Why the iPad is more like the iPod than iPhone

Why the iPad is more like the iPod than iPhone

The iPad business being closer to Apple's iPod business than the carrier-entangled iPhone business isn't a new theory, but given the increased maturity of the product line, it's one that's increasingly subject to objective rather than subjective analysis. And that's just what Ben Thompson of Stratechery has started doing, not only for today, but what it could mean for the future:

Today's thin clients, on the hand, specialize. A pure tablet is superior for touch-based applications; a pure PC is superior for keyboard-and-mouse ones. An e-ink reader is superior for reading, and a 13-inch iPad would be superior for (in my case) drawing and making music. And while many people now use two devices, I think that's only the beginning (I'm personally at four and the 13″ iPad would be number five).

iPod begat iPod mini which became iPod nano and, eventually iPod nano and iPod shuffle. The original iPod became iPod classic and gained even more storage, and eventually the iPod touch was introduced. Apple took an expensive, singular MP3 player and grew it to serve a wide range of customers and their needs. Beyond pricing and sales model, iPad could indeed be closer to the iPod business in the same way. iPad begat iPad mini. iPod touch is arguably already iPad nano. What could be next?

Thompson's article is incredibly in-depth. Give it a read.

Source: Stratechery

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Why the iPad is more like the iPod than iPhone


Break the stranglehold that carriers have over phones and there's no reason iPhones couldn't follow the same model... the carrier subsidy model for hardware is ridiculous.

The only way I can see that happening is if Apple releases the iPod Touch with 4G and people end up relying on Facetime with Voice (coming in iOS 7) and iMessage, or other equivalent apps, for their communication needs.

A 13" iPad wouldn't be light in weight, but I guess if its focus was music and artistic input that could be interesting. I just have to wonder, though, would the focus of that product be too narrow for Apple? And besides, the mini is 8" (7.9) and the iPad is 10" (9.7), it would make more sense for a larger iPad would be 12". Just like how Apple's notebook computers are 2" apart in screen size: 11", 13", 15", and the rumoured return of the 17" model.

A near 13-inch iPad would be great as an iOS notebook but with a detachable screen that can be used as a tablet. If Apple could make this mythical product capable enough, maybe the MB Air might not need to exist.

They already a few months back patented a design with detachable keyboard in 13" size. I suspect we would see a hybrid. iOS when detached and OS X when attached. Intel/SSD in keyboard and A7 in monitor/screen.

If they could make that work.. where you could slide between OS' based on form-factor, maybe by just a flick of the wrist? that would be a really nice feat. Might even be able to allow the 2 OS's to communicate seamlessly when docked? Even access Apps in iOS from within OS X?

Dreaming I know.. would be cool. Dubbed, the iPad Pro :)

The dual OS doesn't make any sense though. It just means you have to buy and store, double the applications on the device. If I was writing in Pages for instance and then wanted to attach a keyboard to type a bit faster, having the device switch OS's would be a waste of time at best, and potentially a giant negative.

Besides which, although there are certainly apps on OS X that one can't get on iOS, there is little that you can't actually do on iOS that requires you to instead use OS X.

I was thinking the same thing. An iPad that seamlessly integrates iOS and OS X together. I'd call it the iPad MACro! "Sometimes you feel like a Mac, sometimes you don't."

I'd like to see a larger iPad if it meant that I could draw on it, but drawing currently is not really possible since iOS doesn't yet support a usable stylus. Since most detailed drawing is actually done at a desk, I would think that some kind of giant iPad that can set itself up at an angle on the desktop, yet also be easy to take outside like a classic drawing board would be best. Something with spring loaded feet or a tripod, that disappears into the device when you pick it up. And above all, proper stylus support.

Lots of errors in the stratechery blog. I kind of agree with what he is saying but he makes it difficult to when he gets basic facts wrong. He appears to be one of those nutjobs that thinks Apple is at war with the carriers (when in fact they are close partners).

1-2 product launches per year makes Apple fanboys bored. And then articles like this happen.