Days after returning my Apple iPad to the store, I think I’ve finally concluded what my discontent with product was: it isn’t magical and it isn’t revolutionary. After reading Twitter and all the users whom appeared satisfied with the product, I had to at least give it a shot, even though I was already cynical. The result was that just as Fred Wilson found, “You give up a lot with the iPad and you don’t get much in return.” Rather than just attacking the device, I decided to write a deeper analysis of where I believe the device fits in the market.
There Is A Market For The Device
While I’ve gone as far as to suggest there isn’t much of a market for the device, there are clearly some people who could benefit from an iPad. Doctors, nurses, door-to-door salespeople, and pilots could all benefit from having one of these. Additionally, some people have suggested to me that my grandparents and other light-weight computer users could make this their primary device.
While I agree for the most part, you’re also requiring those light-weight users to make a shift over to a new way of thinking. Also, by requiring users to carry a separate keyboard (because many light-weight computer users prefer typing on a keyboard), it makes this device kind of awkward to carry around. However, I understand the position of those who state that the light-weight computer user market could benefit from the device.
The Luxury Market
For the more advanced computer users, this device is simply an accessory. There is no way that a power computer user would find this device suitable for their day-to-day activities. While there are users who could figure out how to do it, there’s also people who have figured out how to live on $1 a day in New York City.
For these power users, the iPad is sufficient for use on the couch, in bed, and on the toilet. It also can potentially substitute the Kindle, but at double or triple the cost, it doesn’t make much sense. In other words, the device is not necessary for the majority of computer users. Farhad Manjoo also concluded the same thing after speaking with people in the street (see video below).
Not Magical And Not Revolutionary
After more thought about my decision to return the iPad, I’ve realized that the real reason I returned the device was that it simply wasn’t magical or revolutionary, both two terms Apple used to describe the device. Look, there’s no doubt that the 12 hour batter is a breakthrough, however I want them to develop the same battery for my Macbook Pro which will create a dramatic shift in the computer market.
The Apple iPad may be the beginning of a broad computer movement, however this version of the device is simply not the one that everybody is going to rush out to buy. Perhaps I’ll be eating my words later, but I’d guess others who rush out to buy the device because Apple has positioned it as groundbreaking are disappointed because it doesn’t replace anything else they have and they can’t spend tons of time using it (because they need to use their existing computer for most things), will have the same buyer’s remorse I had.
Then again, perhaps we should only be getting the device for our 2-year-olds: