Yesterday I shared 5 reasons why Apple would sell their new iPad Mini for $199. This will be a big deal in the tech marketplace. But why should pastors or churches care one way or the other? Today I offer 5 reasons why this is an important development for pastors and churches.
Reason #1: The lower price means even more people will own the device. At a price point of $199 many more potential congregants will be purchasing an iPad. It's obvious that a $300 lower price will mean a much higher buy-in. Consider the Amazon Kindle. At $400 the device was for fans only. At $79 it has become the ubiquitous e-reader for everyone. I even have two elementary-age grandchildren who own one.
Reason #2: The smaller size means even more people will be toting them around. Even for fans of the 10-inch iPad, as light and thin as they are now, many people will not carry them around everywhere. At 7 inches, this device will be even more mobile. Pastors, you will be seeing lots of these in church, if you give people a reason to bring them.
Reason #3: iPads, other tablets and mobile devices will become people's primary Bible. The YouVersion Bible app has already been downloaded to more than 50 million devices. To begin to grasp the significance of this in people's lives, check out the YouVersion Now web page. You will see incredible engagement with the Scriptures with a moment by moment update. There have been more than 110 thousand verses highlighted, more than 3.3 million reading plans started, and - as of this writing - more than 26 BILLION minutes of Bible reading time. This trend will only become more significant with the iPad Mini, where the initial costs will be lower and where there are no data plan requirements.
Reason #4: The iPad Mini, as well as other mobile devices, will become people's primary communication tools. We are already seeing this as a significant trend. More and more people are using various electronic messaging services than ever before. But if your church is like mine, the congregants are divided between the haves and have-nots, when it comes to communicating electronically. There are two primary factors involved - tech comfort and cost. Some people are just not comfortable with figuring tech out. And many people cannot afford a data plan and or a computer or more expensive iPad. Apple has gone a long ways toward making the iPad so easy to use that it has become a simple appliance for the non-geek majority. And at $199 with no data plan, it will become even more affordable. This means that for pastors and churches that take advantage of this trend, you'll enjoy communication and feedback like never before! And at practically no cost for the church!
Reason #5: The entire IOS platform - as well as Android - is becoming your congregants' wallets. At a recent developer's conference, Apple introduced significant new moves that will make IOS equipped devices the payment system of choice. If people are using their mobile devices to pay for dinner and a movie, it doesn't take too much imagination to see the day when these same devices are used for the offering plate. Already a significant portion of my congregation (more than half) make their contributions through purely electronic means. Think about how few of your congregation carry cash or checks with them. But they will bring their mobile devices - the same devices they use to pay many of their other bills. This trend could also accelerate with an inexpensive iPad Mini this fall.
Yes, I admit to being an Apple fan as well as a long time enthusiast for all things tech. However, one does not need to be a geek to see the very near term future these smaller iPads could usher in to our church communities. Next week I'll talk about specific actions you and your leadership team can take to prepare for the coming new opportunities. In the meantime, I'd love to hear your feedback. What are you doing now to encourage your congregation to use their mobile devices as tools for church and spiritual growth?