On January 27 Apple released a new product it believes showcases its "most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device."
This magical device has been baptized the "iPad" and is said to create a "new category of devices that will connect users with their apps and content in a much more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before."
This is the product that many Apple fanboys have been praying for their whole lives, and while the iPad's sleek lines and intuitive interface will no doubt excite and please many thousands of consumers, there are others that are less impressed with the technical characteristics of the first-generation device.
There are many who question Apple's decision to omit obvious features, such as a camera, Flash support, GPS, multitasking, and the ability to plug in peripherals without the need of a specialized adapter. Adding these features would indeed bring the iPad much closer to becoming a magical device, or as Steve Jobs likes to call it, "the best device for web, email, photos and mobile computing."
So why would Apple toss these features aside and release a sub-standard tablet? For the same reasons that the iPhone was missing key features like cut and paste, 3G connectivity, video and even the ability to use third-party applications when it was first released in 2007.
It is all about creating the need for these features.
The desire and possibility for something greater, more powerful and even more desirable makes Apple's products an ongoing success. Apple knows how to market its devices. The company realizes it is far better to release a product "that just works" - even if that means it is missing a few highly desirable features - than to release a device that comes with all the whistles and bangs but has a sloppy interface and is not appealing to the general consumer.
The major reason why it is wise for Apple to hold off adding all these features in the first release is to secure future sales. Everyone knows that when the next version of the device comes out Apple will pull out a few of those tasty features and wave them in the oncoming path of eager consumers, teasing them knowingly with that Apple "desire."
Apple knows that those people who purchase the first generation of iPads will grow to love it and realize it's yet another mobile device they can't live without. They also know that most of these people will buy the second generation, because it does more and it has more of those features they really can't live without.
And for those consumers that turn their noses up at the first generation of iPad - because it didn't have the exact features they were waiting for - Apple has another chance to garner their sales and once again build their fan base by luring in new customers.
Meanwhile back at the Apple campus Steve Jobs will be busy working away on some other crazy gadgets with proximity-sensing touch screens, solar panels, live TV and radio recording, and 3D multitouch manipulation (if you don't believe it have a look at some of the patents Apple has recently filed). But no one will get to see the results of these experiments for many years because Jobs knows the public isn't ready for them - not yet.
That is how Apple has grown to become the largest mobile device company in the world and why Steve Jobs can keep on rubbing his hands together in glee while the dollar signs light up in his eyes.
Apple knows how to deliver an excellent user interface, they know how to market their products and they know how to build their ever-growing client base; which makes you wonder what on earth was going through their heads when they named their "Jesus tablet" the iPad?