Mike Elgan: Why we need a real ‘iPad Killer’ – and quick

invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“I’ll say it as plainly as I can: The iPhone, iPod touch and iPad succeed mainly because of their user interface,” Mike Elgan writes for Datamation.

“No, it’s not because of Apple hype, fanboy delusion, media gullibility, dirty tricks or anything else,” Elgan writes. “Apple’s multi-touch user interfaces are appealing to use for reasons most users, reviewers, bloggers and journalists don’t fully understand.”

“Apple does understand,” Elgan writes. “The company knows how, why, when and where to combine multi-touch, physics and gestures and an enormous repertoire of user interface design elements into something simple and exhilarating to use. They know this because they’ve been working on the problem full-time for seven years, guided by some very clear design sensibilities.”

“Any ‘iPad Killer’ will have to at least approximate the interface sophistication of the iPad itself,” Elgan writes. “So far, nobody has come even close. Quite the contrary. Competitors thus far have demonstrated a conspicuous lack of emphasis on user interface design. And that’s why they fail.”

Elgan writes, “Apple has probably sold 2 million iPads already, and it hasn’t even starting selling it internationally. If somebody doesn’t do something quick, the iPad will become the new Microsoft Office — the standard we’ll never be able to get rid of… iPads will remain three times more expensive than rivals, and still win almost all the customers.”

MacDailyNews Take: Like iPods? Like Macs? Like iPhones? Neither of which are “three times more expensive than rivals,” Mike. Comparable rivals, not junk with stripped down features, shoddy build quality, horrible user interfaces, etc. Why would you want to “get rid of” something that’s elegant and works for people? Answer: You wouldn’t if you’re thinking clearly and/or didn’t irrationally hate Apple.

Elgan continues, “The future looks grim for real competition in the fast-growing touch tablet market. An iPad killer — or even a serious competitor — is possible. But it had better happen soon — before it’s too late.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Go for it.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Zane V.” for the heads up.]

63 Comments

  1. Well, I’m sure this will add to the author’s fear. The iPad is even making inroads in public agencies. My agency just ordered several and we are beginning testing in a real world setting. So far, so good. I am awaiting mine still, but we already see endless possibilities for more efficiency in government.

    For example, instead of printing a 200 page document with agenda and attachments for the elected officials, the entire package (with annotation capabilities) will be placed on the iPad and the officials will be able to access it from the iPad with a single touch.

    So, what exactly will the “competition” he speaks of bring to the table? Let’s see.

    By the way, when we did cost analysis the top of the line iPads with all necessary accessories will cost our public agency about 50% of what it would cost to accomplish all we want than if we had gone the route of laptops.

  2. Elgan writes, “They know this because they’ve been working on the problem full-time for seven years, guided by some very clear design sensibilities.”

    Actually, SJ / Apple has been working on user interfaces since the late 70’s.Ever heard of Xerox PARC, Mike?

    Elgan continues: “Competitors thus far have demonstrated a conspicuous lack of emphasis on user interface design. And that’s why they fail.”

    Apple’s product roadmap is at least 7-10 years ahead of every other CE company. This is why no other company will ever catch Apple: 1) they cannot match Apple’s ‘ease of use’ software & hardware. 2) they have absolutely no idea where Apple will go next.

    Oh, and by the way, there is no former sugar-water-sales-bozo in charge of Apple this time to give away the company crown jewels

    Although, I’m sure it may be fun to watch other CE companies try to anticipate Apple’s next move, all they really can do is react to Apple’s activities. This is why Apple continues to set the agenda, and why every other CE company fails.

  3. “the iPad will become the new Microsoft Office — the standard we’ll never be able to get rid of…”

    This has got to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard anyone say.

    Why would you get rid of something that is so easy, and such a pleasure to use? We want the world rid of Office because it sucks, not because it has a huge market share.

    This is usually the answer I give when people say “yeah but Apple is getting big and they are controlling”. Someone is going to be controlling, I’d rather it be a company that makes my work easier, not harder.

  4. “I’ll say it as plainly as I can: The iPhone, iPod touch and iPad succeed mainly because of their user interface,”

    For a moment, I thought Mike Elgan had come to his senses. Then he went on with his usual inanity.

    Oh well. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  5. Elgan writes: “Competitors thus far have demonstrated a conspicuous lack of *emphasis* [emphasis mine] on user interface design. And that’s why they fail.”

    Mike’s fundamental flaw in his logic is that he is equating ’emphasis’ = ‘ability’. Mikey, *that* is why they fail.

  6. What does a price-competitive entry ($199) get you?

    The Archos 7, which Engadget panned as a stripped-down device that illustrates “you get what you pay for”.

    People who gripe about Apple price points have yet to produce an example of a competitive product at that price. Quick! Mike Elgan demands an affordable competitor to the iPad!

    /crickets

  7. If you read TFA, you will see that this article is very pro-Apple, the “we need a real ‘iPad Killer” quick” thing – is a device to make his point that nobody is even close to catching up with Apple.

    Before you judge him, read the article, it’s pretty good.

  8. “…the iPad will become the new Microsoft Office — the standard we’ll never be able to get rid of…”

    Why would one ever want to be “rid” of such a device? Folks use Office only if they have to, not because they want to. People *want* to use the iPad.

    And that “three times more expensive than rivals” claim is simply ludicrous. Can someone conceivably sell a wireless competitor for $167? Or one with 3G for $210? In his dreams!

  9. Here’s how I read that: “The iPad is amazingly powerful, yet simple to use. Quick! Let’s not let that become the standard!”

    Wow, kinda sounds like just about every illogical argument against Apple.

  10. Any mention of Android? If it’s making all these inroads in the smartphone market, it stands to reason it will do it in tablets as well.

  11. The author does indeed have a chip on his shoulder against Apple. His point is not that he dislikes the iPad, in fact, he finds it “exhilerating.” He’s just decrying the fact that nobody can or will take the care and pay the attention to detail that Apple does, but on the cheap.

    I think the answer to his question is contained within the question itself.

  12. I’d cut Mike a bit of slack. He’s no Thurrott or Enderle. Sure, he might be over the top, but when he says “before it’s too late”, he means for competition. Apple is the finely honed machine that it is because it’s fought for every inch of turf. But Apple will not be made better by having an MS like dominace. Co
    petition is good for everyone. Look at what the lack of competition in OSes saddled us with for 15 years.

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