Gartenberg: Apple’s iPad launch offers four important lessons for the market

“It was quite the week for Apple, first with its best-ever earnings and then the launch of the iPad,” Michael Gartenberg writes for Engadget. “While Apple didn’t create this category of device, it did answer the fundamental question of why this form factor needs to exist. The meta lesson is that the story told is as important as the hardware, software and services being sold — and while everyone may not be convinced, I do think Apple will win over the majority of a skeptical audience with high expectations. But there’s also four important lessons that Apple taught the market this week, as it enters a space that’s been mostly a failure.”

1. Define what your product does
2. Leverage what you’ve done before
3. Make your product additive to your ecosystem
4. Solve a problem, don’t be a feature

Gartenberg writes, “Vendors competing with Apple in this space are going to need to understand these lessons and in many cases change not only their current products, but the story they tell.”

Full article here.


  1. All these nerdy pundits who bemoan the lack of supposed multitasking, support for bug-laden Flash and other stuff just don’t understand the iPad’s target market.

    This is a consumer device aimed at 90% of the market that just wants a simple way to do email, surf the web, listen to a few movies, check their Facebook or eBay account and that’s it.

    They don’t want to install Linux or run stepper motors or put up with the brain damage associated with running Windows and even to a lesser extent Mac OS X.

    People like my 75 year old father or perhaps your Aunt Bessie.

    The vocal geek minority has to understand it’s not always about them.


  2. @figurative, but surely there’s something to be said for being able to do something like listen to streaming music of some sort and then to go into a different app and actually do something whilst you listen. They allow you to do it with iTunes so they must realise that people want to be able to listen to music and do other things. I can understand how multi-tasking can slow things down, but surely there must be some sort of compromise?

  3. I don’t understand why people see lack of multitasking and lack of flash support as an iPad problem. These are iPhone OS issues that can be changed with software, not hardware.

  4. @M.X.N.T.4.1.

    you will be able to listen to the iPod part of iPad as it is the case with iPhone. Apple allows multitasking for its own apps, where it sees benefits. I think they limit multitasking mainly due to battery life of the device. The users of such appliances are mostly not computer savvy and do not understand that running multiple apps at once may run down the battery faster. Most would probably end up never quitting applications and therefore their battery would last less than advertise, such users would complain about battery life and create negative word of mouth for the device.

    I think down the road we will see some form of concurrent running of apps and apps switching with a 3 finger swipe or whatever. For now I think Apples solution is to remember state of each app at exit and upon reopening the device opens the up in the saved state.

    I agree that for most people, the iPad will fulfill their needs. The tinkerers will not be satisfied until a jailbrake appears.

  5. Molly Wood said iPad is five-years too soon making its debut.

    That was her maiden article christening her new blog at CNet.

    Imagine, a girl who hates Apple would use her first article to bash Apple for releasing a product that not only doesn’t support Flash but, isn’t worthy enough to compete with the cheapest Netbook!

    She was very eloquent, succinct, and direct about how Apple just doesn’t understand what she needs in a netbook.

    It’s sad really, how so many are clueless about what Apple has in store for our future. One would think someone in her profession could see the writing on the wall; Apple is setting in motion, another paradigm shift that will change computing as we know it and that everything prior to the iPhone has now become the Legacy Age of Computing.

    Finally, the age of fileless wireless or Wirefile has arrived.

  6. One point that I think a lot of folks are missing is this is a computer that is being made so you can TALK TO IT!

    The Google app on my iPhone is INCREDIBLE. I am from Oklahoma and talk like I have mouth full of gravel (so I’ve been told by you Yankee bastards but I digress) and that app recognizes my dictation with over 80% accuracy. It’s amazing. I can’t wait to use it on my iPad. I suspect more apps using speech recognition will be developed. This product really is a game changer.

  7. By the time the iPad is released, it will probably be running OS 4.00 which many believe will include multitasking. All this fuss about multitasking reminds me of cut & paste on the iPhone, we got there in the end and the sky didn’t fall while we were waiting.

    We must all keep the links to these people who are so sure that Apple is wrong and that the iPad will fail, so that when the iPad is shown to be as exciting, revolutionary and successful as some of think it will – we can remind these people of how wrong they were.

  8. The important point to remember is that people can multitask with the iPad. I switch in and out of iPhone apps add the time. Whether they’re actually “running” when you’re not actually looking at them is irrellevant to the vast majority of people. Can anyone name one common computing task that absolutely needs to run in the background? (I’m talking about average Joe consumer, not you and me).

    The fact is Apple just brought out their first sub-$500 computer. There is pent-up demand for that alone. It’s also “instant-on”. How many executives do you know that would kill to have a desktop-class calendar and email app ready to go with a press of a button. Add to that a touch screen interface that makes computers usable.

    How many people do you know who’ve spent several hundred dollars on tech support / servicing, a digital picture frame, an eBook reader, a netbook, a second computer for the kid’s room, etc. These are all potential purchasers of the iPad.

  9. It really isn’t so much about features. Vast majority of people who now use laptops essentially only do one thing at a time. They surf web, read/write e-mail and that’s majority of their time, possibly 90%. The rest is split between occasionally writing a Word document, managing their iTunes collection, watching a (YouTube) video or similar.

    For vast majority, the ability to have a streaming web site open in the background while writing an e-mail (or a Pages document) is unimportant; they don’t do it today, and won’t find it missing on the iPad.

    Steve Jobs was able to nail ONE important thing: this device is FAST. We are tech people and are totally used to waiting for our laptop (not to mention netbook) take 90 seconds to boot; our Firefox, iPhoto, iTunes, MS Word take (at least) 10 seconds to start. For us, it is normal. For ordinary people, it makes no sense and they are grudgingly putting up with it. When you turn on your microwave, you don’t have to wait two minutes before you can use it. When you turn on your electric razor, you don’t have to wait 15 seconds for it to start after pussing the “ON” button. No other electric (or electronic) device forces you to wait before you can begin using it. Apparently, neither will iPad. Judging by the keynote (and early reports from people who had touched it last Wednesday), iPad will be the first computing device (not counting the iPhone, of course) that won’t force you to wait before you can begin using any of its features. The only wait will be the one induced by the network congestion (i.e. outside its control).

    The instantaneous nature of it will be its defining quality that will sell millions of them.

  10. @MXNT41 – The current iPhone is multitasking but is limited to enhance battery life. I can listen to music while doing other tasks. So it will be with the iPad and as time goes on Apple will continue to enhance.

    @Ron – yeah I was going write listen to music and watch music. My bad.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.