Apple’s iPad: Something for everyone, but what is it for?

Apple’s iPad: Something for everyone, but what is it for?

The TNW team is blogging the spit out of Apple’s iPad event, and I must say that we’re impressed. The device is beautiful, packed with new power, and amazingly, price consistent.

However, through every rolling update, (that are still coming even as I write this) I’m stuck wondering what the damn thing is for. By that I mean, is it a gaming device, a reading device, a productivity device, or something else altogether? Or is it simply a hybrid, borne to be something different for everyone?

This isn’t an idle question, focus is a critical component of any device’s soul. But when Apple spins on about an iWork update, and then mocks the Xbox 360, comparing it to the guts of the iPad, after touting its camera functions, you have to wonder just where Apple is trying to position the device.

Here’s the rub, however: Amazon is betting on focus, with the Fire, a device that is somewhat featured, but has a single core goal: consuming digital content from the company’s servers. The iPad, however, is much more free wheeling.

For now, the iPad is managing the impossible, and is succeeding across every niche that it targets, which is astounding. But over time, devices such as the Fire could nibble away at those current strongholds, such as reading, something that the iPad has never dominated (the Kindle line has always run that game). Gaming, too, along with music and movies could be pulled away from the iPad by other such devices, provided they are of a certain quality.

Oddly, Microsoft is taking the Apple approach with Windows 8; its tablet too will be designed for every possible use. Can you focus on everything at once? Apple has succeeded thus far, to massive profit, but in the future, niche players could bite back.

For now, however, we live in an iPad world.

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