Yesterday morning, April 2, 2010, I was watching The Colbert Report. It was a repeat of the April 1, 2010 show. I do not remember much about it except for one segment.Stephen Colbert , the very funny host, put up a copy of the latest Newsweek magazine. On it was a photo of the iPad, Apple’s just released tablet computer that has been the buzz of the moment.Stephen Colbert was commenting on the launch and all the free publicity Apple was getting being on the cover of a major magazine. Then while still commenting on and emphasizing the very free and high impact value of having the iPad on the front of such a magazine, he turned the magazine around and showed an advertisement for Amazon.com’s Kindle on the back cover.
Stephen Colbert noted that Amazon.com had paid for their ad. Apple’s high impact essentially free ad for their exciting new product was on the front cover of Newsweek. Amazon.com had paid for their ad for their product that had a display, he paused for effect and then said, in “Oh look the screen has both black and gray.”
He did not have to say anything else. But he did and it all was pretty funny even though it was an April Fools segment. (Search on "Stephen gets an iPad.")
Later the same day, I was driving around and listening to WBEZ the local NPR affiliate here in Chicago. They were also covering the launch of the iPad. They were interviewing an official from the Short Hills Mall, “an upscale mall,” in northern New Jersey. The mall official was being asked how they were preparing for crowds that were anticipated for this launch. Don’t quote me, but I recall an extra 30K people expected to visit the mall this weekend. Maybe it was only 3,000 people or 10,000. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that the mall was absorbing the cost of $2,000 per day for extra security and crowd management paraphernalia (Velvet ropes? Police tape?). The mall official was excited because if they could get folks in and out of the Apple Store quickly and mannerly, these same customers would have lunch in the mall and shop in other stores. They were expected a good weekend at the Short Hills Mall.
Is the iPad a game changer? It is the beginning of the end for the laptop? Am I ready for the end of the laptop? I am still having trouble grasping the concept that young folks don’t e-mail in favor of texting, facebooking, and twittering. If the iPad is a game changer, the players in this game change are definitely the more youthful users.
The iPad sure seems like it could be game changer.
Apple has what Seth Godin calls a viral idea or viral product. It is exciting and there is a class of people called innovators, what Sony used to call ‘the crazies,’ that have to be the first to get something new and exciting. It is viral because the buzz and excitement spreads with these innovators, these crazies, sneezing i.e. telling everyone they know that got the hot new thing. They will show everyone they know that they got the hot new thing. The idea spreads like… well a virus, a new product epidemic. Retailers cannot keep the product on the shelf and thus create more demand. The runaway success of the iPod and iPhone has given Apple the kind of reputation that brings about this kind of excitement and buzz. It has extended to the iPad and beyond.
“Standing outside an Apple store in Arlington, Va., Saturday, was John Kay, a 27-year-old employee of AT&T Inc. He would pay for just about anything Apple made and said, ‘If they came out with a $1,000 microwave, I'd buy the microwave.’” http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125534493&ft=1&f=1001In reading the reviews, there is a mix of opinion. No keyboard. No mouse. That bothers some. Other detractors say it is a glorified iPhone and in time no one will want a phone this big. Basically, if the Kindle is cool, the iPad is cooler. If not an laptop killer, the iPad may well become a killer of the mini-laptops or e-mail computers. It is small, thin, can be a phone, music player, and mini-laptop all in one. In the New York Times, David Pogue noted that “The haters tend to be techies; the fans tend to be regular people.” http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/01/technology/personaltech/01pogue.html
Here are my views
- Could I have prepared this blog offering on an iPad? Could I type a thousand words a day on it?
- I carry two books that I am having trouble finishing in my bag these days. With an iPad, I could carry ten, twenty, and probably more books I would have trouble finishing. That would be efficiency!
- I could never ever see watching a movie or TV show my Blackberry or iPhone… no matter how much fun the TV made it look. Blackberry, and perhaps iPhone, internet connectivity is very slow. Is the iPad better?
- It would be really cool if I could have a cell phone and iPad and via the iPad decide which one I wanted to be active. Can I patent this idea?
- If I had an extra $400-500, and that is a big if, I might consider buying an iPad over a mini-laptop. My felling is I could get more functionality in a smaller weight and dimensional product.