I have been quietly waiting in the wings to see what the world would say about the iPad. As is usually the case with any Apple product, people seem to fall into two categories: 1) going to get it 2) don’t need it. Everyone seems to forget that this happens for every single product announcement that Apple does and every time Steve leaves the stage we seem to be underwhelmed.
Overall though, when does Apple disappoint? When I sit back and think of all their products I can easily list reasons why I don’t need them. I don’t need to spend a premium on an Apple laptop when I can get a cheaper laptop that does exactly what I want, but yet I still bought one. Why? The user experience that it provides. When the iPod came out there were cheaper mp3 players and yet people bought the iPod in droves. Why? The user experience.
The only reason I don’t own an iPhone is because I am a texter and I still can’t get used to doing a ton of texting on a touchscreen. However, I do want to get an iPod Touch, not because I don’t already have five iPods, but because it will allow me to download all of the cool applications from the App Store. That is what many people don’t seem to realize. How many iPod Touches have been sold that people never needed? They could easily get a cheaper iPod that does the same primary function of any iPod and that is play music, yet it still sells. Why? Because there is a different user experience behind it. There is an ecosystem that sucks people in. The iPad didn’t have to be the greatest product in the world, it just had to be one that fit in nicely with the existing ecosystem.
In a similar vein, wasn’t the Nintendo Wii in the same boat? In theory it was a neat gaming system, but many people figured they wouldn’t get it. Then they experienced Wii Tennis and they became hooked. Can’t you see the same thing happening with the iPad? Someone shows you a killer application on it and then you find yourself saying that you have to get it.
Apple created a blank canvas for developers to play with and although people are busy trying to find use cases for it, use cases will happen over time with the imaginations of the people creating the toys behind it. Look at the applications that have been created for the iPhone. Did you imagine even half of those being created for it at launch? I sure didn’t.
Don’t forget the lack of features that the iPhone had at launch and people didn’t seem to have a problem jumping on board with it. For some reason, I have a feeling Apple understands what they are doing. Of course, people might have said that with the AppleTV as well.
Apple had the ecosystem in place with the App Store, but they only had a small device that worked in it. Now they just increased what can be done inside of the ecosystem and that is what is so brilliant about the iPad. Let’s not forget about the people that wouldn’t mind simply using it as a portable video player. I mean, watching a movie on the iPhone is cool, but it’s still a small experience. Maybe you could hang it on your fridge and pull up some recipes while cooking or better yet follow along with a cooking show.
There are a million uses for the iPad that you just can’t think of yet because we have never had a device like this in our lives. Seems to be as good as time as any to have one in it now.