It’s not just about technology

On Daring Fireball yesterday, John Gruber observed that the way Apple demos the iPad—sitting in a comfy chair, rather than standing at a podium—illustrates how Apple’s competitors overlook the non-technical aspects that go into making a product like the iPad great:

But there are other things any competitor could copy, easily, but seemingly don’t even understand that they should, because such things aren’t technical. Take that chair. The on-stage demos of the iPad aren’t conducted at a table or a lectern. They’re conducted sitting in an armchair. That conveys something about the feel of the iPad before its screen is even turned on. Comfortable, emotional, simple, elegant. How it feels is the entirety of the iPad’s appeal.

The Smart Cover is another good example. This clever invention combines a screen protector and a stand in one handy device that’s actually fun to use. It didn’t require huge amounts of technological investment, economies of scale, or multi-billion dollar purchasing power. It required only thinking about the problem in a novel way. Apple’s competitors could have come up with something like this, but they didn’t. If Samsung, HP, Motorola, and RIM cannot even compete with Apple on something like this, how can they hope to entice customers away from the iPad?

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