The 2nd Tablet
Have you ever heard of the adoption curve? I first really became aware of it in a 100-level marketing class in college. It’s something most everyone inherently knows, but marketing researchers really put a name to it and then started diagramming it. It looks something like this:
The curve represents the typical adoption of a good or service by customers. The “Innovators” and the “Early Adopters” are the first folks attracted to something new. You probably know at least a few of these folks. They’re always up on the latest music, fashion, TV shows, tech, whatever. These are the ones who pre-ordered the first-generation iPad after telling you it was coming for a year. They knew Ska was big before Swingers was released. They’d had a cronut before lines even started forming. And sometimes (often) they adopt things that never take off, like Laser Discs or the Apple Newton. Maybe they bought a Segway without owning a city touring service.
Then there are people like me.
I’m almost always part of the “early majority.” And I’m almost always in the very early front of that majority. I didn’t get the 1st iPad. I did get the 2nd generation iPad a week after it was released though. I’m not among the first 1000 users of Twitter, but I was using if way before mainstream media was trying to do stories about how you could explain it to your mom. I was a “foodie” maybe a year before everyone was a “foodie.” You get the picture. I’m rarely at the forefront of anything in pop-culture, but I can usually see it from where I’m standing, waiting to be convinced that the early-adopters aren’t just off on another wild goose-chase in their Segways.
There’s a perceived split between Innovators/Early-Adopters and the Early Majority that many folks call “The Chasm.” It’s the great distance a product/service/pop-icon must cross over in order to go from a niche player that the few love to the mainstream, money-making success that everyone knows and wants. I’ve noticed something about myself: If I’m doing it, using it, listening to it, or watching it, whatever “it” is has probably only just crossed that Chasm. Had I the stomach to play individual stocks, I’d watch myself more closely and play the stocks of the things I just fell in love with. Of course, I’d probably ruin the effect then.
But here’s something I just did that I think might be worth noting, given I so often sit on the side of the Chasm with my feet dangling: I bought a 2nd tablet. Not as a replacement for the trusty iPad. Not even as an “upgrade.” I got it because I could see more need for another tablet; Nothing fancy - just a tablet.
So I bought a Nexus 7. It’s gotten very good reviews and it’s inexpensive. Yeah, it’s Android rather than iOS, but it’s not full of bloatware like other non-iOS devices. And besides, I’ve still got my iPad. When that finally dies, then we’ll probably get another iPad. We’re too invested in the iTunes media empire not to do so. But right now I don’t need or want another iPad. I just wanted another tablet. So, Nexus 7 it is.
Given my tendencies to walk with the vanguard of the early-adopters army, I have to at least wonder if that might mean something about the tablet market in general. My first purchase of a tablet wasn’t a purchase of a tablet. I was buying an iPad. I practically got goose-bumps as I handed over my debit card at the Apple Store the day I bought it. I couldn’t wait to see what possibilities lay before me. I couldn’t wait to show it off to people I knew who still didn’t have one. I had something others might covet: an iPad! 2! It was embarrassingly thrilling.
But last night I just wanted another tablet.