Will The iPad Change The World?

Since its release on April 3, iPad fever has gripped the nation -- with the usual media buzz and lines around the block we've come to expect from Apple's newest products. The sleek supertablet has met rave reviews from tech columnists and consumers alike, and the company has sold more than 1 million devices so far. It appears Steve Jobs has yet another winner on his hands, joining the iPod and iPhone as bestselling gizmos that change the way we listen to music, watch movies, surf the Web, and communicate.

Across the media, publishing, and technology worlds -- and elsewhere -- speculation continues over just how big the iPad will be. Will it replace the laptop? Does it represent new opportunity for entrepreneurs? Can we live without keyboards? And do we have any incentive to get off the couch anymore? We asked the Board of Directors for their take on the most talked-about tablet since the Ten Commandments.

Clint Greenleaf

Founder and CEO, Greenleaf Book Group

"The Cowboy"

"It's a cool tool. I'm really excited for a more robust version to come out, with camera, voice, Flash, etc. It will have a huge effect on those of us in publishing, and we're excited about it. Look for it to change sales techniques for most industries."

Jennifer Hill

Startup Advisory and Venture Lawyer, Gunderson Dettmer LLP

"The Advocate"

"When the iPhone grows up, it aspires to be the iPad. For the keyboard-obsessed and touchpad/mouse-addicted, Apple's multifunctional tablet marries tactile urges with technological efficiency. But it's a matter of taste as to whether its a stylish fun luxury or work-style necessity... yet."

Lexy Funk

Co-Founder and CEO, Brooklyn Industries

"The Contrarian"

"I would like to see the iPad get rid of the cash register in our stores. The cash wrap, as we call it, takes up too much space and is really redundant. What if we could just have iPads that could accept payment, plus show our customer images, collections, and the website? It could be a walking checkout/advertising/interactive center that could roam with the customer."

Gary Whitehill

Founder, The Relentless Foundation and New York Entrepreneur Week

"The Sheriff"

"Although the iPad will spark a streak of innovation in the tablet/PC market, in the aggregate, I don't believe it will impact my business in a positive way. I believe it will become a tool that folks leverage for fun more than its actual intent -- addressing serious business."

Steve Strauss

Columnist and Author of The Small Business Bible

"The Mr. AllBiz"

"I love my iPhone, but I don't get the iPad. My guess is that it becomes viable, but not wildly popular like the iPod or iPhone."

The original version of this article appeared on AOL Small Business on 5/11/10.

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