iPad Means Business – Pitch to Portfolio

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January 27, 2010

in General Interest, Mobility

Let’s see.. I followed iPad announcements on Engadget, read Gizmodo’s summary, saw that @gigaom thinks it kills the Kindle and now we have the Apple Video. According to Apple 75 million iPhone / iPodTouch users already know how to use it. They also say they are now a mobile company, beating Sony, Samsung, Nokia etc and claiming they are now the biggest.

So will it sell? Is it any good? We don’t know. Yet Apple has the power to frame new markets and opportunities. Today iPad isn’t much more than a glorified iPodTouch with a great big screen and faster processor. It should also be dammed for not having a front facing camera! (See also Mashable on this score). It was demoed using iPhone OS3.2 so any upgrades coming for the iPhone haven’t yet been revealed. Things it is designed not to do (tethering), VoIP over 3G, SkypeVideoChat are disappointing to at least 3 million users that downloaded Skype for iPhone and iPod touch.  Leaving the camera out is obviously “version” planning. What the iPad does do is make computing/browsing/electronic address books and many more things much more simple and easily accessible.

When listening in on the commentary I thought…
If the price is right ($499 – still expensive but it can be rationalized) this really takes on the gaming platforms. Games on the iPhone are simply much cheaper than Nintendo, PS3 etc. iPad will really hurt them and will get “gaming” away from the TV. Lots of things happen in houses around gaming, equipment, usage, etc. So, kids, families, – this will be one to watch. This is an activity focused on consumption of media and games.

Yeah, so the books stuff I saw was yawn (I expect some upgrades). Yet it is the overall availability of the web in general that becomes very accessible and easy for many to reach. I have an image of a much older generation that possibly missed out on the PC generation — we would like to have them connected. A gift for Grandma? Grandad? Perhaps they haven’t upgraded for years… perhaps not even on the net, yet to you it is worth a try at $15 per month. If this is a success story… if the reading works out.. if the videos etc are cool.. if it works in bed, when they travel etc.. then just perhaps this is the device…and the $14.99 is less than a one night hotel charge to be connected. And of course, the larger screen which would help me too with eyesight. Add in a few more ways to make syncing easy and I can share my pictures etc. People are buying picture frames for this… With a dock.. it can ring. It really is a shame that no camera is built in. I just think this is strategy and timing. Next generation.

Then I thought after about app developers.
iPad just ratcheted up the app store another notch. While Android is going into many different devices and going to appear in different shapes and sizes, there is a migration path and integration here that will appeal to businesses. No one talked in the presentation about Business Apps. This takes Apple further into business. This really hurts Nokia more than Android today.

From an app developer standpoint it is awesome. All those Toshiba Toughbooks and all those Sears or GE repair guys… what about the product sales or merchandising reps calling on stores, or going into a store like Nordstrom and this is the register, the stock system the etc. Then health care. This looks like it will adapt pretty well. My doctor is useless with his laptop… but with this there is a chance for some real advances.

Many years ago I was the first to outfit my 30 person NZ grocery sales team with laptops. It was hellishly expensive at the time. It also paid out in unexpected ways (made some great hires that year). Form-wise then we took the computer into businesses… better to partner with key account managers etc. Today 15+ years later that is commonplace. I see here something that could take that much further. I see new ways to organize the info that might be presented too. This is the first step to rethinking your “portfolio” and the speed with which it can be delivered and how to make it more adaptive at the same time.

And that may be the biggest risk for Android, Nokia etc. By providing a form factor that replaces the portfolio, clipboard, the book, the diary, the agenda, and enabling salespeople, technicians, couriers, real-estate agents; all in a device many times cheaper than what it is replacing. Many firms will even go and do the custom development as it will payout.

I’ve written before that every firm should be experimenting with the iPhone just so they understand how to go mobile, real-time, location based, etc. The iPad makes this POV more compelling in my view for now the apps are going to work around personal interactions, face to face exchanges as well. The iPhone platform is no longer primary solitary.

What was glossed over..

  • Notifications. Nothing was said. Partially because this is a very sensitive strategic area for Apple. I wonder if iPhone OS 4.0 will bring “notifications” between parties “requests”?
  • No bluetooth keyboard? I can’t get too excited about the dock keyboard and this just pisses me off. I already own an Apple bluetooth keyboard!
  • OS 3.2 vs 4.0. I hope that “sharing” also provides advancement in log-in and multiple users. The iPhone is distinctly personal and other than a few pictures not really all that shareable. This device is different. Managing access to different users (even in business who has it checked out…. ) will really expand how it is used.
  • I’ve glossed over iWork by not referring to it. Yet I use them everyday in preference to Office. Not sure how they matter here.

Who will buy it? Well outside those of us that just want to evaluate it first hand and see some new opportunities.

  • iPhone users? If they do buy it… it will only be a WiFi version. The only reason to buy a 3G would be if there was the same sort of $14.99 plan globally. Then as a traveler I’d have a good reason to pay the extra. Go to Italy… for what they charge me for WiFi in one hotel for a night… paid! In the US – use my jailbroken iPhone and just tether it via WiFi. Those that have learned to browse and tweet and more but want a bigger screen around the house… Then it doesn’t have a camera!!!
  • MacBook User: Without an iPhone or iPodTouch this product won’t seem too compelling. Wait for the next MacBook which will integrate the same SIM approach and enable you to connect in any one country anywhere for up to a month for $14.99 or go unlimited. Can Apple do it this year??? For students it would be a real luxury at this point…. unless it really saves them bucks on expensive text books and makes note taking easier. Then it is an automatic purchase.
  • Desktop User: Possibly.. those that know their desktop is tired… know they don’t do much on it… or someone that has the work computer and doesn’t produce much when at home. Don’t have an iPhone etc. Seems plausible. The second PC that isn’t really a PC and isn’t locking me down in my office. These people would never have bought an iPodTouch for their general browsing.
  • Kid? No PC No Gaming Station: This may be easier for some Mum’s to justify educationally than an iPodTouch. Its too bad that “books” seem to be so underdeveloped still. I’m waiting for the day when Dad can read the story while traveling with supporting video and text being underlined etc.. With nice pictures. Then maybe that is just so old fashioned!
  • Jon Husband

    A 16-year old male high school student’s (Robert Scoble’s son) take on the iPad …

    http://scobleizer.com/2010/01/28/a-16-year-olds-view-of-apples-ipad-ifail/

  • http://graffiti-on-the-sun.blogspot.com/ Martin

    Even though I see things that I like about the iPad, I feel a bit meh about it.

    I think the fact that it has a touch screen is nice. I assume it can be used as a art tablet laptop mix that would be appealing as an artist.

    I think my main problem is that it really doesn’t give much memory. I can get a netbook for the same price and have a 100 more gigs then the iPad though I wont get the cool touch screen.

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  • NQ Logic

    With the launch of the iPad tablet, Apple has managed to become the ultimate digital go-between company for high quality and high price content in a small yet very affluent segment of the population … NQ Logic encourages you to check out why Apple’s iPad is the final digital puzzle for their ultimate connected consumer strategy at http://www.nqlogic.com

  • http://mostlyaboutmobile.wordpress.com Less the Best

    The idea of salespeople, technicians, couriers, real-estate agents etc. using iPad is interesting and I can see your point. Still I think there is some thing that should be considered.

    1. iTunes and App approval: There is always a little risk in developing because Apple can prevent publishing for some reason. Is it possible to develop “closed” apps I mean apps only for my use? I’m not so familiar with Apple App developing.

    2. Writing: Users are on the road. When you write you have to lay the tablet on surface or lap. Big screen is nice but for example iPhone you can use in your hand.

    3. Substitutes: Couriers for example have specified machines for use because of the specific requires of the job. Machines have to sturdy, light, reliable …

    Anyway, let’s see. I’m interested see how it succeeds.

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