I read a great article last week about the complexity and power of computers vs. what most non-Gen-X-ers want and it really got me thinking about the iPad.
The audience for the iPad is larger than the audience for the iPhone, even larger than the audience for a Mac. It’s a nearly complete computer replacement for a whole segement of the population. Some college students have the potential to get by without a computer at all. Imagine if everything fit into your $800, top-of-the-line device that you carried around under your arm. You could read your textbook, take notes, listen to music, watch movies, check e-mail… scratch that, check Facebook, browse YouTube, compose your paper, balance your budget and map out where to eat after study hall. It’s a fully functional device that is a tiny dent in their pocketbooks compared to a laptop.
Some tech-guy’s non-tech wife is going to learn to love this thing. She’s going to easily sync all of her music onto it and appease the kids during a long car ride by playing songs they like and distracting them with a kid movie that is downloaded straight to the device. She’s going to read her blogs about Twilight and Harry Potter while she’s waiting for the kids to come out to the car after class. She’s going to be bored one night and buy a few books on the iBookstore and realize how incredibly easy it is to access it. Instead of having to go to a specific website, her husband is going to install Mint on her iPad and she’s going to be able to see what their balances are at just about any time. And when she’s not using it, she’s not going to complain that it makes the house look junky, because it’s going to sit on their desk and show pictures of the latest family vacation in a beautiful slide show.
And your grandmother is going to love this. You’re going to give her the 3G version for Christmas and show her how to activate the $15/month connection whenever she needs it. She’s going to check her e-mail and see the pictures you attached. She’s going to have her calendar right there and she’s going to be thrilled with the fact that she can syndicate with your calendar and know when you’re unavailable. She’s going to be extatic about the kids pictures that she can so easily download and the little bit of web surfing she does works great on the iPad. It’s a complete computer replacement for her.
And it’s also a complete computer for small children. Imagine children’s educational apps, especially ones that take the outside edge of the device and ignore any input. Imagine kids that get a specific amount of time to watch movies and listen to their favorite music. Imagine them playing a few games as well. Do they even care about having a “real” computer? And how expensive is it? Not very expensive at all. $500 for a “kid friendly” version–a Christmas + Birthday present for a 6 or 7 year old…
And it will work great for sales, for businessmen on the go… there is a huge segement of the population that is about to get a very cheap and very high-tech computing device that they can take anywhere.
Will it replace the laptop or the desktop? Not by a long shot. Will it reduce their sales? Possibly. Will it increase adoption in general. You betcha.
An exciting place to be.