Two words: Battery life. The iPad has the battery life of a laptop, but is less useful than an iPhone. It can do everything the iPhone can do, but it can't make phone calls. So far as I have discovered, the only improvement in software is that the iPad will read ebooks.
This will not be "a long, drawn-out war." There will be no war of any kind. The Kindle is the best at what it does, and the iPad is just a big iPod Touch. The first time you take your iPad on an airplane and the battery dies, and you can't change it, you’ll remember how you could take your Kindle to the beach for a week and leave the charger at home. The war against the Kindle is over. The first time you load a webpage that is less than three years old on your iPad and you can't view flash content, the war against the netbook is over.
To be fair, the iPad will be successful, because Americans don’t care about functionality when something looks as cool as the iPhone. It’s a status symbol. Apple is cool. I own an iThing. I feel cool.
And Apple didn’t “change music” (referring to the above article). They didn’t create the MP3 player market. They didn’t catalyze an industry shift. When the iPod came on the scene, the digital music market was exactly where the e-book market is now. It was doing just fine until Apple decided people shouldn’t have quality portable music players. To quote PaulC, Apple doesn’t create markets. They destroy markets in their infancy. They did it to digital music players, and they did it to smart phones. Now they’re trying to do it to e-book readers. The difference with this market is that there is already a clearly-established champion opposing the iThing (and selling for about half the price).
I was excited about the iPad (just like my homeboy Adolf), but it's just the next in a decade-long line of disappointing Apple products. I really want to like Apple, because their devices are just so damn sexy. But they all fall far short of their competitors. I want an iPad. And I'll get one as soon as it's got a full web browser and a decent battery. iPod/Phone has outlived its coolness to me. The music player on my phone is more flexible. And I can use any headphones I want.
I’m just so disappointed with Apple. They could easily have the entire market, but they settle for half of it. If they took their cool devices and imbued them with the added quality of being good devices, Android, Kindle, netbooks and Blackberry would go out of business. Also, Windows would have legitimate competition again (I hate that I love Windows). The iPad is just like the iPhone. It scores “mediocre” in everything it does (other than visually). I love that Apple is trying to put out an all-in-one device. But why must they water it down? I want so badly for iThings to be good as well as cool. I want to be cool enough to own an iThing. But until iThings are good enough to warrant my eye drifting beyond the death star-ish Apple logo, I guess I’m just not.
Bottom line: If the iPad was everything it could (easily) be, it would dominate two markets (e-book & netbook). If it was as good as it’s competitors in either of those markets, it would take ninety percent of that market instead of fifty (numbers manufactured based on my impressions of what people own), based on my observation that most people would rather have something that looks nicer but has the same functionality.
Everybody loves their iPod. Imagine how much they’d love them if they were as awesome as people think they are.