The Coming iPad Revolution

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From the sounds of the media last week, you’d have thought Apple had invented something no one had ever seen before.

In fact, the tablet PC has been around for many, many years. But just as Apple didn’t invent the smartphone with the iPhone either, they did take an existing product and make it lightyears better than anything else out on the market.

Remember the Palm Treo? Not many will in another decade or so.

So what does the iPad mean for companies and marketers?

Here are some of my thoughts:

1. It’s not a given the iPad will be a wild success. Not everything Apple touches turns to gold. See the iTV.

2. However, with the wild success of the iPhone and the iTouch (the iPad is just a larger version of both, after all), those involved in online advertising need to monitor how it does closely. Initial sales have been strong.

3. There is a very real possibility that the iPad will be the saving grace for the magazine and newspaper industry. With circulation cratering for paper-based media, the industry has been struggling to figure out a subscription model to generate revenue. Besides a few success stories like the WSJ, not many have had success. The iPad represents a real opportunity to start making money again for the media.

4. Consequently, expect to see new advertising formats online with the iPad. Apple has already thrown the gauntlet down vs. Google with their announcement of their iAd network, primarily to prep them for advertising on the mobile side. But you can be sure that iAd will spill over into iPad applications.

5. Just like with social media, don’t overemphasize the importance ofiPad marketing in lieu of the nuts and bolts of marketing. These include a solid corporate website, lead generation, public relations,
search engine marketing. Keep the marketing budget and focus on the fundamentals. Extra resources can be used to monitor newer, emerging channels.

6. Of greater importance, watch how the new competition between Apple and Google progress. Google literally created a whole new category called “search engine marketing”. Apple may do the same with “mobile application marketing”. Apple has already stated that Google’s search model of advertising isn’t well-suited to the new mobile world. Instead, Apple is going to be heavily into advertising from within applications, potentially creating an entirely new marketing category.

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