The Apple iPad
makes its debut in stores in the United States today. Reviews have been largely positive. Applications are ready for launch
and an exponentially larger number are in the works. Consumer and publisher expectations are off the charts.
It is tempting to hop in the car, use my Nexus pass to get through the absurdly long border lineups, try to find one this weekend in Bellingham, Blaine, Everett or Seattle, and pay the duty as I return north.
After all, the Wi-Fi version will work the way my iPod Touch works here.
But I think I'm going to hold out for the Wi-Fi/3G version or perhaps the 2.0 iPad (I think it can use a camera like the Macbook Pro). I'll sleep on it.
Still it is getting comical --- or tragi-comical --- that device after device takes longer to travel the short distance to market from a nearby head office (think Seattle and Kindle, or think Silicon Valley and Apple) than to market across that head office's vast country.
We are led to believe the Internet has blurred borders, that we're in a global economy that finds receptive markets with few if any barriers. But it really isn't so --- witness the Web sites that won't let you surf from abroad. The most innovative technological devices (save the BlackBerry, which is from Canada) are oddly enough the ones held back in the most old-fashioned way.
The iPhone, the Chumby (still not here), the Kindle, Google Android and iPad have been hung up for months as our telecommunications firms worked out terms with manufacturers. The iPhone actually went to several non-U.S. countries before Canada. The irony is that Canada is the country with the most broadband Internet penetration.
The iPad is coming to Canada in late April --- shorter than the typically extended delays --- but pricing and carriage plans haven't been announced. What Canadians have found with other devices is that data plans have been anything but flexible and affordable.
Let's hope Apple and the carriers learn from earlier launches (Apple was reportedly upset with pricing of the iPhone plans in Canada). If so it'll be worth the few weeks' wait. But what the country needs is simultaneous release; we're seemingly backwards with it.