iPad: A New Device Class
Consumers, businesses and Web developers are biting at the bit for news on the iPad, and industry leaders are anxious for a chance to get their hands on one. Growing early demand for the product is no surprise, though - the buzz generated by Apple’s Keynote in early February 2010 far exceeded that of the State of the Union address, reaching nearly 8 million more people on Twitter.
But the press is not all positive. Many critics wonder if the iPad will sink or swim as brand champions try to convince the world it will fly, touting impressive specs and mobile data connectivity. Apple is inspiring consumers with the new gesture based interface from Multi-touch.
Count on Apple’s approach to this product. What we see with iPad is the company’s hallmark approach to products that stand to make them a fortune. Apple unveils products like Google unveils new Web services - rarely novel, but beautiful and easy to use - and that is exactly what consumers want. Instead of being the first to market where risk and costs are at their highest, Apple launches products that instantly become best-in-class offerings in growing markets, quickly transforming them from niche to massive scale and meeting unforeseen demand with attractive, intuitive technology.
After all, the iPod was not the first MP3 player to market. But it quickly stole most of what companies like Sandisk and Microsoft had worked for years to cultivate. Apple is poised to repeat history while paving the road to a future of powerful, affordable devices that far surpass the iPad.
When Apple comes to market, they revolutionize it. With the iPod, Apple’s steady increase in market share turned in to a complete restructuring of the way music is bought and sold. The iTunes store, with its proprietary .m4a file type and media player, is still the most popular place to buy music online. With the iPhone, the new mobile OS with the powerful Safari browser changed the mobile Web.
By creating a burgeoning demand for mobile apps and creating a headache for flash developers seeing their content rejected due to incompatibility, Apple has stolen the show. All its apparent limitations have done nothing to hurt demand for the product – more than two thirds or all mobile web use occurs on the iPhone. The iPod nano was reinvented with a video camera in late 2009, competing directly with hard disk camcorders and adding value to an already successful product.
The iPad stands to affect the way consumers approach content. But Apple expects it to do much more than that. Its potential for other uses is apparently limited only by its size and processor speed. While some ciritcs cite the $499 base price tag as a limitation, Apple’s track record over the last decade suggests otherwise. The company’s products are never the cheapest, but they are priced just right to maximize exposure and profit.
The New York Times announced a new iPad-exclusive reader, and Wired Magazine followed suit long before any sign of a final launch date. But beyond reading the news, ebooks and magazines, iPad users will find creative ways to use it, just as they have with other Apple products. < br />
With content streaming into the iPad from so many sources, it is ripe for advertisers looking for more access to consumers where they live and move online.
Our commitment to understanding emerging technologies is a reflection of our commitment to our clients. We look for opportunities for growth online and develop them. We are working closely with the iPad to develop compatible content and design structures and to explore its potential for businesses online.
More information on the iPad, including detailed specifications and launch date, can be found Apple’s Web site: http://www.apple.com/ipad/
Are you convinced? We are. Google and Microsoft are putting money in tablet development, and Microsoft is not new to the game (recall Microsoft’s Tablet PC platform from the late 1990s). Apple did not invent the table PC, but their approach to their tablet as a powerful media pad may just ride on the coat tails of the smart phone movement and replace it entirely. Apple is about to hit another homerun, good press or bad.
But the iPad is only a new beginning in an already growing market of viciously competitive tablet and ebook giants. What sets the iPad apart from its most obvious competitors like the Amazon Kindle or the Barnes & Noble Nook? It is much more than a reader.