We had some friends over for dinner last week, another chance to fire up the grill. After dinner the fellow looked straight at me, and said “I’m not leaving until you show me your iPad.”
Then this past weekend another friend was over, a real Macintosh fan, and he was glued to the little tablet for a good half hour, swiping happily away.
I don’t know anyone who has bought an iPad who hasn’t become insanely attached to it. It’s converting people who have never used the touchscreen iPhone. Today I read a review by one of the latest converts, Henry Baum writing on Self-Publishing Review,
It’s the best thing I’ve ever bought.
Baum thinks the iPad will be transformative, and with good reason. The rich media it brings to books, along with the convenience of working with digitized text, is going to shift the whole reading paradigm.
The iPad Takes on Gamers, Laptops, Desktops
A story yesterday by Lance Whitney on CNet News quotes a new survey by Resolve Market Research:
Among those who own or plan to pick up an iPad . . . 38 percent say they won’t buy a dedicated portable game console after picking up an iPad. . . 50 percent say they won’t purchase a dedicated e-reader after bringing home Apple’s tablet.
And how about some of that all-important lifestyle research? Yeah, iPad has gone directly to the core of American life:
Where do iPad owners use their tablets? . . . Among current users, 68 percent said they use it on the couch, 40 percent in bed, and 31 percent on the porch.
Can you imagine taking a computer to bed? I mean, of course, before the iPad. And yet it’s the most natural thing in the world once you get used to having one around.
Watching the iPad quietly expand into the culture has been pretty interesting stuff the last few months. Another story, out today, is by Brooke Crothers writing on CNet News.
He quotes Apple Apple COO Tim Cook saying that the iPad market is “very big” and might start to “cannibalize” the market for PCs. This set off a round of higher sales estimates coming from market research firms.
Cook said that, even three months into the iPad’s life,
“We are absolutely selling every unit (iPad) that we can make. Our guts tell us that this market is very big . . . if it turns out that iPad cannibalizes PCs, that’s fantastic for us because there is a lot of PCs to cannibalize.”
Crothers goes on to quote ABI Research and iSuppli, both of whom have revised their sales forecasts for the iPad. The original estimates were for Apple to slowly ramp up sales, acheiving perhaps 3 or 4 million units during 2010.
Now? ABI almost tripled their original estimate to reach about 11 million tablets expected to ship by the end of 2010. And iSuppli thinks Apple will ship 12.9 million iPads this year.
Remember that when the iPad was launched, a lot of people thought the Kindle had a pretty decent head start, since they had about 5 million units sold in the first year on the market. It’s starting to look like iPad will pass that number in a matter of weeks.
All For One (iPad), One For All
It’s not like Amazon stands to lose out. Like Barnes & Noble and others, they’ve brought their own eBook reader apps to the iPad and therefore multiply their own potential base of customers as Apple sells more iPads.
Of course, they are far behind in terms of offering a platform for rich media, for text with audio and video and GPS and touch-screen interfaces and accelerometers, let alone thousands of apps and more coming.
No, the whole iPad experience has taken the ease with which people adopted the app format on their smartphones and blown it right into the heart of computing. The iPad is more useful, in more ways, and in a more delightful style, than we could have imagined. It deserves to thrive.
And as the apps roll out, as all the developers look at those units being sold, the affection with which people treat their iPads, and the prospect of 12,000,000 of the tablets going out the doors this year alone, there’s literally no telling how we’ll be using the iPad a year from now.
Taking a tip from a Twitter connection, I’ve been watching Newsy, a mobile video only news source with incredibly efficient short news clips. I’ve gotten a copy if iDraft so I can draw designs right on the iPad screen. And there are a bunch of apps I’m just waiting to try.
Even though the iPad is really a computing accessory, it provides the best computing experience yet to come along, and done it by flying in the face of conventional wisdom.
The Magic Garden Is a Wonderful Place
In so many ways companies are trying to connect with us in the manner we find most comfortable. The idea is to give your customers choices, options, power over the way the transaction takes place.
But the iPad goes in exactly the opposite direction. In a word processor you might have three or four ways to assign fonts or styles to selected parts of your text. On the iPad, you have one way only. In software we’re used to the keyboard and the mouse overlapping functions in many places. On the iPad you have no choices, there is only the way that Apple has decided you will interact with the device.
Most of the software on the iPad has no menu, no file list, none of the normal features that remind us we’re “computing.”
On my Mac I have six or seven windows floating around: Twitter is pinging in the background, I have book layouts, email, documents in PDFs, blog posts I’m reading, you know what I mean. Your monitor looks the same, doesn’t it?
On the iPad, you do one thing. Then you do another. For a twenty-first century device, it’s incredibly linear.
And yet it all works, that’s the magic. Forced to do one thing at a time, many writers have been able to focus better. When you watch a movie or a TV show, it’s a personal, intimate experience.
Even though it’s the first-generation of a breakthrough product, the iPad has come close to being the convergent, wireless, always-connected digital “sidekick” and helper we’ve imagined for many years.
We just never imagined it was quite this close. And I never imagined that when it arrived, it would succeed prceisely because it took away the very idea of choice on which I thought we had become totally reliant.
My Question: Will 12 million iPads fundamentally change the publishing or media landscape?
Lance Whitney on CNet News: Survey: iPad edging out e-readers, game devices
Brooke Crothers on CNet News: Apple ponders iPad cannibalization of PCs
Henry Baum on Self-Publishing Review: The iPad is Incredible: A Review
Image licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, original work copyright by Aperturismo, https://www.flickr.com/photos/aperturismo/