The Apple iPad – worth the wait?

January 29, 2010

After what seems one of the most eagerly awaited consumer product launches in recent times the apple iPad is finally here. So was it worth the wait? Well so far it looks like reaction is split; many see its potential and can’t wait to get their hands on it. Whilst the other camp state it doesn’t have the credentials they were expecting or the edge that we expect from Apple to make it a ground breaking consumer product, suggesting that in actual fact it’s just an oversized iTouch. My girlfriend thinks it looks childlike, just like an etch-a-sketch!

Personally, I have a mixed reaction to the product too. It doesn’t have some of the functionality that we have come to expect from netbooks/laptops, for example it’s got no camera, no microphone, no USB port, and no SD (secure digital) card slot. The 3G version is strictly limited to carrying data. It would be a positive move by Apple to include these but Apple does have a penchant to release the additional ‘benefits’ in later generations of it’s product set.. I would not be surprised if Apple has the next three generations mapped out in their roadmap already! Just look at each generation of the iPOD, iTouch and the iPhone!

I would have been really pleased to see a cut down version of OS X as it would have really opened up the platform to the Windows/Linux dominated netbook/laptop market. I am a big fan of MacBook and OS X! Instead iPad has an iPhone interface, which although limits functionality in some ways ensures that Apples series of products continue to provide accessibility, simplicity and excitement to an audience with a varying degree of technical ability.

The massive success of the App Store will no doubt have a massive part to play in making the iPad a great success – you can’t doubt the app stores popularity (see my previous blog on smartphones with Apple vs. Android). It’s this ‘cool’ apps factor married with iPad’s simplicity that other tablet devices have been missing in the past.

But is it really a ground breaking concept? What do you think? Have a look at the picture below (courtesy of IPS Network World Inc 1986!) and see what you think! Yes I did say 1986!!!!


The battle of the SmartPhone and its effect on mobile networks

January 13, 2010

Third generation (3G) mobile networks are also suffering from the knock on effects of the snow. To be honest I am not surprised, we have recently seen an explosion in the download of ‘Apps’, mainly down to the mass adoption of the Apple iPhone.  The Apple app store has gone from an incredible two  to three  billion downloads in the last four months. This staggering figure undeniably puts further pressure on mobile network providers; O2, Orange, Vodafone and Tesco (although Tesco use the O2 network).

The app’s available to customers on the iPhone are without doubt one of its key differentiators and a very significant part of its current competitive advantage.  However, Google’s exciting new release Android looks set to challenge their stronghold.

It’s important to take a minute though and think about how this increase in competition between the two manufacturers will affect consumers.  Demand for apps will start to become a basic expectation for mobile users in the next few years rather than the luxury of a select few.

Increased consumer demand for Apps are already proving a challenge for networks.  O2 were reported to experience limited network availability just before Christmas.

At the moment apps are mainly used in mass by iPhone users. iPhone users currently run one application at a time, therefore only running one update across the network at that time. However, Google’s Android can run multiple applications thus multiple updates, opening up our networks to increased congestion.

I think 2010 will be an interesting year for mobile network providers, as they all seek to raise their game and accommodate demand. What’s bad for us (consumers) is the immediate answer is to cap bandwidth and increase prices. We could also potentially suffer from reduced availability.

One thing’s for sure; 2010 WILL be the battle of the SmartPhone – Android vs iPhone.  It will also be a battle for the providers… let’s hope when fourth generation (4G) mobile networks come of age in the next five years that such network capacity will be a thing of the past…  🙂