Some of you may know that over the past few years I have been a bit of a early adopter, when it comes to Apple products. A few years ago, it was considerably easier — since the rate of product releases felt much slower and the increase in technological capabilities of each of the revisions seems significantly less compelling than today.
I remember thinking, I have a Macbook Pro and an iPod — what else could Apple possibly release that would be so compelling that I had to have it. As the upgrades happened, the iPod was still really just an iPod and the laptop’s got better but not that much better that you couldn’t wait two or three releases without feeling left behind. I feel that over the last year Apple has decided to call my bluff, and I have paid dearly.
As described by a “marketing person” a month or so ago, apparently I am a “card carrying geek”, and as a result cannot help but rally behind innovative technology. Growing up to Star Trek: The Next Generation, I am star struck by multi touch, video chat, GPS positioning, etc. thus I am the perfect target for these products.
I first have to say, I do this for all of you.. I mean, I can’t count the number of people who get in touch to ask about products before buying them — and I can’t let those folks down.
My little un-boxing ritual
I bought an iPad five hours after the release downtown San Francisco. I told myself, this time I’m going to be patient — I’m not going to join the insanity and stand in line like I did for the last two iPhone releases. And for five painful hours I sat at home watching the news and occasionally calling the Apple store to see how the stock was doing. Unlike my laptop and my iPhone, the iPad is not something that I need. In fact I’m having a hard time justifying it at all, considering the amount of devices sitting around my house.
HOWEVER, the iPad is a fantastic experience for the person who doesn’t have one of those two devices. It makes for a great browsing, emailing, casual gaming experience. Skype on wifi and 3g with iPhone headphones turns it into a totally legit way to make quick calls and the apps are getting better all the time. I personally am awaiting IOS4 to really make use of it. Pretty upset about the removal of the unlimited data plans by AT&T, if I was doing much travel or didn’t work in front of a computer all day, the iPad with unlimited data and Netflix would be an even more killer combo than it is on wifi.
My vision of the iPad is that it’s a start down a road to some exponentially cooler tech. The use case I invision is currently possible, but in a very early state. The single always online device you carry with your everywhere and dock in various locations for a more extensive experience. Many would argue that this same scenario applies to the iPhone. I still find the size of the iPad very curious, as it’s not small enough to carry in your pocket, but clearly too big to want to leave sitting in any one place.
I’m just going to come out and say this, I really like the look of the iPhone 3GS and preferred the weight of the original iPhone 2G. The new design doesn’t look very traditional apple to me, and so far looks significantly more invasive to my pocket. Fortunately the feature set is pretty amazing, but minus FaceTime and the gyroscope I’m wondering how much of the new experience I’m looking for will be achievable by upgrading my 3GS to the new software? I don’t feel all that compelled to do video editing on a tiny device, no matter how clear the resolution is. I understand that the speed updates are incredible, but will my 3GS experience start feeling unreasonably slow? I doubt it.
I just wanted to point all that out, so that after I try it out and wind up upgrading I have something to look back at with my starry eyes so I can answer all those questions (thus justifying the purchase).
It’s important to look back over the last few years and remember how the iPhone has changed things, I realize that is almost exactly what Steve said in the keynote. In Portland last week, I was walking home and my phone battery ran out after using the map all day long. For a few blocks I was pretty terrified because I realized that the first of my three reactions to my situation relied on, map, google, phone call. All the sudden my brain had to start doing things that it wasn’t used to doing! I’m not saying whether this is a good change or a bad change, I’m just saying it is a DRASTIC change.
Over the past month here in the bay area, plenty of people I know have been talking about how they *may* move over to one of the new android phones. They have these great big display’s with higher resolution photos, and it’s an open platform. I would be surprised if one of those folks actually made the change after this new phone becomes available… I’m just sayin.
So this is where I would normally try to conclude by casting my opinions as facts that you should really think hard about. Instead, I propose the question – without the innovation at Apple, where would the industry be? And for those of you who think I’m inside the bubble, enlighten me – what is going on out there?