Today Apple released its third generation iPad. But no one needs it, so far as I’m concerned.
The new iPad — called simply: the iPad — is an iteration on the iPad 2 in many ways. Check the specs at aNewDomain.net to see how it compares with the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Asus EE Transformer Prime. Apple fans are already pre-ordering but the reality is: No one needs this iPad.
After selling 55 million Apple iPads to date, a number expected to exceed 100 million by the end of this year, Apple is enjoying the last and greatest success of Apple’s Steve Jobs era. And that’s not because it has sold the most units — the Apple iPhone sales figure of 300 million units dwarfs Apple iPad’s sales — it’s because the question lurking all along is still valid: “Why does anyone need a tablet?” And no one needs it. Steve Jobs figured out how to make you want it.
Photo Credit: iPad3interesting.com
There is nothing you can do with a tablet that you couldn’t do– and even far more efficiently–with your smartphone or netbook or notebook. But the question, while still valid in this release of the third generation iPad — is also irrelevant.
Everyone needs a tablet because everyone wants one. Demand for the iPad is driven not by need, but by desire.
Larry McCaffery wrote about the triumph of desire-based marketing in the 1991 fiction anthology Storming the Reality Studio. He wrote, “This is the postmodern desert inhabited by people who are, in effect, consuming themselves in the form of images and abstractions through which their desires, sense of identity, and memories are replicated and then sold back to them as products.” That’s exactly what’s happening here.
Steve Jobs was the world’s master of marketing desire, and the purposeless Apple iPad — in any iteration — represents his ultimate triumph. As long as his successors remember that the company’s success rests entirely on its ability to stoke that desire, Apple’s triumph will continue. It doesn’t matter if a dozen manufacturers with Android devices ship faster, more capable and less expensive alternatives: people will still be willing to sleep overnight in the parking lot outside the local Apple Store to get their hands on the newest Apple iPad.
And Apple will continue to win the tablet wars — for as long as Apple knows how to market desire, not just gadgets.