The following article by Luke Janssen appeared in Mobile Marketer. As you read it, consider how the iPad could be used for lead retrieval and a lot of other things about which exhibitors care. The article appears with permission of the author:
Why the iPad signals the convergence tipping point
May 19, 2010
Luke Janssen is CEO of TigerSpike
By Luke Janssen
This year the iPad, if successful, will be the catalyst for a tipping point in convergence. And the iPad will be successful. The key reasons for this are outlined in this article.
The size-convenience paradox
The size-convenience paradox is that “The biggest mobile device screens are too small. The smallest notebook screens are too big” and too heavy to carry around in handbags.
The one thing I am told about my 13" Vaio is “Oh the keyboard is small” but actually it is not. Each key only needs to be the size of a finger tip, and the only reason that keyboards are the size they are on laptops is because the screen was modeled on the size of a TV screen and the keyboard just filled up the space below it.
But even small keyboards are one of the key reasons that notebooks have to be so big. They need screens and keyboards.
But think for a moment. What do you need keyboards for? We do not spend large amounts of time typing anymore.
Generation Y and below communicate differently, and the times when we sit down and type are the times when we are in front of our PCs at home or at work. It takes a knowledge of new and changing behavior to get things right.
The size-convenience paradox is a paradox. People want bigger screens because content is easier to consume as there is more space for it, and it is also what we are used to as the Web has traditionally been viewed though a PC-sized screen.
The problem is that carrying a PC-sized screen in your handbag is annoying.
The iPad, and maybe Sony’s new line of really small laptops, have got it right. But of the reasons that the iPad will succeed is because it is designed from the mobile device up and not from the laptop down, and the simplicity that results will win it for Apple.
Technology is not exciting
The most common mistake that everyone makes is thinking about technology.
WAP is not exciting. Applications “running apps in the background” are not exciting. Flash 10 is not exciting. Or rather, these things are exciting, but not to the vast majority of people, the unheard majority of people who buy devices and consume media.
What will be successful is what this unheard majority want. Not what the techies want. And that has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with design and usability.
You will see the techy commentators bashing the iPad, but they have missed the point. They are comparing it to the iPhone or laptop. But the iPad is neither. It is a new device. The converged device.
One piece of technology that is important is speed – for the vast majority the key here is taking away the annoyance of waiting.
The iPad is fast in terms of processing, but more importantly the trend is for wireless networks to get much faster.
I know it does not seem like that on the West and East Coasts of the United States, but elsewhere in the world, and increasingly here, the carriers are investing in technologies such as LTE/WiMAX/4G.
Whatever the technology is, the main point is that it will deliver faster than 3G speeds.
What this means is that the iPad and similar devices will be used for face-to-face communications. Video calls will finally happen, driven by companies such as Skype.
I do not think that 2010 is the year that video calls become available to the masses, but as I said earlier, it is the year of the tipping point, and by the time the mass market has the device, the carriers will have fast enough networks to handle video.
This will all happen in two years, so look forward to 2012 for mass-market video calls.
Value and design
Cost is a pretty big factor, but the key factor is value.
I value my iPhone. I did not really value my Nokia N95. The main reason for this is not that the iPhone was expensive but because of the device design.
Handset manufacturers are catching on and the design guys are finally winning out over the engineers.
However, it is only recently that manufacturers such as HTC are starting to follow suit and creating devices that look and, more importantly, feel valuable – Google’s Nexus One is a good example.
The most successful phone ever was the Motorola V3 because it was thin metallic and felt good in your hand and pocket. And it came in pink.
he funny thing is that only now are companies realizing that making pink and other colored laptops will do more for sales than any amount of onboard RAM.
I still scratch my head about why it has taken so long to realize this. I think that it is because the people creating these things are engineers rather than designers.
I do really value my Sony Vaio, but it cost slightly more than$2,000. The iPad is more than half the cost.
Although the cost of notebooks is coming down, I do not see them ever really competing on price, mainly because they do not have a nice, readymade ongoing revenue stream model as Apple does. So the laptops will never be able to beat the iPad on cost.
Ease of payment
One of the key things that Apple has that is very important is an easy way to make money both for itself and for developers. This is not the case for other app stores –with the possible exception of Android Market – and will ensure that all the content comes to its platform first.
Adding books and video in a way that people want to consume them – the iPod screen is still just too small for long video, but the iPad is not – will mean more revenue for everyone, including publishers and Apple.
The behavior here will be a book- or magazine-like veneer which is read in the same way as the traditional media, with cool social media type stuff built into the background.
Apple’s 30 percent cut is still way too much. Reducing it to between 5 percent and 10 percent is an opportunity for Apple to become the de-facto payment for retailers and content providers who will not accept a 30 percent cut and will bypass Apple’s payment solution.
We have seen many of our clients do this, so maybe there is a two-tiered structure there somewhere. Apple’s big head-start here was because of iTunes and the millions of people who already use it to pay for music, so the billing relationship is there.
The guys to blame here are the wireless carriers. Why they did they not learn from Japanese carrier DoCoMo – which takes a much smaller percentage of the cost of content – is beyond me and indicative of old-company thinking.
Sadly, Apple, although improved on the 40 percent to 60 percent that the carriers take, is still taking too much.
Amazon, with its Kindle ereader, is an even bigger culprit. Although it is a pioneer, it will be one of the losers in the convergence playground.
Conclusion The iPad is the convergent device. Not a laptop, and not an iPhone or iPod. It is a new device that everyone will have that will eventually replace both.
Moreover, the iPad is the catalyst that will be the tipping point for other convergent devices. It is the perfect solution to the size-convenience paradox.
Designed and priced well will mean that it will sell well, and it may take more than the year of the Tiger to get it into everyone’s hands, but it will happen.
Other companies will follow Apple’s lead, as we have seen with the iPhone.
Until we integrate our brains with organic computing, the converged device will be the standard communication device for the short- to medium-term future. This will really happen in 2011 and 2012, but companies will need to give it some serious thought now if they plan to take full advantage.
IPad opportunities for …
• Publishers who have an opportunity to replicate their traditional revenue models
• Skype and other video calling companies for whom the iPad is a perfect interface
• Airlines and railroad networks, who will see the number of people using these devices in-flight and onboard increase significantly, and should be able to provide services bundled in with connectivity
• Any wireless providers who will see a lot more demand especially before the next generation of wireless networks are fully up and running
• Location-based service companies and social networks as more people access while on the move, and with the larger screen that will be able to do more
• Mums and dads who want to keep their kids happy in the back of the car, and therefore educational companies who provide content with which parents will let their kids interact
IPad threats to …
• Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s nook and any other reader will suffer in the same way that other MP3 players did when the iPod came out
• Laptop manufacturers, especially those playing in the small laptop space. They will struggle to compete on both price, quality and design of device
• Wireless carriers whose networks will start to really strain under the weight of the increased traffic
• I do not see a threat to Apple itself as I do not think that the iPad will cannibalize iPod touch or iPhone sales
• Flash or anyone other techynology that Apple does not integrate with the device
• Pulp and paper companies, as having a nice reader will finally start to replace the printed version.
Luke Janssen is CEO of TigerSpike, New York. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.