I suspect the Anthony family will use the iPad to browse magazines, watch videos, and waste time with applications, with the laptop reserved for “real work” and the Kindle for “real reading.” Interestingly, even as manufacturers gear up to create 3-dimensional televisions, the TV is the one screen that will increasingly become marginalized in our home.
Only Apple can inspire a fierce debate — before launch! — about the degree to which the iPad is going to meet almost un-meet-able expectations. From my perspective, it’s just too soon to tell.
You see, I’m waiting for the twist.
Let’s not forget that when the iPod launched, there was no iTunes, and certainly no $0.99 songs. When the iPhone launched, there was no AppExchange, and certainly not one with more than 150,000 applications. Yes, the iPad will facilitate the creation of improved applications, and yes, it does have a bookstore, but assessing its real disruptive potential requires waiting to see whether Apple introduces an iTunes — or AppExchange-like — twist.
I suspect that twist will tie into the moves Apple has been making in the advertising space recently, such as its $275 million purchase of Quattro Wireless in January, several prominent hires, and the unveiling of its “iAd” platform next week.
Google has created a $180 billion behemoth with its innovative search-based advertising program, but there remains room for substantial disruption in the advertising world. I’ve said before that even search is still in its early days, with companies and consumers still facing significant hurdles that stand in the way of solving the real problems in their lives.
Further, massive potential for mobile advertising hasn’t translated into massive dollars — estimates suggest the mobile advertising market in the United States was less than $500 million in 2009. Meanwhile, Google makes $500 million in profit a month.
The iPad could be a great vehicle for Apple to take a run at a number of different business-oriented solutions. One interesting thing to watch will be the degree to which the company consumers absolutely love can maintain that goodwill as it serves businesses. I certainly wouldn’t bet against it, but it will be a tricky line to toe.
Scott D. Anthony is managing director of Innosight Asia-Pacific.