I work for myRealPage, a company that builds website, listing and lead management products for REALTORS®. Since we are in the technology game, a valid question to ask is whether we should look at supporting iPad or whether we wait until it gains a larger market share or has a well understood applications in the real estate industry.
I am not a fan of “game changer” and “paradigm shift” rhetoric, but I want to share my thoughts on the subject from the MAYBE rather than WILL perspective. I will break it down into some points:
If you think of the iPad in the following terms, I think you will have an incomplete picture:
- iPad is a big iPhone, why would I want a device that is bigger rather than smaller (think if you would choose a smaller LCD display over a larger one, think if the “Minority Report” UI would look as cool on a tiny panel instead of a large one)
- I need a GPS to fully take advantage of the iPad (think about lugging this thing around with you; would you carry it around when not working? would you accept that you have to always carry a bag for it with you?)
- It’s too big which makes it unwieldy as a mobile device (true, only if you believe it’s a “mobile” device, on par with how you understand this term when thinking about cell phones)
- It has no keyboard, how can I ever type out my documents on it (true, if you want to use it as a work computer)
If you think of the iPad in the following terms, you may get a little fuller picture:
- iPad may become a true “lifestyle” device: check mail, play games, watch video, photos, play music, browse the web, social media, etc. (remember what GUI did to business computers)
- iPad is great for kids: even if you don’t use it yourself, you will quickly see that your kids can benefit hugely from it: not the games, but the learning programs: I speak from personal experience. So now, that your kids are using it, perhaps, you can set up your mail on it too, and maybe you can just check that website on it, instead of pulling out your laptop; and maybe find the answer to that question on the web, etc. etc. Before long, that laptop may never get pulled out of the bag at home.
- It’s “magical”: that will earn me derision, I know; but you have to use iPad for a while to see why Apple is using this term in their marketing. A large display that you interact with directly with your fingers on the basis of simulated physics (swiping, pinching, spring-loaded effects, shaking, flipping, etc) and not through a proxy of a mouse pointer DOES make a huge perceptive difference, in my opinion.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY: think of iPad as a “couch” device
So now that you got your clients/audience in this setting: sitting on their couches, getting used to making iPads part of their evenings at home, ask yourself a question: “is it going to change your industry”?