Sometimes I feel the iPad is like a wave in the ocean. It is inevitably going to hit me and get me wet even if I want to stay dry.
I am never surprised at the techno-lust that develops around new Apple products. A couple of decades at the company gave me a chance to see almost every rationalization for buying a new Apple product. I came up with a few myself.
While I have been gone from Apple for nearly six years, the problem has only gotten worse. Now we have the spectacle of folks waiting in line to buy products that have not even been reviewed. Steve says it is great, and there are hundreds of thousand of people who will buy whatever it is.
On top of that people will pay much more for an Apple product than they will for a product from Dell or HP. The perceived value of an Apple product is much higher.
Having said that, there are some significant challenges for Apple in leveraging all this techno-lust. While Apple’s commercials are very persuasive, the iPad is a new category of product, and beyond the faithful, most people need to be convinced that they need it.
The iPod was a solution to problem that a lot of people had with their music. The iPad is a solution looking for some problems.
I think the iPad is a good fit for some people and will solve a number of problems, but I also believe that a lot of people are going to have a hard time giving up their laptops. Many of the people that I know are uninterested in having another gadget in their lives especially one which might require a whole new set of applications.
One friend was all set to buy an iPad until I told her that no Apple printing solution comes with the iPad. Though I do not stay up on all things iPad, I believe this is still the case. Apparently Steve Jobs when asked about printing recently said simply, “It will come.” My friend decided to wait until printing was native from Apple.
Another friend wanted a device to read electronic books. She evaluated the iPad and the Kindle. She ended up with Kindle because she thought the iPad was too heavy for her old hands.
I know two ex-Apple employees who bought iPads in the first wave. As far as I can tell, they both love them. There is about a 90% chance of anyone who has worked at Apple is a hardware junkie so their motivations are not as interesting. I would put myself in that category, but I am older and trying to spend less money so that curbs any appetite for new gadgets. My gadgets end up being small and cheap.
The final person that I know who considered buying an iPad also bought one. I thought his reasons were the most interesting of all. First of all he was an iPhone user except that the reception on his iPhone was so bad that he had to give it up for a Verizon phone. Secondly he spends a tremendous amount of time on airplanes.
He told me that giving up his iPhone was a whole lot easier because he could use his iPhone apps on his iPad. That actually makes sense to me. He then said that he found the iPad much better for use on an airplane. I can also see that.
I would have a hard time deciding to use an iPad because I would have to learn new ways of doing things which are already get done in very sensible way. In spite of Apple telling me that I already know how to use it, likely getting my daily chores done would require some new software or new ways of doing things. This is not change like when I went from a typewriter to a computer. That was change that saved me days of work.
Having an iPad with me is not that much different than having my smart phone except the screen is bigger.
I am actually really happy with my Droid, laptop, and desktop combination. Things are working well, and I don’t see any reason to interject another device with yet again another series of tools.
I was around when we had to convince people that they needed computers. Maybe it is easier to convince people that they need iPads, but I suspect it might be harder than Steve thinks to convert the world to iPads.
Anytime you ask people to do something different there is resistance. Based on the number of commercials, Apple is going to give it a serious shot. Apple never spends money on television commercials unless Steve is fully committed.
Actually if I am going to get wet, I would rather it be a real wave on a great beach day.