By Greg Mills
I always find negative articles about Apple products interesting, as most of the time, the authors admit at some point in the article that they haven't really used the product personally that they are dissing.
Some authors expected the iPad 2 to have a mug warmer app to keep their coffee hot, cure world hunger and cancer -- and also end war. The first incarnation of iPad was so good it is a hard act to follow even for Apple, let alone the clueless competitors.
There is something about the human experience that sometimes is hard to put a spatial experience into words. When Steve Jobs referred to the newly launched iPad as magical, Apple believers took him at his word and nay-sayers ate crow. Just as the first Mac changed computing forever, lightning struck twice, and Apple's iPad is revolutionizing consumer's notions of what a computer is.
While the technology and software of the quickly evolving iOS platform is sound, the number of slate computers and the serious money behind them will mean some market penetration of PC junk "want to be iPads" selling to the uneducated masses. One method of hiding the ridiculous price point of such junk slate computers is to sell them though cell phone providers with a two-year contract for 3G or 4G service. That way even an $800 hunk of junk can be sold for $300 up front and allow people to not feel ripped off. The disappointment comes later.
Yesterday saw a rash of software releases from Apple in preparation for the Friday launch of the iPad 2. My brother, an art professor, is planning on getting an iPad 2, as he held out against serious temptation to buy an iPad 1. He really wanted the cameras and figured correctly that the iPad 2 would have them.
While I envy the iPad 2 I have to admit that with the constant updates to the Apple iOS, with my 3G iPad 1, I can get by okay. I will pick up the cool new TV out cord for $39 as screen sharing was one thing I figured would come in the first incarnation of iPad, but it didn't.
It seems I am caught in the mid-cycle situation on all my Apple equipment right now. My iPhone is a 3Gs, my MacBook Pro is almost new, but not the most recent version, and my iPad is now last year's version. The reality is that even early adopters can't keep up with the new versions of Apple gear. The hand-me-down situation is well established in my household. My daughter eagerly awaits my iPad 1 falling into her hands, just as the iPhone she uses and an iPod touch did.
The truth of the matter is that I have to pry the iPad out of her hands to use it. She jokingly refers to my iPad as her iPad. The value of used iPads may well crash to new lower levels as so many are sold on eBay and the like, as people want to trade up to the newer version.
The effect of low-priced used iPads bodes well for Apple, as the mass of used iPads getting into the hands of consumers who don't have one, is an additional source of market share that will drive the app store and sell tons of apps. Used Apple iPads will also tend to hurt the iPad knock-offs as sounding really cheap since "the real thing" (even out-of-date versions) will create even more of a price gap. Who is going to pony up $800 for a Xoom when you can get a used iPad 1 for $250?
While a few used iPhones, iPads and iPods end up in a drawer somewhere when the owners buy the newer version of the device, most will find their way into the used or hand-me-down market. My recent, but out-of-date MacBook, iPhone 3Gs and iPad 1 still work fine, thank you. My daughter will have to wait a bit longer for me to hand my favorite hardware down to her. She got a little bit of her dad's wheeler-dealer mentality as I remember her pitch for me giving her my old iPhone for Christmas a year ago. "Dad, if I had your old iPhone to use as an iPod touch, I wouldn't be running your iPhone battery down playing games." Point well taken.
Oh, one more point here: when you give away an old iPhone for someone to use as an iPhone touch, be sure to leave the Sim card in it. I had a heck of a time getting AT&T to help me turn an old iPhone into an iPod touch as the prior owner took the Sim card out before they sold it to me. That bricks the iPhone.
Even a new Sim card won't work, as there must have been activation on the old iPhone to use it off line later on as an iPod touch. AT&T literally had to activate and then deactivate it to make it work again as an iPod touch. I had to bribe them to do that by refusing to buy a new iPhone 3Gs and re-up for two years if they wouldn't fix the old iPhone for touch use for my daughter's Christmas.
My iPhone contract with AT&T gives up soon, and as soon as iPhone 5 is launched, I will have to decide who to go with this time around. One interesting issue in the upcoming iPhone 5 is going to be the inclusion of G4 technology, as that roll out continues. The next generation of the iPhone will certainly address that issue as well as going dual mode so any iPhone will run on any network. That opens the door for Apple to resell cellular service and get into one more digital delivery business.
Interesting times we Apple fans live in.
(Greg Mills is currently a graphic and Faux Wall Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. Greg is an Extra Class Ham Radio Operator, AB6SF, iOS developer and web site designer. He's also working on a solar energy startup using a patent pending process for turning waste dual pane glass window units into thermal solar panels used to heat water see: www.CottageIndustySolar.com Married, with one daughter, Greg writes for intellectual property web sites and on Mac/Tech related issues. See Greg's art web site at http://www.gregmills.info He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)