Wed, 31 Mar 10

iPad Strategy

Jobs Announcing iPad

This weekend, tens of thousands will get their hands on the iPad. Several people have been playing with it already. John Doerr has been widely quoted with his lusty lines:

“I’ve touched it, I’ve carressed it and I hope to sleep with it this Saturday night. It’s not a big iPhone. It’s the future.”

That coupled with an announced doubling of the iFund has a lot of developers and companies considering iPad as a must-have checkbox platform and a potential moneymaker. So, when are you going to iPad enable your existing apps?  Alright, bring me a long enough lever, three super hackers and a warehouse full of Red Bull, and I, too, can move the world.

Alas, reality bites. If history is any indication, there will be a Gold Rush II for iPad apps. This is a great opportunity for iPhone developers, agencies and related service providers. But, it also indicates that the iPad app store will quickly be saturated with thousands of me-too apps, or to be more accurate, me-too-iphone-apps-squared. So, if you are looking at the iPad as a new marketing channel, then you are going to be disappointed. On the other hand, if you have really innovative ideas that harness the full potential of the iPad, and more importantly, align with the user experiences that it is going to unleash, this is a great opportunity. This is what I think:

The tactile, gesture-driven, free to pass around iPad will be great for re-imagining board games and coffee table activities during family gatherings.

I have been asked, specifically, by clients and friends regarding iPad plans for mooifoto. The iPad can be a gorgeous (and expensive) photo display frame, and I am pretty sure it will come with a built in iPhoto version with great slideshow features. Apple loves to integrate with exactly one of each kind of leading external service,  so it will include Flickr and Facebook integration. Technically, getting mooifoto onto iPad is not going to be a straight port, since the iPad does not support Adobe technologies such as Flash or AIR.

From a product perspective, my advice has been to own the family and close-to-family niche by solving the pain points across multiple devices (e.g. iPhone, camera, computer) and sharing modalities that the bigger services ignore. So, to that end, the best approach would be to have a rich HTML5  UI built into that plays with the novel (and as yet, only imagined) iPad experience. If you are a company providing an existing app or service, I would love to hear about your strategy for the iPad.

Wed, 31 Mar 10