There is no speculation at this point that Apple’s tablet has been way overhyped – but it’s been some great free marketing. Plus, the iPad has a leg up on its rivals in that it does not have any solid competition right now in this segment. Many are saying that at $499 ($130 if you want wireless 3G) for the entry level 16GB iPad that this tablet is a good price. But the reality is that it’s a good price because there are not many tablet products out there as well as the fact that it’s a pretty cheap Apple product.
The only other tablet products that are out now are made by PC manufacturers such as HP and Lenovo, but these devices usually come with Windows 7, have swivel keyboards and cost over $1,500. Those products are tagerted toward businesses, and that’s a totally different market altogether than what the iPad is currently focusing on.
What you’re getting is essentially a larger iPhone – without the phone. There’s no camera, you cannot multitask and typing anything other than short texts are going to be difficult unless Apple has some really groundbreaking technology in this product. And did I mention that the operating system for the iPad is closed source?
Apple still doesn’t offer a product in the netbook genre. Instead, they are releasing a tablet. This may be a good idea for them – but I have a feeling once the competition heats up that only those who are Apple diehards are going to want an iPad. In fact, at a recent presentation at Google’ London headquarters, Senior Product Manager of Search Anders Sandholm basically had to go the “no comment” route when asked about whether Chrome OS will have a multitouch tablet product.
Final thought? Apple is going to have a cash cow on their hands – until Google gets a product from a manufacturer like HTC or maybe even an MSI product running Android. Also Motorola has announced plans to bring out a product that is cheaper and has more capabilities. And there’s no doubt that many other companies are going to announce their plans as well.
Don’t believe that Apple is just using this tablet to pad the bottom line from slower iPod sales? Look at this bill of materials report on the iPad by Computerworld. Interpretation? Apple has room to drop this price when competitors arrive, but they will try to keep their healthy margins as long as they can.