The Apple iPad’s Impact on Mobile, Gaming, and E-Books: Local Techies and Startups React

1/27/10Follow @gthuang

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offer an alternative. This will create new opportunities to expand family focused services like Cozi into the home. Cozi is well-positioned to capitalize on that opportunity.

Robbie Cape, CEO and founder, Cozi, Seattle:

No question the Apple announcement today will have a huge impact on the consumer electronics ecosystem in the home, but not in the way you would expect.

More than anything, this announcement will drive some exciting innovation between popular CE [consumer electronics] companies that build and market phenomenal hardware and companies like Cozi that focus all their energy on creating great experiences through software. As a result of this iPad play, Apple is saying, “there is a big business around digital solutions for the home” and that is very meaningful to Cozi; we’ve known this for some time, but it is exactly the sort of affirmation we look for as we continue to build great solutions for families.

I have a rather controversial opinion about the iPad itself. Simply put: I think it is the wrong device, at the wrong price, in the right space. At the end of the day, based on early reports I’ve seen/heard (which is limited, I must admit), the device is a big iTouch and a Kindle, all in one. But hold on a second! I already have an iTouch (it happens to be an iPhone), and I can buy a phenomenal eReader from Amazon (and soon, many others) for less than $300. And you still need a phone. So why would I pay $500+ for a device that is primarily different from my phone in that it’s an eReader?

The iPad looks to be a cool personal device that Apple is targeting at a very interesting space: the home. But the home doesn’t need another personal device. The home needs a device for the WHOLE FAMILY to use. The iPad as Apple appears to have positioned it, is not the right device for the whole family to use. It isn’t the device that I think will float around the home, being used by everyone. The home needs a family device that everyone can use. That device is not a big iTouch. It’s something else.

Apple took what I think was the easy road here, and I am betting their results will show it. They took their existing iPhone experience and dropped it on top of what appears to be just a big iTouch. And they built a new eReader application with a new eBook ecosystem. The are reacting to the Kindle phenomenon. But I don’t see this device as revolutionizing how people consume digital applications and content in the home.

The great news is the Apple announcement will drive just that sort of revolutionary thinking amongst CE manufacturers and Cozi can play an important role in all of these devices, including the iPad. Ultimately, devices built for the whole family to use will need to solve core everyday family challenges like scheduling, shopping, and other information families need to coordinate.

[New] John Chuang, founder and CEO, Litl, Boston (maker of the Litl Webbook, a cloud-based home Internet appliance):

We think [the iPad] is an extension of what they already have done, in a different form factor. Ultimately, we are about a much bigger change in how operating systems work and how … Next Page »

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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  • Michael Sigler

    If the 3G model also has the ability to text message in the AT&T data plan. I am willing to bet it will become a very useful product. Especially with Baby Boomers and the hearing impaired.

  • Mark

    I was underwhelmed by the presentation and what Apple offered. I’m a big Apple fan so I had pretty high expectations. I fully expect an update at the end of summer. I really was hoping for a couple of things that would have taken this device to another level.
    1) a front facing camera (and camera/video in the back). When I heard game-changer, I envisioned a front facing camera that would allow you to perform video chatting with iChat. More importantly, I was hoping for a front facing camera that could recognize your face and change the settings on the device for the individual that was using it. The technology is there. iPHOTO already has a sorting function that recognizes faces and sorts your pictures based on the faces in the picture. I know its a stretch but this was the game-changer I had in mind.
    2) On the software side, I was looking for more innovation with old school media. I think there is plenty of opportunity there. Let me give you an example. What I’m looking for is something to replace my subscriptions. One green way of doing this is to still have the weekly subscription. Call it MagCast (magazine casting similar to PodCast). I would pay a similar one year subscription fee (maybe cheaper based the media used) and every week I’d get a new SI in my MagCast iTunes that I could download. Here, I could read my new SI every week. Now, the device is a multimedia reader for the whole family.
    3) On the media front, I do think this device offers a different opportunity. Now I think there should be dedicated teams that write specific articles with integrated video with the articles for the subscription. For example, if SI writes an article about Lebron James. The writer could write a short free article. This article would be posted on the website. Now the iPAD article would be slightly longer (prolly a little different), and have embedded video feeds from YouTUBE within the article giving exact instances where the article is talking about. If writer mentions the Larry Bird 86 championship series, the article has embedded footage from that championship team. In this case, what you have done is taken an article that is similar to the website article but enhanced with length, and enhanced the integration of the media on multiple levels with the help of the internet (youtube, nba statistic sites, etc).

    …just some thoughts.

  • Mark

    Another thing I was just thinking about, you know how Apple has that little box (Windows has it too) where you put a symbol or something that designates you before you sign on. What if the box was empty and the way the facial recognition worked, is you had to position your face so that your face fit in the box. You would position the iPad, with the camera (similar to the RedLaser functionality with your iphone) on your face. It would scan and then put the settings on the iPad device like it was yours. Should prolly patent that idea if you could…

  • http://www.yg.com aion database

    I’m not quite sure if iPad is a game changer. First, I’m quite disappointed with its name! iBrowse would have been better? :) Second, there’s no camera and lastly, it has no ability to multi-task. It’s just like an iPod Touch for the elderly.

  • http://www.gaminggalaxy.com Gaming Galaxy

    This is really a magical and revolutionary product from Apple. I love this.

  • http://jadedconsumer.blogspot.com JadedConsumer

    Apple didn’t launch the iPad to kill some specific competitor, any more than it did when launching the iPod. Apple set out to do something better, and to grow the market for people who wanted to do that. The iPad announcement is Apple’s announcement that it intends to be the premium supplier of the “paper” of the post-digital world. Apple might also draw the air out of the lungs of competitors that thought they were safe selling portable junk at the $500 price point. Apple may be doing to mobile computing what it did to MP3 players: moving down the price range to take all the high-margin business, leaving no safe price zone in which to harbor competitors.

    Apple launched the iPad so there’d be a product that did what the iMac promised to do – make it easy to get online quickly – but for people who either want to relax in a position that makes computer desks and tray-tables unworkable (or want a cheaper portable device that doesn’t suck).

    The fact that Apple might sell iPad buyers content like books is sort of like the fact that iPod buyers might also buy music from Apple. Sure, it could happen – Apple will offer it to make sure users aren’t kept away due to incompatible file formats offered by a diverse array of content vendors – but the expected payoff for Apple is in the hardware.

    The iPad wasn’t made to go head-to-head with the Kindle, which is optimized for one single task, or against any particular competing product. It was made for people who would be interested in a versatile product that addresses a broader interest in the internet and mobile computing, and maybe offers a game-pad opportunity or traveling movie-viewer.

    Apple’s list of “i” devices has grown from the original iMac. Look at the original iMac launch event, and at what Apple claimed to be doing with the iMac. Apple isn’t trying to make money selling books any more than it tried to make money selling music – it set out to sell hardware, and the other stuff is a byproduct of efforts to keep customers from being driven away by incompatible file formats.

  • http://www.tabletbucks.com Jamie

    Totally agree that the iPad is a game changer. Couch surfing around the World is about to face a huge increase as the tablet device market continues to evolve and Apple, having the first to market of this kind of tablet device will be seen as the game changer, if nothing else.

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