It is the season for resolutions and predictions. Instead I offer questions and metrics. Let’s start with the questions. What do you do with a $250 iPad. Just before Christmas, Amazon cut its basic Kindle to under $100, but I don’t see the first generation being offered by Apple for $250 any time soon. I do wonder what will happen with all those first-gens when the second comes out sometime this year.
I suspect there will be some generational spread, with serious Apple fanatics needing the new-new, they may end up giving their current device to kids, parents, and significant others. I am not one of those who goes out to get the new thing right away; I prefer to let others beta test. I wish I had done the iPad sooner–it’s a great device–but I suspect that the “marketable features” that are required to push many to upgrade won’t be enough for me. That said, if I did upgrade, my current iPad would stay in the family.
But what about all those single Apple fanboys out there. Will we see a flood of second-hand iPads on eBay? A lot of these devices have been sold, and given that they are solid-state devices without a lot of moving parts, I can see how they could have a long useful life beyond their first owners.
Part of this thinking is a result of the sea of iPads I saw installed at the Delta terminal at JFK last week. One use of iPads seems to be obvious: micro-kiosks. With a bit of tweaking, these seem to be the obvious replacement for the public telephone, or for use anywhere you see interactive kiosks now. Museum displays, floor directories, employment forms at Target–you get the idea.
The downside is the nastiness of the screen after being touched frequently. It’s bad enough when it’s my own hands that have caused it. Ick.
And they also seem like the sort of empty control panel for any manner of interesting devices. Yes, hackers love the eees for the same reason: they are cheap and easily interfaced and programmed.
But the eee and similar devices, besides being much cheaper than the iPad, are also much more easily hacked and tweaked. Sure, you can jailbreak your iPad, but–as a couple of students asked me recently–why bother? There isn’t much you can do with it once you do. Many net top devices already have a linux variant installed, and Loading the iPad with something else is not trivial.