As I was watching the iPad keynote a few hours ago, I thought to myself, for the first time in an Apple keynote, that I was bored. Bored. While watching an Apple keynote. I was so bored in fact that I took a phone call in the middle and talked about Denny's. Boy do I like Denny's.
[caption id="attachment_26126" align="alignright" width="300" caption="This is not Apple\'s target market. It\'s just not."]
[/caption]Initially, I thought that I would just buy the iPad because I was a tech blogger and that it would be a commercial failure, but then I got to thinking about the mass market. Apple products have always geared towards the upper echelon of tech buyers... not necessarily towards the "super tech nerds" who want to mod the crap out of their tech, but towards the individual that wants to have something unique, something that is better than the average piece of technology out there. I keep hearing about how the average Wal-Mart mom buying diapers will not be interested in such a product, but when did Apple start marketing their computers towards the typical Wal-Mart mom? The key for Apple isn't the Wal-Mart mom, it's my dad.
My dad is an upper middle/upper class, middle aged commodity broker who doesn't really know anything about computers other than how to use FutureSource. He just recently bought a Mac because he wanted a more stable, more intuitive way to put his pictures on a computer, and also for a way to browse the internet without the fear of getting a virus. Within the last year, he finally bit the bullet and bought an iPhone after I made him use mine for a bit on a Vegas trip, and because he was paying almost as much per month on his much less capable phone using Verizon. He tells me all the time that he likes it because "it is so cool".
With all the buzz that the iPad is getting in mass media, people like my dad will meander into an Apple Store one of these days just to touch one. From all initial reports, the iPad feels like a million bucks and it runs without even the slightest hint of lag. The Apple Specialist will show him how nice ebook text looks, how amazing it will be to show off his travel pictures and video on such a nice screen while not having to wield a laptop, how much easier his Monopoly app will be to see on the larger screen (a huge deal for a ton of people), and most importantly, how good movies will look while traveling. He'll be mesmerized by the video quality, and with the diminutive size, he'll probably call me up for a trip to Vegas just for the movie watching experience.
To be honest, he'll probably be able to completely do away with laptop travel altogether. With the attachable keyboard and nifty stand for movie watching, he'll be able to do all he needs to for work on a unit that is much easier to move around than his MacBook Pro. For the average business user, the iPad has everything needed to keep you going, from document creation to simply having all of your media with you.
On that note, my least favorite argument of all is that the Apple pricing scheme for books and music will turn people away because they can buy the same product for cheaper on Amazon. Totally irrelevant. The average Apple consumer, let's use my dad for example, probably doesn't even know that you can buy a song on Amazon, and because he is so ingrained in iTunes now, wouldn't even know what to do with an Amazon MP3 if his life depended on it. iTunes is the marketplace for digital media, and I don't see any reason that it will change anytime soon.
So yes, I do understand that the iPad has its shortcomings, but in all reality, the iPad instantly does away with the need for an expensive (or inexpensive) laptop for travel, one of those crappy portable DVD players to watch movies on the go, and that now useless ebook reader that everyone in the world is considering purchasing. It also gives him the freedom to show off media wherever he is without having to pull out a laptop, or even worse, take people to the office to show off photos. He'll also be able to check sports scores while on the couch without having to deal with tiny iPhone screen typing and maybe, with a little prodding, be convinced to finally use iTunes remote when he has guests over. Just imagine how neat it will be to pass around a 9" portable jukebox at a party. Amazing.
I know that some of you are shaking your heads right now in disgust, preparing to leave some sort of angry comment about how short-sighted I am about the Apple consumer market. Just ask yourself one question. After touching the iPad for the first time, will you not smile a little and wonder how cool it would be to have one of your own? You'll end up getting one... we all will.