I came across a new textbook I wanted to read recently called Introduction to Data Science.
Yes, I’m a nerd in my spare time, as well.
Two things piqued my interest (as I’m not entirely sure I need an introduction to data science):
The latter interested me because I wanted to see if there was any interactivity beyond the common, end-of-chapter quiz—maybe an innovative way of demonstrating a concept that would further my understanding or help someone else.
The only problem is that I don’t have an iPad. But, surely with an iPhone 5 and some Apple computers at my disposal (alongside graduate-level Googling skills), I’d be able to find a way to check it out—or, so I thought.
Download to my iPhone? Nope.
Download to my computer and sync to the iPhone? Nope.
Find an iBooks reader for a desktop? Nope.
Open the download in iBooks Author? Nope.
Why would this ever be a good move by Apple?
I’m not their target audience, that’s why. They don’t want me reading iBooks built for iPads without an iPad.
We can project ill intent or cheapen the term corporate greed to describe Apple’s flagrant disregard for my desire to read a book on whatever platform I wish, but, in doing so, they control the experience. They control the way I consume the content as well as the the way authors create it, because it only has to be designed and built for one size, and tailored for one aspect ratio.
If they didn’t control it, students (presumably a target audience) would likely just learn to use them on laptops, instead. iBooks would become a cloud-based content distribution platform instead of an opportunity for an immersive experience. iBooks Author would have to account for screen sizes, performance issues, and everything else under the sun. There’d probably be little reason left to choose iBooks over PDF’s.
Target your best customers with a niche product. Forget the rest.
Knowing an iBook exists that I can’t access aggravates me, but Apple doesn’t care—neither should you when you’re building a product/service for a niche market. Your target audience isn’t “everyone with money”, so why would it matter what the consensus of “everyone with money” is?
This is a major concept of a talk I’ve been giving for about four months now (and continue to): as a company, be yourself. Be an individual, of sorts. Have a personality, target those who would be most interested in your product or service, create content for them, and (kindly) disregard everyone else.
Your best customers want this from you.