Apple announced yesterday its new tablet Internet device, the iPad, creating a new category between a laptop and a smartphone.
Since I haven’t touched it, and it won’t be on sale for 60 days, here are a few early lessons for lawyers from 30,000 feet:
1. Fast is the new currency. From those who have used the iPad, its first and most enduring impression is quickly it works for the user. Once people see this, they will never want to go back to old and slow.
====>Lawyers will need speed as alternative billing gains traction.
2. You must control your strategic strengths. Apple designs (and wraps tightly into IP) everything that makes products different and better for the user. They may let others manufacture, but only a few trusted vendors to ensure quality (and competition).
====>Outsourcing and convergence are tactics, not strategies.
3. Focus on a few key things and hit them hard. As Apple’s COO Tim Cook said last year â€œWe believe in the simple, not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.â€
====>Does “full service firm” sound distinctive or average?
4. You must present well. Steve Jobs and crew were in great form (full event here; you can get the essence by watching the first 10 mintues and then skipping ahead to the 1:29:00 mark, where there’s about 5 minutes left). One can only imagine how many hours of prep went into 90 minutes of presenting.
====>We are practicing law in a multimedia age.
5. Price matters. Mr. Jobs summed up the iPad: the “Most advanced technology, in a magical and revolutionary device, at an unbelievable price.” He isn’t just driving value from the features, his index also has cost at its core (and an iPad base price of $499).
====>Do you charge less than an iPad?
6. Liberal Arts was worth it. What caught my eye at the end of the presentation was the second-to-last-slide (below), accompanied by these words: “We’ve always tried to be at the intersection of technology and liberal arts. To be able to get the best of both, to make extremely advanced products from a technology point of view, but also have them be intuitive, easy to use, fun to use… It’s the combination of these two things…that let us make great products like the iPad.”
====>Lawyers might just be due for a Renaissance.