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Apple iPad Reminds Us How Brands Succeed by Transforming Experiences

But once again, as we’ve seen in the past with Apple, the whole is larger than the sum of the parts

iPad on Ulitzer

To borrow a line from Scrooge, "I'm as giddy as a drunken man." With today's Apple iPad intro, it feels like Christmas.

I was glued to Engadget's live blogfeed of the announcement. Apple is leveraging its iPhone technology in a new tablet format, adding bells and whistles like unlocked, no contract, and cheap 3G data plans, a keyboard dock and the iBookstore.

But once again, as we've seen in the past with Apple, the whole is larger than the sum of the parts. In the tech industry we pay homage to "innovation" as the ultimate springboard for leadership positioning and killer differentiation. Who does it better than Apple? Lots of companies make products, but only a few reinvent how we learn, communicate and experience. Remember trying to use a pre-iPod Mp3 player?

Mine was a Diamond Rio; frustrated and ticked off are two reactions that come to mind. Remember how you felt the first time you used an iPod? For me, it was the same feeling I get when I step foot in a new country. Wow, this is someplace different, and it's cool, and a little scary but I'm happy to be here and I want to discover this new place. The iPod wasn't just innovative because of its simple design and intuitive ease of use. T

he kicker was the iTunes store - it gave us a whole new way to stay on top of music, broaden our horizons, consume and share at far less cost. The entire experience of finding and listening to music was transformed. I used to think it was de rigueur to be able to stay in touch via e-mail on my mobile phone. But now as an iPhone user, I can't fathom how I was satisfied with a device that made surfing the web painful and offered little else.

The iPhone gives me a broader, more fulfilling experience. While typing is a little less speedy, I now have - in one device - painless Internet, much better viewing, a decent camera, games, nifty video, all the music I love, instant social networking connections, an e-book reader and access to over 140,000 apps. Nice trade-up.

The iPad holds similar promise.

If I was a newspaper or magazine publisher, I'd be re-energized. This device has the potential to reinvent the publishing industry like iTunes reinvented the music industry. As I watched today's New York Times demo during the iPad intro, it reminded me of the Harry Potter movies where animated video moves across "The Daily Prophet" student newspaper.

The iPad features drop down context menus; re-sizing of pages with a pinch; and embedded video inside articles.

This is a reinvention of how we read and learn. Consumer and business-to-business brands will endear themselves to their customers - and win - if they focus on innovating customer experiences vs. merely announcing feature-rich products. The former is a benefit-laden differentiation that's damn hard to disrupt.

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More Stories By Andy Beaupre

Andy Beaupre is a 35-year branding and communications professional. He is a senior counselor with Beaupre and heads the firm’s clean technology practice.