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Brandan Lennox's

Post-PC Marketing

I noticed an omission in iPad 2 announcement. Jobs talked about the dual-core A5 processor in the new hardware, but he didn’t even bother mentioning the clock speed — only how fast it is (in theory) compared to the A4. And other than storage capacity, that’s really the only tech spec he discussed in the whole keynote. You can find the specs on the iPad web page, but they’re inconspicuous, not a primary selling point. I firmly doubt any Apple Genius will talk to you about the iPad’s L1 cache or 802.11n card, and you’d have to conduct your own research to figure out how much memory it sports.

Josh Topolsky wrote today about this new “post-PC” era, and Jason Fried recently wrote about the disconnect between engineers and customers:

They thought they were arming us with facts that would impress the customers. But, it turned out, none of that stuff mattered. In fact, it had a negative effect. When you describe things in terms people don’t understand, they tend not to trust you as much….

Once I stopped slinging the technical terms, I realized that when customers shop for shoes, they do three things. They consider the look and style. They try them on to see if they’re comfortable. And they consider the price. Endorsements by famous athletes help a lot, too. But the technology, the features, the special-testing labs—I can’t remember a single customer who cared….

Understanding what people really want to know — and how that differs from what you want to tell them — is a fundamental tenet of sales.

Storage is the last remnant of the gimmicky PC marketing tactics I grew up with: RAM, disk space, processor speed, graphics memory, turbo buttons, that sort of thing. Storage space still matters, especially in monolithic devices like the iPad — once it’s full, it’s full. But tech marketing needs to start focusing on experience. The silicon matters less every day.

Who buys iPads

I know two people who will be purchasing iPads in the next few weeks. They both came to me with questions about whether they were making the right decision. Some of their questions:

  • Can I watch movies on it?
  • Can I look at PDFs on it?
  • Does it really get ten hours of battery life?
  • Can I use it on my wi-fi?
  • Can I use it not on my wi-fi?
  • Which color cover should I get?

They don’t care about GHz or MB RAM. They’ve gone to the Apple Store and played with it and felt it respond to their touch and found apps they love. Why should they care about the specs? The comments on Topolsky’s article only reinforce how out-of-touch we nerds are with the majority of the tech-consuming public.

Apple has a deep connection with their customers. When will other companies make that connection?