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A lot of news regarding the iPad nowadays has to do with sales growth slowing down, leading people to wonder what it is about the iPad that’s less enticing to users now than it was towards its inception.
I think much of that initial perception of the iPad comes from its main purpose when it was launched in 2010: to serve as a bridge between the smartphone and PC. However, more resonant suggestions of it being a window to digital content - rather, digitalised content like books on iBooks or magazines and newspapers on Newsstand - made themselves apparent, as inferred particularly by Steve Jobs’ demonstrations of the iPad during its launch event.
The iPad of today is a more nuanced product, showing that it is far more capable than we probably would’ve expected it to become back in 2010. But now that we know what it can do doesn’t mean we know what it will or should do.
The iPad of today doesn’t have the same vision it did in 2010. Despite the latest line of full-sized iPads going above and beyond in terms of processing power and overall capability, it’s still the same blank slab of glass we’ve yet to project definite purposes onto (I mean this in a broad, mass-market sense). Sure, there are a few recognised use cases out there achieved by apps such as Paper by FiftyThree and Pixelmator, just to name a couple. Unfortunately, little have I seen people achieve as much as they can using iPads because it’s used primarily as a consumption device, like smartphones, or that PC’s are more convenient to use for “heavy-lifting” use cases, especially at work.
Apple collaborating with IBM could help eradicate the commonly-held perception that iPads are just consumption devices, leading to people potentially doing a lot more work on iPads. But even as a consumption device, the iPad can do a lot more, especially since iBooks and Newsstand are not doing as well as initially anticipated.
The capability is there, and for a long time, it always has been. I think that all the iPad needs now is a push in a certain direction.
An episode of an Apple-centric podcast called Connected (FYI: it's nearly three hours long) breaks down the first iPad's launch event presented by Steve Jobs, and concludes with great points about the iPad's purpose and the ubiquity it lacks in the world of personal computing.
In the next post, addressing the App Store, Share Sheets, and a possible solution...