I was debating with my friend David A. Knopf on Twitter recently about the iPad's target market. He was sure that iPhone and Mac owners like himself were the key targets, while I argued that it was precisely the opposite, people who didn't own these devices already. We went back and forth as we often do, but what was really interesting, is that both of us made valid points with links for backup about whom we believed Apple was targeting with this device.
When a company like Apple creates a device like the iPad, they must have a target market in mind. Nobody creates a device like this, least of all Apple, without knowing a lot about the people they want to buy it. So who is it:
* Grandma who rarely uses a computer?
* Gear heads who love gadgets?
* Kindle owners who want more than a one-trick device?
* iPhone owners who are comfortable with a touch screen, but want something bigger?
* Mac owners want a middle ground device for the coffee table that's bigger than an iPhone, but smaller than a laptop?
A Look at the Literature
Well, if you read the literature, you will find that people believe it's all these people.
But geeks and assorted Macheads constitute a relatively small percentage of the computer-using people around the world. The vast majority of the world is still using Windows PCs. And for them, an iPad may be exactly what they've been waiting for.
The Apple iPad is the perfect solution for all prospective Amazon Kindle owners. It is a device that you leave in the living room for quick access to the web, email or music without having to fire up a laptop or desktop- for all intensive purposes think of it as a supplemental device that acts as an extension of your existing laptop or desktop.
When it launches, the iPad's initial target audience is iPhone and iPod touch users. Why? Because they are already very comfortable with the way you need to interact with this device.
So Which is it?
We will never know who Apple targeted unless they tell us, which isn't likely to happen. We only know they want to sell a lot of them. I have to admit, I was among the unimpressed when I watched the launch a while back, but after reading Tenner's piece, I concluded that maybe I wasn't the target. I felt that way until I started debating David and he got me thinking maybe this device has more to offer than I think.
I'm sure, in a year that the market will sort itself out. For now, we can only sit back and watch and find out who's right. Could be the iPad is for everyone or no one. I can bet which way Apple is leaning.