Say the iPad supported Flash, had a camera, and ran a new iPhone OS that had multitasking. It sounds great, but what about a keyboard? What is the iPad when you really sit down and think about it? It’s a device with a large display running an operating system designed for hand held devices. We all laughed when Qualcomm showed off “smart books” for the first time, running the stock version of Google’s Android operating system, but the iPad isn’t any different, if anything it’s simply a “smart slate”.
At CES, just a couple of weeks ago, Lenovo introduced something called the Skylight. The video below got less than 2,000 views on YouTube, but it touches on all the points Steve Jobs’ mentioned during the iPad’s 90 minute product announcement, all in the span of 1 minute and 42 seconds. It’s a 10 inch, ultra thin (less than 0.7 inches), ultra light (less than 2 pounds), laptop with 10 hours of battery life, 20 GB of built in storage, HDMI out, 3G, that’s meant to be in between your laptop and your smartphone, all for just $499, and most importantly running an ARM processor. In this case the 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon. That should give you some idea of how competitive Apple comes in terms of pricing; for the cost of a base model iPad you get a keyboard, 4 GB more storage, a web cam, and built in 3G with Lenovo’s product.
If Apple released a 9.7 inch version of the iPad and made it look somewhat like a shrunken down MacBook Air, would you buy it? How much more appeal would it have to you if it had that familiar laptop form factor that you’re used to?