With yesterday’s announcement by Apple of the iPad 2, I was struck by several important aspects of this event. Below is a short analysis of what I perceive to be the three most important elements of today’s announcement – and none of them have to do with the actual iPad itself. These are:
- Apple’s ability to generate massive interest, while keeping excellent secrets.
- Apples’ ability to continually innovate, already working on the next product while they push the current version out.
- The focus of the device itself shifting from content consumption to content creation.
1. Apple’s ability to generate such a massive amount of interest, and to keep such good secrets.
It’s long been known that Apple is the industry leader in keeping a secret. You may recall the hullabaloo that resulted when an Apple employee left a test version of the iPhone 4 in a bar last year?
What’s important here is that in the day and age of WikiLeaks, Apple is able to do a damn impressive job keeping things under wraps until they are finally ready to reveal them. This serves several functions, not the least of which is allowing their live events to generate a massive amount of publicity, especially in the technology bolgosphere and on Twitter.
By getting thousands of would-be customers worked up, and then revealing the details of the product all at once, Apple ensures that the discussions are had before, during, and after. The rumor mill is a key element of Apple products, and sits like MacRumors get millions of views each month from Apple enthusiasts looking to discuss what might be next in Apple’s pipeline.
2. Apple’s ability to iterate faster than any other competitor, and keep the cycle going as new products are released.
In addition to being able to keep new products from being unveiled too soon, Apple has mastered the ability to continually innovate, even when they’re already ahead of the curve.
You’d better believe that the iPad 3 and iPhone 5 are already well into development and testing stages – and I would bet that the iPad 4 and iPhone 6 are mocked up or at least in discussion somewhere on Apple’s Cupertino campus.
Same goes for the Macbook, iMac, AppleTV and all of Apple’s other products. This company has mastered the ability to continually drive forward, yet maintain a needed strategic focus on their consumers and their app developers. The noted today that they have distributed over two billion dollars in app revenue to developers, which is a mind boggling figure – especially considering Apple’s already taken their cut out of that.
While companies like HTC, RIM, Samsung, HP, and Motorola are just now entering the tablet market, Apple has already established, re-established, and likely revolutionized the market several times over before their competitors even make it to market.
Apple’s ability to continue to innovate across platforms and products is downright impressive.
3. The focus of the device itself is clearly shifting from content consumption to content creation.
My final observation is one that I think is perhaps the most impactful from today’s announcement. Sure, the new iPad doesn’t have the same high resolution screen found in the iPhone 5, and it might lack an SD card, and a few of the other features that the rumor mill had suggested might appear. But what the new iPad does include is the ability to create high-quality digital content right on the device, with nothing else needed except for a $5 app.
Apple’s new iMovie will allow the iPad to shoot high definition video, edit the shots in a near-professional manner, add sound effects, transitions, and other touches, and export to YouTube, Vimeo, and other services right from the device. Can you imagine the impact that this could make for reporters, video bloggers, and other content creators? It’s not only a studio in a box, it’s the ability to do everything – from mock-ups, to shooting the video, to editing and post production, and even distribution, from your lap. With no cords. And for less than the cost of a traditional camera.
Apple’s new Garage Band is poised to revolutionize the music industry, yet again. In another very intriguing move, Apple’s priced this app at $5, but allows users to do everything from play dynamically sensitive piano parts, to build their own custom drum kits. You can even plug in a guitar and use your iPad as an effects pedal.
What’s more, you can mix, master, loop, and export up to eight tracks through Garage Band. Jobs noted at the keynote that the Beatles were able to record the legendary Sgt. Pepper’s album using only a four track mixer the size of a washing machine.
Think about what a revolution this may be for dynamic audio storytellers like NPR’s Ira Glass, or the crew behind Radio Lab. Think about what radio reporters will be able to do when they can use a high-quality microphone to capture their interviews, add any needed music or effects, transitions, and export – all from the iPad.
The days of Flipboard being the killer app are long gone – now it’s up to you and I to be the killer app by using our iPads to generate content at an incredible level of speed, quality, and quantity.
What will you do with your new iPad? Will you hold out for the iPad 3? Think I’m just another Apple Fanboy? Sound off in the comments!