In his recent interview at the D8 conference, Steve Jobs explained that they started out working on the iPad and then decided to put that on hold and apply the technology to creating a phone. While the phone was probably a more difficult endeavor, as the battery needs to be much smaller, but still be able to power a reasonably large display for many hours, it was certainly a good decision.
Mobile phones are a constant in almost everyone’s life in this day and age. This allowed Apple to bring the iPhone, which is an incredible device, to the attention of a huge number of potential customers as people would inevitably be exposed to it when shopping for their next phone. Anyone who came into contact with the original iPhone was immediately impressed with how easy it was to use it and to do things which you wouldn’t previously do with a phone such as browsing the Web.
In a short time the iPhone was not only talked about a lot, it was being used by a lot of people which only helped to get more people in contact with it and informed about its qualities. Having most other major phone manufacturers trying to create similar looking phones that tried to mimic the interface and features of the iPhone couldn’t have hurt any.
When you see as I’ve seen this week a multi-page full color magazine ad of a Sony Ericsson phone (xperia) comparing it to the iPhone to convince you that it is the best phone, this tells you who everyone considers to be the best phone on the market.
Bad idea from the marketing guys at Sony Ericsson that seem to think that showing their phone’s screen through a cut-out picture of the iPhone and saying that only their phone shows you integrated information on your friends from email, Twitter and Facebook is a major selling point. Humm… I’d hate to have Tweets coming up in the middle of my emails, or emails in the middle of my Tweets, for that matter. Okay, I haven’t seen it so I shouldn’t criticize it, but it just seems that saying that your phone is better than the iPhone because it does Twitter and Facebook is as stupid as it can get.
But I digress… The fact is the iPhone created the perfect user perception of Apple to pave the way for the iPad.
The iPad is a great idea and while there are still one or two guys insisting in saying that it is a fad that will soon pass as consumers come to their senses, most have repented already and have at least shifted to saying that it is not a device for everyone but that there are groups which will find it useful.
Just about everyone that owns an iPhone or an iPod Touch had a pretty good idea of what to expect from an iPad and I dare say that most of those people were not disappointed. This immediately provided Apple with a large number of people (over 80 million) that had very little reservations about buying an iPad in regards to not understanding how it would work or the quality of the device. Many of these people might not consider that they had a need for such a device and many might have been put off by having to work with a software keyboard, but that would still leave a large number of people willing o buy the device without really having all that much information about it.
These people helped spread the word to others and soon we had this crazy demand and supply issue we can see today. iPads are in extremely short supply just about everywhere. Two friends of mine in the past month, while travelling across several cities in the US, separately, tried to buy iPads without success. One of these people went through five cities and only managed to get an iPad when a friend of his found one at a Best Buy store in a small town in Florida and drove it out to him in Orlando, the last stop in his trip.
Now, with the iPad out for a couple of months and over two million users, the iPad is already past the stage where the iPhone’s previous reputation was key to customer perception of the device. The iPad is now reaching the same level of general customer perception previous achieved by the iPhone. With a customer satisfaction number that is above 90% the iPad is going to sell more and more based on plain word of mouth marketing.