The iPad—Apple’s newest computer— made its much-anticipated debut January 27th. Eighty days after iPad’s release, Apple sold 3 million units.
“Every 3 seconds an iPad is sold,” says Apple's chief executive, Steve Jobs. How can one device sell so well? The design of the user experience may be responsible.
User experience is how one perceives a system, product, or service. The interface, or overall appearance, and interaction are core elements of this experience.
According to The Interaction Design Association, interaction design defines, “the structure and behavior of interactive systems.” The organization also says, “Interaction Designers strive to create meaningful relationships between people and the products and services that they use.”
With a 91% iPad satisfaction rating, according to research firm, ChangeWave, it seems Apple did just that. The market research confirms that the emphasis Apple placed on the human-computer interaction is paying off, say experts.
Additionally, the market research shows Apple touched iPad customers by creating a user experience based on advance technology and "intimate simplicity". The iPad’s large, keyboard-less touchscreen and its vast application platform are prime examples of the great experience it provides, says experts. “People are loving iPad as it becomes a part of their daily lives,” says Jobs.
When Jobs presented his company’s new creation to the press, he called it many things. One adjective the CEO did not use was “moving.” Which are exactly how many professionals are responding, optimistically or disapprovingly, to Apple’s new gadget.
“The iPad is merging humanistic innovation with a culture of design and interaction that reaches the levels of high art,” says Hartmut Esslinger, professor of Convergent Design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria and founder of the global innovation firm frog design.
“In a digital world mostly deprived of any truly inspired product and experience culture, Apple stands out even more," says Esslinger. "The nearly forgotten American Dream of excellence and success is alive thanks to Steve Jobs!” He went on to say, “I love it. … The iPad is the beginning of a new category — one that is hyper-convergent and humanistic.”
“Apple's products sell because they focus on the overall user experience and how people actually use the device,” says Mike Rundle, User Interface Architect at Bronto Software.
Others aren’t so impressed. Another expert who weighed in on the iPad was originally convinced the iPad is just a larger iPhone. The user interface is too sequential and oversimplified, says Adam Kmiec, Senior Vice President of Interactive Marketing Innovation at MARC USA.
On his blog Kmiec asks, “Is the iPad a killer device? Is it a game-changing device? Will you love it?” Kmiec answers, “The simple answer is YES…so long as you have the mindset of a 3 year old. … Do you like a linear approach for doing things? If so, the iPad is perfect for you. Everything about the iPad interface is linear.”
Despite some negative reviews, the iPad is selling well…maybe, too well. The company has been struggling to meet demand for iPad.
PC World suggests that the U.S. shortage may be a result of Apple stockpiling iPads for its international markets, thereby assuring a steadily supply of tablets across the globe. Some analysts believe the shortage may caused by a shortage of touchscreens used on the iPad, Business Week reports.
Jobs issued a statement in a press release June 22nd, 2010. “We’re working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more people around the world.”
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