The pre-introduction hype surrounding Apple’s tablet device was greater than for the iPhone. New Apple products seem to grow emotional responses.
Since the introduction I’ve been reading everything I can find about the iPad. Opinions, perspectives, technical details, including thoughts on the all important raison d’être. Why does it exist? What will it do that’s different and worthy? So far I see three schools of thought. All expected. Again.
iPad Is A Big Mistake
Three schools of thought? Yes. It happened with the iPod back in 2001. It happened again when Apple moved the Mac to Intel CPUs.
It happened yet again when the iPhone was launched in 2007.
The first school of thought regarding Apple’s major product announcement belongs to Apple. Whatever the product (Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad), Apple describes it as amazing, wonderful, incredible, magical, insanely great.
Apple can be forgiven, or given some slack, because the product, whatever it is, is their baby. Microsoft seems to be proud of the damage they’ve caused the computing world with Windows through the years, so it’s considerate to allow Apple similar feelings for producing offspring which people actually love, rather than loathe.
The second, and almost immediate response to any new and major product announcement from Apple is negative. It’s not so much from the media who report on Apple, but from the technology pundits whose love of status quo, whose eyes see only the here and now, and who are addicted to criticizing that which they have not seen, felt, touched, or used.
These people have predictable predictions. They believe whatever Apple’s newest game-changing product is, it’s first and foremost a big mistake. They fall into the I don’t get it category.
The iPad Is A Big Hit
The third response following an Apple product announcement is also predictable. Some in this group withhold judgement until they can actually feel and touch and hold Apple’s new device. Others in this group, having put some measure of trust and faith in Apple, and having been delighted with previous products, are quick to stand in line to purchase.
Still others, the masses, those not swayed by hype or advertising, not intimidated by the naysayers and grand pooh-bah’s of negativism disguised as technology pundits, will wait for actual user reports, avoid the lines, but, sooner or later, they get it.
Why and how will the iPad be a big hit?
Based on what I see, and without holding an iPad in my hand, but knowing what has happened with Apple’s products over the past 10 years, I’ll climb out on a limb and predict the iPad is, indeed a game changer, and will be another, but entirely different hit for Apple.
First, whatever you’ve read thus far about why the iPad will fail, or what’s wrong with it, or what’s missing, usually come from people who have yet to use an iPad. Second, there are already a few hundred first hand accounts from those who have, however briefly, held, touched, used an iPad.
Almost universally, their response has been the same as many initial reactions to the original iPod in 2001, the iTunes Store, or the iPhone in 2007. The experience is wonderful. It feels right. It works. This is cool. I want one.
The iPad Launch Pad
Another reason why the iPad will succeed, and rapidly, is the Apple launch pad. What kind of launch pad did the original iPod have in 2001? Not much other than some advertising and the user experience. Think about it. The iPod was a mere 5GB, had a hard disk drive inside, connected only via FireWire, synced only on Macs. That’s not much of a launch pad.
What kind of launch pad did the iPhone have in 2007? Apple’s advertising and the user experience.
The original iPhone was expensive and had no 3rd party applications, yet people were so thrilled with the experience that they stood in line for hours to buy one.
In just 18 months, Apple’s iTunes Store has added 140,000 applications—apps, games, utilities, books—to the iPhone and iPod touch experience. That is the launching pad for the iPad. 75-million iPhone and iPod touch customers already know how to use the iPad, and their iPhone and iPod touch apps automatically get synced to the iPad. They want that extra screen real estate. They want a smaller, lighter, more portable device to take with them, relegating the notebook to a desktop life.
Let me say that another way. For many users, the iPad will relegate the notebook to a life of living on the desktop.
The iPad has what the iPod and iPhone did not have. A huge blast off launch pad. Will the iPad be a big hit? Yes. It will sell by the millions to iPod customers, iPhone customers, Mac customers, and to everyone who, sooner or later, gets it.
Will the iPad prove to be a big mistake? To the negative naysayers of technology punditry, it already is a failure. They’ll compare it to a Windows netbook which costs less and does more (remember, they did the same with the iPod). They’ll compare it to Windows tablets and say it’s overpriced and underpowered (remember, they did the same with the iPhone). They won’t get it. Ever.
Meanwhile, the rest of us will stand in line, buy an iPad, and enjoy the experience.