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This week, Apple added yet another addition to their product family – the Magic trackpad. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t really bat an eyelid, however, there’s something about this product that shouts business strategy particularly loudly.
Haters have dismissed it as just another interface device a bit bigger than what exists in many laptops, and hey – the good old mouse works, so why change?
Apple brand aficionados, have done what they usually do. Gawp at how stupendously beautiful it is, buy it, and scream from the rooftops how its changed their workflow, productivity and overall sex appeal. Yeah baby.
Anyway, I digress. Analysis of Apple versus / other pissing contests are the online equivalent of feeding a dinner party Marmite or Marmalade to see who kicks up the most fuss in their respective defense. A hearty steak – it aint.
At the risk of sounding like I’ve been drinking from the Apple Kool aid, the reason I personally think that this product is REALLY important is this:
The iPad has been a huge commercial success as well, (which was incidentally conceived as a concept before the iPhone was), giving rise and rise to new applications using gestures, pinch and zoom, and other sexy human interface innovations. These have proven to be extremely popular with users, and as one iPad user recently described to me after using it for a while to browse – “It’s like I’m touching the internet now”. We will continue to see applications developed for this platform, primarily because of the experience that it provides.
Developers today not only want to build great software that people use, but great software that people can touch feel and connect with as well. If you take a snapshot of what is hot in the gaming market for example, the Wii and Microsoft’s Kinect both use gesture recognition as a way to further engage an audience.
Other companies such as Synaptics, (RIM / Blackberry’s hardware partner) have also recognised this trend, with software and hardware solutions to implement this.
At the crux of it, I the introduction of the Magic Pad is undoubtedly to bring the touch applications which have already been developed back to the desktop – giving developers who have created apps for iPad or iPhone another market place, and a boost in desktop sales for Apple. In one simple motion, and with the introduction of one hardware product Apple may have just laid the ground work for a military assault on the desktop market in 2010. Things are already looking positive, according to reports released in March – and this is undoubtedly a hardware product that is only going to bolster that position.