It’s tempting to dwell on the Jobs point — I really do think the
iPad is the product that misses him the most — but the truth is
that the long-term sustainable source of innovation on the iPad
should have come from 3rd-party developers. Look at Gruber’s
example for the Mac of graphic designers and illustrators: while
MacPaint showed what was possible, the revolution was led by
software from Aldus (PageMaker), Quark (QuarkXPress), and Adobe
(Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat). By the time the Mac turned 10,
Apple was a $2 billion company, while Adobe was worth $1 billion.
There are, needless to say, no companies built on the iPad that
are worth anything approaching $1 billion in 2020 dollars, much
less in 1994 dollars, even as the total addressable market has
exploded, and one big reason is that $4.99 price point. Apple set
the standard that highly complex, innovative software that was
only possible on the iPad could only ever earn 5 bucks from a
customer forever (updates, of course, were free).
There are developers making good money with professional caliber iPad apps. But nothing like the companies that were built around the Mac.