Jobs will have to convert the floating buyer

Opinion

Jobs will have to convert the floating buyer

So the iPad has already hit the 1 million sales mark making it a more successful launch than the iPhone. Steve Jobs, head honcho at Apple, must be very pleased and perhaps a little relieved.

Speaking to a transatlantic contact over the lunch table last week he was keen to flip out his Kindle and start telling me how great it was but his face changed when the iPad was mentioned.

"I wish it had some sort of bluetooth phone functionality, it's too big and it doesn't have good wi-fi connection," were the three criticisms he reeled straight off.
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In some ways the reaction to the iPad reminds you of the current state of the floating voter. There are the hard core, those who know which way they are going to vote come what may, who rush out and buy the product because they love Apple kit and want to be in that first wave of adopters.

Then there are those that are yet to be convinced, like a quarter of the UK voting population apparently, who will tell you that fundamentally they like the idea of it but are yet to be convinced on the grounds of functionality and price.

Then of course finally there are those that will not know what you are talking about, the people who don't vote or think it's amusing for some reason to spoil their ballot papers, who will carry on leading their lives regardless of if the iPad is a success or not.

The challenge for Apple is that the experience of the US launch is likely to be repeated here, albeit on a smaller scale, but that majority of floating voters needs to be won over.

Nifty advertising will help as will the front line sales pitch in the Apple stores but as the politicians have shown over the last four weeks there will always be a significant number of undecided people and you have to work to win those over.

If Steve Jobs and friends want to make the iPad the sort of success the iPhone has been then he needs to roll up his sleeves and have a campaign to sway the neutral.

This was first published in May 2010

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