…but alas it may never be.
Had an opportunity to observe people buying computers this afternoon. Two different environments, Apple Store and John Lewis. What I saw speaks volumes for the chaos that is the consumer computing market.
At the Apple store, the buyers (not the people playing with the toys) gravitated to three clear groups:
- Tablet Users – yes people were actually buying the iPad. Most of them took a seat at the workbenches where experts helped them get started.
- Desktop Users – surprising to me, some people were indeed buying iMacs. Lovely machines if you need to be sat at a desk. Didn’t see anyone looking at the Mac Mini, which is a shame as I consider it a rather useful piece of kit.
- Laptop Users – these people actually hovered between the MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros. I think this is where the confusion begins for most – do they need a svelte capable machine or a powerful but larger laptop?
In summary I figured Apple have it right, whilst their portfolio is larger than the two by two Steve drew up a while back, they are still building for distinct groups. Also the iPad is a huge overlap opportunity, most people ‘also’ have an iPad to complement their main computer.
John Lewis was a completely different story where people there were deliberating between a plethora of options.
- The biggest divide was whether people should buy a Microsoft OS or Apple OS.
- They then had to deal with whether they wanted the Desktop, Ultrabook or Laptop format. This in itself is similar to the Apple format question but was complicated by…
- The Intel vs AMD choice within each format if they opted for Microsoft.
- Alas once they had chosen a format, they then had to decide between: Dell, HP, Toshiba, Asus, Samsung or Sony!
- Oh, and if they decided to buy a tablet, they had to chose between iPad, Samsung, Sony, Asus.
In the end, it came down to price.
Whilst there I considered what laptop I would buy for a family member. Looking at the options, and the usage profile, I also gravitated to a price based decision. I did like the Ultrabook line up, Asus are doing a nice job there.
Wonder if the manufacturers know that they are not so much selling a brand experience to the masses, as a price bracket.
The most amusing observation was watching a middle aged woman move from a pretty reasonable laptop to the iPad2 and get swayed into buying that. What did she want to do – surf and email. In the end, I think she made a pretty good choice!