An iPad Competitor? Not In 2010!

People who think a Windows 7 or Android-based tablet will be a competitor to the iPad are living in a dream world.

To create a realistic competitor to the iPad requires a company to act just like Apple.

Here is one of the principles that’s guiding Apple, from the 2006 introduction of the iPhone:

How many companies tightly integrate their software with their own hardware?

Microsoft doesn’t. It’s trying to with Zune … but where has that gone? And the upcoming new WinPhone? That’ll be licensed to others.

Google doesn’t. It’s tried with the Nexus One. But others are beginning to catch onto Google’s ambitions and are pushing back.

So, if you’ve been expecting something to “save” you from the iPad, critics, you’re not going to find it this year, unless you intend to really blind yourselves to the set of shortcomings Windows 7 and Android tablets will inevitably bring with them. Shortcomings that the iPad doesn’t have at all. Plus, we already know that iPhone OS 4.0 will be released for it this Fall, giving it even more of a lead against contenders.

Acer, Asus, Archos, even the wounded behemoth, Sony, all rely upon software they license. None of them have created a hardware/software architecture of their own. They will always be hobbled by that.

Nokia? Symbian and Maemo. Both failures. So too will be the Intel-Nokia crossbred MeeGo (comprised of Mobilin and Maemo) — which is also intended to be licensed.

The only company out there that has acted like Apple has been Palm.

It can be argued that Palm has been doing so incompetently, but at least it’s been adhering to the Apple model.

Companies that really want to compete with Apple will have to morph to an Apple-like model. And the shortcut to that is obvious: acquire Palm as a first step. Adapting webOS to a tablet would be easier than shoehorning Windows 7 or giving Google an outsider’s blueprint for adapting Android to the tablet form factor. And once a company owns webOS, it can act just like Apple: it doesn’t have to share it with anybody. That is how Apple is serious about software.


12 responses to “An iPad Competitor? Not In 2010!

  1. You are right on all counts. Apple has never made a secret of what her secret is. :-)

    Companies like Microsoft and Google who had the capital to invest in playing it for the long run, decided to stop short.

    Both of these companies create a software stack that is useless without the appropriate hardware ,while others make hardware that is useless without the software stack. The only problem for all them is that in this case the when the parts are combined you end up with pieces that don’t match perfectly.

  2. Come on Mike, they do not see it, they really do not understand your point…no way…never.

  3. Let’s ask this question: what if the iPad is the future of computing? How does MSFT compete with that when Apple has all of the IP locked-up? MSFT will be in the same boat as the Win7 phone. In fact, I would argue that Win95 would have never been successful unless MSFT had the ability to steal the GUI details from Apple. It took them over ten years to get to Win 3.1, and it was no competitor to the original Mac OS.

    My point is that if Redmond was quaking in there boots with the iPhone, they must be absolutely horrified about the iPad. They will have nothing to compete head-to-head against the iPad. Whatever they come up with will be like the Mac OS vs. Win 3.1, only this time Apple came to market with a much cheaper device (compared to the original Mac and its predecessors, until the first iMac came along). It will be a me-too device like WinMo 6.5. An also ran where they can’t make money on the device, only on the OS and it will be a pittance compared to what Apple is bringing in.

    If the iPad (touch computing) is the future, Apple wins.

  4. >>>If the iPad (touch computing) is the future, Apple wins.

    That’s still a big If. At one time, MS was unstoppable too. Companies stumble all the time. And we never know what’s right around the corner.

  5. The iPad is very aggressively priced.

  6. Whoa, MS didn’t steal. His Steveness — as a young scared man — agreed to a poorly, quickly done agreement. He has only himself to blame. Ms took the polished inch and made a shitty mile, thats legal. Apple lost that court case about the smelly mile.
    But thats why Apple is doing what it is doing now with IP and devs agreements. Apple wants to never have to repeat that error again or have to make an agreement to share — ever. Thus, Apple is willing to piss off a lot of people — hardware and software and press — to make sure. Apple is making sure they alone invent the future not anyone else before them or after (or allow anyone else control Apple’s future). However, if thats doable, only time and the market will tell.
    The iPad is a watershed event on many, many levels for Apple. Apple lost the desktop more or less, but they want to own the *lap*top and yes hand-top/wall-top too. Now, will they have fight off others to keep their vision going and profitable, you bet!! iAd is the key for them to have cash coming in to lower the prices quickly for the next “big thing.” I guess/perhaps after 8 months after iAd funds pour in that ipad 2.x 4g will sell around 200.00.
    One last comment. Touch is core to being human. There are only so many gestures the human hand can do effectively (study drawing of the hand and acting). I suspect there will be a major court case about this in touch tech fairly soon. Apple or anyone can’t own how I use my hand to interact with a device, only the device my hand is interacting with*. Now, Apple might force (persuade) me to use only their grammar of gestures to interact but then that too might be challenged. Just like there are keyboard shortcuts for menu items, there must be a way for alternative gestures. As a disabled man, there better be. ;-)
    [[now need to rest my pained fingers]]

    * There was a time part of a well made tool was how it felt and worked with one’s hand/fingers. Our fingers were not made to stab/poke/swipe a glass slab for many hours. Writer’s cramp will take on a whole new meaning. ;-)

  7. Microsoft has “Surface”. All they need now is the mojo to convert Surface into a compelling product.

    I’ll even give them a free hint. As a starter, Build Surface into a HDTV. That will get it into homes. Create a Surface SDK. Apps will follow.

    Take either the HP approach or the Apple approach, but don’t waffle. (Apple: premium priced hardware, modestly priced content. HP: modestly priced printers, premium priced ink.)

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  10. OHMYGOD!!!
    All my notebooks are useless as I don’t have the particular, overpriced pencil! Aarrgghh!! All my pens are useless as I didn’t get the overpriced paper! I should have ought to have got them from the same company.

    You are delusional.

  11. Also, you being a fan of the apple model, I wait, without holding my breath, you’re moderation.

    Nokia failure? Palm gets it?
    I’m sorry to be rude but you really don’t deserve better.

  12. Your arguments are so cogent, so convincing, that everyone here wants to see your wisdom encapsulated in a blog. Suggested title: “I’m Such A Fucking Asshole.”