Why the iPad is the new Brick phone and that might actually be a good thing

Let’s be honest right from the start.  The iPad is perhaps the most poorly named, awfully positioned, not-seemingly-revolutionary product that Mr Jobs has recently described as revolutionary while standing on stage.

As a product meant to appeal to the Apple fanboy, the iPad appears to be a tremendous dud.  It does not have what the fanboy needs that we don’t already get out of the combination of our MacBook(Pro) and iPhone.  In fact, on its own, the iPad is inferior to both the iPhone and a MB(P).  Its a phone without a phone (but with giant numbers).  A laptop without real guts.

The iPad is the new Brick phone.

But even the Brick spawned a market for mobile phones.  And its toward the construction of a new market that the iPad (better named) could really do something interesting.

The Church of Apple should have developed and positioned the iPad like Nintendo developed and positioned the Wii — a revolutionary-in-its-simplicity product targeted at people who are not “in the market” at the moment.  For Nintendo, this market was people who might like to play video games, but don’t need the bravado of the xBox or Playstation.  With a controller that doesn’t require 6 fingers on both hands to operate.

With the iPad the market is people who would like to have a computer-ish thing, with a simple interface and nice screen.  These are humans who are now on the sidelines of the computer world.  These people simply need a device with which they can get their email, read some news, and maybe watch a video of their grandkid. The device makes even more sense to this fringe class when combined with a reasonably priced 3G/4G connection, thereby ridding this fringe the challenge of GeekSquad managed not-so-personal Wi-Fi networks.   These folks don’t need Word or Pages, they just need GoogleDocs.  They don’t have 120GB music collections.  A computer mouse is uncomfortable, and a laptop trackpad is frustrating.  A touch screen is simple.

In Apple speak, it just works.

We should also expect to see this object in hospitals and other settings where a not-so-bulky, but reasonably processor capable device can do all that it needs to do.  Surface some patient stats, scans, and other data when you need these data.

Badly named.  Over-hyped.  Perhaps not so revolutionary.

But some people don’t need a revolution.  They just need something that works.


Susan Boyle record sales suggest 0.5% conversion rate

Susan Boyle’s most recent record has topped the charts in the UK and the US for 2009.  While this feat may seem like a big victory for the web over the radio, within these data lie a tough story that needs to be considered.

Using the back of a napkin, you can easily arrive at upwards of one billion “impressions” of Susan Boyle online and offline—moments in time when viewers, listeners or readers were treated to or focused upon she who is know as SUBO.  In fact, this one billion number may actually be a gross under-estimate.

In the context of this many impressions, Susan Boyle’s reported 5 million records sold translates to no more than a 0.5% conversion rate—less than one half of one percent of these moments translated into a sale.

The rise of SUBO may in fact be the most significant and recent evidence of the absolutely massive number of “impressions” that must now occur in order to move consumers from indifference to action in the modern market for music.