If you’re a Mac user who enjoys the results you get with Apple’s Keynote presentation software (“When your presentation really counts”, Steve Jobs, January 2003) you will no doubt be intrigued by the deployment of Keynote, and the other elements of the iWork productivity suite, to the iPad, released a week or so ago.
And if you’re like me, your hopes that the iPad could become an “outrigger” display device similar in functionality to your Macbook, allowing you to present with Keynote while leaving your Macbook at home, were dashed when you read the first reviews from the mainstream media, Mac media, and the blogging community of users.
Various reports suggest that there are serious hurdles to synching iPad and desktop created Keynote presentations, both in terms of what is transferred and the means by which the transfer takes place.
For now, without having first hand experience at the process, it’s hard for me to offer constructive criticism, nor to ask the iWork team direct questions because I want to be very specific when I do. In a few months time, in the Northern hemisphere autumn, Apple plans to release iPhone 4 for the iPad which may well resolve some of the general issues raised in iPad reviews, and may offer improved parity between the iPad and desktop Keynote apps.
I previously blogged that an updated Keynote is on the way (I saw no new features in Keynote in the iPhone 4 event this past week) and predicted it could see the light of day around the first sales of the iPad last weekend. That didn’t occur, but perhaps a new version, Keynote 6, will be revealed around the same time as iPhone 4 updates the iPad, allowing for much greater seamless file exchange and feature parity.
Just like the iPhone and before it, the iPod, introduced many Windows users to Apple products in a so-called “halo” effect – “if these products are this good, then their other products must be just as good too” – allowing some Windows users to lose restraint and actually allow Apple products into their households, one must assume all the hype over the iPad must be following a similar pattern.
An additional point to this join-the-dots marketing effort are the Apple stores, placed carefully in locations conveying sybaritic lifestyles. So what we have are likely hordes of Windows users as well as never-used-a-computer-before types with disposable income to venture into Apple stores to see what all the fuss is about.
We’ve seen previous Apple keynotes where Steve Jobs has referred to the number of switchers who have purchased a Mac in an Apple store, and it hovers around 50%.
That is, 50% of Mac sales goes to previous Windows’ users. One presumes then that the remaining 50% are a combination of Mac owners purchasing a Mac once more, as well as new computer users purchasing their first PC (in the generic sense of the term).
We know too that the vast majority of iPod sales go to Windows’ users, given that group’s massive numbers compared to Mac ownership. Given iPods and iPhone update themselves, new software, new music and videos, and new apps. through iTunes speaking with the mothership, Apple knows how many of these devices sync to Windows PCs versus Macs.
Returning to the iPad, as yet you need to connect to iTunes to get the device on its way first thing after purchase. So once more Apple knows something of the demographics of iPad use, from location through to which operating system is being employed.
So the questions goes begging: How well is Keynote selling on the iPad (you buy each of the iWork apps individually)?
Well, Apple conveniently lets us know (left) by showing a chart of the top selling apps., both paid and free. In the days after iPad was released, Keynote was in the top three. Now, on Monday a week later, it’s 7th with an advanced pdf reader (which I have bought in advance) at number 1.
And there’s a second question for curious minds: Given the ubiquity of Powerpoint as the presentation software default in corporations, universities and schools, what proportion of iPad users purchasing Keynote are Windows users? And if they like Keynote, what is the chance it will act in a halo fashion to cause Windows users to switch to a Mac with the full blown Keynote app installed as part of iWork, instead of Microsoft’s Office which doesn’t seem will see the light of day on the iPad.
At this point we can become playful with numbers.
During last week’s iPhone 4 special event, Steve Jobs announced that in the week since its launch, 3.5 million apps had been downloaded to iPads, which had sold 450,000 at that time – that’s an average of almost 8 apps per iPad.
Is it thus possible to assume that for Keynote to rate so highly on the sales chart, it was one of those eight apps downloaded to each iPad? Now comes the difficult question: What proportion of iPads are hooking up to iTunes on Windows devices, thus letting us know how many users are using Keynote for the very first time (although they may well have seen it in action without knowing it)? On the first weekend, analyst Gene Munster of PiperJaffray estimated, based on a survey of 448 iPad purchasers, some 26% were PC owners. That same weekend, Keynote, as I recall, was number 3 on the chart of paid apps. So lots of PC users were sampling Keynote for the first time.
It then dropped four places in the next week as more apps came online and took away some spending and sampling dollars.
Sooner or later, I am hoping Apple sells enough iPads and enough iPad-exclusive apps to generate sufficient numbers to declare the iPad a growing success and not a flop. Perhaps this will happen at month’s end when the 3G version is released, when world wide sales begin and app prices begin to drop, as they will.
Perhaps then, Apple will let us know the if that 75/25 split between Mac/PC has shifted to something more like 50/50. Do remember that the initial sales that opening weekend of 300,000 were very much taken up by pre-orders, sight-unseen and touch-untouched, and hence the 75% Apple faithful figure.
But with the hype machine still running strong, the 3G and international versions on their way, word of mouth amongst friends and availability in Apple stores to play with, will the iPad only appeal to the Apple user community? 75,000 sales to PC users the first weekend suggests not, and I fully expect a forthcoming Apple event to show another Jobs’ graph showing trend lines of iPad sales to Mac uses and PC users, perhaps with a crossover where PC users outnumbered Mac users.
That of course has happened before with iPods, where Mac users had a year of exclusivity in a giant Economics and Business 101 course experiment to see if consumers would actually buy music rather than pirate it online. Once proven that they would, iTunes for Windows was released together with USB-powered iPods (via the 30pin dock), and the record companies sat back in horror as Apple drove the market for music and the mobile technology to listen to it.
Now with iPads and Keynote, the question for curious minds is whether Apple will release Keynote for Windows (not very likely) or work towards a same-same feature list and functionality for desktop and iPad Keynote in the next few months.
Frankly, I don’t believe for a minute that we will forever more be stuck with an underperforming iPad Keynote. Sooner, rather than later, only half, not three quarters, of iPad users will unaware of its inferiority as more Windows users purchase iPads and Keynote. That is not good for Keynote feature parity but good for better presentations!
The question for curious minds is whether Apple is prepared to do something about Keynote when iPhone 4 is released or let it sit there pleasing half of iPad users ignorant of Keynote’s possibilities. That would be a massive insult to Mac users and not assist the morale of the iWork team which takes much pride in its labours.
So unlike complaining Mac Keynote users who were hoping for an as-good experience with Keynote on the iPad, is it not likely that a huge number of Keynote on the iPad users are very happy with its performance, seeing that the iPad is the only place they will use Keynote? Yes, there is still the ugly matter of transferring files off the iPad, but if you’re a Windows user, where are you moving it to, other than backup? Unlike a Mac user who wishes to transfer the Keynote file they created on the plane ride from JFK to SFO over to his or her Macbook Pro via iTunes, Windows-tethered iPad users have nowhere to go.
In their case, ignorance is bliss. And there also is the situation of importing Powerpoint files into the iPad for Keynote to use. This presents little of the problems Keynote users are facing, it seems. I’m going to take a guess here, but I think the vast majority of Powerpoint slides you see contain very few animations or builds, and very few slide-to-slide transitions. Keynote users delight in using these features in an effort to elicit their own creativity, to stand out from the mostly Powerpoint crowd, and because of their ease of use. This is why their loss in the iPad version is being felt so strongly.
Windows Powerpoint users, especially in the sciences, use mainly text-driven slides with pictures and very occasional movies thrown in (usually with all the Windows Media Player bits dangling all over the place.. ugh!). These will easily convert to iPad’s Keynote, if in mp4 format, I believe.
So if the iPad and Keynote are part of an Apple long term plan to take market share from Windows (starting with the cheap notebook sector) then Keynote as is, is good enough. That’s the plan in the short-term perhaps. But in the long term, surely the plan must be to continue to delight ALL its users, and keep on innovating.
That’s why despite having my hopes dashed about how I wanted to use the iPad for presentations, I’ve been around Apple long enough to be both resilient and patient.
Coda: Take a look at this great video from a Sydney based Aussie creative team, Creative License Digital, and their animated infographic about iPhone statistics. Sooner or later, we’ll see a similar concept for the iPad. Expect to be blown away too.