Apple CEO Steve Jobs hit another marketing home run with the release of the new iPad achieving top of mind awareness and opening week sales of 500,000 units.
But is the iPad a game changer like the iPod? After working and playing on one the past two weeks, I’d say not really–at least not yet– because the iPad isn’t a completely new way of doing something like the iPod was.
Will the iPad blow up an entire industry like the iPhone did to wireless? Probably not. The iPad doesn’t replace an existing product used by millions.
Then what is it?
The iPad is a starting rather than ending point. It is the first multitouch device successfully made for and marketed to the masses and should lead to the introduction of many more. Instead of clicking and dragging with a mouse, your fingers do the walking-touch and go to move, resize, highlight, etc.
Users can do most of what they do on a netbook or laptop often with a better overall experience. Yet the iPad is not a netbook replacement for in depth work because typing on the glass keyboard takes longer and can be a bit of a pain.
Jobs claims the iPad will be “the best browsing experience you’ve ever had” and for the most part he is right. The 9.7 inch high resolution display lives up to the hype. Reading a website, magazine or newspaper online is better than doing so on a desktop and HD movies and family photos look fantastic.
The device also has an e-Reader function similar to Amazon’s Kindle. However, Kindle’s e-ink is easier on the eyes and weighs less. If you plan to read a lot of books, the less expensive Kindle is a better choice.
The iPad offers a number of applications or apps to make life easier (to do lists, spreadsheets, etc.) or more enjoyable (gaming). I downloaded the RealRacingHD game for my six year old son in a matter of seconds. He tells me it’s awesome. I’d have to agree, although I wrecked my car quite a few times.
The major takeaway is the iPad does a lot of things well and is an option for a number of target markets:
“Just the Basics” Users-People who mainly use their computer for web surfing, email, calendar.
Teens/20-Somethings-Gaming and browsing are awesome and the device is portable.
The “Grand” Market-Technology averse Grandparents could like the simplicity of use and enjoy looking at even more photos of the grandkids on a beautiful screen.
Fan Boys -Devoted Apple fans who buy everything Apple.
While the iPad may not be a game changer like its famous predecessors, it is worthy of the buzz. Plus, if history is any indication, enhancements are probably already in the works.
David M. Mastovich is the President of Massolutions, a strategic marketing firm that focuses on improving the bottom line for client companies. Massolutions develops, implements and evaluates integrated marketing, development, public relations and communications programs that increase awareness, revenue and market share for clients.