There’s a new breed of gadget in town, and it makes a refreshing change from the macho ‘mine’s faster than yours’ approach. The iPad 2’s launch focussed on the cool stuff you can do with it, rather than its specs.
Ever since I can remember, gadgets have been described and sold on the basis of numbers, where higher numbers are generally better.
Just as Jeremy Clarkson and his motoring cronies babble on about engine size, brake horse power and 0-to-60 times, the gadget guru spouts details of their processor’s gigahertz, hard drive’s megabytes or their camera’s megapixels (Mp). However, all of this digital one-upmanship only matters up to a point.
Numbers don’t mean much
Having an 18Mp camera doesn’t make you a better photographer or improve your chance of capturing that elusive shot of an elk majestically appearing through an eerie early morning fog. And once you own a 1TB hard drive, you’ve probably got enough space for photos and music, for a little while at least.
What Apple has done is make us rethink our relationship with gadgets. And I’m not saying this with the admiration of an Apple fanboy, but with the impartial eye of a respectful observer.
While other manufacturers are single-mindedly focused on delivering tablets that beat the competition on paper, Apple’s playing a different game. Steve Jobs captivated a legion of excited buyers by focussing the majority of his iPad 2 launch speech on its entertainment and creative potential.
It’s not what you’ve got…
The saying ‘It’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you do with it’ has never been truer. Though you do still have to have “got it” to do it – the iPad 2, for example, isn’t exactly priced low enough to become a staple find in every home.
The thinner, faster, lighter hardware is just the beginning – it’s the software that works smoothly, intuitively and inspirationally that make the iPad 2 so compelling.
It barely matters how much Ram is on board, as long as the next generation of musicians and film-makers have the tools, in the form of GarageBand and iMovie, to be creative in a host of new ways.
Apple understands how to get people excited about its products, and that’s not simply through boasting about ever-increasing numbers or competing purely on specification. In the end, the major numerical impact of this approach will be on Apple’s sales figures and share value. How long before the rest of the big gadget brands catch on?