Apple and Steve Jobs really missed the element of surprise with the launch of the iPad. The biggest surprise was that more people didn’t figure out what the name would be… iSlate… iTablet… err nyet.
It made watching yesterday’s Stevenote (once it had been finally uploaded many hours later) all very humdrum. At one point I was fidgety and… dare I say, bored? The most hyped product launch in all of Apple’s history had become a bland exercise in telling us what we already knew or expected. That’s not how Steve notes usually go.
My biggest disappointment was the virtual keyboard. It was here that I thought Apple would genuinely wow us. Clearly the ultimate virtual keyboard (for touch typists at least) would be one where you don’t actually see the keys. Simply lay your fingers down on the screen in any position or orientation, and start typing. As you type, the keys you are typing appear like magic, with clever algorithms and phrase and spell checking figuring out what you are trying to type. Context and learning your own styles of phrase, size/positioning of your hand and style of writing can all contribute.
This to me was what I was hoping for, and short of that or the device actually levitating, flying over the audience and coming back to the Hand of Steve – the presentation was always going to be a disappointment.
The iBook store / interface was cool and the options for new gaming interactions will lead to genuine innovation and paradigm shift. Price point is good too – I wonder if they are taking a leaf out of the gaming console manufacturers and starting to think loss leader. With the Apps store they can.
Of course I will be buying one, like every other Apple fan boy. As Steve was forced to say in an almost embarrassed way due to lack of general applause (the first applause was 23 minutes in)… “it’s much better when you have one in your hands”.
I’m sure he’s right, and I’ll be back saying how amazing it is in future.

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