The newly announced Apple iPad (Image courtesy of Apple)
Everyone's talking about the much-rumoured, and now much-talked-about Apple tablet, the iPad. Let me have my take on the device, relating to how it'll play out in Korea.
1. The 3G-enabled version will cost you $30/month on AT&T's network
The deal includes free use of AT&T's WiFi hotspots as well. This means it could be used practically anywhere with persistent internet connection. Plus, the device is unlocked out of the box, and the deal does not need a contract. KT, which introduced iPhone to its cellphone network in Korea, should follow this model, and match or best the pricing, although the price range for unlimited data is strikingly similar to what KT already offers for its Wibro modems. Which leads to my next point...
2. Apple plans to roll out the 3G-enabled model internationally around or after June
KT had been rumoured to be in talks with Apple to bring out a new Apple device by June, and everyone speculated that it'd be iPhone 4G. Well, looking at this iPad's planned timeline, it seems that the device in question was really iPad, not iPhone. Talks about iPhone 4G should be taken over by how KT should roll out 3G-enabled iPad in Korea, namely what sort of data plan it should introduce.
3. Pricing and app compatibility shows that it's targeting the netbook market
The base model with WiFi and 16GB storage is tagged at $499, which is about how much a mid-range netbook runs for these days. Meanwhile, iPad chose to be compatible with iPod instead of Mac. Mac's presence in PC market is insignificant, but iPod/iPhone platform is the biggest player in PDA/smartphone application market, so it seems logical that Apple wanted to ride on that wave.
Netbooks rely on PC (mostly desktop Windows) apps, but because of the poor performance, they are mostly relegated to casual web browsing. But iPad will absorb the responsive and lightweight apps developed for iPod/iPhone, so the choice to forgo desktop apps will pay off well. If iPad was a tablet version of Macbook, they could never have made the price point, nor the battery life (iPad will run for 10 hours on single charge), making the device an odd man out, much like how the previous tablet PC attempts turned out to be.
Another thing I'm expecting iPad to be huge in Korea is this - with the introduction of iPhone, a flurry of internet banking, day trading, and online shopping apps are soon to come out for the platform. Due to the special nature of the 'Korean internet', those things have not been possible for the most part on Macs, and the platform was largely neglected. But iPad will ride on the back of the iPhone, realizing the dreams Korean Mac owners had for years.
4. iPad is touting a new form factor in portable game console market
This one is a bit ambiguous. iPhone has lots of games that make the platform a good competitor to Nintendo DS or Sony PSP. iPad can make use of those games, as well as new games targeted specifically for itself. But to play a game holding a tablet the size of an A5 sheet? I'm not completely sold on the idea yet. I hope the game developers will come up with some innovative ideas.
There you have it. Looks like I'll be getting one in half a year, after I sell my notebooks.