iPad will be ‘The Next Big Thing’ … or not

The much-hyped Apple iPad goes on sale Saturday. As Apple execs and critics herald it as the ‘next big thing’ … the must-have device to make your world complete, others are wondering if customers are ready to accept the iPad as warmly as they did other Apple ‘next big things.’  

It’s impossible to predict just how the public will accept new devices. Some, like the iPhone, are instant successes, Others, however, quickly move to the bottom drawer of the desk of life, never to be seen again.  

I decided to reflect on potential “Next Big Things” and the impact they made on our lives. The list is by no means complete, and please comment on ones I missed. I may follow up in a future blog.  


The Sony Walkman unleashed everyone's inner bad singer.


WALKMAN: Sony’s portable stereo cassette player made it cool to sing and dance like an idiot in public.  

PLAYSTATION: Sony significantly raised the bar for video gaming, creating an entire generation of couch potatoes.  

PALM PILOT: A great device to keep track of your business, if you could ever figure out Palm’s ‘graffiti’ language  

IPOD: Just like that, you can carry your entire music collection in your pocket. And milk crates once again can be used for hauling milk.  

The Motorola Razr was hot ... then not.


RAZR: Suddenly, the cell phone became an international fashion statement. Then, just as suddenly, it wasn’t.  

NINTENDO WII: Wii raised the bar PlayStation set by getting people out of that big rut they created in the couch.  

TIVO: Watch a TV show anytime, and skip over the commercials? Is this heaven?  

LCD TELEVISION: Revolutionized the way we watch TV. Now if it could just revolutionize what’s on TV.  

IPHONE: The small, powerful device gave us more ways to waste our time than we can imagine.  


The Newton was Apple's next big thing for PDAs, but fell faster than gravity.


NEWTON: Not everything Apple touched turned to gold. This predated the Palm Pilot as the first PDA, but it’s handwriting recognition system couldn’t translate into a language used by human.  

SEGWAY: The personal transport system was supposed to revolutionize the way we moved around. But most folks seemed just as happy with walking.  

SLINGBOX: Allows you to watch your TV from any computer in the world. Unfortunately, YouTube and Hulu do almost the same thing for a lot less.  

The CueCat, which couldn't co-exist with your computer's mouse.


CUECAT: This device allowed customers to shop or get information off the Web by scanning bar codes on printed material, like catalogs or newspapers. Still wondering why this didn’t catch on?  

VCR+PLUS: Record your favorite TV programs by simply punching a code into your VCR and … wait, what’s a VCR again?


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