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The iPad: Apple is about “next”…now

Posted on April 3, 2010

Apple’s iPad Arrives: Steve Jobs Makes History. Again

Steve Jobs, Apple, make history because they are about inventing.

Not by being biggest, (although the firm’s market share is increasing). But by being first. Being “next.”

My son and I were VIP guests of Mr. Jobs at WWDC 2005, where he communicated Apple’s value proposition on one slide. One word: ‘Innovate.”

iPad Apple Steve JobsI quietly took the picture to the left. The picture I wish I had taken was that of Mr. Jobs and my son. After he finished another historic keynote address, Jobs came down to the audience, bypassing initially the reporters to ask him, “What did YOU think?” He wanted feedback from the youngest tech-KID-guru in the crowd! He wanted feedback straight and unpolished. They had a good chat. Two “kids” connected before my eyes.

I admire greatly the view of tech-journalism-legend Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal. He has already test-driven the iPad and says:

WSJ iPad Apple Steve Jobs“What’s missing? If you asked me. I wish it played Flash.”

“It’s wicked fast.”

And, wrote Mr. Mossberg:

“For the past week or so, I have been testing a sleek, light, silver-and-black tablet computer called an iPad. After spending hours and hours with it, I believe this beautiful new touch-screen device from Apple has the potential to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop.

It could even help, eventually, to propel the finger-driven, multitouch user interface ahead of the mouse-driven interface that has prevailed for decades.”

The iPad could revolutionize (rescue) the print media, publishing industry, academia and personal computing. Put another way, how many read a newspaper every day or a book? Now, how many of you surf the web for your news and information? I thought so. Me, too.

iPad Apple Steve JobsAnd, with a nod to Jobs (because it’s his line), “One more thing.” The iPad is the start. Just as iSight and iPod morphed seamlessly into Mac Laptops and the iPhone, so will the iPad evolve. In a short order, it could be so thin that it is a smart “refrigerator magnet” or multi-media wall display for living and bedrooms.

The iPad is not a stand-alone product. Apple innovations have a magical way of fitting together, like pieces of a puzzle. One leading to the next. Applications sprout, too.

I admit asking many times since the launch of the Mac in 1984: “How did they do THAT…and why didn’t I think of it, too?!” Generations will be grateful that this moment, the unveiling of the first Mac, was captured:

One thing is clear from Mr. Mossberg and other iPad testers: Wherever they carried the iPad, people NEEDED to TOUCH it…to pass it around and SHARE what they had pulled up on the screen. The iPad created, no attracted, social interaction, with the mere touch of fingertips. No mouses and cords.

That…that is the stuff of behavioral change, and the potential start of a new consumer-technology revolution. I’m not surprised. Apple — Steve Jobs and his teams — live for moments like this. He is a modern-day Edison.

iPad Apple Steve Jobs P.S. I resisted the urge to buy immediately. I’ll wait for the second version of iPad. But I admit: I want to stand in line at my local retail store in a few hours and get one RIGHT NOW. Waiting will not be easy.

I still have my Apple II. And even my Mac Performa circa 1993 still just gets “it.” Apple lives to innovate this “just-gets-it” for the world…and history books.

Together, the iPod, iPhone and iPad, create an entirely new, smart, mobile-services venture.

Question: “If innovation is a business choice, and not for every enterprise, what is your firm about, and how do you know?”

Apple’s choice is about experiencing “next”…now.

Editor’s Note: Author Jeff Schwartz admits he strayed to PCs during stints in Fortune-500 firms.

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