Apple clearly recognizes the importance of the mobile web, but did they get trigger happy and launch the iPad too soon? The launch of the new Apple device has lit up the internet with all sorts of criticisms, praises, questions and opinions. A question remains for those of us in the search marketing and social media world—how will these tablets incorporate the use of social media?
The Apple iPad and other tablets like the HP Slate and the Amazon Kindle are finally providing affordable mobile connectivity to the internet for those who may have not seen a need for an internet-capable phone. With a bigger screen, touchscreen QWERTY keyboard (and the ability to attach a full-size apple keyboard) and iLife capability, tablet devices are making it easy for older consumers and businessmen and women to justify purchasing an iPad instead of an iPhone, Blackberry, or Palm Pre. While the price point is above some netbook computers (especially the Acer brand), the iPad exemplifies the pent-up demand to meet a simple need: constant online connection.
The iPad is just another mechanism for people to communicate from anywhere—the airport, coffee shops, long car rides—wherever. Because it already supports iPhone applications like Facebook Mobile and TweetDeck, it will be easy for social media users to integrate the iPad into their everyday online social media activities. However, even though this is a mobile device, it may not be as logical to bring an iPad out of a bag or purse while in a business where texting and using a cell phone is more acceptable, like while standing in line in the grocery store or waiting at a stop light while in traffic. However, the iPad’s size may be just right for those looking for a mobile device that can allow them to do (and see) more on a bigger screen and with an attached keyboard.
Social media greatly hyped up the announcement of the iPad, and it could certainly help it become successful once it launches in the Spring of 2010. Tweets, posts on Facebook, and emails may have the tag “sent from my iPad” furthering the conversation between iPad owners and their online contacts. Furthermore, making the option to share documents, images and text from iLife to contacts on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media sites may help the iPad bridge the gap between desktop publishing and online communication. There are many opportunities to harness the power of mobile web and reach out to the users who are now using it for hours a day.
How to prepare for the coming wave of tablets
Tablets are going to be the next big thing, but they will not replace computers, netbooks, or cell phones (including smart phones). That said, social media activity on the iPad will be different than that on a cell phone, as mentioned above. Social media on the iPad and other tablets will be mainly about sharing information and files—things like e-books, links, documents, etc., instead of details about our lives—status updates about what you’re eating, tweets about what the dog is doing and other chatter that clutters up the social media space. Social media use on the iPad will most likely be more professional—happening when users are sitting down and have time to concentrate. In addition, the iPad will most likely initially be purchased by adults and working professionals because of its bigger screen and simplistic navigation, making it more popular with the crowd that uses social media services like LinkedIn and Facebook to network instead of share information about their personal lives with friends.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.