Former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée wonders whether Apple needs to focus more on the business user of the iPad, and how it can do so without compromising the simplicity that has made it such a hit. One possibility: expose the file system for power users.
"Can the iPad evolve toward more business applications without sacrificing its simplicity, without becoming a 'fridge-toaster'?" asks Jean-Louis Gassée in this week's Monday Note.
He notes that the iPad is seen as a vehicle for consumption, not creation. Gassée quotes David Pogue's initial review of the iPad: "It's not nearly as good for creating stuff. On the other hand, it's infinitely more convenient for consuming it books, music, video, photos, Web, e-mail and so on."
But some people want use their iPad for more ambitious tasks such as building rich media presentations and product brochures, preparing course material, even running a business, notes Gassée.
"They want the best of both worlds: The power of a PC but without its size, weight, (relative) unresponsiveness, and, certainly, price," he writes.
And yet, there is still no way to compose real-world, mixed-document presentations. And there is no way to access non-iWork files in iCloud.
"This brings us to a major iPad obstacle: On a 'real' PC the file system is visible, accessible; on the iPad, it's hidden," writes Gassée.
He notes that users don't navigate a file system on an iPad. Instead they launch an app that has its own trove of documents and can't see anything else.
Gassée suggests that Apple could transform the iPad so that power users can see and combine data in ways that are impossible today. "This could attract business customers who are hesitant about making the plunge into the world of tablets, or who may be considering alternatives such as Microsoft's PC/tablet combo or Android devices with Google services."
He calls the temptation for Apple to do this "irresistible."
This piece has been edited from its original form by CITEworld.
This story, "Apple will expose the iPad's file system for business users, predicts former exec" was originally published by Macworld U.K..