retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Couple of interesting stories about Apple’s new iPad...

Internet Retailer writes that since more than 300,000 people have purchased the iPad, “for retailers, the big question about this super-hyped machine is what does it mean for mobile commerce? Fundamentally, it is another device to add to the growing list of devices for which retailers can design an app, all the rest being smart phones like the iPhone or BlackBerry. However, an iPad user can just as easily shop an e-commerce site on an iPad because the screen is much larger than that on a smartphone (9.7 inches for the iPad versus 3.5 inches for the iPhone). An app simply enables a retailer to optimize the customer experience for the iPad user, if the retailer chooses to make the investment, which the handful of merchants with iPad apps today decline to disclose.”

According to the story, the size of the iPad may make it easier to see the screen and use the applications, but it also may make the device harder to use as a mobile device - it is not as portable as a smart phone. However, that has not stopped some retailers from developing applications for the iPad ... like Amazon and eBay, which have an interest in staying current with such technologies.

• The other interesting story was on, in which writer Todd Lapin talks about the iPad in a different context - he handed it to his two-and-a-half year old daughter ands told her to play with it.

Remarkably - and this is all seen in an accompanying YouTube video - the child almost immediately figured it out. She found its attributes and identified its weaknesses (like not having a built in camera).

Lapin writes, “She uses my iPhone a lot, so she was already familiar with the basic elements of the interface. But she also mastered the new aspects of the iPad instantly — including figuring out how to 2x enlarge some of her favorite iPhone-legacy apps to display full-size on the iPad screen. If you’re good at understanding kid-speak, you’ll also notice that she immediately saw its potential as a video-display device.”

The point Lapin makes is that as anyone goes to market with software or hardware, it is critical that they understand the importance of simplicity and consistency ... and that the next generation of consumers has an instinctive understanding now just of how technology works, but of ways in which it can make their lives easier.
KC's View:
In other words, to quote the Borg, resistance is futile.

If you are not trying to figure this stuff out, or working with companies that can help you do so, then you are making a mistake. You don;t have to get there tomorrow. But you have to be on the entrance ramp, and have some idea about where you are going.