Who is the iPad for?

iPad adoption carries mixed messages and open questions

Many have written about how the iPad heralds a new paradigm in computers. Computers today are too complex. The iPad is the device that our parents will use so they don’t have to worry about the dark, scary underbelly of the file system.

iPad CoverageDuring a recent panel at Mobile Portland, both the audience and the panelists discussed the shortcomings of the iPad as being obstacles for themselves, but that these problems wouldn’t slow the iPad because the tech-savvy audience wasn’t the target demographic for the iPad.

Despite the fact that everyone believes the iPad is targeted at those who need a simpler computer, Apple itself has never made that argument.

You cannot use an iPad without a computer. The iPad cannot:

  • Install operating system updates without connecting to a computer.
  • Back up data and software without connecting to a computer.
  • Print documents without somehow emailing or sharing the document to a computer.

Perhaps not surprisingly, a recent survey found that the people most interested in the iPad are the typical leading- and bleeding-edge adopters.

In the long run, the iPad may yet revolutionize computing in the ways that people hope. It certainly holds the promise to do so. A lot will hinge on when Apple addresses system updates, backups and printing.

If these issues are tackled in the 4.0 version of the iPhone/iPad’s operating system, which will likely arrive this summer, look for a surge of interest from people looking for a simple computer during the back-to-school and holiday season.

Until then, I keep thinking about how Mobile Portland’s tech-savvy audience—the crowd that argued that the iPad wasn’t meant for them—responded when asked if they planned on buying an iPad.

Nearly every one of them raised their hand.

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