One of the core parts of any positioning is the frame of reference.
Before you can tell someone about the benefits of a particular product you first have to tell them what the product is. This is a type of, well, what? It is hard to discuss the unique benefits of chocolate ripple ice cream, for example, before you establish the fact that we are talking about ice cream.
So what is the frame of reference for the iPad?
This is a rather difficult question.
Is the iPad a type of computer? It seems a bit like that, since there is a key board and it is about the size of a computer. But it isn’t a very good computer.
Is the iPad a type of smart phone, like the iPhone? It seems a bit like that, too, since it runs apps and is portable. But it doesn’t make calls.
Is the iPad a type of ebook, like the Kindle? This seems quite good, but then I’m not sure what is particularly good about the iPad versus the Kindle.
Is the iPad a type of television? I guess it could be this, too, since there is a nice big color screen suitable for watching things.
The new ads for iPad seem to position it as an ebook, since they show people reading books on a couch. But this doesn’t seem like a compelling proposition.
Sorting out this frame of reference question will determine much of what happens to the iPad long-term. The frame certainly isn’t clear to me right now, but the folks at Apple are pretty savvy marketers so I’m confident they will clue us all in as the time goes by.
Any thoughts on this? What is the iPad, anyway?