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iPad: A stretch iPod touch with a business model


By: Scott Bradner


Two years ago I wrote in this column about what I'd like to see in an Apple tablet. (  Of the 21 features I listed the Apple iPad seems to meet or get close to 14 of them -- not too bad.  But now that I see the iPad I'm not satisfied, but I do think that it is far too early to tell if the iPad, or the iPad Pro that I hope will soon be announced, is an actual gamechanger like the iPod & iPhone have been.  Right now the iPod looks like a stretch iPod touch with a business model.


I'm not someone who buys everything that Apple makes (see, I have managed to skip a few products, and I think the iPad will be one of the skipped ones.  That said, I do think the iPad, or maybe its business model, is an important product in the evolution of how people deal with the Internet.


A quick survey of the post announcement iPod reviews produces the same sort of generally negative pundit environment that many Apple products get from the people, like me, who are paid to articulate an opinion. As an aside, it seems to be the case that negative opinions sell better than positive ones, and that observation is not limited to technology.  The first iPod (too expensive, no replaceable battery), the first iPhone (no keyboard, only AT&T ...), the Macbook Air (no connections), the litany continues with the iPod: too expensive (even though its half of what many pundits thought it was going to be), no camera for video chat (even though a camera on a lap-held computer would be anything but steady), using AT&T (even though the iPod is not locked and can be supported by any other hardware compatible carrier - e.g. t-mobile in the US), no iPhone (even though Apple & AT&T are now permitting VoIP calls over 3G as well as WiFi), no GPS (even though the Apple location determination via WiFi access point ID is good enough for many location-based applications), no USB or Ethernet (even though you can get USB through the docking connector), no multitasking (even though that is part of what produces a 10 hour batter life) and the iPod is not open and has to use the Apple App Store (with only 140,000 applications). 


None of these seem to all that big a deal if people use the iPod for what it seems to be designed for - a general purpose device that can do a very good job with the presentation of media and of the Internet, with a second to none user interface -- and maybe a little game playing and document viewing and editing thrown in.  (See


In retrospect, the most important part of the iPod was the iTunes business model.  A model with changed the basic way that music is sold these days.  A model that forced the music companies to offer music in a way that their customers wanted - with DRM but with the DRM designed to not be visible to most users. 


The most important part of the iPod may be the business model around newspapers and books.  But now Apple is not forcing the publishers into doing things that the customer wants - the publishers can set their own prices, and you can be sure they will set prices and restrictions that will cause most potential customers to ignore the offerings.  (see  They will shoot themselves in the foot but may, in the long run, learn. 


I think that the iPod has a lot of potential as-is.  It may take a while --bringing clue to copyright holders is a very very slow process -- but Apple will sell a lot of these devices.  But for me, I'm waiting for the iPod Pro that will run Snow Leopard -- and thus be a real computer.


disclaimer: I have not talked to anyone at Harvard about the iPod so have no idea if anyone at the university is paying attention to it so the above review and desire is mine.