A lot of people are saying that the IPad will change the way we access the internet. After 15 years of web development and over a quarter century of software development, all I can say is “here we go again”.
Apple has put some amazing technology into the IPad, but overall it is still a tablet – a device that has been out for over a decade. The IPad is also lacking on some key features, like the ability to display Flash objects. That is going to be one of the biggest killers, especially with similar devices, like Microsoft’s Courier and HP’s Slate, supporting the technology that has turned the web into a media streaming device.
Flash has always been in the middle of a war when it comes to the internet. The code behind web sites, HTML, has a new standard making its way into browsers – HTML5. HTML5 supports embedding videos without the need for the third party Flash. A lot of people are seeing that it will kill Flash, but again that is something I’ve heard before. Flash offers features the HTML5 doesn’t, or aren’t so easy to put in. One of those is delivering video ads, known as pre-rolls. There are ways the pre-rolls can be added into HTML5, but it is rather clunky and still not as feature rich as the Flash alternative, and pre-roll ads are a big money getter for network video sites such as Hulu and MSNBC.
Then there is the fact that Apple loves to stay tethered to AT&T. This first wave of IPads won’t notice it because they can only connect via WiFi, but the next ones coming out will have 3G support, but that’s only if you live in an area served by AT&T. I know the area I live in doesn’t have AT&T coverage, and that’s with a rather large university down the road. Even if you do have good AT&T coverage, who wants to fork out the $30 a month for the device that doesn’t even make phone calls?
Overall the IPad is a fad that will fade. New technologies are already slated to come out later this year, and those will push the IPad sales down.
A final thing to remember about Apple products is that they have a cult like following. I know a few people who rushed out to get their IPads, but these are the same people that have Mac Books and IPhones. They buy anything Apple. I do own a MAC, but I use it only for testing purposes. I am one who never fell into any cult or overnight sensation on the Internet. I have been working in this field for too long to fall for this stuff. In a year from now if the IPad is still significant, then it might be time to look into it a little further, but right now – I’ll wait.