One month on
I've been playing with my iPad for about a month now, ever since I was stuck in Las Vegas because of the volcano and needed something to pass the time, so here's my perspective on the kind of people it's aimed at based on people's reactions when they use it.
First off, its primary market is NOT geeks and gadget freaks, neither Apple fanbois, nor Linux/open source fanbois, nor Windows fanbois. Sure, they'll play with it a few minutes and rightly point out all the things it doesn't do (and isn't meant to do). Same with me. I don't use it heavily at all, and for most things I stick to my main laptop. If I wasn't actively considering writing apps for it I might not even have bought a first generation model at all.
The sort of people who just love it, and would go out in a flash (no pun intended) and buy one tomorrow if they can afford one (and might anyway, even if they can't) are:
- My mum, who always liked the thought of getting an iPod or iPhone but doesn't want a contract and already has a phone and for whom the screen is a bit small anyway. She absolutely adored the iPad, and spent hours just playing with Google Maps and Streetview and looking at photos.
- The four year old daughter of some friends who were visiting, who was bored because it was raining outside but then spent a delighted hour watching Winnie-the-Pooh videos on YouTube and playing a few free games. She had no problems at all learning how to use an iPad.
- My cleaner and her friend, who loved using it to look at some cute photos of my cat and checking their Facebook pages.
- The professional couple next door, who both have PC laptops and Blackberries for work but aren't really into technology at all and never realised that a gadget could be such good fun.
Sure, the people queuing on Friday will mainly be Apple fanbois, but the appeal of the iPad is far broader than that and they will undoubtedly be in very short supply over the coming months as all sorts of normal people learn about them and buy them, not because they're stupid or have more money than sense or because they're trying to impress their friends but because they decide the iPad is shiny and fun and they want one.