Most of the focus at venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ iFund event today was on Apple’s upcoming iPad, with five startups (Gogii, Ngmoco, Pinger, Shazam, and Booyah) confirming on-stage that they’re developing iPad applications. Kleiner partner John Doerr sounded especially excited about the device, claiming that it will “rule the world.”
“I hope I can sleep with it Saturday night,” Doerr said. “It feels gorgeous. It is not a big iPod. It is a very big deal.”
The iPad will spur a “third renaissance in software,” he added. It’s a completely different kind of interaction, with interactions moving from WYSIWYG interfaces, where “what you see is what you get,” to WYTIWis, where “What you think is what is” — he didn’t offer too many details about the difference, but the idea is that the iPad is even more intuitive than previous interfaces. Two stealth iFund companies will be launching iPad-only products within the first five weeks, but Doerr declined to predict specifically whether the iPad will be a bigger business opportunity than the iPhone.
“I don’t know what the new applications are that are going to be built,” he said.
Neil Young, co-founder of Kleiner-backed iPhone and iPad gaming startup Ngmoco, also said that calling the iPad a giant iPod Touch is “missing the point.” When you handle the device, he said, the smooth user experience means that “a switch goes off in your head.” The iPad is going to compete effectively against both “living room” gaming devices, namely consoles like the Wii and Xbox 360, and desktop and laptop gaming, he said. That’s why Ngmoco will be launching with seven iPad games, some of them conversions from the iPhone, others iPad-only.