I was at an exhibition a couple of days back. Or rather, I was one of the exhibitors, among a bunch of 3 dozen. There were people of all ages who came to the event, got stuff, and all. It was a lot of fun, I got to experience something new altogether. And there was something I witnessed, too. I witnessed how Apple has won the mindshare in the tablet space. It may not be as new as it may sound, but it was certainly very surprising to me. Here’s the story –
There was this little girl who came by our stall. We had lots of goodies, stuff you could gift to people and the likes. We also had this Angry Birds’ toy, which had a light built inside. The girl like it a lot. But, her Mom, who had a stall next to ours, asked me not to let her buy. I couldn’t say no. So I said her that someone’s bought it already. She shrugged, and went away.
Later, I went in the canteen, and had a little meal. While I was doing so, I heard a familiar voice. It was that little girl. She was talking to her Dad. She was saying him how ‘the guy who’s exhibiting next to Mom’s stall’ didn’t let her buy that iPad wala Angry Birds’ toy (the iPad Angry Birds’ toy).
After I was done with my meal, I went back to our stall, grabbed that toy, and gave it to her. She was elated. And I went back to my table. Then, I realized how the girl had said iPad wala (that’s a Hindi word, meaning iPad’s) Angry Birds’ toy. She didn’t just say Angry Birds’ toy. She prefixed it with iPad.
It stunned me. A 5 year old girl, who has just started going to school, recognized an Angry Birds’ toy because of the iPad. To make it more surprising, her parents didn’t have an iPad. They had other Apple devices (the MBA), but not an iPad. She’d seen her cousins using it, who were just 8 year old, both.
So, what is my point, exactly? I need not explain how Apple has beaten its competitors. I’ve never heard anyone recall any other game because of a gadget. Not a 5 year old girl, at least.
It also reminds me how Open Source software and cutting edge, super powerful hardware is not the answer to success. The right combination of software (open or closed source) and hardware is what is important – something which the Android OEMs will never appreciate (they don’t appear to do so, neither are they ready to). Not to forget unique hardware design and a user-friendly approach to the UI. Look at those Android tablets – geez. I would never recommend an Android tablet (not the ones on the market, at this moment) over an iPad, if price is not important. Not that many Android tablets cost any less.
This is how you win, people. Can someone do an Apple? I don’t see anyone doing that. Not anytime soon.