Apple Tablet: Mind share over market share

When it comes to this Apple tablet, mindshare is initially just as valuable as market share.

When it comes to this so-called Apple tablet that everyone is expecting Steve Jobs and company to launch next week, there are a few things you can bet on: that it will have a sleek design, that it will do things to wow people and that it will cost a pretty penny, an Apple premium if you will.

I can't help but think about the early iPod, how it was a luxury item that took some time to penetrate into the mainstream. The iPod, of course, wasn't the first mp3 player on the market, but the design and interface of this particular player made it appealing. Before you knew it, the iPod wasn't just playing music. It was playing photo slideshows and then it started playing video and now it plays video games.

The thing about the iPod was that it grabbed mindshare before it gained in market share. People had "heard" about the iPod and wanted to know more about it. They wanted to touch it and use it. And when the prices adjusted to make it more affordable, they wanted to buy it.

Like all of you, I don't know for sure that Apple is even going to release a tablet of some sort next week. There have been so many leaks that I can't imagine there won't be one announced - but we could all be wrong. I also don't know what this tablet will look like, though I've already said that I see it as a portable household multimedia device, kind of like a media player that sits on the coffee table but can easily move to a bedroom or the kitchen.

Also see: Apple Tablet: All you need to know

Do I see people lining up for this device the way they did for the iPhone? Maybe. But those will likely be the early adopters, the gadget lovers who have to be the first with the latest and greatest and are willing to pay any premium to get it.

The more important question is: Will Apple grab mindshare with this announcement next week?

Absolutely, it will. With this sort of news coverage, people in the biggest cities or the smallest towns around the globe will have to move into a cave to NOT hear about Apple's new gadget. Not only will there be countless blog posts about it, but you can bet your last buck that local newscasts in middle America will also be mentioning it on their evening newscasts.

That's instant mindshare. And that's not a bad thing. It's actually like the iPod all over again, except that the company gets to fast-forward immediately to the part where everyone knows about it and wants to see one and touch one.

And if all goes right with the economics, eventually everyone will want to buy one, too.


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