Greg's bite: iPad cannibalism?
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Greg's bite: iPad cannibalism?

By Greg Mills

I am amused to read the ravings of clueless tech sorts like the court jester of high tech writers Dvorak, who are normally so very wrong about Apple and its products. A lot of PC minions are clamoring for news that iPad is cannibalizing Macs sales. That does not seem to be supported by the numbers. Mac, iPhones and iPads are all flying off the shelf.  

There is one sort of cannibalism I can relate to. Some of the time I would have spent on-line with my MacBook Pro I spend on my iPad these days. Since I have an iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro, sometimes there is a certain calculous in my mind as I reach for one of them sitting on my desk to browse or do a certain task. There is a lot of truth to the statement that the Mac is for creating content and the iPad is for consuming content. The iPhone is for web content and a phone that fits in your pocket.

There are people who can clearly get by with just an iPad who might have popped for a Mac before there was a choice. Apple laughs all the way to the bank either way. If the iPad is cannibalizing Mac sales at all, the effect is hidden by the surging sales of all Apple products.  

As one who was fully familiar with iPhone before the iPad came out, there was no learning curve at all when I fired up the new iPad. The intuitive iOS touch interface is not something to struggle with anyway. My experience is that, in a pinch, the iPad will work for writing articles, but is not my first choice for writing anything longer than a few lines. That is still true even if I am home, despite having a cool Bluetooth keyboard. For most writing I open my trusty MacBook Pro and write away. For playing chess on line or playing a number of games, the iPad is the ticket.

Recently, I had to buy a new MacBook Pro due to a number of problems my old one was developing. I dropped down from the middle-sized MacBook Pro one to the smaller one and got it for US$999 with no interest for two years.  

LIke a lot of iPad owners, I couldn't do without a regular Mac in addition to iPad. There is certainly an overlap and the ability to do most things on either an iPad or MacBook. Sometimes, rather than pry my iPad out of the hands of my 11-year-old daughter, I grab the MacBook instead. My wife is studying to get her RN degree and found the iPad to be ideal for viewing Keynote-openable Powerpoint presentations her teachers posted on-line. I can see that a second iPad is just around the corner around here.  

I think that for a short trip I would go with the iPad alone, but for a long trip I would take them both. For driving, the iPad's Map function is something I will not do without. I am of the opinion buying an iPad without the 3G and GPS radio is a mistake. The ashtray on my old van is perfect for perching my iPad up where I can refer to the map as needed. It is also perched right there by the USB charging port plugged into the cigarette lighter socket.   

Do iOS devices cannibalize things electronic? Ask Garmin how sales of standalone navigation devices have been impacted since the iPhone first sported GPS and interactive maps. I don't wear a watch anymore since I just turn on my iPhone, which is always with me. My wife was considering getting me a Sony digital voice recorder until I checked with the app store and downloaded a free app that allows iPhone and iPad to to that with a flourish. Calculators of all kinds have been cannibalized by iOS devices. Why buy a standalone device of any sort that the iPad and iPhone can replace, often better than the original device for free or for a couple of bucks? Remote controllers, levels, book readers, portable game devices, digital cameras, flashlight, alarm clock, language translator and more. Apple's iOS devices eat everything but Macs. Netbooks are lunch while the other things iOS devices eat are just snacks.

I suspect the upcoming iPad 2 will have both G4 and G3 radios as well as GPS on board. I bought the medium amount of flash memory last time and it has been quite sufficient. This year is likely to bring a full array of 4G devices to keep us ready for the build-out of the higher speed radio networks that are on the way. Look for LightPeek high speed data ports merged with the MagSafe power connectors on the new Macs. I hope the new iPads finally offer a USB port, but don't plan to hold my breath over that issue.  

May you experience the true Spirit of Christmas this year. He is the light of the world.  

That's Greg's bite for today.

(Greg Mills, is a Faux Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. He's working on a solar energy startup, www.CottageIndustrySolar.com using a patent pending process of turning waste dual pane glass into thermal solar panels used to heat water. Greg writes for intellectual web sites and Mac related issues. See Greg's art web site at www.gregmills.info ; His email is gregmills@mac.com )

 

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