When Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad tablet Jan. 27, the excitement was palpable. For months, the tech industry has been overrun with rumors and speculation about what the device would offer. But when Jobs announced the iPad on stage, he unveiled a product that is unique in some areas and a disappointment in others.
The iPad is not the revolutionary product so many hoped it would be. Instead, the device is simply a tablet computer with a unique operating system and one very important element: the Apple name.
The fact that the iPad comes from Apple is the device's greatest virtue. Without that Apple logo on the back, the iPad wouldn't have garnered the kind of attention it did on Wednesday. Today, people wouldn't be talking about the device at water coolers. Thanks to Apple, a device that is not revolutionary in any way has reached a level of hype that no other product on the market can muster.
Let's take a look at why the iPad, without that Apple logo, would fail.
1. The Apple hype machine
If any other company had been preparing to release the iPad, we probably would have never heard about it before its debut. In the tech industry, Apple captivates the attention of just about everyone. That's mainly due to the success it has enjoyed in the past, but it might also be attributed to the company's secrecy. Try as some might, they won't be able to get much (if anything) out of any Apple employee. All that helps build the hype machine that preceded Apple's iPad announcement. It got everyone excited about the iPad. And it made the announcement a major event.
2. An Apple-only affair
We can't forget that several tablets were announced by other companies at CES. All those companies were forced to share the spotlight with the competition and hope that the media would cover their launches. Apple, on the other hand, enjoyed the luxury of missing CES and inviting a huge press corps to see what it was up to weeks after the industry event. If Dell, Hewlett-Packard or any other tablet maker attempted such a feat, few would care. But because it was Apple that invited the media, they attended in droves and the iPad received the kind of attention no other tablet has.
3. Steve Jobs is a star
Dell might have Michael Dell. Microsoft might have Steve Ballmer. But no other CEO in the tech industry enjoys the kind of respect and following that Jobs does. When Jobs makes an announcement, people listen. That's mainly due to his track record. For years, he has led Apple as it has delivered some of the most compelling and revolutionary products on the market. Surely he could do it again with the iPad, right? That's up for debate. If Ballmer had announced the same product, it's unlikely that it would have received such glowing praise. Jobs is an asset to any Apple product. The iPad is no different.
4. It would otherwise be forgotten
The iPad won't be available for 60 to 90 days, depending on the version the customer wants. Products from lesser companies would be forgotten in that time. But for the next 60 to 90 days, folks will be talking about the iPad, what it will offer and how groundbreaking it is, simply because it has earned the kind of attention that only Apple products can. How many people know that HP is releasing its Slate computer later in 2010? How many have heard of the JooJoo? After those products were announced, they were forgotten. Most folks won't even know when they hit store shelves. The iPad is different. And it has its Apple logo to thank for it.