If you watched "Dead Poet's Society", then you are already familiar with the powerful lines in this ad intoned by the incomparable, Robin Williams. In case you cannot watch the embedded video, the words are as follows:
You don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute, we read and write poetry because we are members of the human race and the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits necessary to sustain life; but, poetry beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman:
Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
- What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on, and that you can contribute a verse, what will your verse be?
Is there any other product on the market that could pull off this ad? I don't think so. Anyone can say the words. But if the ad had featured, say, a Galaxy Tab, or a Nexus 7, the words would have been out of place. They would have struck a hollow, cynical note. With the iPad Air, these lofty words are well met.
I realize one might look at this ad and wonder what is so special about the scenarios depicted in the ad. What is it that the iPad is shown to be doing that other tablets can't do? This is a valid point, and one that I often make about other ads for other products. First, while other products may, technically, be able to do many of the same things, there are not apps for all other platforms that unleash that functionality. What apps that exist, do not match the quality and usability of those for the iPad. But there is something even more important than the availability of apps.
The iPad is the ultimate blank slate. In the previous commercial, it was likened to a pencil. There is nothing like a new pencil and a fresh pad of paper to get the creative juices flowing. When developers pick up an iPad, they see a world of possibilities, and are inspired to bring as many of them to life as they can. The same simply cannot be said of other products. No developer is inspired to do his or her best work when presented with a Kindle Fire HDX. To a developer, a $100 tablet is just a slate of cheap glass surrounded by plastic.
Inspiration does not belong exclusively to developers. Ultimately, it is the end users who are inspired by the iPad. They, we are inspired to do more, to take it further, and use it to the nth degree. We look at that blank slate and see our next home movie, great American novel, and business plan for the next, big idea. Again, no one sees any of that when they look at the blank slate of an Android or Windows based tablet. Those products inspire you to do nothing except, maybe, play another round of Candy Crush.
This is why, on the iPad side, the apps are here. The developers are here. The big ideas find expression here, and later, may trickle down to other devices. When people are moved to contribute a verse to the powerful play of life, when a digital, blank slate is required for that endeavor, the iPad is the right, and increasingly, only tool for the job. What will your verse be?