The most common formula for a successful product now seems to be a great gadget with high quality "content" that fit together perfectly. It's easy to make some examples such as Apple iPod, Apple iPhone or Amazon Kindle.
- iPod is a portable music player designed with big storage and high usability. It can play low-cost and high-quality songs distributed via iTunes easily. In other words, iPod has changed the way people buy and listen to music.
- iPhone, a smart phone with technologies ahead of its time such as multi-touch screen, accelerometer (or at least these technologies had not gone mass before). But one of the main reasons make it a successful product is that it's not only a phone, it's also a great platform for developers to make beautiful and functional applications distributed via App Store. What I can say is iPhone has made a style all around the world.
- Amazon Kindle is not only a great E-book reader but also a platform dedicated for digital media consumption. With electronic paper technology, Kindle beats many other kinds of e-book reader that have been released before. With tons of low-cost e-books which can be downloaded easily via Amazon Store, now Kindle is the number 1 e-book reader device although it's hard to say about other kinds of digital media in the future.
So what about the iPad which Apple just announced a few days ago? It seems to be a different story. iPad has a special concept when Steve Jobs positions it between Laptop and Smart Phone. This makes it have to fight with both.
In term of device, iPad is not really as great as iPod or iPhone at the time they were released. Beside of lacking specifications comparing with Laptop and Smart Phone (no keyboard, no camera, no standard ports, no GSM calling,...), hardly we can see real innovations from Apple here. Yes, I know why Apple only chooses "just enough" for their products (it's
biz product design, not tech) but technologies and innovations of iPad are not enough to make people "wow" a lot during the presentation of Jobs. An incredible speed with low price due to A4 chip? Not enough even with normal users who already had an iPhone or a Macbook. Comparing with other tablet devices, iPad is also not really strong in competition.
So what about "content"? Content of iPad is mixed of iPod's, iPhone's and Kindle's but it's also not really great. iPad uses iPhone OS so all iPhone applications can run on it. But how these applications can beat powerful Windows and Linux applications? I know that many Apple fanbois still install Microsoft Office on their Mac although iWork already installed. And even Android applications are not less beautiful and functional than iPhone's. iBooks is also not strong enough to compare with Amazon both in quantity and quality.
In a conclusion, I can not say iPad will be a successful product or not but in my opinion, if it has any success, the success will not be as big as iPod's and iPhone's.
PS: I am thinking of a great device dedicated for information consumption especially user-generated content and focused on people's social graphs' updates. What do you think?