While much attention has been paid to the consumer use of the Apple iPad, lost in the noise has been the business user and buyer. I noted with much interest an article distributed by Bloomberg News and authored by Olga Kharif entitled IPad Wins Following Among Business Users for Work Outside Office. Covered and touted has been the iPad’s design for eBooks, video, web browsing, and Apple iPhone like capabilities for apps. It looks like Apple will be tapping into a distinctive buyer persona, the business professional, which may be the real winner in the introduction of the iPad.
Charlie Wolf, an analyst at Needham & Co. in New York, finds that companies are placing orders for the iPad for business-related communications, such as email. “Clearly, the iPad has a role to play in the business market,” said Wolf. In a survey conducted by Zogby International, over half of the respondents said they would use an iPad-like device for work. I had previously noted how Plastic Logic’s Que, an eReader, was designed specifically with a business buyer persona in mind. It is clear that there is some thinking going on with respect to tapping into the value of meeting the needs of a business buyer persona.
Apple, while fanning the flames of their admirable consumer marketing, has been silently at work designing features and tools that make the iPad suitable for work-related activities. Included will be Apple’s iWork suite that offers word processing, spread-sheet capabilities, and a presentation application. What does a business buyer persona for the Apple iPad sound like? Here is what Dan Donofrio, a New York-based IT executive in the publishing industry, had to say about his plans to use the iPad to create graphics, “In my work, I draw a lot of workflow charts and I like the idea of being able to sit in a meeting and draw.”
Paul Carton, Vice President of Research at ChangeWave, predicted that: “You can see everyone carry it in their briefcase in two or three years.” Apple may very well have recognized that the true early adopters of the iPad will be the business buyer persona. Research is bearing this out. TechRepublic’s recent survey found that nearly 70% of CIO’s surveyed believed there was a business case for the iPad while ChangeWave’s research with consumers found that 13 percent of the anticipated top uses for the iPad would include working away from the office.
No doubt, Apple has been taking a look at its ability to create splash and fanfare on the consumer end while quietly going about designing portability for the business end. By not forgetting the business buyer persona, Apple may have another winner in the iPad. Once again, revolutionizing an industry and having everyone else playing catch-up.