Before we start this article, we must confess that we love Apple products just like millions of other Apple fans. We think they look really cool and are indeed one of the best gadgets ever produced with their innovative design and revolutionary software. But what is more intriguing is why is it so much popular and successful among all the generations of gadget users? Why people choose iPad when there are other alternatives out there in market which have better features than iPad?
Apple ventures into smartphone market
A brief history about Apple will tell us that Apple was just known for its iPod and Macbooks until the day in 2007 when iPhone was launched. A smartphone that has almost single handedly killed Nokia smartphone market and brought Nokia (a market leader and a company we have admired since the time we started using a mobile) to the brink of creative bankruptcy at least in smartphones arena. So much so, recently Nokia’s chief sent an internal memo to its employees stating that company was standing on a “burning platform” on the verge of being burnt by the “blazing fire” of its competition referring to Apple and Google’s Android platforms. Finally, Nokia decided to dump Symbian software in favour of Microsoft mobile windows 7 and teamed up with Microsoft in order to rebuild its dominant market position that it was once proud of. Nokia will use Microsoft mobile software (although point to note is “not exclusive to Nokia”) to build all its future mobiles. Like Google’s Vic Gundotra famously commented “Two turkeys don’t make an Eagle”, we too agree that two businesses of such magnitude struggling in their respective arenas cannot make a market leader. Guess we will just have to wait and watch.
The birth of iPad
Well coming back to Apple, that built a huge brand around its iPhone, decided to bring the experience to a larger platform. So, what does it do? It created an altogether new category of products in the laptop/ netbook range. It built a larger version of iPhone and called it “iPad”. Steve Jobs, Apple’s father figure, insisted that there is a gap in the market that they have identified and they think customers will embrace with open arms. Boy oh boy! Embrace they did in a way no body anticipated. In spite of the all the initial criticism by the critics and skeptics, who called the first version of iPad a waste of time and a product not required for the users, iPad went on to become the fastest selling product ever produced by Apple, outselling iPhone. According to Apple, they sold more than 15 million iPads last year.
So Apple’s gamble paid off. What started off as a fad amongst Apple diehard fan base, became an object of desire even for people who probably don’t require it. Even though priced at the same price as a decent laptop (around £499) and with not even half the utility offered by a laptop, what the iPad offered to the users however was its unmatched touch screen magic along with its huge base of bespoke apps.
Our final thoughts…
Although we love the product but we don’t understand why, in this cash crunch economic situation, someone would pay £500 to buy an iPad instead of a laptop, where they cannot work on office documents, cannot install other software and have to touch type on the large screen with a weird viewing angle. We do agree that it is a matter of personal choice but it still remains a mystery to many pragmatists like us that why millions of people go bonkers every year as soon as Apple makes some announcement.
However much we love the business model of Apple as business students (with its creative excellence; a strong control over its product design, manufacturing and supply chain; a hugely successful strong brand image that allows it to have massive profits margin on its products), as a well-informed customer we still feel cheated.
After months of speculation, iPad2 was launched recently with few new features like front and back camera and improved processing speed and is expected to hit the markets in 25 countries this weekend. So, while people are getting ready across the world to scramble to the Apple stores , we all know the iPad 3 has already given its birth in Apple’s California offices. The next iPad will probably offer just a little bit more in features but enough to ensure its loyal crazy customer base again spending a night outside its stores when it is launched into the market in 2012.
If you are an avid Apple fan, please share with us what you think is the one mystery factor that resulted in iPad success:
- Brand (It’s Cool! factor)
- Design and touch screen magic
- Thousands of bespoke apps
- Weaker Competition (No worthy rival products)