The iPad Is Unbeatable

Farhad Manjoo, writing for Slate:

Imagine you run a large technology company not named Apple. Let’s say you’re Steve Ballmer, Michael Dell, Meg Whitman, Larry Page, or Intel’s Paul Otellini. How are you feeling today, a day after Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the new iPad? Are you discounting the device as just an incremental improvement, the same shiny tablet with a better screen and faster cellular access? Or is it possible you had trouble sleeping last night? Did you toss and turn, worrying that Apple’s new device represents a potential knockout punch, a move that will cement its place as the undisputed leader of the biggest, most disruptive new tech market since the advent of the Web browser? Maybe your last few hours have been even worse than that. Perhaps you’re now paralyzed with confusion, fearful that you might be completely boxed in by the iPad—that there seems no good way to beat it. For your sake, my hypothetical CEO friend, I hope you’re frightened. He hopes, but I doubt it. If they were, they would be restructuring their entire companies in order to compete with this new market. As far as I can tell, they're still in finger-in-their-ears-saying-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you mode.