Guest post by Edson Phicil
The MacBook Air and the iPad are two totally different devices. The MacBook Air is Apple’s view of what a net book should be like. It’s lightweight, fast, and runs full Mac OS X. It is very portable, but sacrifices a lot of features to obtain that portability. The iPad is Apple’s latest take on tablet computing. It is powered by Apple’s fabled A4 chip and has easy access to thousands of apps and of course the internet. The MacBook Air and the iPad are two different category of devices, yet they draw in the same consumers market.
Two Products, One Consumer Group
People who buy MacBook Air are essentially the same people who are mostly likely to buy an iPad and vice versa. Although they are different products, The MacBook Air and iPad both appeal to the same consumer group: people who aren’t really held back financially, desire portability and ease of use over raw computing power, or like to have the latest “hot” technology. The problem is because of their price, most consumers will not be able to afford getting both.
Two Products that Define Apple’s Future
The MacBook Air and iPad essential can be used to define Apple’s vision for the future of computing. Apple has long stress that the days of traditional PC’s are over and that consumers are moving into a new lighter and mobile age. When Apple first announced the iPad, experts predicted boldly that it would fail miserably. They were expecting a full Mac OS X experience on the iPad and were really “underwhelmed” when they learned that the iPad would be running the popular iOS operating system.
But Apple may have understood something about the minds of consumers today that the self-proclaimed “experts” could not see. When people went to buy a computer back in the 90’s, there were two main factors that would determine which computer they were going to purchase: price and specs. However, times have changed. The fledgling economy has proven that despite tough times consumers are unwilling to give up technology. When consumers go to buy a product today the two main selling points are price and experience.
Apple understands that one of the main reasons the iPhone is so successful is because it gives a better overall experience. Apple has built a whole ecosystem around the iPhone that made users really comfortable. That is where Apple is placing it bets for the future as proven by the MacBook Air and iPad. Apple believes that specs is not everything, but if they can build a product that just works and has a great ecosystem around it then the consumers will buy it.
Can the MacBook Air and iPad Coexist?
There are already rumors flying that Apple is getting ready to refresh its MacBook Airline giving it many upgrades along with a price drop. That would mean that the most expensive iPad will only be only a few hundred dollars cheaper than a MacBook Air. Will one end up cannibalizing the other? I believe that there will be cannibalization, there is no way around that; but that does not mean that both products cannot be successful.
iPad owners are people who do not really need or want a full fledge computer experience and are perfectly fine using apps and the safari browser. They like the portability of the iPad, they like how it instantly turns on and how apps open in a flash. MacBook Air users enjoy the light weight of the MacBook without having to sacrifice screen size. They like having Mac OS X to be productive.
Both products have their strengths and weakness. Don’t expect the MacBook Air line to die any time soon or the iPad.
In the end, Apple wins either ways
The MacBook Air may make more money from the hardware sell, but the iPad will give Apple a continuous income stream through things such as iTunes and the App store. So whether people chose the iPad over the MacBook Air or the MacBook Air over the iPad, Apple will not be suffering either way.
This is a guest post by Edson Phicil who blogs at Loogos. Edson is a major in Aerospace engineering but has always been a big tech fan. You can also share your tips by writing a guest article on TechPP.