With the interwebs (especially Twitter) all aflutter over the launch of the Apple’s latest technological marvel, the iPad, I thought it would be timely to post my reactions. However, instead of passing judgment on a device that I am yet to get my hands on (hint, hint Apple reps), I thought it would be fun to look at the launch from an entirely different perspective.
First of all, this is not the first Apple product unveiling I have borne witness to. I was there (well, not actually there, but aware of it anyway) when Steve Jobs announced the iPod, iTunes, the switch to Intel chips and the original iPhone. Yet somehow, the hype leading up to those pales in comparison to the amount of speculation and praise that has been heaped on the iPad in the weeks and months leading up to Jan 27. It was hardly surprising that Mac Fanbois, spurred on no doubt by Steve Jobs own comments, claimed that the then-unnamed Apple tablet was going to be a “game changer”, but then so too did the mainstream press who heralded it as ushering in a new era of computing, entertainment, media, etc. all before the device had even be released.
While it might turn out to be a game changer, my first impressions are that it is nowhere near the giant leap forward that the iPhone, iTunes or even the iMac were. To me, those three did more to revolutionise how we think about mobile phones, music and the computers place in the home.
Irrespective of whether the iPad lives up to the hype, full marks must go to Apple’s marketing team for another outstanding product launch. They have leveraged the reach and power of internet (not to mention the brand’s mystique) to ramp the rumour mill into overdrive by saying, well, very little. Instead of shouting about it, they leaked snippets of information and essentially left their fans and industry analysts to let their imaginations run wild.
Next time you think about putting out another piece of collateral telling consumers how great you are, stop and ask yourself if you are saying more than you need to. Too much and you run the risk of painting yourself into a corner and alienating potential customers. Not enough and they won’t know what you’re about. While chances are you don’t have the same brand cache and fervent fan base as Apple, it is worth considering how much detail you need to put out there to tantalise your audience and to know what will get them excited.