Modern brand marketing – redefining what is the “product”

The new iPad 2 is likely to make me crack. I held out for the iPhone until v3 came around (the delay was also partly because I was still having to use Blackberry with my previous job). Up until now, I had not splurged on the iPad v1 as I prefered to wait to see the new and improved version come out without any wrinkles or bugs. My patience seems to be paying off: the new iPad is sexier, skinnier, better, faster AND at the same price as the first one.

A pound saved is a pound to be spent?

Yet, as much as the faster iOS, the lighter, skinnier frame and the long battery life are all fantastic attributes, the part that gets me going most is probably the silliest and most ‘cosmetic’ aspect of new product launch: the Smart Cover or “magnetic skin”.  Whereas the first iPad’s case options weighed down considerably the look and feel of the [still divine] object, the fact that the new iPad has saved several grams (-15%) and skimmed several milimeters off the width (-33%), means that it can all the more easily afford to add a designer case.  It would seem to be a case of a pound saved allows for a new pound to be spent (in this case US$39 or presumably 39 euros in Europe).

White ipad with rose magnetic cover

Sexy and Slick and Practical

There are many things that I find remarkable about this new iPad smart cover.

  • The design was integrated into the development process up front – a sure characteristic of innovative brand marketing and brand management
  • There is slick innovation in the form with the magnetic hinges
  • There is marvellous innovation in the function with the myriad ways the cover can be used to prop up or read the ipad…
  • The colors are modern and easy to marry with the ever simple choice of a black or white iPad
iPad2 with myriad color cases

ipad 2 - leather and vinyl cases in rainbow colors

Clearly, Apple is proud of its “core” technological product, but providing such a beautiful case is another proof that they are completely keyed up on the end-user experience and that they are able to define the “product” to include the total package.  Most product-centric companies just don’t think like that.  The accessory — just as the white ear phones of the original iPod — is very powerful.  I liken it to the mashed potatoes when you order a main course at a restaurant.  Sometimes, you order the main course, not for the Filet Mignon or the Grilled Swordfish, but because of the garlic in the mashed potatoes.  Apple’s ingenuity and ability to broaden the scope of the product is what helped bring the svelte app store and app interfaces to the iPhone.  Not that I want to put the iPad 2 case on the same level, but I just thought I’d tip my hat to the marketing folks at Apple, once more.  Brand management and customer service is about also about having the vision to anticipate my needs.  The brand experience is just bound to be beautiful with the new and improved version.  I can only imagine how much the competition is scrambling with their new tablettes — most of which may end up looking like the original rock tablettes of the Ten Commandments — by the time the iPad 3 comes along.

Seems like I will just have to wait a little while longer before iPick up my first iPad as the launch date in France isn’t until March 25….  Now, the big question is which color case do I get?

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