By Greg Mills
While there is certainly a lot of software already available for iPad, the transition path for consumers to migrate from laptops or desktops to the iPad will require the iLife suite and other consumer grade programs to become adapted to the Cocoa Touch methods of the user interface.
iMovie simplified to run on iPad will be a killer app. The Apple "go to market" model seems to be breaking up suites of software, such as iWork and iLife into individual apps and selling them online for US$10 a pop. At that price point they are selling well. That represents about a 50% discount over Mac OS versions. I will be watching Steve Jobs' Worldwide Developer Conference keynote today to see what new iPad software launches.
The camera USB connector for iPad will become a fundamental addition for most of us -- at least until Apple launches the next generation iPad that might have a camera and perhaps a USB port built in. Clearly, for the iPad to reach its full potential, it needs to do as much as possible to erase the line between a full computer and the touch platform. I want to see if a USB hard drive will mount on iPad, hooked up with the USB camera adapter part.
It has been said the iPad is to consume information and the computer is to create information. I suspect that will be more true as time goes on.
Bill Gates' criticism of the iPad not being connectable has some traction despite his natural tendency to dismiss anything Apple from a defensive point of view. He failed to note that you can use either a special $69 keypad/dock, a $69 Bluetooth keyboard or, presumably, a wired USB keypad with the $29 (always out of stock) camera adapter accessory for iPad have full input for text and keyboard functions( perhaps even a mouse?). I hope to test that USB adapter as soon as I can catch one in stock at my Apple store. I read where some enterprising soul is trying to sell a $29 connection kit for over $200 on eBay.....
There may be a user interface wall that is hard to breech in converting existing software to work smoothly on the iPad. You can be sure the software creation teams at Apple are working overtime to pump out iPad versions of everything possible to help people justify buying an iPad. These are very creative people with Steve Jobs riding them hard, so my expectations are high.
I like to play chess on the Yahoo games site. One thing I miss is being able to use my iPad to play. It seems the Java on iPad is not able to run the games applets, yet. This is an OS issue that we might find fixed in he iPhone 4 release scheduled this fall for iPad. Just as Mac OS X has improved with each release, we have to be as patient as possible for Apple to do the incredible amount of work needed to bring as much of the functionality of the Mac OS to the iPhone OS as possible.
A further note on digital iMagazines and iBooks. When you read the posts or user comments on publishers' apps in the Apple App store, almost every single post was ridiculing the price per issue as being set at a gouging price point. Again, we have to wait until it gets through to content providers that the price has to be reasonable to convert us from paper to online content. You can't fault consumers for refusing to pay for online content when they know they are being gouged.
If publishers think they can charge as much for a digital version of anything as for a printed version, they are nuts. The art of negotiation requires the seller first price things high, knowing they can reduce prices (if they must) while raising established prices is much harder. When content sales plunge to near zero, after the novelty wears off, the price of online publications will find a price point that works. Hint: one-third the annual subscription price for a paper version of magazines and one-third the price of books and newspapers might be a sweet spot.
I checked for the download price at the Apple Book Store and the physical price of a book on the New York Times best seller list at Amazon and found them to be the exactly same price. Why would I pay $12 to use my computer on my broadband link to download a book to on my computer and then store the file on my hard drive, for exactly the same price as ordering the exact book with free shipping? The numbers don't add up. I will not pay for paper and printing costs that are not incurred. I know a lot of people agree, and we will see a slow reduction in prices for online magazines until the sweet point is reached.
(Greg Mills is currently 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 using a patent pending process of turning waste dual pane glass into thermal solar panels used to heat water. Married, with one daughter still at home, Greg writes for intellectual web sites and Mac related issues. See Greg's web sites at http://www.gregmills.info . He can be emailed at gregmills.mac.)