Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How will the iPad's success be defined?

I've had a lot of conversions with people lately about whether or not the iPad would be successful. The problem with these conversations is that we didn't talk about what success looks like.

Is success 1 million units first week sales? Nexus One did 20k units, Droid 250k, iPhone 3GS 1.6M (from Flurry). Apple sold 75M iPhone and iPod touch devices in 2009. About 20M netbooks were sold in 2009. Apple sold about 6M Apple TVs in 2009, and that's "just a hobby" for them.

Maybe initial sales don't matter and the iPad will be judged by its adoption 3 years from now, by the copycats it inspires or by the way changes the personal computer industry. After all, Apple reinvented the desktop PC industry once, but ultimately lost it to Microsoft. I doubt they will make the same mistake again.

Update:Apple just announced 2 million units sold in the first 60 days. It took over two years for Apple to sell its first 2 million iPods. The original iPhone took about four months to reach the 2 million mark. I'd call the iPad's launch a success.

iPad Swivel Camera

I have a theory as to why the iPad does not have a built in camera. I think Apple will announce a camera accessory that plugs into the dock connector and swivels 180 degrees to point forward or backward. There is no "up" on the iPad -- all orientations are required to be supported by applications -- so it does not matter that the dock connector is on the "bottom" of the device. In the front-facing position, the camera would enable video chat. Turn it around and you can take pictures with the gazillion iPhone apps with that function built in. This solves the two camera problem, gives people the camera functions they want, and gives Apple another high-markup item to sell.

P.S. Sorry for the slew of iPad posts, but I think it's a pretty cool device.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Throwaway Vote

Right before a past election, someone asked who I was going to vote for. This person was supporting the Republican candidate. I told the person I was going to vote for the Constitution Party candidate. The person replied something to the effect of, "well it's a throwaway vote, but it's good that you're voting on principle."

I was offended. The only throwaway votes are the ones that aren't cast. In that election, the Republican candidate was as likely to win as my left shoe.

I think it's a real shame that people evaluate candidates based solely on party affiliation, not on their records. People vote on a candidate that shares their values and is likely to win. It seems too often the second part outweighs the first part.

I wonder if instant-runoff voting would help with this problem. It would be interesting to see the results of an exit poll that used IRV compared to the actual election results. I wouldn't expect the results to be that much different, though, because I think voters are much less likely to have even considered a third party candidate who does not have a realistic chance of winning. Third party candidates also don't have the financial support to get the same exposure as the two big parties.