Is the iPad the next big digital thing?

After much speculation and anticipation, the Apple iPad is finally hitting US stores next week, a month before it reaches our soil, but has the buzz led to high demand for the portable Mac?

The simple answer is “yes”. Despite complaints that it doesn’t have a phone function or a camera, scenes of midnight queues and excited first-buyers are expected as Apple begins distributing its tablet Mac equivalent.

For marketers, the new HD technology, its media publishing abilities and its new apps software makes it the biggest new innovation out there.

Since its launch I’ve yet to speak to a media agency, or a digital agency, who hasn’t hired developers to begin playing with the bespoke software development kit straight away. Indeed before details had even been unveiled, ad agency BMB was telling me that the Carling iPint app will definitely be adjusted for the iPad, whatever it looks like.

The benefits, I’m told, of utilising this technology is that advertisers are following the “spend less, save more” mantra, whilst still producing HD versions of ads that cost a lot more for broadcasting on television.

Further app functions evolve from there, with much interactivity available to offer the consumer. If anything, I’m told it’s an international development, celebrating innovation and recognising that the world is moving at different speeds.

It’s these additional extras that make the iPad particularly exciting to the digital marketplace. Not only is it HD, has its own app format, includes a bookstore and works off a 9 inch screen, but it also offers the consumer easy access to their favourite brands and easy-to-master interaction.

It’s not actually that different from an iPod Touch, but its mechanisms make it that little bit more sexy, as demonstrated by the ad broadcast during the Oscars for the device.

The ad shows how the iPad can be used to browse the web, listen to music, and watch movies, as well as download apps and read electronic books, magazines and newspapers – surely every advertiser’s dream?

The real test now will be to see just how well it streams these ads and increases brand awareness. After all, critics have said it could be hard to differentiate the device to a notebook or e-reader.

Will its advertising potential make it a favoured option for brands and consumers? Time will tell, But I’d be keen to hear your thoughts if an import just happens to come your way!

It’s a bank holiday next week, so the next newsletter will come out on Friday April 9 (when I’ll also be back from an extended Easter holiday).

Until then, I’d like to wish you all a happy Easter break.

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