Is the Apple iPad the next best thing since sliced bread or an over-hyped digital device? That’s one of the devices that market research firm Gartner examined in its 2010 “Hype Cycle” report. According to Gartner, the buzz of a new device or technology can drive expectations to unrealistic heights, which are then often followed by disappointment and disillusion, especially when the technology is new and buggy. After a period of backlash, consumers then begin to have a more nuanced acceptance of the technology. The report looked at 1800 technologies, among them “media tablets, private cloud computing, and 3-D flat-panel TVs and displays.” According to report co-author Jackie Fenn, who is vice president and a Gartner fellow, “high-impact technologies at the ‘peak of inflated expectations’ during 2010 include private cloud computing, augmented reality, media tablets (such as the iPad), wireless power, 3-D flat-panel TVs and displays, and activity streams.”
If the iPad is about to experience a backlash, which jives with some analysis pointing to user dissatisfaction with some features, it would be a temporary dip as the iPad moves into the mainstream. At the current sales rate of 4.5 million units each quarter, that shouldn’t take long. In the meantime, many other tablets will be coming to the marketplace this holiday season, but their impact on the hype cycle for iPad and other tablets is as of yet unknown.