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

Apple’s iPad is Here: Confessions of a Media-Technology Veteran

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

Not by being biggest, (although its market share is increasing). But by being first. Being “next.”

As VIP guests of Mr. Jobs at WWDC 2003, my son and I watched as he reinforced Apple’s value proposition through a single slide that captured the firm’s passion, “Innovate.” One word: ‘Innovate.”

I 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 into the audience, bypassing initially the reporters to ask my son, “What did YOU think?” He wanted feedback from the youngest tech-KID-guru in the crowd! He wanted feedback straight and unpolished. They chatted it up. 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:

“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 people 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.

And, with a nod to Steve Jobs (because this is 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 to saying 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 very 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 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.

P.S. Somehow I will resist 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.

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 for the history books.

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

Apple is about experiencing “next”…now.

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