In recent days a lot has been said in several articles on several sites and on TV about the competitors the iPad is going to face. I have to say that so far I’m not impressed at all with any of the proposed competitors on the basis of usability but one thing that has come to my attention is that the accessories that will be available for the iPad set it on a world which is totally different from what the competition can expect.
Lets think about this for a second… How many companies are we expecting to release accessories designed specifically for each of the fifty or so competitors that are expected to debut until the end of the year? Few? None? Now, how many accessories companies will be making them for the iPad? A lot! The iPad isn’t even out yet and we’ve already got a sizable list accessories that have been announced and released. You can go to Amazon right now and run a search on iPad and you’ll see that you get several pages worth of items which are intended to complement the product.
Let’s face it, the iPad is the product which will define the market and set the bar for tablet devices. Everyone else will be compared to the iPad and will fail, survive or prosper based on how well it stacks up against an iPad in battery life, weight, functionality and price, though not necessarily in this order. In this the iPad will probably assume for tablets the same role the iPod assumed for portable media devices as discussed previously in the post titled: “Will the iPad be the next iPod? ”
When you go into an electronics store you will see myriad cases, protectors, docks, etc. for the iPad. You might get to see one or two of these for another device if one of the big names in computers manages to bring out anything which does a reasonable job at creating a competing device. HP’s Slate computer looked promising in the demo video, but knowing that it will run Windows 7 already makes me doubt that it can compete in usability against an iPhone OS device.
The reason for this rampant favoritism by accessory makers should be quite obvious. Apple has a past history of launching successful devices which sell by the millions and it also has a history of fostering an accessories culture by selling them through its online as well as its impressive brick and mortar (or should we say glass) stores. If I were a maker of accessories for electronic equipment I would also be designing my best stuff for the iPad and generic versions for every other Joe-device that comes along.