I can’t wait to get my hands on the iPad. It’s going to be a huge hit.
You can book it right now that it will be the product that kids of this generation grow up with and look back on with affection just like we did with the first video games. Video games changed how we grew up. The iPad will change how kids today grow up.
Apple was brilliant in how they cultivated apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch. With so many apps for kids, any parent with young kids and either of these two devices will tell you that their kids use and love them. In fact, it was this very reason that I helped create Puzzle Palace for the iPhone. It allows my kids to take the pictures they take and turn them into puzzles. My 3-year-old loves it.
The iPad will take this to the next level. I recognize that it’s very expensive for most families right now. Hopefully that will change over time. If it does, you can bet every home with kids will have an iPad. And the first person to create the “kid proof” covering will make money as well. (Hint to entrepreneurs.) On the flipside, the minute these devices hit critical mass in families, the DVD market for kids, who watch the same movie over and over will end as we know it. Download Scooby-Doo one time and the need to hassle with all those DVDs for the kids at home or on trips becomes a distant memory. A relic of an older generation.
What’s also big is the exclusion of Flash. The reason is obvious. No flash, far less streaming over 3G. Less streaming over 3G means less bandwidth consumed. Less bandwidth consumed means AT&T can offer a great price on the 3G data service. I personally have never had problems with the AT&T network. The limits on 3G streaming probably mean I won't going forward either. That’s a good thing.
It’s big that there is no USB port. As a content producer that's not a good thing. It means that Apple wants to force us through iTunes to sell content. It will be the path of least resistance for consumers to add content to the iPad and a huge source of revenue for Apple. I'm sure there will be work-around alternatives, but they won't be able to match the simplicity of the iTunes Store.
Outside the Apple universe, the company that should be licking its chops is Dish Network. Their Slingbox product just became a grand slam. I absolutely love the Slingbox app I run on my iPod Touch to watch NBA League Pass games, in hotel rooms and other shows that I record on my DVR. I can't wait to put it on the iPad and its big screen.
And finally, if i was just out of school and fluent in all things Wi-Fi, networking and wireless, I would immediately go door to door offering to fine tune your home’s wireless network. With new HDTVs coming out with Wi-Fi, the iPad, Slingbox, Netflix streaming and other applications consuming tons of bandwidth in the home, it is an absolute certainty that 99 percent of home networks can be improved and perform significantly better. Be that kid in your neighborhood that comes in and fine tunes everyone’s Wi-Fi in their home for 50 or 100 bucks (or more if you live in a fancy part of town) and you will make some good money.
Mark Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and is chairman of the HDTV cable network HDNet. This article first appeared on his weblog .