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The iPad: An Apple Intermediary

February 22, 2010

Apple's iPad

Apple has been all about one thing in recent years: creation.  Before Apple gained its massive popularity and Digital Royalty status, all we heard was how superior Macs were for graphics and video.  Industry designers had been using them for years because of their high production value.  From the beginning Apple users included the “influentials”.

Then the prosumers followed.  The prosumers, who usually aren’t far behind the creators, followed them to Apple and their products.  Apple was keen to the fact that many people like to both produce content and consumer content frequently.  Apple did a great job of making their products attractive to these multi-users.  With the iPhone and Macbooks selling at a rapid pace it was time for Apple to make their next move.

When Apple became popular among the masses, they took the creation aspect and made it available to all.  Garage band, Front Row, iPhoto, Photo booth and iMovie all came standard on Macs, and all were extremely powerful but intuitive creation tools.  This was a very successful way to move down the content hierarchy, and make people feel that they were advancing up it.  They made all their users into creators.  They became instantly successful; who doesn’t want to be a creator?

With the iPhone and Macbooks selling at a rapid pace it was time for Apple to make their next move.  Enter the iPad.

The iPad is the next addition to the Mac family, but this time directed toward the content consumer.  Apple, has already targeted the creators, and prosumers, and now is going after the consumers.  This is the next category in Apple’s trickle down strategy.

The iPad is an e-reader, music player, movie watcher, internet surfer, calendar viewer and pretty much presents any sort of information you could want to digest.  People assume that the iPad will be for the tech heavy.  With the relatively low price tag, simple operation and consuming focus, the target market is not the tech savvy.  It is those who consume media and information.

Everyone also needs to realize that Apple’s goal isn’t to take over the world with iPads.  They will be happy if they do; but that isn’t their main goal.  They want the relatively low risk iPads to create more business for their computer and mobile divisions.  Non-Apple users will be much more likely to purchase the iPad because of its smaller perceived risk compared to their computers and iPhone.  But, Apple hopes that once users are wooed with the iPad that they will move up the product hierarchy and buy a Macbook or an iPhone.  It’s all about converting non-users.

Apple is systematically targeting the different technology users out there and the iPad is just their next step to target another technology segment.  Barring a disaster with the iPad, it will be interesting to see in the long run how Apple will continue this strategy and what new products they will make, and who they will target next.

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