The iPad Will Change the Way We Compute

I am typing this new blog entry on my new iPad using the “Pages” productivity tool. Being in the communications business, I like to explore new technology, especially interactive technology to see what impacts it could have on marketing in the future.

As busy as I am, I would be the f
irst to admit that I was not thrilled at having to manage “another” device. I already have a MacBook and an iPhone and keeping them synced and charged seems like enough trouble. (As an aside, I converted to Mac about eight months ago from being a life-long PC user and I am hooked). I did not pre-order my iPad but waited to read the initial reviews. After researching, I went to Best Buy and here I am.

Along with the 16GB iPad I purchased the slip-on case from Apple ($29.95) and the VGA adaptor so that I can use the iPad to make presentations.

Setting up the device was extremely simple. I connected it to my computer and I simply answered a few questions. Within 15 minutes, all of my music, videos and photos were synced from my iTunes account. I also configured the device to sync with my Microsoft Exchange account and I was ready to go.

All of my existing iPhone apps work on the iPad. My favorites like the Kindle app and USA today all have an “x2” button that allows you to expand the viewing size to fill the screen. I then started exploring apps for the iPad. Here is what I have downloaded so far:
• Wall Street Journal
• Pages
• USA Today
• TextPlus
• Masters
• CBS March Madness
• Evernote
• ABC Player
• Bloomberg Finance
• Draw
• iBooks
• Weather Channel
• Keynote
• NYT Editors’ Choice
• SketchBook
• Documents to Go
• Rush Hour

My favorite app so far is the ABC Player. If you want to amaze someone, show them this player on your iPad. It’s a game changer that I will explore later in this piece. My second favorite app is the one I am using to type this blog on – Pages. For those of you concerned that typing will be an issue on the iPad, forget it. I can type faster on this device than I can on my MacBook.

The keyboard works in either portrait or landscape. I like the portrait version because the keys are closer together and I can type faster. I swear.

What I really want to focus on is how this device will change the way we live and communicate with one another.

Let’s start with women. I can predict that the iPad will replace a lot of laptops. For those like my wife that use a laptop primarily to check email, get on the Internet and manage photos, this will be the preferred device of the future. After spending five minutes with the iPad, my wife put an order in for the soon to be released 3G version.

Here is her reasoning:
• It fits in her handbag, unlike her laptop so it can go anywhere with her
• She can carry and read multiple books especially her bible which is heavy and the bible apps are very robust so she can search verses easily
• She can access the Internet from anywhere to check soccer, basketball, lacrosse, wrestling and football schedules
• It lays flat for use in the kitchen with recipes
• She can watch all of her favorite shows through iTunes waiting in pick up lines or practices
• She can use it as a multi-media center for the car using Bluetooth
• She can manage her lists
• She can easily access the Internet to check her Facebook and update her status
• She can manage all of her photos
• She can do her online banking on the fly

Some will say that she can do all of this from her phone, which is true. However, her iPhone screen is very small, sometimes hard to read and typing is cumbersome. The user experience on the iPad is 1,000x better. While the Kindle has been a great tool for her, the apps and connectivity of the iPad make it a much more useful device and is clearly worth the additional investment.

So that’s my perspective on busy women like my wife. For kids, the device is where I think the iPad really shines. Let’s say you are looking to purchase a TV for your son’s room. I just checked Best Buy and the best deal on a 32” Dynex TV is $339.99. You have to ask yourself, am I better off spending $200 more and having a device that my son can use as a book reader, TV, laptop, calculator, research assistant and scheduler? I think the answer is yes.

I see the iPad becoming the preferred device of choice for college students. It’s light, easy to carry, robust and smart. Does my son really need a laptop if all he uses it for is Internet access and simple word processing, spreadsheets and presentations?

It will be very interesting to see how the PC makers innovate to compete with the iPad. The next 12 months should be very interesting and fun to watch.

As we all know adoption is critical to success. Can the PC makers catch up and gain
stickiness with their devices? One disadvantage they have is the device integration the Apple devices have. While Blackberry may dominate the PDA market, they don’t make a PC or a tablet. Neither does Google.

In my opinion Apple is embarking on a journey to compete not with the PC guys, but with Google. With their new advertising platform they are poised to make a dent in Google’s PPC domination. If Apple really wants to sting Google, all they need to do is develop a search engine that is optimized for its devices and integrated with all of its apps. If this happens, Apple loyalists will dump Google like a hot rock.

The trap Apple will need to avoid (and they have up to this point) is trying to be everything to everyone. They have built their business on being able to charge more because of their design domination. As long as they stay true to that idea they will continue to grow and prosper.

In my next blog, I will write about my first month of using the iPad.