WildBill's Blogdom

Mongo only pawn, in game of life.

Quick Shot: On the iPad...

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image528465045.jpgSo I’ve just left the Apple Store sans-iPad again, and as I sit here at Pizza My Heart eating my most awesome lunch, a few thoughts occur to me.

The iPad is, in many ways, like the coffee pot that Kelly wants that’s pictured above (which is temporarily on our counter, courtesy of her friend, thanks, Heather!). It’s very focused and does an excellent job at the tasks it’s designed to do. It’s also very proprietary. Proprietary isn’t necessarily a good or a bad thing. It’s the intent behind the proprietariness that’s bad.

Making something proprietary means you can dial in the experience from start to finish and provide exactly what your vision is to the customer. A side effect is you lock the customer into your product line for as long as they own it. It’s not bad for business, but may be bad for the customer, particularly if they aren’t aware of the choices available to them.

However, if the customer is aware of the choices and doesn’t mind the lock-in in favor of a smoother experience, then this is a totally valid decision.

We make these choices all the time. Ever done a Disney vacation and stayed at a Disney property? That’s one example of a fine tuned experience. Apple certainly does it, as does the maker of the coffee pot above by selling propietary coffee and tea “pods”. There are other examples, like TiVo as well. Most good “experiences” have some kind of lock-in associated with it.

People in the open source community deride Apple for being a walled garden and locking their customers in. But on the flip side, their protocols and such are open-ish – the Mac and iPhone speak standard protocols and to my knowledge Apple’s not done the “embrace and extend” that Microsoft has (ActiveX?). I’m a lil miffed about the lack of choice regarding Flash, but HTML5 seems to be a viable and OPEN alternative.

Whether it be coffee “Pods” or “iPods”, proprietary things are going to continue to exist. It remains the purview of an informed and intelligent consumer to choose one path or another based on THEIR unique needs. Just because something is propietary doesn’t make it evil – though it most certainly can be. Let the buyer beware.

As for me and the iPad, time will tell. I’m convinced prices will drop, so I’m going to hold out a while longer. It’s not like I don’t have enough other distractions to keep me busy anyway. ;)

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