P.S on the iPad

The Gartner Group provides some very interesting analysis of the IT world. In the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday they weighed into the iPad discussion, and gave a very good summary of the 'content' side of Apple's genius. The article was about Google's plans to launch a similar device.

Gartner analyst Robin Simpson said other companies including Google would have trouble competing with Apple's iPad because Apple had already developed a strong ecosystem around its products, allowing users to buy content from iTunes with one click.

There is its. There is no such thing as technology, the reason devices succeed and continue to exist is if you get the whole 'ecosystem' surrounding them right. It's all the one thing, a device or technology is not separate to getting all those other ecosystem things right. He goes on:

"You can make great hardware, you can have a fantastic, easy-to-use operating system, but to make it commercially successful I think you need an ecosystem that encourages lots and lots of independent third party development and makes it really easy for users to discover content and buy content," Simpson said in a phone interview.

"It's easy to do hardware, it's really hard to create an ecosystem and Apple's got a head-start on everybody because they've been doing this for four to five years, based around iTunes."

There it is in a few words. It's easy to do gadgets and think about technology as bits and pieces of hardware, but if you do that you're history. No other industry thinks like that, they moved on years or even decades ago. And it's a fundamentally different way of thinking about technology.

Apple right from the start saw their devices not as gadgets, but as a full network or ecosystem of things that needed to be woven together. And the consumer was right in the centre, and now the mobile consumer (or better, the consumer with a body rather than a brain and set of eyes) will be the centre. The reviewers can keep being so much smarter than the rest of us and chuckle at what a moron the consumer is, and the consumer will keep completely ignoring them.

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