Sometimes I wonder if Steve Jobs is more brilliant than lucky, and I am willing to grant that he is likely both.
I’ve been watching a lot of people buy iPads over the last several months and try to use them as laptops only to abandon them and go back to PCs. The thing is, they don’t go back to Windows PCs but, often as not, the new MacBook Air 11" notebooks instead.
In effect, with one expensive product, Apple is getting two sales and migrating people to the Mac that otherwise likely would have made the switch. Oh, and I should also point out, that not one of new "converts" is unhappy with his or her decision.
To me, that is pretty amazing and worth exploring this week.
The iPad Mac Bridge
As a general rule, people don’t like change. And the Mac - for the vast majority of the market - represented too much change even though the grass often did look a lot greener on the other side.
In addition, it was both time consuming and expensive to really try a Mac and folks don’t like to spend a lot of money with a high risk.
As a result, the Apple percentage of the PC market started around 4% last decade jumped to nearly 8% when folks didn’t want to buy Vista and then dropped back down to around 4% again when Windows 7 hit and Windows buyers started buying again.
However, with the iPad, people initially saw the product much like they did an iPod and as something that was additive, rather than a replacement. So they purchased the iPad and discovered it could do a lot of things their laptop could do - but was more portable and had better battery life.
As such, many bought keyboards and started using their iPads like laptops.
However, the problem is that while the iPad is great as a consumption device for the web and media, it kind of sucks as a creation platform and users found they were missing their laptops.
But by then they liked the user interface on the iPad a lot and were no longer that worried about using something different.
Still, they wanted something as cool, thin, and light as an iPad and really the only product that was close to that was the new MacBook Air - and suddenly they are Mac users.
Now, I don’t know about you, but from my side that seems brilliant.
Wrapping Up: MacBook iPad Conversion
Apple is rumored to be redoing the OSX interface to be more like the iPad next year and that should do wonders for this process because, right now, I imagine there are a large number of people who still are somewhat doubtful they will like the Mac even if they do like the iPad because the two are actually quite different.
But that will change next year, and the iPad could be a huge booster for Mac sales - suggesting potential similar benefits for Google and their ChromeOS efforts if they ever bring out a competitive tablet and big problems for Microsoft if they don’t.
HP, who is having trouble building enough Windows 7 tablets this year and has put it's PC VP at risk, likely needs to noodle on this a bit.
In the end, some days you have to take your hat off to Apple and say "nicely played" and this is definitely one of those days.
Rob Enderle is one of the last Inquiry Analysts. Inquiry Analysts are paid to stay up to date on current events and identify trends and either explain the trends or make suggestions, tactical and strategic, on how to best take advantage of them. Currently he provides his services to most of the major technology and media companies. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.