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You’re Probably Not The iPad Target Audience
Unless you were in some time vortex over the past 36 hours you no doubt know that Apple released the iPad, a 3:4 screen with basic computer features. The iPad launched with the usual hype of Apple product launches, and of course every Apple gear head and iPhone user thought “oh wow” and then “oh stink”.
What were you expecting?
Steve Jobs is well known for saying:
Apple will not produce a netbook computer for under $500
Why is EVERY ONE comparing the iPad to a netbook? Oh well okay there is THIS picture from the Apple launch I guess:
But here Steve wasn’t saying that Apple is creating a netbook, rather he’s saying there is a gap in the gadget sector between smart phones and traditional computers (be they laptops or desktops). He’s saying everyone else is filling them with ‘netbooks’ – take what’s good about computers and make them smaller. Apple are look at this differently, take what’s good about smart phone devices and make them bigger.
There are some key items here to remember. A netbook is NOT a full computer, so there are some things you just can’t do on them. A tablet is NOT a smart phone, so again there are things you just can’t do – they don’t make sense to do.
The Apple team have seen what they think is the best fit in this market, they’ve ignored the “trends” and created what THEY believe is the best fit. Sometimes in life that is the hardest thing to do, just because everyone else is doing XY and Z doesn’t mean that’s right.
Lets look at some of the complaints from different places. Gizmodo has posted a list of reasons why NOT to buy the iPad – lets address some of these.
- No Multitasking: This is probably the ONE thing I’ll agree with, there should be some way to run more than ONE app at a time. Just because it doesn’t right now, doesn’t mean it wont. I think it will. Some apps like Pandora may make sense – but then 99% of the target audience won’t know what Pandora is & the built in iPod will be their music player of choice and that DOES run in a multitask mode. So you want to listen to music – use the iPod.
- No Cameras: This I just don’t get. I don’t see WHY you want a device the size of a magazine with a camera in it? You’ve got your point & shoot digital camera, your mobile phone probably has a camera and your computer has a webcam. How many cameras do you want? I just don’t see the NEED for this device to have another camera. (update: don’t bother saying “video calls” .. if you are tech savy enough for video calls, you won’t be using this device)
- No HDMI out: HDM what now? Seriously, go ask your Mum or Dad what HDMI is. Actually ask almost anyone outside of a BestBuy employee or gadget freak and they’ll go …. ??? what? Again, this is a personal device, why do I want HDMI on it? If I want to share media with my TV I’m a bit of a gadget freak, therefore I probably have some Media computer already (XBMC, Boxee, Apple TV etc), or my iMac has EyeTV or … again, I’m probably out of the target audience for this device. HDMI just doesn’t make sense
- No Flash: Why is everyone SO upset about this, and why am I not? For those of you in the know I once was a big Flash proponent (I’m a published author on Flash technology) – but to me Flash has done it’s job & it’s being replaced (more on that in an upcoming post). Don’t get me wrong, Flash is great for Games and it was great for video, but both Youtube & Vimeo are moving to HTML5 video support. The Flash argument (which is not flash on the iPhone or iPad, but Flash in mobile safari) is moot – you want flash on your device – for what? Video? Move to HTML5 and be done with it.
- Adapters for everything: Of course you need adapters, you are trying to get this device to do something outside it’s primary function. You have to adapt it to do it. It’s a WiFi device .. not USB, not HDMI or others. You want to import photos from your camera? Okay use a USB adapter … OR use an eyeFi card in your camera – I’m sure it wont be long before eyeFi support the iPad.
- No expandable memory, microSD etc: If you are looking to add extra content to the iPad you are poo outta luck. But why do you need too? The iPad is on wifi – store your media, books, music on your main computer, then simply get what you want when you need it. You are not going to import photos from your camera to the iPad – no, you’ll put them on your main computer and then sync only the good ones (the ones in focus) to your iPad. You are only going to store video media on here until you watch it. You won’t store 50 movies on this, 3 or 4 maybe (if you are taking your iPad on a trip), so sync up the ones you want and be done with it. There isn’t a need for memory card readers (& if you really want to, there is an adapter for it)
Who is the primary target for the iPad?
Okay, so I’ve said many times above that most of the complaints against the iPad are coming from the current iPhone generation. We are having “well knowing” 16 year old kids – the future of technology – calling the iPad an iFail. Seriously? What does a 16 year old know?
A 16 year old has vastly different needs than the average iPad user. The 16 year needs a netbook, or laptop and an iPhone. They want to be connected, they want to take photos and share them instantly, they want to interact and they want to control what they install on their device.
Here’s where I think the *almost* perfect situation for the iPad is. (biased to my situation of course). Here at home we have 1 computer, its an iMac, we have an old 21″ CRT tv and I have an iPhone. Our iMac happens to be running an eyeTV USB adapter to become our primary TV. My wife is a book NUT & had been considering the Nook (the fact that is not out in NZ is beside the point).
Often in the evenings, we want to relax and watch some TV, while doing that it’s sometimes nice to check email from family, update the family blog, read up on the newspapers & tech blogs, maybe do a bit of Twitter and Facebook – casual internet. But of course when the TV is on the iMac (we hardly use the old CRT one) it’s hard to multi task and do email. An iPad would fit nicely on our wifi network and allow us to casually surf the net. We coud find recipes and save them, my wife could book mark craft ideas to do with our 2 year old and we could order movie rentals etc for the weekend.
Of course we love to read books (my wife more than me) so for her to have at her finger tips hundreds of thousands of books – is awesome.
My wife is not a great gadget freak – she’s your typical mum. Happy with what ever mobile phone she has (can it place calls and get SMS?), she loves our iMac, but hates the fact it cost so much (Apple prices in NZ are not cheap!). This is the FIRST device she’s looked at, and within 60 seconds she was “You mean you could get rid of all this (pointed at the book shelf) and I could have that? And do email?”
If I had the cash, it’d be the ONE gadget I could now go and buy with her blessing, without having to “explain” to her why we need it. (we don’t have the cash, and it’s a luxury so we won’t – but you get the idea)
The iPad isn’t intended to be a kill all to the kindle, nook and Netbooks of the world. It’s meant to be a complimentary connectivity and media device. It compliments the other digital devices in your life. It brings the power of the internet into a simplified device.
- You want to make phone calls – use your mobile phone
- You want to do skype chats & video chats – use your computer
- You want to stream media to your TV – use your media center
- You want to do video scrubbing, audio production – use your media suite
- You want to casually surf the web, read the paper with a coffee, flip through a magazine, update your email, check your your new niece on facebook, send out a tweet and read a book – use your iPad.
Keran McKenzie (aka Mr K) is a crazy kiwi passionate about the web, business, faith and gadgets. Keran works as Product Manager for Yellow Pages in New Zealand, and blogs over at studiowhiz.com. When he’s not reading about gadgets, he’s reading about cars and working to fulfill his Rally Challenge for 2010.