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ATPM 16.04
April 2010




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by Robert Paul Leitao,

Welcome to the April issue of About This Particular Macintosh! We know already that over the 15 years ATPM has been in continuous monthly publication there’s never been a month quite like this one. It’s the month the Apple iPad is first released, and this product will revolutionize the ways in which we access and consume digital content. We begin this month’s issue with a look at how the iPad will change what we call “the personal computing experience.”

The Medium Is the Message

Those of us who are veterans of high school and college journalism or media classes are familiar with the name of Marshall McLuhan. His scholarly work on new media made him an icon of the electronic media industry in the late 1950s and 1960s. His famous phrase “the medium is the message” applies as much to the iPad today as it applied in his era to the mass adoption of the TV as a source for news and entertainment. The iPad is an immersive experience that will extend the reach of the iPhone OS ecosystem to millions of new users. The iPad is not an outsized iPod touch anymore than a home theatre system is an outsized boom box. The only thing that might be outsized about the iPad is the anticipated sales performance. The iPad is a home theatre packed in a mobile form factor.

Would You Like an Order of Bento With That iPad?

The name bento originates from a Japanese-style take out lunch packed in a box-like container. It’s no wonder Apple’s FileMaker subsidiary uses the name Bento for its lunch-sized database product. FileMaker’s Bento is designed for personal use and is offered at a fraction of the cost of FileMaker Pro, the subsidiary’s flagship database product. A version of Bento is available for the iPhone and the iPad.

Moving from outsized to lunch size, the iPad is designed for the consumption of digital content. Unlike netbooks, the underpowered laptops with cramped keyboards and poor quality screens that have become popular due only to price, the iPad doesn’t need a full-blown version of a desktop OS to make it work. The iPad uses a custom SoC or System on Chip developed by Apple and dubbed the “A4” to deliver stunning graphics, impressive performance, and long battery life while using the iPhone OS and taking advantage of the over 150,000 apps already available. The iPad isn’t designed to run Photoshop anymore than netbooks are designed for post-production work on feature films. But if it’s a choice between an iPad and a netbook for watching movies or viewing your favorite photos, it’s the difference between a mobile theatre experience and watching a small screen portable TV.

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Over the past 25 years, few new products have captured the imagination of consumers prior to commercial release as the iPad. The good news is that you won’t need a printed newspaper to read all about it. Newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times will come to an iPad near you. Newspaper and magazine publishers are pushing hard to deliver iPad versions of their content as soon after the iPad’s official release as possible. No more soggy newspapers that missed delivery to the doorstep, and no more ripped magazines shoved in the mailbox. iPad subscriptions to your favorite newspapers and magazines will be delivered to your screen at a fraction of the newsstand price.

Concurrent with the release of the iPad, iTunes will open its own bookstore for the sale of books to owners of the device. The iPad may be the perfect device for catching up on all of your spring and summer reading without guilt about the number of trees destroyed to supply one with the pleasure. Books offered through the iBooks store will be sold at prices below the cost of the same titles in paper print.

The iPad Will iWork

Among the iPhone OS apps that will debut with the iPad are components of Apple’s iWork productivity suite. Both Pages and Numbers will be available in lunch-size versions for the tablet device for use at work and at home. We expect developers of other productivity-related solutions to follow with custom iPad solutions soon after the April 3rd product release. With the optional iPad keyboard and dock, Apple’s latest creation will be at home at both home and the office.

Working the Numbers

At press time, Apple’s share price (ticker symbol: AAPL) was trading just above $235 per share. In an advisory issued by Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty, it’s expected that each million units of iPads sold will add $.25 of earnings to each Apple share. It’s possible that Apple could ship 8 million to 10 million iPads this calendar year. The only real constraint on sales might be product supply. Apple is currently trading at a trailing 12-month price-earnings multiple of about 22. Multiplying 22 times $2.00 in earnings per share equals $44 in additional value added to the share price from iPad sales this calendar year alone. At today’s closing price, the iPad might move Apple’s share price about 18% higher by late January of next year.

It’s an outsized gain from a handheld device. An investor holding 15 shares of Apple stock might see enough of a gain in the share price over the next nine months from iPad sales alone to buy an iPad with a few of the optional trimmings or purchase several week’s worth of a daily bento lunch.

Working the News

The editors of ATPM are hard at work throughout the month to craft our unique brand of news and reviews. For 15 years we have chronicled what we call “the personal computing experience,” and we look forward to covering the release of the iPad and reporting on the ways it will revolutionize how we access and consume digital content in the months and years to come.

Our April issue includes:

Bloggable: Melts in Your Hand

Wes Meltzer shares more blogosphere punditry about the iPad.

MacMuser: CoPilot Live’s Wheels Within Wheels

Mark Tennent shares his experience with the iPhone GPS app, CoPilot Live, and also wants to know where his memory stick icon is.

MacMuser: Losers and Winners

Mark Tennent looks at Apple’s history and the progression of winners and losers from its founding in 1976 to this month’s release of the iPad.

Apple Talk: Flat Line

You can tell Angus Wong is excited about the iPad. His celebratory response was to purchase a Sony Reader Pocket Edition. In this month’s Apple Talk he explains why.

Next Actions: Inbox Overload

Ed Eubanks Jr. applies the GTD concept to the phenomenon of an individual owning more and more inboxes.

Desktop Pictures: Sunsets

Reader Richard Barrett shares some sunset and sunrise photos taken in Costa Rica, Hawaii, London, and Florida.

Out at Five

Matt Johnson’s new series, Out at Five, looks at the workplace and its boundaries from all angles, revolving around many of the same characters from his former series, Cortland.

Qaptain Qwerty

Qaptain Qwerty offers tips for playing Avernum, a game reviewed elsewhere in this issue of ATPM.

Review: Avernum 6 v.1.0.2

For fans of the adventure game genre, Avernum 6 can provide hours of exciting entertainment.

Review: Commuter

A solid case that seems very protective while staying light and slender, but with a flaw we’ve seen before.

Review: Defender

Need to protect your iPhone on the job site or while engaged in extreme sports? Here’s a case for you.

Also in This Series

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