This is the bit that made me pause and also half laugh:
Keep in mind that before the original iPad was released, the prevailing wisdom was that Apple had to not only produce a good device but make a case for why it was needed. To be honest, I’m not sure the latter has been done successfully on all levels.
Boldfaced emphasis added by me.
We are well into the fourth decade of personal computing. Does any case still need to be made as to why anyone should have a computer? Of any kind? Desktop, notebook, or tablet?
Back in the 1980s, I had to do a presentation for an ad agency that was pursuing part of the Commodore account. They could not figure out why anyone should buy a damn computer. I showed them demonstrations of several neat things a Commodore-64 could do. They were dismissive of all of them and settled on “education” as their angle of attack.
Of course, they didn’t get the account.
It was a lot harder to make a case for someone getting a computer back in the 1980s. You basically had to really latch onto their neck with a targeted need:
- this will replace your typewriter
- this will replace your manual accounting
- this will replace your filing system
- this will …
Um, that was basically it.
The market was still too young to make a case for going online, for playing games (consoles were cheaper), and there was no such thing as playing MP3s, watching video, etc.
People have been exposed to an ever-increasing variety of things a computer can do. Many of which only happened because other things happened: AOL popularizing going online, the creation of the MP3 file format, Napster, broadband connections, iTunes, et al.
If there’s any case to be made for an iPad, it seems it’s as a reproach to all current methods:
- you don’t need to sit at a desk
- you don’t have to worry about viruses
- you don’t have to learn to install things
- you don’t have to worry about updates
- you don’t have to search for where downloads wind up
- you don’t have to do anything except enjoy it
Crocker makes the same point others have: Apple sells an experience, not a gadget.
And it’s the experience that people want.
That also explains why we haven’t seen Apple leap to do X, Y, or Z that techies desire. Apple is all about refining the experience first, not just adding features.
There are still many gaps in the iPad experience yet to be refined.
Like easily getting photos from a camera to an iPad without needing to buy and carry along a stupid dongle. For all we know, Apple has been courting the camera makers to fill this gap.
And during the introduction of iCloud, Jobs said something that didn’t make any sense and that is probably a tip to the future. He mentioned not having a certain track on an iPod. iCloud can’t solve that because iPods don’t have WiFi. So maybe he hinted at iPods with iCloud-enabled WiFi? That would be a prime example of smoothing the experience.
Today, everyone knows what a computer can do. So Apple doesn’t need to sell that aspect any longer. That marketing battle is over.
Now it’s all about It Just Works.
And that’s why the iPad has triumphed.