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Wednesday, 20 January 2010 06:35

Apple iPad must iStun or end up an iDud

Yep, it’s that time of the year again, when Apple iMania rocks a world rapt with anticipation that Steve Jobs will, yet again, blow our minds with a brand new iDevice that, just like James Dyson, re-invents the everyday and transforms it into something truly amazing.

Apple’s upcoming iDevice has many rumoured names, such as the iSlate, iTablet, MacBook Touch, TouchBook, iThingie, iSteve and more… but these names have never rung true with me.

iSlate was the previous most recent rumour, but unlike iPod or iPhone, you can’t exactly say that iSlate rolls off the tongue anywhere near as nicely.

The latest rumour is that the iDevice will really be called the iPad, given the obvious connection with the iPod, and the fact that iPads, iPods and iPhones all start with the letters ‘iP’.

iPad has always seemed most logical to me, and after having checked months ago to see what was there, all you see is a site with an admin login and nothing else. You’d imagine that someone with pockets as deep as Apple’s could easily afford to buy up this domain name, and it’d be surprising if they don’t already own it.

There’s also the ultra obvious connection to Apple’s previous Newton MessagePad, the ancestral hardware relative of today’s iPhone, upon which to further ruminate.

But whatever the iPad is ultimately called, with my vote firmly in the iPad camp, the iPad must be the most amazing, most surprising, most inspiring, most intuitive and most everything device that Apple has ever created.

Although Apple has strong sales across its entire line of computers, media players, smartphones, software and more, Steve Jobs is clearly betting the company on the iDevice.

After all, if it’s an iFlop, it would be a great blow to Apple’s prestige and reputation. Apple would be known as the company that iHyped the promise of a tablet computing nirvana to the heavens but delivered a dud.

Given reports of Steve Jobs rebooting the tablet project several times in his quest for creative, design and usability perfection, an iDud seems as likely as the Sun spontaneously sprouting feathers and flying away.

SciFi, Apple disappointments of the past and the need for an Apple home run of “Universal Series” proportions… continued on page 2.

Thus the degree of satisfaction and the staying power of its novelty not wearing off is going to be crucial, and although Apple has said nothing beyond “come see our latest creation”, expectations are, as you’d expect, beyond sky high.

So… it’s time for Apple to shine more brightly than it ever has before, and truly over deliver on our expectations, rather than releasing a toned down device that clearly will get some mega-upgrade in 12 months and leave the first iPad looking so last year.

Of course, that will happen anyway, no matter how amazing the first device is, showing just how hard it is to keep up an ongoing cycle of rapid innovation, but Apple has shown that, for the most part, it has been able to do just that.

Yes, Apple does disappoint on occasion.

The iPod Hi-Fi is now but a memory, the Mac Cube has gone to the great cubic God of computers in the sky, inbuilt FM radios only appeared on iPods in the 5th generation Nano and nowhere else, and Apple sometimes keeps on offering older/slower hardware in some of its computers than its competitors are offering.

But the iPad is a whole new game, and unless Apple royally screws it up next week, it will be the shining new leader of an industry that has been so widely used in Sci-Fi that it’s downright embarrassing that tablet computing is still on a “cusp” here in 2010!

So, Steve Jobs… don’t let us down.

Your tablet is the catalyst the entire industry needs to propel the world even further along the digital revolution to bring ubiquitous computing, Internet connectivity and all forms of digital media eventually to all, while also revolutionising the “natural user interface” many are trying to develop.

January 27 is coming. Let’s hope Apple has its futuristic iPad… set to maximum stun!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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