My two cents on the iPad

It’s all been about the iPad this week, hasn’t it? Well, not all of it, but certainly some of it. And, in some small part, that has been my fault.

First off, tech blog Pocket-lint asked me to contribute to a feature called How The Apple iPad Will Change The World. I gave my thoughts on what effect it might have on the music industry both before and after the launch.

Then, not content with filling other people’s publications with my words, I went and dedicated my editorial in CMU Weekly to the iPad, as well. Here’s what that looked like:

I do so love an Apple product launch. The hype that always precedes them can only ever mean that the new thing Steve Jobs trots out with will be a big disappointment by comparison.

I suspect that this might be part of the plan, though. People always flock to point out that the latest Apple gadget is pointless, unoriginal and over-priced. And then what happens? Once the products are actually released – with our expectations reduced a little – those devices seem rather cool. And so you have the iPod, the iTunes Store, the iPhone and all the rest. The impact all those things have had is undeniable, despite all the initial naysaying.

Will that be the case with the iPad? Only time will tell. So far its main contribution to the world is to fill Twitter with jokes about “Dom Joly’s new iPhone” and iTampons. It’s certainly not the home computer replacement I was hoping for, and nor am I going to start carrying one around in my bag instead of my iPhone (I’ll still need that for phonecalls, if nothing else). However, if, as I suspect, the iPad turns out to really be the uber-terminal for accessing online content, at home or on the move, it becomes more attractive.

Following their purchase of digital music platform Lala.com late last year, it’s been rumoured Apple might launch a service that would let you store your entire iTunes library online, ready to be accessed from anywhere. If that included films as well as music, and assuming WiFi and mobile internet connections can handle it, you’ve suddenly got a fast, friendly and lightweight way to access all your entertainment content from anywhere.

I’m not entirely sure if that’s something worth having in addition to a laptop. Possibly not. But if you only really use your laptop as an online entertainment centre, well, then why have a laptop at all? And you should never underestimate Apple’s ability to sell something people didn’t think they wanted by the millions. As with all these things, it’s the content that really makes it what it is. All you need is one truly great app to make the iPad a must-have.

Read this edition of CMU Weekly in full here.

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