One more thing… Pundits? Don’t get me started

30 April, 2010
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The ‘pundits’ don’t get it. There, I said it. They never do. They’re the same group of bloggers and journalists that predicted a quick death to the iMac, iPod and iPhone and all the other new Apple products that have been released since Steve Jobs was re-handed the reins to the business.

They’re the ones that write articles like ’10 things wrong with the iPad’. They’re not early adopters excited about technology, they’re geeks and hackers and they’re the wrong people to get your technology advice from.

Let’s start with the Apple TV (of which I personally own two): Sure, it’s a product that hasn’t reached the iPod’s level of sales but it’s on display in every Apple store, and I’d guess they’ve sold more units then any other branded, dedicated TV set-top box.

Sometimes it’s not the product that fails, but the market. Maybe the perfect product doesn’t exist yet and that’s why the uptake is slow, but if I was a betting man, my money would be on Apple TV having the largest share of any product in the TV set-top market. If you listen to the pundits the Apple TV is an outright failure, but put that product in the portfolio of any other consumer electronics brand and it’s probably a best seller.

In late January Apple announced the iPad, possibly one of the most important products the world has ever seen.

Don’t kid yourself … consumers will love this thing. It’s perfect in so many ways. So perfect that by lunchtime on the day of its launch I’d spoken to no fewer than 10 family members who said they were going to order as soon as they could. I think there’s something unbelievably exciting about the concept of this very personal device; a device that you hold and touch and point at, and that will be carried around the house with you as you move from room to room.

I think about using it to surf on the couch or watch a movie in bed. I think about taking it to a potential client and showing them a presentation. I think about reading the paper on it in the morning. Sure, I can do all these things on my laptop already, but just as people have fallen in love with the intimacy of the iPhone, so they’ll fall in love with the iPad.

But pundits just don’t get it. They can’t see the forest for the trees. It doesn’t have a camera, it doesn’t have USB, it won’t run Excel. Blah, blah, blah. They shouted similar things about the first iPhone. No MMS, low resolution camera, no user-replaceable battery, no multi-tasking. Yawn.

I’m shocked that the Pundits haven’t figured out that consumers don’t buy features; they buy products that solve problems and fill niches. Consumers want an easy solution for consuming media and the iPad is it.

The iPad might not replace the laptop you’re using now, but iWorks for the iPad demonstrates that desktop-class apps can be built for the device, and within the next 24 to 36 months you’ll see lots more. Do you think the pundits might change their mind if Microsoft does a version of Office for the iPad?

The iPad, however, is only part of the story of what Apple, the company, has become. It now does everything itself.

We’ve all known that it builds great hardware and software, but the iPad is the first Apple device to use a custom-built Apple chip called the A4. That’s right, Apple now even designs the chips in these devices, and they’re designed from the ground up to run Apple’s software better than anything else. This ability gives Apple a massive advantage over competitors, who don’t really do anything but design hardware with off-the-shelf components.

No, the pundits just don’t get it. And they probably never will.

This article originally appeared in the March issue of Australian Macworld magazine.

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