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An iPad by any other name…what we can learn from the iPad launch

The whole of the first world seemed to be waiting for the launch of the iPad, the new tablet from Apple.  Now, I like Apple products but am not a fanatic about them.  I do have an iPod Touch which I like well enough and I’ll openly admit to coveting a beautiful Macbook Air and may even splash out on one the next time I upgrade my laptop. But I wasn’t really on board with all the hype that has been building this week towards the finale last night with Steve Jobs proudly launching the iPad.  My husband on the other hand is an early adopter, so has been watching videos, reading news and couldn’t wait to see the launch, which I was then forced to sit through about 10 minutes of.

However after watching the video I must admit to feeling sucked in.  I love the internet and I love the idea of sitting with a book sized tablet on my sofa and navigating through some of my favourite blogs on a handheld device; I like the idea of being able to zoom in at the touch of a finger and carry it with me to another room without the faff of worrying about it shutting down. But it seems I’m in a minority.  Across the web, bloggers and technorati are all saying how disappointed they are.  It’s just a big iPhone they cry, but without the ability to call people.

So, I thought I’d visit Twitter and see what the twitterati had to say… and  laughed outloud when I discovered that  iTampon was trending (trending means topics that people are tweeting about) above iPad.   I actually think that this will blow over for Apple, but I’m sure it’s not what they would have wanted their people calling their hyped up, super product.

I think there are a number of reasons why this has happened (and there are a few lessons in here for us as small business owners) and some of it could have been avoided with better preparation.

1.   The hype towards to the iPad was phenomenal.  Everyone everywhere was talking about it.  The expectations were huge.  So when they released a product that looked just like a bigger version of something that people had become used to over the last year, the reaction was disappointment.

The learning: We are visual creatures.  If it looks the same, we will think it’s the same.  If you are launching a new product / idea – make it look sufficiently different, so people will notice

2.  Focus on the remarkable.  Seth Godin has written a book called Purple Cow.  A fantastic book which talks about leading the market through being remarkable.  Normally this is what Apple gets really right with their products, but this time they focused on the mundane

The learning: Don’t try to show everything when you are discussing your business.  Focus on the WOW and the thing that is going to get people’s emotions

3. Engage with Fans.  Apple have an enormous fan base.  They could have used A list blogger by providing an early version of the iPad and discovered their reactions to it.  Chances are they would have discovered the iTampon issue and also found out that they’re message was less than engaging

The learning: Talk to you customers and ask them for honest feedback

4. Do your research.  If the Apple marketeers had done their research, they would have discovered this video from MadTV

The learning:  Don’t ignore the clues that are out there in the marketplace.  What are people saying about your product  or services?

5. Ask others what they think about when you tell them your business name. A friend of mine wanted to launch an events company and call it Silver Events. For her, the term ‘silver’ meant luxurious, to me it meant for the over 60’s.

The learning: No matter how much we might like a name, if a large majority of people have different associations for that phrase, no matter what we do it will stick ie. iPad (maxi pad) and iTampon

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1 Comment
  1. Gina Romero says

    Great article Julie.

    I must say that I was very reluctant to move to the iPhone & was shocked & surprised at how quickly I fell in love with it.

    My view is that Apple’s plan was never to sell to the masses, as Seth Godin points out – if 1000 people love your products and become advocates the tribe will evolve and expand with a life of it’s own.

    When you think about it, the name iTouch it isn’t so remarkable and could be considered laughable – and iPhone? Hardly original.

    I’m also pretty sure that Apple were well aware of the potential for mockery with the name but I’m guessing that they realise that it is only a matter of time before the word iPad – just like all of their other products, will be just another household name claimed by the Jobs Dictionary.

    As the technology evolves, becomes relevant & the genius behind it becomes apparent, I’m pretty sure we will struggle to remember funny side 🙂

    @Gina_Romero