
The last point is critically important to understand because most comic book fans significantly begin to drop off at the age of 40 because they no longer interested in collecting or have no room to store. The iPad now extends readership for the “traditional” readers when collecting and storage become the issue.
By no means is anyone going to “get rich” off digitally published comics in 2010. However, 2010 is a critical year for laying the ground work for digital comics that go well beyond the iPad.
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