It’s the experience

Unless you live under a rock, you know that Apple debuted the second-generation iPad on Wednesday.  Critics of both generations of iPads have argued that the technical specs of the devices are less impressive than some of its Android-based tablet counterparts, such as the Xoom tablet from Motorola.  And yet, the original iPad has far outsold any of its competitors.

Why?  Apple analyst John Gruber says the experience, not the technical capabilities of the device, is what matters:

The thing is, for some of us, it’s always been this way. That’s why we stuck with the Mac during the stretches where Intel CPUs were faster and cheaper. What the iPad changes is that it takes things even further in this experience-first/specs-second mindset. Spec-wise — CPU speed, RAM, storage, expandability, pixel-count — the iPad pales compared to a MacBook. But experience-wise, it’s better. The iPad is slower, but feels faster.



What does this mean for us TV folks?  Well, as much as our meteorologist-selves might not want to hear this, it’s not entirely who’s the most accurate, who has the most education, or who has the biggest Doppler that matters.  Those all contribute to the equation, of course — your forecast, like the iPad, has to work for people to want to use it — but nailing the high forecast three days out doesn’t give anyone (but us) warm fuzzies, nor does it make for memorable TV.

As weather forecasts are more widely available — including on iPads and Xooms — it’s a fair question to ask why someone would want to watch a forecast on television.  Forecasts from a computer tend to be quick, and they’re probably personalized to a person’s location, too.  But they are far from being personal.  Personal is as much about feeling as utility or accuracy, and that’s the key to the concept of experience.  You can be perfectly accurate, but if you’re not connecting on a personal, memorable level, people will go elsewhere, to the “easiest’ forecast.

Put another way: Getting a forecast from, say, the iPhone weather app has the feel of looking at my watch for the time: It registers momentarily, and then it’s gone.  Do your viewers think of your weathercasts the same way?


About Nate Johnson

Meteorologist, instructor, blogger, and podcaster.
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2 Responses to It’s the experience

  1. Kevin Selle says:

    (Standing) (Clapping)…

    And now we need to remember that each platform requires a different data point(s). That each user is different and has different needs and likes.

    The 6:00 weather segment on every news station in the country is the same (c’mon now everyone, admit it).

    The sole remaining reason for someone to watch the weather on TV is….habit. Habits are hard to break….but when bad ones are broken, they die hard.

  2. Pingback: What They See | Digital Meteorologist

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