Wednesday, April 07, 2010

iPad, the Underachiever?

image:: iBook app

I saw that the iPad was behind first-day sales expectations, with 300,000 units sold on Saturday, as opposed to 400,000 to 500,000. Not that I'm obsessed. I've just blogged a few times on Apple tablets, including this blog on the kid market, my 2009 dream tablet, my 2010 pre-iPad launch speculations, and the iPad branding fail. I'm not surprised at all, but I won't write it off as a fail just yet. It took the iPhone to catch on in 2007, but there were specifics to the iPhone that slowed initial sales::
  1. Switching costs to the sole carrier, AT&T
  2. AT&T's reputation and customer satisfaction perceptions
  3. The relatively high cost
  4. The value-proposition with apps being realized over time, not immediately

I've debated folks about whether the iPad will be a success. I think it really depends on the content available at the right price point, so it's largely out of Apple's hands. My mantra has always been, make it easy and make it cheap for the user to get content. You circumvent piracy and create a platform in the process. Here are my concerns about the iPad::
  1. The "out-of-the-box" value-proposition to price ratio is low. Let me explain. Just out-of-the-box, the iPad is a large touchscreen WiFi browser or single-tasking computer with applications on a crash diet. You need to pay extra for 3G data and it's not a practical MP3 player.
  2. The lack of Flash may not be an issue in the long-run, but in the short-run, it might frustrate users with the cube with a question mark.
  3. In terms of "digital convergence" {merging of two or more digital appliances or features}, it's not serving up loads of benefits.
  4. It's not a Kindle-replacement at this point because of the dearth of content.
  5. It's not a seamless complement to the Apple ecosystem of iPhones, iPods, iTouches, and Macs.
What it is is cool technology with eye-candy flair. Great content and apps can make the iPad a "must have", but I'm not seeing it go mass-market until that happens.

Here's a demo video taken at the Manhattan Beach, Calif. Apple Store::

Twitterversion:: iPad a first-day underachiever at 300K, instead of 400-500K units. Analysis of the value proposition. @Prof_K

Song:: Apples in Stereo-'Same Old Drag'

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