I suspect the Anthony family will use the iPad to browse magazines, watch videos, and waste time with applications, with the laptop reserved for “real work” and the Kindle for “real reading.” Interestingly, even as manufacturers gear up to create 3-dimensional televisions, the TV is the one screen that will increasingly become marginalized in our home.
Only Apple can inspire a fierce debate — before launch! — about the degree to which the iPad is going to meet almost un-meet-able expectations. From my perspective, it’s just too soon to tell.
You see, I’m waiting for the twist.
Let’s not forget that when the iPod launched, there was no iTunes, and certainly no $0.99 songs. When the iPhone launched, there was no AppExchange, and certainly not one with more than 150,000 applications. Yes, the iPad will facilitate the creation of improved applications, and yes, it does have a bookstore, but assessing its real disruptive potential requires waiting to see whether Apple introduces an iTunes — or AppExchange-like — twist.
I suspect that twist will tie into the moves Apple has been making in the advertising space recently, such as its $275 million purchase of Quattro Wireless in January, several prominent hires, and the unveiling of its “iAd” platform next week.
Google has created a $180 billion behemoth with its innovative search-based advertising program, but there remains room for substantial disruption in the advertising world. I’ve said before that even search is still in its early days, with companies and consumers still facing significant hurdles that stand in the way of solving the real problems in their lives.
Further, massive potential for mobile advertising hasn’t translated into massive dollars — estimates suggest the mobile advertising market in the United States was less than $500 million in 2009. Meanwhile, Google makes $500 million in profit a month.
The iPad could be a great vehicle for Apple to take a run at a number of different business-oriented solutions. One interesting thing to watch will be the degree to which the company consumers absolutely love can maintain that goodwill as it serves businesses. I certainly wouldn’t bet against it, but it will be a tricky line to toe.
If there isn’t any twist, I expect the iPad to help grow the tablet category, and foster the creation of a raft of interesting applications, but fall short of the transformational impact of the iPod and iPhone platforms.
As to whether or not the iPad is the hoped-for-savior of the media industry, I have to admit that despite my love of that industry, I share concerns raised by Scott Rosenberg that the iPad will be to media in 2010 what the CD-ROM was in 1994 — a vehicle to layer on content that people don’t actually want or care about. Just because you can offer multimedia bells and whistles doesn’t mean the consumers actually care about them. I’m sure some media players will come up with cool high-impact ways to utilize the tablet platform and create immersive experiences, and others will create feature-rich applications that bomb. Those that succeed will take a market-first perspective that figures out what the consumers and advertisers want and deliver it. Those that fail will take a capability-first perspective that tries to force fit existing content and business models onto a new channel.
(Courtesy: Harvard Business Review)