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Posted by Sarah Rotman Epps on March 2, 2011
Apple understands desire. The first thing consumers will notice about the iPad 2 is how it feels: Lighter (by a crucial 2 ounces) and thinner (at 8.8mm, thinner than an iPhone 4). Color triggers emotion: iPad 2 comes in not just black but white, with multiple colors in the thin "smart covers" that snap into place with "auto-aligning magnets" and clean those unsightly fingerprints off your screen. The rest is important but more cerebral. Dual-core processor, HDMI video-out converter for the 30-pin connector, etc. Emotion enters back into the equation when consumers see what they can do with the device--see their loved ones through FaceTime, touch-edit videos in iMovie, improvise on touch-instruments in GarageBand and actually sound good doing it.
In a post-PC world, consumers have a more intimate relationship with their devices. They use them on the couch and in bed and not just at their desk. They show their devices to other people (40% of iPad owners in Forrester's surveys report regularly sharing their iPad with other people). Fostering that desire is a smart way to differentiate your piece of glass from other pieces of glass that perform essentially the same functions.
Beyond the device itself, Apple's product strategy cultivates an emotional connection with consumers through:
The competing products we’ve seen announced so far from Motorola, RIM, HP, and others, while impressive, have fatally flawed price and distribution strategies, which leads us to our call that of the 24.1 million tablets that will sell to US consumers in 2011, at least 20 million will be iPads.
BUT, the tablet wars are far from over. We have yet to see a play from potential disruptors like Amazon, who could enter the tablet market at a lower price point, or Sony and Microsoft, who could offer radically differentiated value propositions. Things could get rowdy. But for now, Apple still defines the tablet market, with a product consumers will desire at a price that’s hard to beat.