News 1/28/10


First off, I’d like to put to rest any speculation regarding the iPad’s intended target industry. More than four years ago, MadTV obtained insider marketing material that clearly shows the iPad to be a healthcare play.


In all seriousness, Wednesday’s official unveiling of the iPad by Apple CEO Steve Jobs is likely to launch a whole new round of speculation as potential buyers ponder its many wonderful uses leading up to its target ship-date (late March for WiFi-only, and April for 3G-enabled).

Who doesn’t want one? The device is every bit as beautiful and elegant as it is functional. A little smaller than a magazine, the iPad is 9.7 inches, measured diagonally. It weighs less than a pound and a half and is a mere half inch in width. It looks a lot like an iPhone, just bigger. While you can’t make calls with it, or use it as a camera (sadly), you can use almost 140,000 apps developed for the iPhone.

My initial thought when I heard Apple was coming out with a tablet: holy Newton, this is going to bomb! Seeing the device, its specs, functionality, price… I’d like to amend my original thought to “Ka-ching.”

I think most of my initial doubt stemmed from a belief that this was going to be an enterprise play. I’ve heard endless discussion about how Apple is specifically targeting healthcare with their tablet. If this is true, I don’t get it. There is very little I see that makes me think this is a healthcare game-changer, or even that this device can compete against ever cheaper PCs and laptops. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of healthcare organizations are going to buy this device. But they’re going to buy it for the same reason that I want to buy it – because it’s cool; it’s a hot new Apple gadget; and I want one. They’ll buy it and try to figure out why they needed it after the fact.

The real money is going to come from the consumer market. Period. I think when things shake out, the iPad is going to capture a huge market just north of Netbooks and slightly south of Laptops. At $499 for the 16GB, WiFi-only model, the device is about twice as expensive as a Netbook, but probably 50 times more functional. According to Apple, it has a 10-hour battery life while surfing the Web on WiFi, watching videos, or listening to music. It also has built-in Bluetooth 2.1, which can support a number of peripherals including wireless mouse, keyboard and headphones.

This sounds like the perfect leisure computer. It’s small, lightweight, sleek and powerful. You can stream media, play with any one or more of 140,000 apps, watch a movie on the plane – heck watch 3 movies if the flight is long-enough, listen to music, and a hundred other things.  You can also browse the Web, and while cloud computing makes business applications accessible, we’ve still got a ways to go before browser-enabled means enterprise-ready. Even then, the iPad’s form-factor will limit its enterprise appeal to a few niche markets. It’s real business success – and I think this is especially true for healthcare – will come when individuals are using their personally-owned “leisure” device as their default gateway into the enterprise outside working hours. For the time being, though, it mostly looks like a really fun toy.

What’s your take? Tell me what you think of the new device, and how well you think it will fit into your corner of healthcare. I hope to share many different perspectives over the next few days, so don’t hold back.

In other news…

Epocrates and RealCME partner to deliver enhanced e-learning offerings. The companies are working to create innovative and engaging continuing medical education (CME) curriculum provided online or on an iPhone device. Physicians will be given the opportunity to complete CME courses in new formats, including “Virtual Patient” interactions and interactive grand rounds… “Engaging”? Really? That’s a pretty high bar to set for CME.


Finally, I wanted to thank Vocera for becoming HIStalk Mobile’s first Founding Sponsor to go live on our site. Based in San Jose, CA, Vocera’s mission is to save time, steps and lives by providing instant voice communication solutions. The Vocera® communications system allows mobile workers to instantly communicate with each other, hands free, whether down the hall or across campus, using simple spoken commands. Their easy-to-use wireless voice system runs on a wireless LAN and is ideal for hospitals and other environments where mobile workers need to stay in constant contact to perform their jobs. Again, thank you for supporting us.

We will be announcing a couple of additional Founding Sponsors in the next few days. Please help us earn their support. Take the time to subscribe to our email alerts, post a comment or send me an email with your thoughts and opinions.

  • Tanya Dorhout

    The MadTV spoof is great. I’m very pleased that the iPad is targeting the female consumer.

    Thanks for the review. I had the same initial response to the release of the iPad, but now I’m intrigued to learn more about its functionality. The NetBooks didn’t do enough for me, but this might win me over.

  • Gregg Alexander

    Congrats on your both launch and you first two “Founding Sponsors.” I just wanted to note that it warms a pediatricians heart to see the blue of Vocera and the pink of Voalte right up top together!

    Re: iPad. I agree. Looks like a great leisure tool/toy.

  • The PACS Designer

    Also want to congratulate Mr. H. and sponsors for giving the mobile market a high quality product such as HIStalk Mobile. Best Wishes for its continued success, TPD!

  • We recently announced our PACS application for the iPad to go with our existing iPhone PACS app. The iPad is FAR from perfect, but if Apple puts its substantial development resources behind this product category it could own the mobile market in a year or two when they add some minor missing things, like: a Multitasking O/S, VGA out, USB ports, eSata port, etc. Maybe by version #6 or #7 in a few years.

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