The world has been buzzing since the release of Apple’s latest creation, the iPad. I scoffed and pitied them all for fueling Apple’s marketing machine. That is, until I started to take a closer look at the specification and potential uses of the device. I am a core Windows/Intel person. I have based my career on these company standards, so when I was considering an Apple iPad, it was a fundamental shift in my thinking.
To my very pleasant surprise, I did not burst in flames when I first entered an Apple store. However, many of the customers did “weird me out” a bit. The world is a wonderfully diverse place, so stop by an Apple store to see a single location that can have business people in suits, grandmothers, rockers, artists, and every other cultural subgroup possible in a single location.
While browsing through the store, and trying not to look like I was trapped in an enemy’s camp, I observed customers actually talking with other customers. Many of these people would not have said two words to each other outside of this setting. Typically, you do not see a person in a business suit often chatting to a punk rocker with green spiked hair. Nor do you often see an older senior citizen chatting with a fellow shopper that resembled the stereotypical gangster. The experience was interesting to say the least. These people were communicating with each other and seeming to be enjoying themselves in the process.
Can one technology bring people together? I think it can. The right device can bridge chasms and generations. Apple hit it out of the park with the iPad and this device will change rules. I am confident that both business and social interactions will change because of this device. I am certainly not an Apple fanboy. The iPad is not perfect or the end-all be-all device. New competitors will come into the market and drive all market players to further innovation. This will be good for consumers and technology. And who knows, maybe it allows a few more people to interact with each other as they never would have before.
I know the cross-generational and cross-cultural group interactions I witnessed were fleeting in the context of a single shopping trip, but changes to the way people think and interact has to start somewhere, so why not here and why not now?
(My wife was kind enough to pick me up an iPad. I will talk more about it in another post or two.)