I have already talked about my love/hate relationship with my iPad to a great extent. After thinking about it a bit more I really think I love the idea and form of the tablet above everything else. I love the portability, the quickness, and the ease of use the iPad offers. My question now is… where are the competitors?
The iPad is an easy target: Less than stellar productivity, no Flash, no USB, you have to buy apps for it, etc. but the question remains why is no one going after the iPad? Sure Asus and Lenovo, and HP keep talking about these tablets that are coming out and how totally amazing they are going to be, but the problem is they are STILL not out and the iPad is slowly gobbling up the tablet market with no real competition. You can look up a ton on the “upcoming” tablets (I am very partial to the Lenovo U1 for example) but they are just hit with delay after delay.
Is it Android? For the life of me I cannot understand why we are not being bombarded with Android tablets. Is is because Android is constandly revising itself? Are the computer execs saying “Well we just spent months on 1.6 and now 3 is coming out. Maybe we should wait and prep for 3?” If that is the case why not Windows, Ubuntu, heck put Jolicloud on the damn thing I don’t care I just want one. Are tablets that difficult to create?
My reason for panic is I can easily see how Apple will “iPod” the tablet market. For years every computer company had the opportunity to challenge the iPod, but they instead choose not to compete or keep waiting for the next big leap in technology in order to enter the ring. Unfortunately, by the time they got into the fray (see Zune) Apple had taken such a hold on the markey no product could make a dent. Don’t get me wrong I am not faulting Apple, I do however have a problem with no innovation. For a while there it seemed like iTunes would be the only place (legally) to get music and that’s something I just do not like. I like competition between manufacturers and design teams. Without it, companies will never innovate or take “leaps of faith.” Sure sometimes they may fall and fail but the effort must be made.
My biggest fear is that this will not happen and Apple will once again have free will to impose its business model and, in an sense, idealology on the masses without a single naysayer edgewise. Say what you want about Apples design concepts, they make a beautiful product, but how can people idly sit by and allow one single company to dominate all media consumption? How can we allow one company to say “Well we don’t like Flash so everyone has to ditch it” How can we allow the compartmentalization of the internet to pay-apps. I for one enjoy some of the wonderful free benefits of the internet (like this blog), but it is very forseeable that if the iPad takes over with no competition.
Again, I’m not saying everyone should to into the streets in protest of Apple, what I am saying is if you have any pull with these other companies, beg, bribe, and plead with them to hurry up. As I said there are a lot of neat things the iPad has to offer, not it is time for the other companies to step up and show us the alternatives.