Consumption vs Creation: The iPad Dilemma

Alan Wolk Managing Director, Social Media Strategy, KickApps, A Kit Digital company

Posted on April 3rd 2010

Upon further reflection (and a number of reviews that circle the idea without ever hitting on it directly) it seems that with the introduction of the iPad, Apple is asking consumers to buy into the notion that there are now two types of devices: one for consuming and one for creating. It's at once extremely logical and extremely radical and it's definitely something of a gamble.

It's logical because if you were to start out now, in 2010, with computing being what it is, you would not likely come to the conclusion that the machine you created complex spreadsheets on was also an ideal place to watch movies or read books. And so you'd come up with something just like an iPad to consume media and something like a netbook to create it.

But it's radical because that sort of set-up is exactly what we've become accustomed to and once these patterns are established, it's hard to break people of their habits.

So the question I have is, what's Apple's follow-up act? Is it a netbook type device that runs iWork and email? That would help people to wrap their heads around the bifurcation and give them a reason to have two distinct and separate devices. Though it would diminish the laptop market and leave these high-profit-margin devices as the province of the tech-focused power user.

Time will tell.

Alan Wolk

Managing Director, Social Media Strategy, KickApps, A Kit Digital company

Managing Director, Social Media Strategy @ KickApps. Founder of the Hive Awards Blogger at The Toad Stool Best known for "Your Brand Is Not My Friend" Speak frequently about social media, both at conferences and to anyone who'll listen.
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Posted on April 4th 2010 at 4:51PM
I'm wondering a similar thing. As I said to a friend of mine who stood in line for 3 hours to buy an iPad, my concern is that I'll keeping running into what the iPad doesn't do. I'm consuming, but then I want to create, and the lack of a keyboard and other features makes it difficult. From what I understand about the iPad, I need to be mainly in consume and annotate mode. But I switch readily and frequently between modes. I might find the iPad extremely frustrating.