Friday, May 07, 2010

The iPad: personal or family device?

I know everyone is tired of hearing about the iPad. But it is a fact that Apple sold one million devices in a very short time. Very short. It is the fastest device to gross a billion dollars. It is a phenomenon that goes beyond high tech. It is an incredible story.

However, I feel the interesting part of the story is yet to come.

The iPad is intrinsically a personal device. It is an iPod on steroids. Something built for a single person, for personal use.

However, ask most people who bought it (mostly male in the 35-45 age group) and they will all tell you the same thing: "I brought it home, my wife took it away from me, then the kids saw it and I haven't had a chance to play with it since" (notice the word - play - ;-)

All of a sudden, the iPad has become the family device. One that requires turns. Used by multiple people.

That morphs it into a shared device, like the TV. Remember the fight for the remote? I want to watch baseball and my daughter wants to see Martha Speaks? Yep, same thing.

The iPad does not have support for multi-accounts, as the Mac or PCs. It was built for personal use. It is now used, instead, as a family device. Multi-accounts driven by sets of different apps. In some families, I guess they might be splitting home windows (you have only four, though…).

Do I really think the iPad is a family device? Nope.

Do I believe Apple will add multi-account support to it? Nope.

The iPad is and will remain a personal device, as your iPod or your iPhone. I already know people that bought two, three or four. One for each member of the family.

Everyone in the family will get an iPad, eventually. Apple is more than happy to have you not fight on the remote. So nice of them.