Why iPad?

Last week I questioned whether Apple is a good steward for the iPad platform, but one thing seems clear: the Apple marketing team is working harder at differentiating the device than any other group in the company. In spite of what I would call relative indifference on the part of the software and hardware teams, Apple’s marketing has continually tried to make the case for the iPad in a series of fairly well executed if not particularly spectacular or very memorable ad campaigns. The newest is apparently based on the theme “Everything Changes with iPad,” and it features some of the most eclectic typography I can recall seeing at Apple.com:

Marketing Site for “Everything Changes with iPad”

The message is that “iPad does lots and lots of stuff,” and both the marketing site and the accompanying video (at the top of this post) go to great lengths to showcase a wide variety of those use cases and the many terrific apps that make them possible. The entire marketing effort seems geared towards answering the fundamental question that consumers have about the device, as tacitly acknowledged by the bottom right section of the site, which poses it simply: “Why iPad?”

It’s worth noting that even five years after its debut, the company is still grappling with this existential issue. That says a lot; you don’t see them trying to answer “Why iPhone?” It also worries me that their answer is so broad—none of the example apps shown here truly stand out apart from the others. It’s not that they’re bad apps; on the contrary, they’re very good apps. But as a group they’re so diverse that the campaign doesn’t seem to target a specific kind of user; it just seems to say that the product is supposedly good for everybody. As the old advertising saw goes, if something is for everyone, it’s really for no one.