Remember when every company developing a portable music player called it “The iPod Killer?” There were plenty of media players, but all the general public wanted was the iPod. The one device made the MP3 player market, previously a “geeky” thing, mainstream. There were digital music players well before the iPod existed, but they weren’t something that most people would think about buying. Just early adopters.
I’ve noticed that history seems to be repeating itself with the iPad. There have been tablet PCs for years, but they were sort of clunky and impractical for most users. Apple took the concept and shaped it into something with a much more usable UI, creating something that the public actually wanted. So far it has been a big success, selling 7.5 million units as of September.
Apple is selling millions of iPads, and there isn’t another product that is even in the running to be an actual competitor. While everyone else is scrambling to build a product to compete with the iPad, Apple is already gearing up for version two. Even if someone manages to release something in the same league as the iPad, they will have a hell of a time convincing the average consumer to buy it over the iPad. Apple won the battle before it even got started.
It’s the iPod all over again.