Observing the iPad in the Wilds of Canada

22 April 2010

It’s April and while the iPad is available to our friends in the south, no shipments have yet made it to the frozen north. Yet this rare beast can be sighted here in Toronto from time to time, due to the joys of cross-border shopping and a strong Canadian dollar.

I had just such a spotting yesterday in a boardroom meeting I attended.  I derailed the pre-meeting chit-chat with the often heard “So how are you liking ‘It’ so far?” question and the answer shocked me.

The only form of answer a proud iPad owner is allowed is a Demo.  In this setting I was expecting some kind of productivity demo or a business content look up. Instead I was shown a game.

( Disclosure: I hate games. I know I may come off as cold,wet rag, but I have a good reason. I suspect that given enough time and resource, games could suck me into their vortex. I get little joy out of defeating hordes of zombies or keeping tribes of elves happy on a fictonal planet. Makes me nuts. And, truth be told, I fear the addiction. )

This is my frustration with the iPad. Yes, it is a fantastic Content Consumption device in a very pretty package – but why-o-why is Apple leading only with consumption – as I look out at http://www.apple.com/ipad/apps-for-ipad/ I see only consumption apps featured, including Games, Comics, Scrabble. No sign of GTD, Productivity or Notetaking apps in the featured set.

How cool would it be to tie in Bluetooth collaborative features (like the Scrabble Game & its ability to Bluetooth link to iPod touch & iPhone players around the table) at a agile/scrum “stand up” meeting? It would be a major advantage to be able to flick Commitments, Story and Action Items around the room to various participants (Rally, I hope you are listening!).

It is this kind of real world business use that I imagine – and a message that Apple needs to bring forward before the iPad gets dismissed as a very expensive gamng platform – a “nice to have” rather that “must have”.

That is the reaction I saw in the eyes of the firm’s CEO that walked into this discussion – He’s a smart, hip guy, who also owns a newly minted iPad (which he did not bring to the meeting), and I’ll bet he wished there were killer business apps that could rationalize his iPad.  I will bet he is considering “giving it to his wife” because the app that he yearns for, the useful, business dashboard, collaborative, run his young business app, is not there yet.

and that is a shame… but I still keep the faith!

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