So the big day has finally arrived and Apple have released their tablet - the iPad (not the best name in the world). It has been 8 years in the making, and reactions are mixed - ranging from "wow, this is the best thing ever" through to "ho hum, its just a big iPod".
Personally, I think Apple did not take enough risk with this product - I would loved to have seen some pushing of the touch interface and some good use of gestures - but hey, its a first generation product. It is clearly aimed at the Netbook segment, and will do well. It is well designed and well priced, and will carve out a very profitable business for Apple - but is this disruptive technology?
In answer to that question I would ask - if you attended the launch of the original iPod in 2001 what would your impression have been? Video below.
I would suggest that when the original iPod launched (I still own one), that there was already a nascent market. There were already some portable MP3 players in existence (although not particularly functional), and the true potential of the iPod (including the whole content eco-system) was yet to be seen. Always 20-20 vision in hindsight!
One of the key characteristics of a disruptive technology is that it typically comes to market with less functionality than the comparable market leader (contrast high-fidelity CD's versus low-quality MP3's) - that's what makes it so dangerous - market leaders tend to ignore it until its too late. One thing that Apple is great at is defining its own markets - this is one of the hallmarks of disruption - seeking a user base that will value the current features of your new product rather than chasing the wishes of an existing user base.
Only time will tell how successful the iPad will be, however given their track record I would suggest that Apple have every intention of making it a success.