Apple’s iPad or Microsoft Surface or ???
Thanks to my friend Sampson, I had the opportunity to see how a tech wiz is putting Apple’s iPad to work. I left our coffee meeting this week with many ideas and reflections on the device that has captured the media’s attention and has already led 700,000+ people to part with their hard earned cash.
One thought that has not left me… Microsoft demonstrated their Surface technology platform a few years back. While Surface can let you interact in the proposed spaces of a mobile phone sales floor (T-Mobile was the demonstration case) or a Casino or a bar or other innovative scenarios, its cost is prohibitive. Apple’s iPad offers most of what Surface offers for a tiny fraction of the price. And it takes the technology to the field in a way that makes you want to engage with it. So why the link to Surface?
One of the great potential benefits cited by Surface was the ability to use it in a variety of customer and sales situations. The only problem (beyond the cost)? It requires a huge table. The interactive features are awesome and make you want to touch and engage. And we’ve all heard how using more of your senses draws you deeper into an experience. iPad brings all of these benefits in a great and portable package and weighs in at less than 2 lbs. Retail experiences, Real Estate sales people, direct marketing companies, pharmaceutical sales people, Doctors and Nurses, and just about anyone in sales or service that presents information and interacts in 1:1 or 1:few situations with their clients or the public can benefit from this “easy to add to your toolbox” form factor.
An iPhone or Android phone has many of these benefits yet are too small to become immersive or to have two (or a few more) people gather around it. Pointing and touching and dragging and sizing… A laptop or Tablet PC is okay, yet nowhere near as engaging as an iPad. If you don’t believe me, you have not seen an iPad in person.
Will the upcoming devices based on Microsoft’s Slate or tablets based on Google’s Android operating system provide competition? Sure. For some. Regardless of your like or dislike for Steve Jobs, we need to tip our hats to him and his iPad. He has done it again. I hope that Microsoft and Google-based devices do raise the bar. Competition is a great thing that will benefit all and can accelerate this new platform. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing the many creative uses of the iPad in sales and service.
What creative uses are you seeing? What creative applications do you need? Will you buy the iPad? If not, why not? If so, what drove your decision?