What to look for when the iPad launches

by Ian Rosenwach on 3.28.2010

The iPad is coming on April 3rd and with that, thousands of journalists looking for an angle.

Daniel Lyons has a gushing piece in Newsweek about the iPad.  According to Mr. Lyons, it’s another irresistible Apple product that will change the consumption of content and computing as we know it.  He was one of the lucky few that received a sneak peak.  This quote was in the article.

With the iPad, a lot of people are hoping there’s a killer app that we just can’t conceive of yet,” says Peter Farago, vice president of marketing at Flurry Analytics

This brings up the key question – what is the core value (i.e. killer app) of the iPad? The iPhone has a killer app and it’s the phone.  The phone is a critical part of people’s life.  By providing this need well, Apple opened up doors to vastly improve what a phone could be.  What’s the killer app on the iPad – what will make people bring it with them EVERYWHERE?

iPad Core Value Options

  1. Commerce – If iTunes can spur people to buy from their mobile devices, which it has proven it can do, why not broaden their goal beyond media to physical goods?  When will we see retailers in iTunes?  In theory retailers could tap into the mobile market by selling their products in iTunes (one of these days iTunes will change it’s name to iShop).  E-Commerce is a key driver behind Google’s growth. This trend is just starting on the iPhone, and potentially the iPad.
  2. Video – I’m not sure that the iPhone/iPod has been as successful a platform for video content as much as it is for music and apps.  People don’t consume nearly as much video as music and apps on Apple products.  This represents both a challenge and an opportunity for Apple.  If people just need a bigger screen they’ll have it with the iPad.  A big if.
  3. Print Media – Steve Jobs wants to do for print media with iBooks what he did to the music business with iTunes – get people to pay for their content.   There are two models for content creators to get their share – Google’s ad model and Apple’s paid model.  The battle is how will people consume content.  Everywhere.  If the iPad becomes a platform for reading print media, that’s a big win.
  4. Gaming – It’s hard for me to speak to this one because I don’t play video games much.  I have doubts about the ability for a top video game platform to co-exist within a broader operating system, but who knows.

I’m not sure what the answer is.  But, I do think that the fact that there is no clear killer app is interesting.

A phone is something the world uses, but how will the iPad make itself indispensable?

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