The iPad has been around for more than four months now and after using it extensively for a multitude of purposes, here are some of my observations…
To start with, the iPad is not just a passing fad. Instead it is the birth of an entirely new category of devices; devices that, in the future, are going to be a majority. Steve Jobs has once again wowed us with more than just a beautifully designed product backed by meticulous marketing. He has in fact created a global phenomenon, one that everybody wants to be a part of.
Till date, Apple has sold over three million devices with millions more to soon be sold in countries all over the world. Citing a Forrester Research Report; Tablet PCs are expected to replace netbooks by 2012 to become a strong segment in the global PC market, and nearly one-fourth of personal computers in the US market will be tablets by 2015.
The second distinct feature of the iPad is its ability to instantly appeal and interact with almost anyone. Be it a 4 year old, a teenager, a grad student, a working professional, or a 74-year-old grandmother, the iPad appeals to everyone. The other day, I was at home watching a game on TV while my 4 year old daughter was clambering all over me, wanting to be entertained. Me, too involved in the game and not wanting to be distracted, opened up my iPad and tried to get her busy with one of the word building apps I had downloaded. Soon enough she figured she’d do better without my help and ran with my iPad to the far end of the room, sat herself in a corner and was engrossed in the game for the next 20 – 25 minutes.
This is just one example that further proves how fantastic this device is. Any device that can hold the attention of a 4 year old for more than 20 minutes is truly the future. The device finds its way into the lives of almost every individual and has an app to cater to almost any interest.
Third is the ease in which its intuitive touch based user interface facilitates interaction. The manner of interacting with this particular device takes us back to the basic, the natural dynamics of using our hands and fingers to interact with an object as compared to using mechanical devices such as a mouse or stylus to navigate.
Fourth is that this is a everything device. For me it’s a book, a magazine, a newspaper, a piano, a map, a video game player, a note pad, as an additional screen and much more. With the increasing number of apps, the functionality of the iPad is only going to increase, making it a necessity in our everyday lives. Fifteen years ago, no one imagined that cell phones would be such an important part of our everyday lives. I think this would be the case with tablet computers like the iPad too. Ten years down the line, we probably may never leave home without them.
Moving closer home to gauge the impact that this device has on publishing and the publishing industry brings me to my fifth observation. As technology partners for many leading publishing houses, this could be the device we have all been waiting for. The iPad allows us to do justice to our product offerings, taking learning and reading to a whole new level of engagement and interactivity. It facilitates convenience for purchase and the ability to make impulse buys. Over the last month, many of the books I have bought have been the result of discussions and conversations with friends who have recommended a particular book or article and me buying the book then and there. An added advantage is that I have all my books and magazines in one place, and knowing that I can access all of my content at anytime, anywhere
This new category of devices is getting us closer than ever to the tipping point. We now have the device in place, information search in place, distribution through apps and eBookstores in place, as well as, the ease of payment through well established payment systems and infrastructure. For those of us in the Publishing industry - I’d say - The future has arrived.