A product that takes longer to explain than unbox? It could be you’re talking about the Newton MessagePad or the Apple TV, says marketing pro Eric Friedman:
The fact that explaining the [Apple TV] takes so long makes this somewhat of a marketing problem as well as we technology problem…Now we all have some form of PDA and nobody can imagine NOT getting e-mail on a Blackberry or an iPhone – yet the Newton pioneered a lot of this thinking despite being panned by a some critics.
Eric’s point is that no one really knows what to do with an Apple TV until they get one, which he says is the same problem the MessagePad faced. Apple releases a great idea, and then fails to capitalize on it, helping competitors succeed where the Apple TV/Newton failed.
Steve Jobs has called the Apple TV a hobby project, which is how the Newton seemed for a long time. Is Eric right? Does Apple have a “great idea” with the Apple TV, and will it last long enough to be successful?