Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Why to Buy an iPad When You Already Own a Smartphone

When the iPad hit the tech markets, there was a good deal of confusion about exactly what it was. Its impact on the mobile computing world has been tremendous, as it has carved out another new niche of customers who have rushed out to buy an iPad or to get a competing tablet device. The explosion of demand for the iPad makes one wonder why it has been so successful in a market already saturated with smartphones.

The reason that the iPad has been successful in light of smartphone competition is that in the eyes of the consumer base, it is not another variation on the smartphone. The technology that has taken the biggest hit from the iPad explosion has been laptop and portable PC sales. In the eyes of consumers, investing in an iPad replaces much of the reason they have a laptop.

The iPad is seen as an answer to a market niche that few knew was there. Leave it to Apple to discover that market niche. Part of the functionality that the iPad picked up from the smartphone markets is the ability to enjoy video content from the Internet. While the smartphone capability to deliver that content was entirely adequate, there is no getting around the fact that the tiny screen was not the optimum way to watch video content.

This became an even more evident market need when it came to being able to watch longer content like TV shows and movies. It simply is not a satisfying experience to watch a movie that was made for the big screen and try to get everything out of it while watching it on a 2-4” screen that you can carry in your pocket.

The iPad provides a larger screen with good screen resolution so that users can enjoy all of the video content that they want and on a screen size that makes sense. It still is not the same as watching a movie on a big-screen TV, but it is a good compromise from the smartphone approach.

The iPad also provides a means of performing document creation and management that is simply not possible on a smartphone. Because a user can use an iPad to create a document, read a PDF file, and do more PC type functions, it is a good mixture of the video capabilities of the smartphone with the computing resources of the PC. The iPad is not a smartphone, so it’s never been a challenge for those who want a very portable device that can go in the pocket or the glove box but still give them a wide range of communications services.

The iPad is also not a full PC, but since many people only own laptops for the purpose of email and watching online content, it is a much better solution for those customers at a significantly reduced cost. Plus, it is the hot new thing so it gives the owner the bragging rights to have the hot new product when they invest in the iPad.

The projection is that the tablet market will continue to grow. It will take away from the laptop and smartphone markets, but that market share should level off. All three devices have advantages that will find customers as their sophistication is developed. The iPad will settle in and become part of the technological landscape as well. For the customer, the addition of the iPad does not get rid of the need for a laptop or a smartphone. It just gives them more options.

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