I engaged two different friends yesterday in conversations about the new iPad 2. Both have been on the fence about a possible purchase and both were waiting to see what Apple would come out with. One is a certified geek. The other is not. After Apple’s announcement both have decided to take the plunge and would have plunked down the cash for a pre-order yesterday had Apple allowed that. Why?
One word. Apps.
My certified geek friend was following the announcement on-line and was leaning towards the “not-right-now” side of the fence until Apple unveiled the Garage Band App for the iPad. He’s a musician and a geek of the first order there as well. That tipped the scales for him.
My non-geek friend, who I was chatting with from a distance, was actually leaning towards purchasing a Motorola Xoom. He was actually playing with one as he watched the keynote. The App that caught his attention? iMovie. He’s not a movie maker by any means, but he dabbles a bit and his comment was simple and direct. “This could be my portable video station.” That sounds similar to Xavier’s comments in this post.
What’s telling here is that while yesterday was all about the new device and iOS 4.3, Apple knows that putting Apps front and center is a huge distinguishing factor when it comes to its competitors. The iPad may have 65,000 Apps and the others may be way behind in that game but I maintain that it isn’t the numbers but the choice that users have when they imagine themselves using one of these devices. It reminds me of seeing the early marketing for Tablet PCs. The only thing that mattered to me in making that very expensive purchase of a Toshiba 3505 was being able to use Windows Journal to take notes. Everything else was important but at that point, that “App” was the key.