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iPad = iFad?
Or is it here to stay?
And what kind of opportunities exist right now for internet marketers and bloggers around the world?
Join me in today’s amazing call with internet marketing, social media and tech legend Ed Dale as he reveals where the next pot of gold is for Apple’s latest product, the iPad.
If you’re in a rush, you can also access the transcript of the recording below…
And don’t forget to share your thoughts about the iPad by leaving your comment below.
PS: Don’t forget to check out Ed Dale’s Blog where he reveals lots more interesting stuff about the latest developments in social media, technology and internet marketing.
Transcript Of Today’s Recording
Gideon: Hi everybody, this is Gideon Shalwick, and with me I’ve got Ed Dale. He’s actually driving in his car at the moment. He’s such a busy man that he doesn’t have time to talk on a normal Skype conversation, so he’s in the car on his mobile phone.
I’m going to ask him a few questions about the iPad. It’s just been released in the United States and we’re doing this interview in Australia. Of course it’s not over here yet, but I wanted to pick his brain a bit and just find out what’s so cool about the iPad, because I don’t have one and he’s got one, so it’s really exciting.
Welcome to the call, Ed!
Ed: How are you? I appreciate being on the call – at least having a Prius, which is very quiet with the electric engine that takes care of things.
Yeah, I thought the iPad was so important that as a combination of my business and my 40th birthday, I decided the cool thing to do was to actually fly to Los Angeles, pick up my iPad in LA, and fly back the same day.
Gideon: That’s crazy, because I was following you on Twitter and YouTube and watching this, going “This guy’s crazy! He’s only flying over there for one day to pick up the iPad.” You must really like it!
Ed: It’s what it represents. Every day there’s a new application, which just points to the future of how important this is. I wouldn’t have done it for any normal Apple release, as much as I love Apple.
There was a very special reason, because people will look back at their first iPad and it will be the same feeling they had when they had Windows 95 with a mouse, or they had the first Macintosh computer. It’s that important. It is a new era of computing, which sort of disappears and becomes whatever you want it to be.
Gideon: So it’s obviously a game changer. I haven’t played with it. I only read about it and watched videos about it. Why do you think it’s a game changer for us?
Ed: I think the main reason is that it gets out of the way. The iPhone operating system is brilliant, but often people don’t think about it that deeply and there’s a good reason for that.
The reason we don’t think about it deeply is because we don’t want to care about an operating system. We don’t want to care about machines. We just want to make the phone call, just get to that website, and just get our email. We don’t want to think about an operating system.
And the iPhone’s been amazing. It’s this little computer in your hand which is small and portable, as it should be, but it doesn’t crash. It very rarely stops. It’s extremely, extremely solid, so it’s a huge step forward.
You can’t argue with the fact that 17 million of the things have been sold. Just put that into context. Nobody – and I mean nobody – has sold 17 million of anything in any sort of computing device ever, not even close.
Not all the X boxes, all the Wiis, all the Playstations, all the Nintendos – adding all of those combined hasn’t even come close, so they’re onto something with this operating system because it was so new and it was so incredible.
So when the iPad was announced, all the sudden people just said, “Ah, it’s just a big iPod touch or a big iPhone,” and yes, inside that’s good. I don’t know why that should be a negative, because the applications are there.
But then they make the assumption, “Well, it’s just going to be more of the same,” and they couldn’t be more wrong, because it is a notebook – well, let me explain.
It’s certainly a netbook-killer. Anybody given a choice, and of course because Apple released it at a price which would [suit most people] – if you’re considering a $499 netbook compared to the iPad, there’s just no contest. The iPad works so much better.
A lot of the magic of the iPad, if you will, is very hard to describe in a sense. Once you have it and once you’ve actually got it in your hand, you realize just how extraordinary it is, because the speed is so fast.
It’s the best way to surf the internet, and people can’t believe that, but once you’ve surfed on the internet on an iPad you’ll find it’s very, very hard to go back to a computer and use a mouse to point and click. It seems so clunky compared to the way you can do it on these things.
The real game changer, I suppose, was the fact that you have this device which gets out of the way but does email better for your average civilian. Again, I’m not talking about geeks, I’m not talking about road warriors, I’m talking about the average person.
It does email so much better. It does web surfing so much better. Applications are outstanding. The games on it are just breathtaking in how good they are. This is a computer for the rest of us.
If you’re a geek, go and upload your free Linux and play around and hack with your computer. This is for people who don’t want to know about the computer. They want the device to disappear.
I’ve seen so many reviews and it’s so true that you forget you’re using an iPad after awhile, because it’s not about the iPad. It’s about you’re reading a book, you’re surfing the web, you’re answering email, you’re doing a pages application, you’re playing a game – whatever that is meant to be.
Gideon: It turns into basically whatever the application is that you’re working on. As you say, the iPad moves out of the way for the application.
Ed: That’s right, because it’s just a piece of glass and a very solid-feeling aluminum back connected, and there’s one button on it. That’s it. So its function comes from whatever applications are running at the time. You add all that together and you’ve got this incredible usability.
What major piece of electronics has launched completely new that’s had 3,000 applications designed specifically for it from day 1? It’s never happened.
Think about the X box 360, think about the Wii, think about the Playstation. If they had half a dozen launch titles on day 1, they’d be lucky.
I’ll give you another number. They sold 300,000 on day 1. If you think, “Yeah, well, 300,000,” do the numbers on that. It’s the biggest successful hardware launch of all time, full stop, and in fact it’s the biggest launch of all time, full stop, for anything in 24 hours, except for the game, Modern Warfare 2. That’s the only thing in the history of mankind. Nothing has sold more than the iPad.
This is why people have to realize this is not Fan Boy talking. This is not some Apple-crazy person talking. This is a real change.
The best way that I’ve seen it over this half week of having it home here in Australia is giving it to people. My 67-year-old father-in-law was about to buy a Dell laptop to replace his 3-year-old PC. He had a real love/hate relationship with it, because he really struggled to get it to do anything.
I just handed over the iPad at the golf club and said, “Try it. See if you can do email. See if you can search,” and he was in love with it. He said, “I’m cancelling my Dell order and I’m getting one of these, because I can take it around with me.”
I haven’t even mentioned it yet, but 12 hours of battery life! Typically when a manufacturer says the thing will do 10 hours of battery life, you sort of go, “Oh yeah, sure,” basically. That’s what it’s been like since time immemorial in the information technology industry.
Well, they said 10 hours and I’m getting 12, and that changes the nature of the device as well. You don’t have time charging it. You don’t think, “Oh, I’ve got to have all my cables,” and that makes such a big difference, so it’s the whole thing, Gideon.
Gideon: So what you’re saying here is it’s maybe not the best device for the techie guys, but what we’re seeing here is some massive uptake in the mainstream of this device, and people are just going nuts for it.
With these huge numbers of people adopting this new technology, how do you see this changing the game for internet marketers and bloggers? What are the opportunities that you see for internet marketers and bloggers for the iPad in particular?
Ed: Look, it’s funny. People over-estimate what’s going to happen in six months, and dramatically under-estimate what’s going to happen in two years. I think the thing to understand here, Gideon, is what impact it’s going to have for people’s sales for information marketing type products and niches and so on. Maybe not that much in six months, but let’s take a two-year view of this.
There’s no question in my mind – there’s a few various articles which back this up, but I’m absolutely convinced of it – that way more people are going to be accessing the internet via a mobile device than are going to be sitting in front of a computer and accessing it that way.
There’s no question in my mind that that’s going to be the case, so if we go to the grand-daddy of all marketers, our godfather so to speak – Gary Halbert – what was his #1 tenet in marketing? It’s to go where the starving crowd is. You have to be where the crowd is. Don’t expect the crowd to come to you. You have to go to where the crowd is.
In my mind there is no question that people are using their mobile devices – their iPhones, their Android phones, the iPad, and I’m sure we’ll see Android tablets and the equivalent. More people will be accessing the internet and going online using these devices than any other thing – desktops, etc. There’s no question of that, in two years.
So what that means is that people need to start thinking about how do they deliver their [content mindful of] user location, because all of these devices are location-aware. Can I build an app for that? Can I deliver my content via an app?
As marketers, we value our client base. We value our customers above all else. Our relationship and our information on our customers are our gold. Our email list is our gold.
Now we’ve got to be careful because you can eat up that direct relationship with the customer because of all of these app stores, like the Apple app store and so on. Now Apple has all the information on the customer. You, unless you think carefully through this, have no information about the customer. You’re ceding control of your customer base to Apple.
Now I love Apple. I love them dearly. What I want to know and what I want to be able to communicate to my customer base – because that is the gold upon which any business is created – so if you’re doing an app you don’t have a choice about selling the app through the store, and honestly, who would want a choice? For goodness sake, for a 70/30 split?
We in the internet world are used to doing a 50/50 split, so I begrudge nothing to Apple in terms of their 30%. It’s better than [internet marketers] paying 50/50, so from that point of view, I love it.
But what we need to think about, Gideon, is how do we build into our apps, bluntly, thwarting people to make sure we get their information, their details, their email, their information, so we have a direct relationship with the customer base. That to me is a very, very, very, very, very important question.
Gideon: While you’re on that topic, how would an app like that look? Would it be something that people purchase, obviously for a very low price or it’s even maybe free, and maybe as part of the app if they want to get, I don’t know, a larger part of the app, do they need to opt in for it? Can you even do that on an app? Is that just something built into the application?
Ed: It’s services. You add services on, which means that you want to give people a really good reason to give you their email address. I saw a great example of it with this great game on the iPad called Charadium. It’s like Pictionary, if you remember Pictionary.
It gives you an instant Pictionary game, and of course the iPad with the form factor that it has, has the ability for you to be able to draw with your finger. So you play this global Pictionary game.
To get your rankings and stats and everything, you need to provide them with your email address. It’s permission based, so you’re building your email list that way. You’re building your email connectivity with the app.
There’s a huge opportunity for people, and I know a lot of us have this huge store of ebooks that we’ve sold over the years. Right now I’m getting all of my ebooks converted over to the ePub format, which is an open format, which will be able to be sold through the iBook store.
It’s such a good deal there. It’s a 70/30 deal. Amazon with the Kindle was charging 30/70 – in other words, you as the author get 30 and Kindle gets 70. They’ve changed now that now, of course, with the competition, and this is great.
The competition is there, but people want to have instant gratification and instant access to material. They’ve shown in extraordinary numbers, in billions of apps downloaded, that they want to make these sorts of purchases.
As internet marketers, we love the big course, the $1500 course. We love selling the $2,000 big bang products. Well, just maybe we need to start thinking about little bite-sized courses. “Download this video on how to do X for $0.99.”
Gideon: Would that be done through an app as well, like the video thing?
Ed: Absolutely. You can download video or you can stream it. We’re working on a system for our own stuff at the moment, so not only are you able to download it to your mobile device, but then it’s an iPod kit for you, so you can grab it offline as well. So you can save it on your computer, for example, and that sort of thing. These are the sorts of things that we’re trying to do.
It’s very, very early days and it’s very exciting. Again, let me give you this incredible stat. Apple has details on 180 million people and their credit cards. These are people with disposable income, by definition. They’re the type of people that we want to market to.
And here’s the thing. Most traditional software developers think Apple should do all the work. They should feature their app on the App Store and that will bring them big traffic, and there’s no question. If you were the featured app on the App Store, you’ve just had your year made. You will make an incredible amount of money.
I’ve lost count – there’s 180,000 applications and growing every single day. You’ve got a 1 in 180,000 chance of being featured on the home page of Apple. I don’t like those odds.
As marketers, we still have to be very conscious about building our sites, building our lists, using every technique in the book, to grow content in our chosen market and become a leader in our chosen market so people want to hear from us.
There will be a huge number of people to market to, to buy our apps and then trigger something viral, but I don’t like a viral campaign by chance. It’s lovely when you have something go viral like that, but your chances of something going viral are incredibly improved if you’ve got a nice big database of people to market to first, to get them to download your product first.
We can’t sell out everything that we’ve learned. Feel free to jump in, Gideon, because I could talk about this all day.
Gideon: I was going to ask you how to actually develop an app, but maybe you can do that after what you’re going to say now.
Ed: Developing an app – and this is a very interesting thing for people, and I’ll make a comment on that. I’m actually a C-class coder and a good graphic designer. Developing an app is probably outside of your skill set, and I think it’s good that it is, because it’s far more important to be a skillful marketer and understand what your market wants, than actually getting your hands dirty building the app.
As long as you know what’s good, the most important part is creating your app on paper. What’s the experience that people want to do? Literally draw it out.
In fact, there’s some awesome apps on the iPad that will do this for you. Omnigraphel is one, a $30 app which just is insanely good and lets you knock out the whole process, and then there’s [inaudible] lets you literally mock up, even if you haven’t got an artistic bone in your body, how your program would work, just by dragging. This is where the finger touch interface is so cool.
As long as you know what your market would want, you just create it and you let the coders worry about the coding. You let the designers make it look pretty. Don’t worry about it. You shouldn’t spend a huge amount of money on it, either.
Gideon: So your focus as an internet marketer or blogger is to think about the usability of your application. Don’t worry about the technical stuff. Make sure it’s easy to use and flip it off to your programmer and get him to get it done for you.
Ed: Absolutely, and if I can recommend a book too, 37 Signals is an extraordinarily innovative company and they just released a book, and of course it’s available on your iPad or on your Kindle or you can get it pretty much anywhere you like. It’s called Rework. I would heartily recommend that everybody listening to this should read that book. It’s absolutely awesome.
That book came from another book which they wrote, which was targeted to software developers and people who create software, which was called Getting Real, which is available by PDF for free.
I’d recommend reading Rework first, because they actually then made it more generic for anybody to read and have a look at. That’s an incredible book on the subject.
Unless it really floats your boat, I would not start learning how to program iPhone apps.
Gideon: I agree with you. I think as a marketer, certainly you want to flip it off to a technical person who knows what they’re doing.
Ed: Yeah. Every wet behind the knees IT student at your local university, I guarantee you right now, he’s learning how to code for the iPhone and would happily work for food, and a good designer at the design school, because you should make your apps look beautiful.
You should make them work really well, but you should keep them simple and just get the job done, and you can do that because you know what your market wants.
Gideon: Cool. I’m just noticing the time is ticking on. I’ve got a few more questions, and I’ve also got some questions from some fans that I want to ask you too.
The first question is we’ve talked about all the cool stuff about the iPad. Obviously when new products get introduced into the market there are always bugs and issues and stuff for the first revisions.
What do you see are the current issues with the iPad and how do you see them getting fixed in the future?
Ed: The biggest one for me, the biggest negative without a shadow of a doubt, is the way you have to get files on and off the device, and most particularly on the device in the first place. That to me at the moment is a bit clunky. The best way really is to email it to yourself.
Now the good news is, of course, there are solutions. What I did in preparation for the iPad is I made sure all my business data and email and everything is now in a cloud.
I use Google services, I use Dropbox, I use MobileMe, and I did that quite deliberately because I realize that people’s work habits began to change and it gives you incredibly more flexibility.
Now I didn’t actually do my iPad email, but like I’m waiting to pick up my daughter here in kindergarten and I could literally jump online and check out the latest document that I’ve been doing, or check out what a client’s been up to, because everything is cloud-based. It makes it very easy to import [documents and files.]
Having said that, the biggest negative is definitely for me the file management system, like getting a PDF on and off. There are solutions coming, but it’s a little bit of a pain. It’s not a deal breaker by any stretch of the imagination, it’s just not as beautiful as it potentially could be.
The second thing is a lot of the iPad apps were developed without the benefit of having an iPad, so you can’t blame the developers for this. Something which is hugely important — and they made a big deal of this in the announcement and everybody said, “Eh, no big deal,” – is the orientation, the fact that there is no up, there is no down, there is no side on the iPad.
You think, “Big deal,” and it’s actually a huge deal when you’re using it. It’s a massive deal, and a lot of applications were pretty much designed either landscape or portrait as their focus, and you can’t do that on the iPad, because people turn it around any which way they want to.
You have to design your application to be fully functional in portrait or landscape, or give them very deliberate jobs for each, based on that.
Gideon: I suppose when you look at the iPad it’s not like you know where is top in any case, right?
Ed: Right. Honestly you lose yourself in your iPad. I’ll go to press the Home button and I’ll press glass, because I’ll realize I’ve got it up a particular way.
There’s a very funny story. Somebody was complaining that they wanted the headphone jack on the top and not somewhere else, and I’m thinking, “Well, turn it around. It’s on the top. Or it’s on the bottom now if that’s what you want,” and that’s how it works.
Those are the two things for me.
Gideon: We’ve got a little less than 10 minutes before you’ve got to shoot off. We’ve got some questions from some keen fans that I’ll just run through and we can just rip through them.
The first one is from Finland through Twitter. He’s saying, “Ask Ed where the iPad’s pot of gold is. With the iPhone it was the apps. Is it now time for books or other content?”
Ed: I think the apps are probably still the pot of gold in the iPad, but definitely there are huge opportunities for people with regards to books, and there’s a way to market [these things to] impulse buyers. This distribution method to sell your ebooks is so much easier than [anything else out there].
Those are two pots of gold. Apps, make no mistake, but the ability to sell books as well is right there.
Gideon: Awesome. The next question is from Twitter again saying, “iPad gets all the hype, probably good marketing, but shouldn’t we target other weblets as well –joojoo, slate, itablet, etc?”
Ed: Well, none of those other things [compare at all] Joo Joo sucks, sorry to be rude there. I mean they made about 90 of them.
You should be thinking about tablet computing, not talking about a particular device, but when the market is so big as 17 million iPhones, and when you add iTouch we’re talking about a user base of 100 million, that is a huge user base in anybody’s language.
If you talk about an installed user base at the low end of 5 million in 12 months – I think it’s going to be way more than that personally, but let’s be conservative – 5 million in 12 months, you are talking about a major new device here.
Likewise, you’ve got very different demographics. My demographic is baby boomers. The people buying my products are baby boomers. This is going to be the baby boomer computer, make no mistake.
Gideon: Good point. The next question is from Tyrone also through Twitter. He says, “Please ask Ed how can we use and leverage the iPad to increase traffic and subscribers to our blog.”
Ed: Interesting one. I suppose make it friendly, but that’s really shortchanging. I see the iPad and the iPhone as output in your system. In other words, they’re places where your content is used and people interact with them just like they’re interacting with the web.
So to me, the market leadership and the thing you need to do to build your tribe aren’t impacted per se by the iPad, except if you come up with some sort of viral app or something that’s really cool and build your market that way, then yes, I would say that that’s a way to build your market.
I’ve got to say, I’m more looking at the point of view of building my market leadership through what I do online and writing books and the traditional ways of building market leadership in your particular niche, and then the iPad is a delivery mechanism for that. I think in the long run it’s another very important device to start to build that content.
Does that make sort of sense, that unless you’ve got an app I don’t see it as being of itself – it’s the internet, it’s the web, so everything still applies.
Gideon: More a consuming device.
Ed: Yeah. I think they’re going to change. I think we’re going to see people create some really funky content with it, but 90-95% of people are going to use it to consume information.
Gideon: Which is good to know, like you said, as a content creator.
Gideon: Next question is, “Ask Ed in what situations he prefers iPad over Macbook or iPhone for content creation on the go.”
Ed: Let’s use a best-case scenario as the best way to describe this. I’ve got a big conference coming up in the United States in May. I’m talking a lot there, I’m running the conference, and typically that would be a classic case where I’ll be bringing along my (what feels now incredibly heavy) Macbook. It’s funny, it wasn’t heavy three weeks ago. Now it’s a monstrosity.
I won’t be bringing a laptop. I see no need to bring my laptop, because everything I can do in Keynote – and this is why Apple, of course, spent so much time making sure Keynote worked – that to me is going to be a core thing for me.
Where there’s time where I’ve really needed access to a Mac while I’m traveling or a day trip or going on holiday for example, I won’t be bringing the laptop anymore. I’ll be bringing the iPad.
Keep in mind it’s a sitting down device, just like I said to you. I’ve had to rush out and go pick up my daughter at kindergarten. I wouldn’t bring my iPad for that. It’s much bigger than a phone. You’d look like a total fool. It’s not a standing up device.
That’s why I laugh at people saying, “I can’t believe they didn’t put a camera in. How terrible,” etc. No! Rubbish. It’s too big. It would kill your arm trying to take a photo with this thing. That would be stupid. Of course you don’t want a camera. It doesn’t make any sense.
It’s a sitting around computer, or even a lounging around computer. If I’m at a coffee shop, if I’m anywhere where I’m casually computing, even in bed or in a lounger, that’s where I’ll be using it, because I’m not lacking for anything.
I can type on it as fast as I can type on my computer, in fact probably a bit faster, because I’m not a touch typist. If I was a touch typist this would slow me down.
Gideon: Once again, ideal for the baby boomers, I suppose.
Ed: Perfect, because they’re all [thumb typers]!
Gideon: [laughing] Ed, there’s a couple more fun questions, and then we’ll finish it up. This one is also from Twitter. “Is it true that emails sent from the iPad are more shiny and attractive?”
Ed: [laughing] No question about it. [Much more shiny] with any email sent from an iPad.
Gideon: Awesome. Then the final one is from Facebook, “Does it blend?”
Ed: Ah, see, that’s just evil. I will not watch that video…
Gideon: I’ve watched it, and I do not recommend you watch it, Ed. It’s very painful. As a Mac Fan Boy you’d be hurt. [laughing]
Great stuff, Ed. Sounds like you’re probably at the school.
Ed: It’s probably the screaming kids in the background.
Gideon: Good timing. Thank you so much for the call. I hope everyone finds it as useful as I did.
Ed: No worries. Let me know when it’s all up and I’ll make sure I tweet it all around.
Gideon: Brilliant. Thanks, Ed. All the best.