1. It’s About the BrandIf nothing else, Apple has proven how strong its brand can be. And it has leveraged that brand to make its iPad such a success. HP must do the same. It needs to start working on its brand now and do its best to make consumers and enterprise customers view it in an even more favorable light. It’s halfway there now, but it needs to do more if it wants to match Apple.
2. Think Seriously About DesignThe HP TouchPad comes with a fine design, but it’s debatable if HP really understands the ins and outs of a strong product aesthetic. Apple certainly does. It realizes that people are looking for certain things in the design of a device and it delivers that. The time has come for HP to think more seriously about product design and start delivering devices that prove it can be on the same level as Apple when it comes to looks.
3. Get the Apps In ThereAs Apple CEO Steve Jobs pointed out at a recent event talking about the iPad 2, his company currently has over 65,000 applications available to its tablet customers. Google’s Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system, however, only has 100 apps available. That’s a real problem in today’s highly competitive tablet marketplace. And it’s something that HP must think about as the TouchPad’s launch approaches.
4. Control the SoftwareApple has come under fire for controlling its software. Its critics say Google’s alternative, Android, is the best option in the mobile marketplace because it’s open-source. That’s just false. Apple’s ability to control its software makes its mobile platform more secure and helps it create an all around better experience. HP should control WebOS as much as possible going forward.
5. Think Beyond the First TouchPadOne of Apple’s key strengths is its ability to think beyond the first launch of a respective device and deliver something that does most, but not all, of the things a respective customer is looking for. In other words, it delivers enough to appeal to customers today, but not enough for them to not want the next version of the device. HP must think about the TouchPad 2 now and find a way to make it as appealing as its first launch.
6. Keep Uniqueness In MindApple has proven that uniqueness matters. The company’s iPad 2 is a unique offering, delivering everything from Apple’s own software to a design that others are only trying to match at this point. For now, HP seems to be following Apple’s lead by delivering its own software. But it needs to do more. It needs to find ways to separate its software from the competition. And it most certainly needs to find ways to make its hardware more appealing through uniqueness.
7. Forget About All OthersThe last thing that HP should do is worry about what companies other than Apple are doing. The future of the tablet space will be dominated by Apple and no other firm. Not even Motorola’s Xoom or the Samsung Galaxy Tab will be able to stem Apple’s growth this year. Realizing that, HP should only worry about Steve Jobs and his company — nothing else.
8. Advertise, Advertise, AdvertiseApple might be able to appeal to consumers byway of its press events, but the company does much more than that. Its advertising efforts are second to none in the marketplace. For HP, advertising could mean the difference between success and failure for its TouchPad and other devices. Realizing that, HP should think seriously about how it’s going to be advertising its products and how that might appeal to customers.
9. Stay True to What HP Is All AboutIf Apple is good at anything, it’s an expert at being itself. The company knows what it must do to appeal to its customers, and it has a keen sense of where it shouldn’t try its luck. HP hasn’t been so successful at that over the years. If it’s smart, HP must clearly define what it’s all about and stick to that as it tries to push its tablet agenda going forward.
10. Remember the EnterpriseApple has made one mistake with its iPad over the past year: it hasn’t appealed to the enterprise nearly as much as it should. HP, because it has been a corporate-focused firm for so long, has an opportunity to capitalize on that. The corporate world is looking for a worthwhile tablet solution today. With the TouchPad, HP can give them that. It just needs to focus its efforts on it.