Over the years in the information technology business I have seen a lot of products come and go. I can recall the latest and greatest gadgets like Apple’s Newton, Palm’s Pilot, Microsoft’s BOB, Motorola’s Pagemate, Blackberry’s Wireless Handhelds and various other products that were marketed to make your life easier. What first comes to mind is – “did they really make my life simpler, or did they complicate my life even more”? The second question that comes to mind is – “where are they today”?
Marketing is so present in our everyday life that we have grown immune to the various ways marketing spins their artful words, most times we do not even know when are being marketed to anymore. Marketing has migrated from billboards and our living room televisions to our computers, cellphones, and so many other devices. Not much surprises me these days but I must admit I was shocked the other day when I was watching a friend play a video game. As I watched, I became acutely aware as their character progressed through its realistic virtual world that the billboards in the video game, even the radio ads and TV commercials in the game were actually real products and current movies. I was floored, how could this be?
Well – as it turns out, their gaming console was connected to the Internet and there was a marketing engine feeding real ads to the game.
Ok ok – this blog is not about marketing in and of itself, although – I am trying to set the stage.
How many devices and gadgets can you think of that have been hyped over the years to be the next best thing and more importantly – how are those devices incorporated into the corporate environment? Were they ready for prime-time?
Today – Apple’s iPad is such a device. Apple has done a great job in marketing the iPad and everyone wants one, including myself.
“The iPad is not a computer, and competitors who approach it like the PC market will fail”, says Apple’s Steve Jobs. These are Steve Jobs own words during his iPad2 launch. In closing the iPad2 event he talked about Apple’s philosophy of marrying technology with liberal arts.
Steve also said, “Our competitors are looking at this like it’s the next PC market. That is not the right approach to this. These are post-PC devices that need to be easier to use than a PC, more intuitive. The hardware and software need to intertwine more than they do on a PC. We think we’re on the right path with this.”
“The iPad is a handheld device that is designed for browsing the Internet, playing games, reading e-books and viewing video content. It fills a product hole between the iPhone smartphone and MacBook laptop”, said Steve Jobs.
I would agree with this statement.
Although – having pointed out the above statement from Steve Jobs, many users soon forget that their beloved iPad is not a computer. It has shortcomings and is limited in capabilities. You still need your computer for the heavy lifting.
When it comes to your iPad, it has limited in functionality – it has issues printing, it has WiFi issues, it only uses the Safari browser, there is no Java support and Flash has just recently been added, VOIP will not function properly and Skype is spotty. The list goes on. Software for the iPad can be downloaded through the App Store, but that doesn’t provide for applications to be deployed in a uniform way across an enterprise or business.
So fast forward to today, and now I am bombarded with user request expecting their iPads to function just like their computers do in the corporate environment. Well – I am sorry to say – they won’t. Somewhere along the way, marketing omitted these misgivings.
I would bet you that there are many IT support engineers cringing when they hear a user complain about their iPads not performing a certain function.
So – back to my beginning statement regarding all the previous devices of the day, as we can attest, they are all but gone. Perhaps the iPad too much resembles a Star Trek device, or it’s ease of use, or it is just cool and everyone wants one. Whatever your reason for purchasing an iPad, please remember Steve Jobs words, “The iPad is not a computer… And most importantly – is the iPad ready for prime-time in the corporate environment?
I my opinion – over the long term, the device could find its way into the enterprise and prove very useful.
I still want one!
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