Apple iPad – Master Stroke or White Elephant?

3 minute read

Firstly, I have to confess that I’m in love with the Apple brand. The iPod is one of the best consumer inventions in memory and, from a person that used to feel pretty cool in my teens using a yellow, waterproof Sony Walkman (yes, I pre-date the Sony “Disc”man) it’s amazing how quickly I became reliant on my iPod. I took it everywhere and looked forward to a morning run so I could use it.

As you can imagine, the iPhone blew my mind, and continues to amaze me almost every day. I break into a cold sweat if I forget my iPhone. The iPod and BlackBerry are now gathering dust in the spare room, waiting until I get around to putting them on eBay.

I’m now seriously considering buying a MAC for home. Why? I have no idea. As a marketer I’ve just been sucked into the vortex, and I just want one. Every time I switch on my PC at home I’m secretly hoping that it’s broken so I can justify the new purchase to my fiancée (who I know secretly wants one as well).

So, to the eagerly awaited Australian launch of the iPad. Apple’s website is positioning this product as “A magical and revolutionary product at an unbelievable price.” I’m a little sceptical.

Really good marketers are masters at finding a gap in a market and creating a product or a service that exploits that gap and fills the void. Exceptional marketers take that one step further and develop a product or service to fill a void that doesn’t even exist, and then create the gap via clever marketing. Before you know it, nobody can understand how they lived without what you’ve invented.

However, in launching the iPad I wonder if Apple has just got a little carried away. As one of the most powerful brands on the planet are they forcing a product onto us that we just don’t need at all?
Apple is telling us that you can conveniently; surf the web, watch videos, download and use apps, flick through photos, manage your diary and emails. All of these things you can do on your MacBook and iPhone. I struggle to see why you would buy this product if you already have the iPhone, and particularly if you also own a MacBook (Apple speak for a laptop).

Will this product revolutionise the way that we consume information and, in turn, how we do business in the real estate sector?

Here are some ideas on how the product “could” be used:

1. Listing Presentations. Laptops can be a little intimidating in the lounge room, some agents suggest that they can create a barrier between the prospective vendor and the agent. Maybe a touch screen tablet will soften that a little.

2. Property Searches. Some of our offices have MACS in reception, enabling the public to drop in and browse our website. The novelty of using iPads could work well.

3. Capturing Information at Open Homes. With the right software (that plugs directly into you database) it would be pretty handy to record not just buyer details, but buyer feedback on an iPad during open homes.

I’m still a sceptic, but I’ll let you know when I’ve bought one (which will probably be early May by the way).

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  • Shane Dale
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 9:58 pm 0Likes

    Pete, I think you are on the money – the uses for real estate are good, but like you I suspect the expectation for the ipad to repeat the success of the iphone is wildy optimistic.

    However I do expect the ipad to survive and be useful, to a niche market of devotees, all with their own unique reasons for using them. That is still a successful product, but everyone is going too crazy with predictions for the ipad, and anything short of iphone level of success will have the media trumpeting how the ipad failed and is this the end for apple. Nonsense of course.

    I am also an apple fan – as are many of my developers, even though they also use microsoft on some machines and program in linux based servers. A friend of mine badgered me to get a mac, which I eventually did to shut him up, and I easily became enraged when some of my usual windows actions didnt directly translate on the mac ( go and take a lesson when starting to save frustration)

    Gradually I learnt the mac equivalents and now I always replace any PC with a mac whenever I can now. Vista was the last straw for me, windows 7 is soooo much better. However overall, I end up saving money with a mac, despite the extra cost – because there is so much less IT labour involved with them over time. e.g when i upgraded the OS to the latest version (snow leopard) I actually got my old mac air to work faster, and also the new install gave me back 10GB free space as well. I was also able to complete the task myself. Apple is great, but not perfect, just ahead of the curve usually. Please dont be offended if you are a devout microsoftian – horses for courses! Just my 2c

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 10:17 pm 0Likes

    Pete, here

  • Andrew Blaxland
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 10:20 pm 0Likes

    I’ve been using macs since the “Mac Plus” (around 1991) and even had an “Apple Newton” in about ’93 I think, remember them? With all these new “I’ve just got to get one” gadgets I have come to the conclusion that I simply must buy one …. (even though I too have an iphone and a Macbook.)

  • Nick
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 11:05 pm 0Likes

    Never owned a Mac so I havent been tainted. :p

    The iPad is a interesting niche device. Big screen, big battery, etc…

    Most people wont use it to its full potential though, and its a bit inconvenient to lug around the place.
    I think we’ll see some interesting uses, but the majority will just have one to have it.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 11:56 pm 0Likes

    I was intending to get a wifi model but there are reported wifi issues which is a shame. Most appear to be software fixable with an update and apple has posted some workarounds already. One of these fixes requires you to setup different access points for each signal type b/g/n… Most consumer wireless access points dont have this ability which is going to confuse people

    However the real wifie problem is a weak signal that is most likely hardware that is not so easily fixed.

    Until that gets fixed I might just sit on my hands or checkout some of the upcoming android versions which provide more functionality, front and rear cameras, higher res screen, flash support for the browser, multitasking but it will miss the cool apple logo.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted April 8, 2010 at 5:13 am 0Likes

    Thanks Pete.

    I own a few Apple products and they are all pretty good, hoever Apple is one company I would never buy a first generation product from, usually takes them to 3rd generation to get things right.

    Here in an article from Huffington Post…

  • Ryan O'Grady
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 2:12 am 0Likes

    Great article Pete. The iPad will encourage more mobile agents who work on the road and out of the office more. For consumers it is another creative way to search for properties. Check out this Zillow example

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted May 3, 2010 at 6:34 am 0Likes

    Pete, Here’s an interesting article I read about the iPad & the demise of the HP’s Slate.

    It includes a “heartwarming video of a 100-year-old woman learning to use her first computer, an iPad.”

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