Apple's tablet computer hasn't even shipped yet, and I'm talking about the next iPad?
For several weeks now, I've heard my Apple fan-boy friends talk about how Apple missed the boat, how the iPad is a worthless device, and nobody with more sense than money would be buying one.
How could such a device lack multitasking, they'd ask? How could they miss the obvious feature of a camera, that even a lowly iPhone has?
And I thought, "you know, I bet Steve has this under wraps, and they'll sneak these features into the 1.0". But more time progressed, and no new features were announced for the iPad. And in retrospect my expectation of such was admittedly folly.
But I don't think I'm really off base. The camera is ready to ship now. Multitasking is functional in the lab. Shoot, Flash may even be up and running inside mobileSafari.
It's just that Steve & team have the minimal-marketable-feature concept down pat what with their lessons learned from the iPod/iPhone/iTouch. You gotta make the product great... but not too great.
You got to enable the "oh, and one more thing" that people are going to be really excited about six months down the road to kick their shiny new iPad to the curve for. Let's face it. Apple knows it is the market leader in this, and several other segments. You don't lay down your entire hand with its strongest suit at every opportunity. Every so often, you lay down a good, but not great card. You design a product that can capture the market, if you're leading it by a huge margin, and follow up 3-6 months later with the features and buzz everyone is screaming for.
Face it, the early adopters are buying this thing. They just are. And when the new one comes out, they're buying that one too, because hey, it's got a camera! The question isn't "what amazing thing will Apple come up with next", it's "what have they come up with next that they have yet to release because the competition doesn't have anything amazing that's forcing them to play that card"?
All in a day's work in the world of planned obsolescence.