Apple’s iPad: Magical, Revolutionary and Cheap (Really)

Discussion
Jan 28, 2010
George Anderson

By
George Anderson

Apple has long been known
for outstanding design and product reliability at a premium price to competitive
products that follow its lead. Now, Apple is out front with a new item that
apparently it has no lack of superlatives to describe. However, the claim that
may resonate with most consumers is low price. Yes, that’s right, Apple’s new
iPad tablet computing system is pretty cheap, starting out at $499 retail.

“iPad
is our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an
unbelievable price,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, in a press release. “iPad
creates and defines an entirely new category of devices that will connect users
with their apps and content in a much more intimate, intuitive and fun way
than ever before.”

In many ways, as an article
on Macworld.com points out, the new iPad splits the difference between
Apple’s iPhone and its MacBook laptop. The question is whether sales of the
iPad will pull from those other products or if the company will draw enough
new customers to compensate for any drain on their sales.

According
to a piece in The
Wall Street Journal
by Martin Peers, the single most surprising development
with the new iPad is its price. “Apple has found a way to meet demand for low-priced
laptops without a radical price cut on its Mac line. Yet its cheaper computer
not only has all the utilitarian functions of a laptop, such as word processing
and email, but enhanced entertainment capabilities as well. And it can run iPhone
mobile applications.”

The iPad has a starting price of $499 (16GB model)
with models with more advance features priced at $599 (32GB), and $699 (64GB).
These versions of the unit will be available in late March. Coming in April
will be and iPad with both Wi-Fi and 3G priced at $629 (16 GB), $729 (32 GB)
and $829 (64 GB).

The iPad is only a half-inch thick and weighs 1.5 pounds.
That makes it thinner and lighter than any netbook on the market at present.
It comes loaded with 12 new apps designed for the computer and will run over
140,000 already available through Apple’s App Store.

In the course of a few short hours of Apple’s
announcement yesterday, the RetailWire editorial
email box was filled with press releases from companies announcing they would
be developing consumer and commercial apps for the iPad.

Software developer
Nanonation said the iPad would have applications for serving consumers in commercial
ventures and the company was developing apps for that purpose.

“Apple iPad’s
rich multi-touch user interface, large screen, Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, and
attractive price point make it an ideal platform for a number of in-store and
back-of-house applications designed to enhance, engage, and excite customers,” said
Brian Ardinger, chief marketing officer for Nanonation, in a press release. “The
iPad expands the application possibilities from what we’ve currently been developing
for the iPhone and gives our clients more flexibility and options for creating
innovative and intelligent ways to impact their business.”

Among the most anticipated
elements of the iPad is its function as an e-reader. The new iBooks app for
iPad, which includes Apple’s new iBookstore, features books from both major
and independent publishers. Consumers are able to browse, then buy and read
books on iPad models in direct competition to Amazon’s Kindle and other e-readers.

The
iPad will also enable consumers to connect with the iTunes Store, giving them
access to Apple’s popular online music, TV and movie catalog of
over 11 million songs, over 50,000 TV episodes and 8,000 movies.

Discussion
Questions: What do you think of Apple’s new iPad? Will it increase overall
revenues for Apple or just transfer sales from other products in its lineup?
How will the iPad affect the consumer electronics retailing, entertainment
and publishing businesses?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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29 Comments on "Apple’s iPad: Magical, Revolutionary and Cheap (Really)"


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Bob Phibbs
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

As a lifelong Mac addict, I’m not sure this is the game-changer it is hyped to be. Basically an iTouch on steroids. I read an article by a guy saying it would be an ideal replacement for clipboards in stores. Maybe, but I think that’s a long ways away just from the price, abuse, and theft standpoints. Will the majority of us be willing to get yet another gadget that duplicates what we already have? Probably not until there are killer apps we can’t live without and, knowing Apple, that won’t take long.

Kevin Graff
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

At first glance, I want one! Some added thoughts:

– It’s really just an ‘inflated’ iPhone, but so cool
– the hardware is neat, but it’s the software that will make this thing fly…if you have an iPhone you know what I’m talking about
– amazing price point!
– the potential to breathe life into traditional media formats is amazing…I’d be shocked if Apple doesn’t do to print media what it did to the music world
– move over Kindle…there’s a new sheriff in town!

David Dorf
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

No thanks, I’ll pass on the iPad. The iPad is too big to replace my iPhone and without a keyboard it won’t replace my laptop. So it’s stuck in the “in between world” where it doesn’t excel at anything. And it’s too expensive to be an eReader, so I’ll stick with my Kindle. I predict the iPad goes the way of the AppleTV. It will have some success, but won’t achieve widespread adoption.

From a retail perspective, it has great potential for in-store use in high-touch environments. But I don’t see it replacing Apple’s current mobile POS since the iTouch solution solves their needs with a compact form factor.

Max Goldberg
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

I have mixed feelings about the iPad. Yes, it does all the things that George’s article says, but it also is missing a number of features that make it a “real” computer. It does not have USB or HDMI ports, requiring that it must be plugged into a computer, like the iPhone. Two-handed typing is going to be a problem unless one buys the external keypad. It lacks a camera. Shelly Palmer provides an excellent contrarian point of view on his blog.

All of that being said, the iPad is pure Apple. It challenges the status quo with a sleek, great looking machine and a reasonable price. The missing links detailed above allow Apple to innovate and refine the iPad further in future releases.

Dick Seesel
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

Apple was smart to price the “starter” model of the iPad at $499, considering all the speculation of a $1000 price tag. But chances are good that early-adapters are going to pay hundreds more for the features they want. At the end of the day, I still wonder whether a $299 netbook with a broadband card (and cheaper data plan) will satisfy many potential customers.

I’m sure the iPad is beautifully designed (as with all Apple products) and will fly off the shelves, but I’m surprised by a couple of apparent shortcomings. For example, there is no video camera: Given the ubiquity of Skype and similar programs, this is a major shortcoming in terms of the iPad’s practical use. And aligning with AT&T for 3G connectivity is an odd choice given the controversy over their network problems.

Nikki Baird
Guest
Nikki Baird
11 years 3 months ago
Well, my household is almost 100% Mac at this point, and I really want one. I’ve been tempted by netbooks and I’ve been tempted by eReaders, but this should give me the best of both (hopefully). But PC World identified some things the iPad is missing that do have me worried. Most especially the lack of multi-tasking, the lack of support for Adobe Flash, and the lack of a camera (not on the back, but on the front for iChat, etc.). The one they didn’t mention that also concerns me is that I have to either learn how to use iWorks, or hope that Microsoft rolls out Office apps in the app store–honestly, for all I know they may already be there, but I can tell you I’m not real keen to learn iWorks just to edit a Powerpoint file. Hopefully, this will evolve significantly to be able to be my laptop away from my laptop. But honestly, for not much more than a Kindle, I know I can get not just books but all… Read more »
Ryan Mathews
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

I’m also a Mac fanatic BUT I’ll be waiting on this one. It has substantial limitations (no USB, etc.) and no particular advantages. Apple’s pricing is smarter here but I’ll wait for the 2.0 or 3.0 version.

Rick Moss
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

Very interesting that many of the reservations regarding the iPad are reminiscent of what we heard when the iPhone launched. We have a natural tendency to compare it to the categories of products we know and use: phone, laptop, e-reader. However, the iPhone proved to be a new type of platform. It took some time before the apps market took off and everyone said, “Oh, I get it.”

As with the iPhone, I see the iPad as an experience product. Not until you hold it and work it into your life, will you appreciate it. It will create its own usage occasions. To me, it seems like the perfect couch potato device. But then, it should take off as well with students and, yes, I see training and business applications galore.

It’s not a laptop and it’s not a big iTouch. It will take the imagination of developers, marketers and artists to determine what it will be.

Ben Sprecher
Guest
Ben Sprecher
11 years 3 months ago
I know this is sidestepping the original question, but Nikki’s question–what the addition of this new device will mean for retailers–strikes me as even more interesting. Retailers will see more and more shoppers coming into the store with high-bandwidth, high-powered devices that the consumers see as a key information portal. Whether the device is an iPad, an iPhone, an Android phone, or whatever, is less important than the mindset of the person carrying it. I see a great opportunity for retailers who want to embrace these connected consumers. One way would be to offer free WiFi connections for shoppers in the store (since most of these devices, the iPad included, have WiFi built in). An enterprising retailer could even put a coupon on the WiFi sign-in page as an incentive to get the shopper to register their loyalty card and email address. From then on, the store could tell when the shopper entered the store by watching for their device rejoining the wireless network, and the store could immediately email the shopper with targeted offers… Read more »
Doug Fleener
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

I don’t think we’re talking game changer like the iPod, but I don’t think we’re talking Newton 2.0 either. I’ll have to get one. Of course I’m writing this on my Mac while talking on my iPhone and thinking about how I can convince my wife I need the new iPad.

Here’s what blows my mind. How many companies are able to garner the WORLD’s attention when introducing a new product? It’s mind-boggling how much attention an Apple product launch receives. During yesterday’s launch of the iPad I thought Twitter and the blogosphere was going to explode. It’s nothing short of amazing.

Peter Fader
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

The real magic here is the spell it has cast on content producers. It’s wonderful to see stodgy old print media finally waking up and smelling the new technology. No other product to date has caused them to do so. Thus, even if this device, per se, is received in a lukewarm manner (as per many of the comments above), its impact on the publishing business will be huge. Ultimately that will matter a lot more than the success or failure of this particular device….

Marge Laney
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

“At the beginning of Steve Jobs’s presentation of the iPad, a slide showed an image of God delivering its commandments, paired by a quote from The Wall Street Journal: “Last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it.” Although a touch arrogant, this quote powerfully captures the essence of the event.” – Roberto Verganti’s blog, The Conversation, in the Harvard Business Review, January 28, 2010.

My take: It’s an i-fill-in-the-blank…they’ll sell a jillion of them.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

There’s a huge market for the iPad–the elderly. People who don’t have a computer and who don’t want to fuss with all the hassle of a PC can now surf the Web and exchange email with grandkids at a very manageable price. Watch this new device open up big new markets.

Marc Gordon
Guest
Marc Gordon
11 years 3 months ago

Reading all these postings, I find it funny that no one has noticed that this is just another Apple circus. Regardless of how cool the item is, history tells us that in a year a new version will be introduced offering more features and better performance. Have we forgotten the evolution of the iPhone, iMac and the iPod?

While I might sound like a naysayer, I think we should just all sit back and watch what happens over the next 6 months. As for me, I’ll stick with my Mac Pro and Dell laptop.

Jonathan Marek
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

A year ago, I made a prediction about how Apple would fare in the recession. I was wrong. So, at the risk of going from guardrail to guardrail, I’m taking away the lesson “don’t bet against Apple.” Yes, the tablet has been tried many times before. It has failed every time. But if anyone can crack the tablet market open, it’s Apple. The iPad also came up in every conversation I had with 20-something, tech-savvy professionals in the past 24 hours…and we have a lot of 20-something, tech-savvy professionals. When I put all that together, I’m going to bet on success–probably not a massive iPhone sized success, but enough to keep Apple growing.

Janet Dorenkott
Guest
Janet Dorenkott
11 years 3 months ago

It’s on my Christmas list! In addition, I plan to get one for my 77 year old Mom who is computer illiterate. So yes, I believe they will be successful at establishing a new market. I would buy one for my elderly Mom for two reasons. First, she loves to read, but her eyesight is terrible. She uses a big magnifying glass on everything. This, like the Kindle, will allow them to increase font size easily and will go directly to the last page they were on.

Second, I have confidence that Apple will make it easy to use. The only area I foresee her having trouble with is downloading the books. But I have no problem going over once a week to download a new book for her. But I would advise Apple that if they really want to expand into the older market, they need to keep a simple and cheap.

James Tenser
Guest
11 years 3 months ago
There’s plenty to gush about in the iPad, starting with its beautiful form factor and pre-existing library of apps. But the base model with 16 GB and no 3G seems limited, and the 64 GB, 3G model with external keyboard/dock will set you back about a grand, plus the monthly AT&T data plan. Still I have hopes that this release will stimulate a new generation of e-reader devices that bring some of our print periodicals back from the brink. iPad kicks Kindle’s a** with its color touchscreen and ability to run apps. I also foresee a promising application for iPads and similar devices in the retail realm. Imagine merchandisers using it to view store-specific planograms while working in the aisle. But this requires a digital camera built in for bar code scanning and task confirmation purposes, like the smaller iPhone. As usual, Apple is holding back on some features in its first generation release–I think to hit a price point and because it knows early adopters will upgrade in a year or two. Before I… Read more »
Mark Baum
Guest
Mark Baum
11 years 3 months ago

Sorry, but the middle ground is often where products “go to die,” particularly in the technology/gadget sector. The iPad is a “tweener” mor,e than an iPhone or iTouch but certainly no MacBook. As is typical for Apple, it is aesthetically appealing, and provides good functionality. However, I question its overall utility. And while the pricing is approachable (especially by Apple standards), netbooks can be had for less, and PCs for not much more (or even less in some cases). And, as for the name–what were they thinking???

Tom McGoldrick
Guest
Tom McGoldrick
11 years 3 months ago

I am underwhelmed. Tablet PCs have been around for a decade or more and being limited to Apple’s iTunes and other media content is a problem. You can’t use this tablet to view non-Apple products like Hulu. I am not sure if the Netflix on demand product will work or not.

The extremely low price point for a tablet is the greatest difference between it and the other tablet PCs available. It is a tablet priced like a netbook PC. Apple has never competed in the low price market; it will be interesting to see how they respond to the next tablet PC that comes out at a lower price.

Paula Rosenblum
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

I wanted an eReader but I waited for the Mac Tablet in hopes it would be more than just a reader. I looked at the specs of the iPad (seriously–a very bad name) and decided to buy a Nook.

I already have a netbook “not exactly” computer. I don’t need a big iPod Touch too. And I sure don’t need to pay AT&T $30 any month I can’t get hold of a Wi-Fi connection.

For a true lightweight portable, I’ll buy a Mac Air Book (which will be my FIRST Mac computer by the way)…but a true multi-function device just isn’t there yet.

Matthew Spahn
Guest
Matthew Spahn
11 years 3 months ago
In a word, seductive! True to form, Steve Jobs delivers on sleek design and high cool factor with the launch of Apple’s new iPad. The one thing that users will quickly come to realize, however, is that the device doesn’t allow you to do anything we couldn’t already do with the iPhone. Apple is clearly running head on at Amazon’s kindle and establishing a beach head for the selling of Apple’s exclusive movies, music, books and applications exclusively from Apple’s online store. But what impact does this have for marketers and the media industry? From what I’ve read, similar to the iPhone, the device will not be able to render flash content within the mobile safari browser. This means that most publisher websites that rely on advertising will not display the flash advertising on the device. Oops. Time will tell how and if publishers will adapt to the new device. The other important marketing and media implication here is yet another step toward improving the portability and reader experience of consuming content. Remember when portability… Read more »
Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

I want one too and am a Mac person. I carry a notepad around with me all the time and have sometimes wished I could carry my computer but it is too heavy. This looks ideal and I’m looking forward to seeing the next generation. Steve Wozniak’s comments about the potential for magazines and how the iPad creates a new interface for distribution is where the real potential is, I think.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

Two things intrigue me with this: 1) It continues to amaze me that simple, obvious features are continually omitted from new gadgets…seemingly like the manufacturer didn’t even test these things with their own people: No USB, no expandable memory, no Wi-Fi on base models, no camera, etc. Wow. and 2) Let’s take Wi-Fi to the next level: Picture a ubiquitous retailer (SBUX, TGT, BBY, etc.) who takes the challenge to connect a city to Wi-Fi…everywhere! Outside, inside, everywhere! When you connect your device, the browser has a flash screen of the retailer and their desired promo, perhaps. Wow. (BTW, that’s probably about to happen overseas…stay tuned….)

Herb Sorensen
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

I’m getting one as soon as the 3G version is available. Put a Bluetooth connection in for my ear and I won’t need my iPhone. This is the device I have been looking for, for the past couple of years.

Bill James
Guest
Bill James
11 years 3 months ago
As a long Apple customer (over 6 years on their laptop Powerbook) and a recent convert to the phone, the one thing that no one is really commenting on is the software; the applications. Day one the SDK kits were available to be downloaded off their network. Free. There are over 140,000 apps that can go onto the thing, day one. If James Carville was running this campaign, he’d have a very easy election slogan: “It’s about the Apps stupid!” Given its seamless integration to the Apps store, and iTunes, the multi-dimensional capability of what it can do is simply for the price, amazing. Video, mail, the web, digital photography, and what it can do for the media giants could be their salvation (hear that New York Times?). This is the very first one. Talk trash all you want about USB this and Flash that, they will sell freighters full of them. And v2 and v3 will be even better as the market evolves and users learn, reinvent, innovate, learn again and evolve. Face it;… Read more »
Matt Hahn
Guest
Matt Hahn
11 years 3 months ago

Underwhelming.

As a true Apple aficionado, I was disappointed with the iPad in its first version form. The reality is that I expect more from Jobs & co. My iPhone is attached to me and I’m never without it by choice. I love my iMac and I only wish I had one at the office. I expected more from Apple than a large screen iPhone. What I wanted was a device that would replace my PC laptop and bring me added convenience to life, both at work and at play. I thought for sure that it would give me a great excuse to get a new toy because it was packed with features I couldn’t live without.

Make no mistake; Apple will probably do very well with the iPad based on their reputation and fan base alone. Unfortunately, I’ll stick with my iPhone for portability, the same apps and lack of flash and just wait for the 4th generation to arrive. Hopefully that will meet the lofty expectations that Apple has not instilled in me.