Apple's iPad has been generating plenty of chatter since it was previewed late last month. Much of the tech press was already in love with it before Apple even confirmed that it existed, and despite a certain amount of backlash , that love affair has continued, if only from afar.
But other tech players aren't so besotted, and the iPad might end up a poisoned love letter to the rest of the industry. For much of the life of the iPhone -- the iPad's grandparent, if you will -- every time a new smartphone comes out, it's been dubbed an "iPhone killer." Nobody's succeeded yet, but maybe someday, right? And since the iPad is the new kid on the block, let's imagine it as the hunter. What will the iPad kill? Well, potentially, quite a few things.
The iPad is interesting to people because it isn't exactly like any other product out there. But if you had to choose one thing it was closest to, it would probably be Amazon's Kindle: they're about the same size, and can do some of the same things. The iPad has a color screen and vastly more functionality, but it costs more up front, and you have to pay for Internet access.
The one area where the two readers will really go head to head will be in e-books. At the moment, it seems that Amazon's will be cheaper, and some think that the E Ink the Kindle uses is easier on the eyes than a backlit screen like the iPad's. But just the looming presence of the iPad in the market has already caused a tussle between Amazon and Macmillan, and so more disruptions to Amazon's Kindle business model might be looming.
The Tablet PC was a concept launched with some fanfare by Microsoft at the beginning of the last decade that promptly went nowhere. The idea was to put a full-scale Windows operating system onto a device in a tablet form factor, though most if not all included foldaway full-sized keyboards. But one of the basic problems was that a user interface like Windows that was designed to be used with a keyboard and mouse just didn't translate well to a tablet environment -- which is why Apple is betting that its adapted iPhone OS will succeed where Microsoft failed. Meanwhile, in anticipation of Apple's moves, Microsoft and HP trotted out the Tablet PC concept again, to little acclaim.