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After iPad

Posted April. 05, 2010 03:03,   


Apple’s iPad was put on the U.S. market yesterday. The tablet PC is a “handheld monitor” smaller than a laptop computer and larger than a smartphone. Users can send e-mails, surf the Internet, write and edit documents, watch video clips, play games, and read e-books. The device boasts a 9.7-inch touch screen and rapid response speed, along with various applications. Though lacking the rabid fans like those for the iPhone, who waited for the release of the smartphone in tents, Apple had 500,000 advance sales of the iPad and expects to sell five million to 10 million units his year.

Critics call the iPad an expensive toy since it has no USB port and camera. If it develops like the iPhone did, the iPad will gain competitiveness that makes it the heart of a change in the content and handheld device market. It is also likely to create a new market. If the device is combined with educational content, it can be the textbook of the future. If security is enhanced for corporate use and specifications can be customized for certain purposes, the iPad can be an office device or one for the medical and distribution industries. Some forecast that the iPad will overtake the laptop PC and smartphone to become the mainstream item of the IT industry.

Since Microsoft released in 2001 the first tablet PC, a mobile PC with wireless Internet access, similar devices have been unveiled. They have failed to satisfy users in performance and sense of touch, however. The iPad has much room to evolve into an omnipotent device due to a cheaper price tag and lower communication fees. It will trigger a tablet PC war, with companies racing to release new concept devices. American companies Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Microsoft and Korean companies LG Electronics and TriGem Computer are developing their own tablet PCs. The software industry will be busy developing related applications as well.

The Korean IT industry, which once prided itself as the best in the world, seems to have fallen behind. This is largely due to the passive strategy of the Korean government and the telecommunication industry. Korea introduced the smartphone two years later than other countries. Kim Yeong-geon, a senior researcher at LG Economic Research Institute, said, “Apple has succeeded with a business model that combines hardware, an operating system, and contents based on user experiences,” adding, “The era in which the hardware and software industries are run separately has ended.” Though late, Korea must step up efforts to develop user-oriented services and products. A strategy focusing on a single hardware product cannot overcome the challenge from the iPhone and the iPad.

Editorial Writer Hong Kwon-hee (konihong@donga.com)