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Debunking the myth of the iPad slayer

I’ve been reading review after review on the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and they seem to come down to three major thoughts: that the Galaxy Tab is almost as good as an iPad, costs about the same, and that it has a web camera while the iPad doesn’t. All I hear is the iPad is better, and I’m pretty much done. This all seems increasingly like desperation to find something to hold up and compare the iPad to, and I just don’t see the point.

Wouldn’t it be easier to just say, for now, that if you want something like an iPad, you buy a frigging iPad and leave it at that? It isn’t like they are in short supply at the moment (though they may be as holiday sales ramp up), and why suggest anyone is willing to pay as much for something that isn’t as good?

Let’s talk about this a little bit, and why the iPad is becoming kind of a Trojan Horse for Apple.

The need for an iPad killer

The problem I think we are observing is that writers are getting really tired of just saying the iPad is the best in its class. There is little drama to that: People won’t read the pieces, so you won’t hit traffic targets, and drama (particularly when you are saying something good about a product that is positioned competitively against an Apple offering) gets the Mac fanboys worked up, and thus increases page views.

I get that, but doesn’t it all seem just a bit pathetic after a while? At some point don’t you just want to scream “shut the hell up until you have something worth bragging about”? The iPad is better than any other tablet in the market at the moment for what it does. And I say that as a big Kindle fan because when it comes to e-readers, the Kindle owns its class as well. These two products do what they do better than anything else in the market at the moment — end of story.

As far as cameras go, do we really need them in a tablet? We are already getting cameras in our smartphones and they are vastly easier to use as cameras. Video conferencing not only isn’t widely accepted yet, but it seems much more closely connected to communications than it does to browsing the Web, playing games, or reading books. The idea of someone watching me while I’m doing any of those things is kind of creepy anyway. I have little doubt the iPad will eventually get them, but I’m not missing them at the moment, either. Plus, you would likely need to be able to support multi-tasking on the iPad to use the camera, and I am not willing to take a performance hit to make that happen.

However, there is one interesting thing about the iPad, and that is that it seems to be selling MacBooks.

Apple’s Trojan Horse

I’ve been watching a number of people who tried to use the iPad as a notebook computer unsuccessfully. This appears to be because the iPad has limitations, while it is great as a consumption tool, it sucks as a creation tool, and many of these early adopters have gone back to using laptops. However, not Windows laptops, as I’m noticing many of them now with brand new 11-inch MacBook Air laptops. It seems that the experience with the iPad is getting people to consider using a different platform, and while they never would have jumped to the Mac directly, after using the iPad, the Mac isn’t as daunting a change. Plus, they wanted something thin and light like the iPad, but with more capabilities, thus the MacBook.

We know that Apple is planning to take the next version of the Mac OS much closer to the iPad, and if folks are already moving from their Windows PCs to iPads to MacBooks now, just imagine what would happen if the iPad to MacBook move got even easier?

A sneaky strategy?

This seems kind of sneaky. Take one product to ease people into another, and end up selling two offerings while growing market share. If this was planned (which it might have been), this is a brilliant strategy and one that I doubt any other company in the technology space could have executed. This appears to be Apple’s time.

Oh, and a piece of advice for the holidays: If someone you are buying for wants an iPad, get them an iPad, unless you want to see them become very upset. However, you may want to plan on buying a MacBook for them in a bit as well. Sometimes you just have to stand back and look at the Apple folks with more than a touch of awe.

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