The target audience for the iPad? Baby Boomers. Steve Jobs invented a device for his people. An APPLICATION COMPUTER.
The generation that introduced YOU to the computer is the one in greatest need of a computer built for them. My dad (electrical engineer and at-first-glance-geek) has had computers all his life starting with punch-card mainframes. But as he ages, he becomes more and more resistant to change.
He went the Apple route starting with an Apple II. This was followed by a Macintosh, a PowerBook, a Macintosh II, and a G3. But System 9 was really showing it’s age and our entire household went to Windows. Despite the return of Steve Jobs and the innovation brought by Mac OS X, my dad kept to Windows XP. He understood it and could use it to do everything he needed.
Despite his familiarity with System and Finder moving him to OS X 10.4 Tiger was somewhat more difficult than I expected. In fact, I think it was easier to move my 90 year old grandfather from Windows XP to Tiger (in truth, because my grandfather doesn’t do as much with his computer as my father).
Computers are flexible. There’s many ways to do the same task. Some are more powerful than others. Some are easier than others. Some are faster than others. It seems things can be powerful, easy, or fast, pick two.
Let’s look at things my dad and grandfather do:
- Check sports scores and stats
- Read a few webpages
- Online Banking
- Photos kids, grandkids, cousins post
- Weather info
- Keep a database of DVDs and home videos
Both of them have a Mac Mini. My dad sits far too close to his, and my grandfather uses a 60” DLP at 720p. Oh, and have you ever watched a 90-year-old use a mouse or touch pad? They just don’t have the muscle control us young’uns do.
The iPod Touch can do everything they need, in a much easier interface that they can’t screw up, but neither of them can see the screen worth a darn. Also, the lack of keyboard is troublesome.
Enter the iPad. It’s a great size for them (132ppi might still be small, but with 2x scaling of iPhone apps we essentially get 66ppi). There’s a keyboard for them to use for e-mail. They can’t screw anything up. It’s $499.
Netbooks, even laptops, are too small for them, and they’re too complicated. Desktops are too complicated. This is a device that fulfills a role that there is no competitor. The iPhone interface might not be the best, but when it comes to easy and intuitive, it’s leaps and bounds ahead of any desktop OS.
This audience is not looking for flexible. They’re not looking for powerful. They’re looking for one easy way to get stuff done. the iPad gives it to them.