There’s no question that Apple’s iPad has been a success. Selling a rumored 2 million units in two months and quickly becoming the defacto leader in the tablet PC space. Many of Apple’s commercials tell me that there’s a revolution going on, but here I sit 2 months later with a glorified web browser. Where’s my killer app?
I will be the first one to raise my hand and say that everything the iPad does (not talking about what it doesn’t do) it does well. Navigation is fast and fluid, apps load quickly, and browsing is a snap. It’s so good that it made me think my G2 iPhone suddenly had something wrong with it. (Brings me back to the days of getting a new computer and suddenly the old one was extra slooooow with everything) But for non first-movers, where is my app that I can show practically anyone and they immediately quiver and say, “I want one!”
Likening this to videogames; it was Wii Sports for Nintendo, Halo for the original XBOX, and Blu-Ray for PS3. The single thing that is so indisputable, that once you try it there’s no going back on. The iPad currently does not have this and what it does is currently being under served.
Meant to revolutionize (there’s that word again) how we consume standard books, is off to a slow start IMHO because Amazon smartly developed a Kindle App. iBooks doesn’t even come pre-installed, so you have the option of not even having it on the iPad. This segments the market from jumpstreet. While a very kind stance by Jobs, this sort of open platform flies in the face of what made iTunes so dominant. If you wanted to listen to music on your iPod you had to incorporate it via iTunes. Period. That inflexibility is rued by everyone that is not an Apple disciple, but it gave iTunes the edge in the very media space it wanted to dominate. By having alternative book stores, iBooks is almost guaranteed to not be #1. There’s still time for this to change but it’s facing an uphill battle.
Well we all know about the kibosh on Flash, but I’m specifically referring to movie watching. This is something that is almost exclusively for those who are on the go. Sitting at home with an iPad in your lap watching a movie has to be pathetic… So the killer app is not video.
Nintendo, Sony, MS better watch out now because Apple is stepping on their territory! Are they really now? I think not. The difference between them is that the former are in console/home entertainment space, whilst Apple is in the mobile/pc space. About 90% of the games that can be found on the iPad can be found on the internet via computer in some shape or form. Puzzlers, racers, memory games, quick stop games have become the staple of the platform.
Developers need to utilize the iPad to begin telling grander stories with more intricate game play before it begins to encroach on the big boys of gaming. Quite frankly there’s no excuse not to. Battery life isn’t an issue, neither is screen real-estate. The only hurdle is the input. Does touch/tilt offer the precision needed to excel in these genres? The jury is still out on that… So the killer app is not games.
Here’s where I have the most hope for the little tablet that could. But unfortunately we are dealing with an aged and stubborn print publishing industry who are still trying to get the Internet right, much less a digital version of their publication.
There are a few who have jumped headfirst into embracing digital (NYT springs to the forefront with their investment in tech), but the majority are going for the quick buck by just offering a .pdf version of their print magazine or paper. Haven’t we seen this before? Yea, the www boom/bust of say 2000. During that great time of the expansion of the interweb, many publications/stores simply put up a page that was either a static version of their physical media, or a link to purchase said physical media.
The term interactive didn’t mean squat to them.
They were all happy to say they had a web presence. Then came Flash. Then it was all about, “Look at what cool animation we can have that leads you to our static .pdf page. If you are lucky we may even charge you for that .pdf as our e-commerce strategy.”
Then came advertising. Which meant, that since you had X many eyeballs looking at our content, the ad industry needed to be there because TV was dying. (Yes they said that 10 years ago too 😉) Very soon you had your cpc’s and your cpm’s and your impressions versus your clicks and it all got convoluted. To the point the whole thing blew up and we have now what you call Web 2.0, lol.
Anyone sensing that Déjà vu feeling? Yup, me too. To Apple’s credit they are treating the iPad as a platform on which its up to others to come up with that killer app. I just fear that people are too busy trying to re-invent the wheel than making the leap to flying to space exploration. We don’t need a digital version of what we already have. So the killer app is not content publication.
So what is it?