Does Apple Need the iPad to Be a Winner?

After years of heated speculation, Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) newest wunderproduct was announced today. Yes, we'd all grown tired of rampant tech-gossip, so in case you've tuned out, I'm proud to report that the product did not contain any of the following "rumored features":

  • A flexible OLED screen.
  • A screensaver of Steve Jobs ... in nothing but a turtleneck.
  • An application that can make you piping hot biscuits every morning.
  • The name "Newton Version 2.0".
  • A holster for your iPhone.
  • An iPurse to go with the iPad: The iMan-Purse.
  • A pony.

While I am disappointed by the lack of a pony, the iPad does come with a number of other features:

  • A large, 9.7" screen, tuned specially for a rich Web-browsing experience and watching HD videos.
  • 10 hours' of battery time for those long cross-country flights and couch browsing.
  • A homebrewed chip -- looks like Apple finally got some use out of that PA Semi acquisition -- that clocks in at 1 GHz and contains between 16 and 64 gigs of flash storage, depending on the model.
  • Support for the App Store, which should give game developers a more powerful platform to develop on. The iPad also has instant compatibility with existing iPhone and iTouch apps.
  • An iBooks storefront aimed directly at Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) and Barnes and Noble's (Nasdaq: BKS  ) e-reader devices.
  • Support for business productivity program iWork.
  • The option of a $30-per-month unlimited data plan from AT&T (NYSE: T  ) .
  • A much lower price than expected: $499-$829 depending on the model.

To boil the iPad down into a single sentence: It's an enormous iPhone.

Taking a step back
Before we crown the iPad as Apple's next iPhone-level winner, it's worth taking a step back and analyzing what hurdles remain. Here are some factors that have held up previous attempts at bringing tablets mainstream:

  • The Consumer Electronics Association predicts flat growth in laptops for 2010. Granted, the iPad isn't exactly a laptop, but the overall "spending pie" on high-priced electronics isn't going to grow much. As such, the iPad may need to act as a replacement for laptops and other full-functioning computers, rather than as an incremental electronics purchase for consumers, if it wants to hit more aggressive sales targets.
  • The iPad still needs to carve out an elusive "tablet niche." Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Bill Gates famously claimed in 2001 that tablet computers would be the No. 1 selling kind of PCs within five years. Granted, Apple has gone out of its way to create a superior user interface for the iPad, but that didn't stop Steve Jobs from reportedly asking questions during the tablet's development, like: "What [are tablets] good for besides surfing the Web in the bathroom?"

And that's really what the main question surrounding the iPad boils down to: What's the demand for this type of electronics form factor? The iPad sits in a niche that's too large to function as a truly mobile device like the smartphones offered by Apple, Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) , and Motorola (NYSE: MOT  ) , but it lacks the full functionality and built-in physical keyboard that users still demand for more intensive computing needs.

It's not that I don't see the iPad being adopted by hoards of early adopters and selling like hot cakes initially. Amazon proved with its Kindle that many users will pay up for "tweener" devices that are often an incremental purchase after a laptop and smartphone. Also, the base $499 price point is impressive and should help sway buyers from the red-hot netbook segment over to the iPad's corner. However, I do think the hype got ahead of the addressable market for the iPad. It'll be a nice product, but there's not as much demand as there was for iPod and iPhone-type products.

Does it need to be a megahit? No ...
Now, before any Apple fans jump down my throat, I actually think this is fine. Why? As Apple's first-quarter earnings helped show, Apple's P/E ratio has recently been artificially elevated by deferred accounting practices. On other measures like cash flow, and EBIT to enterprise value, Apple holds up fairly well at its current valuation. There are not a whole lot of people calling Apple cheap, but the P/E-driven fears of its stock price are also overblown.

In other words, Apple doesn't need the iPad to be an iPhone-like success to sustain its current price levels. If the product's more of a hit than I give it credit for, think of it as some nice icing on the iEmpire's cake.

We'll have more analysis on some of the iPad's other features tomorrow. For now, feel free to share your thoughts on Apple's iPad in the comments area below!

Eric Bleeker owns shares of no companies listed above. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Apple and Amazon.com are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Fool's disclosure policy is presented in full 3-D, and unlike Avatar, it isn't just a ripoff of Disney's Pocahontas.


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  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 4:45 PM, RTFM2009 wrote:

    There will be new Apps, and that will open more doors for small and big businesses. Going forward ipad will become more powerful and major businesses will integrate ipad with their working environment, I think possibility is endless. This is what we were waiting for the missing link between smart phones and computers.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 4:52 PM, dancks wrote:

    I think apple is coming in way too late to cash in on the netbook market. I think interest in apple products along with any kind of tech is tapped out. If they could just make a home computer that can do all thats its hyped up to be and ultimately worth the price tag the stock would soar and would never be seen again.

    they really couldn't have chosen a worse product to introduce at a worse time.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 4:58 PM, langco1 wrote:

    ipad a instant dud and rare miss for apple.the kindle is cheaper and better or a nice dell laptop for the same price...

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 5:03 PM, dargus wrote:

    dancks, I think you are very wrong. For starters, this is NOT a netbook. Netbooks are essentially worthless because all they can do efficiently is web surfing and e-mail (if you can get a usable keyboard). This is a device that has the potential to do many, many things.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 5:16 PM, gregmrobb wrote:

    This device is an important piece in changing the digital world from engineer centric to user centric. The Newton was way too early to gain wide acceptance.

    I'm long on Apple.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 5:21 PM, mythshakr wrote:

    An enormous iPhone? An iPod [Touch] on steroids or a mini Macbook Air maybe but it doesn't have or need a phone in it. The biggest thing missing from this release, to me, is the video camera from the current iPhone incarnation, albeit facing forward as well as reverse. With that addition audio/video ichat could become a killer app.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 5:25 PM, Turfscape wrote:

    langco1 wrote:

    "ipad a instant dud and rare miss for apple."

    Funny, I didn't realize sales figures were already out.

    langco1 wrote:

    "the kindle is cheaper and better or a nice dell laptop for the same price..."

    Going to the library is cheaper than getting a Kindle. Guess the Kindle is a flop. I can get an Acer for less than the cost of a Dell laptop. Guess Dell must be a flop.

    I think Jobs made it clear that this device is carving out a niche of it's own...it's not strictly an e-reader. It's not strictly a laptop or netbook. It's bridging the gap between devices. Essentially, Apple is saying with this product, you can go out and buy a Kindle, a laptop and a web-browsing smartphone...or you could get an iPad.

    Now, I don't claim to know what the acceptance rate will be. I'm skeptical that the market is strong for this particular product. Early adoption will be strong among core Apple fans, but growth beyond that? I can't guess...

    What I won't claim is that this is a flop just because other products do other things in other ways at other prices. That's as silly as claiming the Prius won't sell in the U.S. because you could get a light-duty truck for the same price and have more horsepower and hauling capacity.

    You have to look at the target market and the profitability within that segment. Then you have to look at how much that target market may grow within a given time period.

    Ultimately, it looks like Apple priced this item fairly competitively. I can assume that that price point allows a decent margin (if Apple's history holds true), so I don't think this needs to sell on the order of a million units per quarter to have an impact. The addition of the iBook store will lend to profits and increased revenues over time.

    This may not be a huge winner, but a loser it is not!

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 5:25 PM, Turfscape wrote:

    Disclosure: Long AAPL

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 5:26 PM, langco1 wrote:

    a rare miss for apple with its new idud...

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 5:50 PM, Retired31B5M wrote:

    I am still waiting for this question to be answered: "Exactly what am I going to use it for?"

    I watch movies on my TV, read books on my Sony Reader, and use the Nexus One as my phone/PDA.

    I do not ree it as replacing any of these devices and it certanly cannot replace a laptop computer.

    Unless there are some 'killer apps' out there - the iPad may be a solution in search of a problem.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 5:57 PM, alexinlax wrote:

    I guess we will have to wait for version 3 iPad... without a camera, and no ichat video conferencing, this product is a dud....where it could have been a killer video conferencing tool.... sure, I'll buy one, but next year.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 5:59 PM, PovertyAdverse wrote:

    I travel a lot on business and I see huge potential in this device. It's a multi-purpose tool. Now I won't have to have my eReader, iPod, micro DVD player, PSP, etc, etc. One device, many purposes. 10 hours of battery life! Better yet, all the iPhone and iPod apps, music, and video I've already purchase will synch to the new device. Very slick, very convenient.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 6:01 PM, RobertC314 wrote:

    I'm going to go with the "killer app" philosophy here along with Retired31B5M. If there are apps that come out making this "the device" for some nice business or consumer applications (POS systems, as an example) then they could really take off. Unfortunately I don't see that as a direction being marketed to. As it stands it sits in an uncomfortable middle ground of "not quite a computer, not quite a mobile device". Overall I think $500 is pretty steep to be able to browse the internet from the couch holding your screen instead of having the computer in your lap.

    Huge sales up front from Apple evangelists and gadget geeks, but it is going to need something else to really be big. The app store is capable of delivering, but it is definitely not a foregone conclusion and it is not like Apple to rely on 3rd party developers for their success.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 6:08 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    Critics dub the iPad as iDud as they collectively exclaim iYawn, lol. They underestimate Steve Jobs, the sales of turtlenecks has shot up, and my sources say he is heavily invested in them.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 6:26 PM, baldheadeddork wrote:

    @ dancks - You can make a good argument that Apple had the first netbook with the MacBook Air a couple of years ago. Then came the Atom netbooks a few months later that did what most people were looking for from the Air (be light, able to surf the web and run basic office apps) for 1/5th the price.

    @dargus - You're joking, right? Any Atom book can run all current Windows-compatible programs, take a picture or video with the built-in camera, run more than one program at a time, plug into a USB port without an optional ($$) adapter, and play Flash programs. How many of those things can be done on the iPad? Zero. Na-da.

    And everyone else, the ten-hour battery life was for the processor. Not for the whole device.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 6:38 PM, imacg5 wrote:

    Before you judge the new iPad, give the App developers about six months. They will provide the wow factor.

    And for all those people who know of a similar product for less money, we've heard that before. Remember all those other MP3 players? Remember the Zune?

    Once you go Mac, you never go back.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 6:43 PM, PSU69 wrote:

    If you go to the apple site now they have an interesting video about the new iPad. This may help both pro and con see the applications. I own AAPL yet use a Dell and a BB. This device may be in my briefcase and on my deck this summer. My laptop battery life is terrible.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 7:18 PM, jonpunski wrote:

    An open face computer with no webcam, keyboard, adobe flash, cd drive, and not much memory. Why is apple trying to shove touch screen down our throats, sure it's cool for the first five minutes but in the long run it's really not that great. Also, who the hell would pay $30 a month for 3G, especially if you already have it on your phone. Where will I keep it? Maybe they'll make the iStrap, a stretchy velcro band with a pouch that holds the iPad and is kept strapped onto ones torso. Or the iHolster. Or the iHat.

    "The book, can also be worn, as a hat." - Peter Griffin

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 7:48 PM, hershey5707 wrote:

    I'm stunned at all the intelligent Fools saying they don't need it, i already have a techno gadget that does that, etc. Let's be honest. There is always another gadget that performs essentially the same job, but consumers being consumers, we want the newest coolest gadget on the block. I read an article recently on interior design for different age groups. One of the things mentioned was that 20 y/o do not need a desk. They have grown up with laptops and are accustomed to just sitting or lying down on their bed with laptops. Those of us who can't fathom moving from a desk and a chair with task lighting will probably not see much use for the product, but young adults on the go will love it. FWIW, I'm 48 and would love to have it. However, I still use my laptop on my desk. ;) My suggestion to the naysayers is learn to adopt new technologies or one day you will find you have no idea how to turn the coffee pot on. I believe Apple has indeed made a better mousetrap and will refine it with time. Kindle is only black and white, which has been a drawback to many, especially for educational text books. If Apple can get major textbook publishers to sign an agreement, imagine the possibilities as millions of college age kids head off to college. It is hard to imagine the possibilities that are ahead of you when one has never experienced them. The real question is will this add to the stock value of Apple. It has the potential in my opinion because it is a dynamic product. Apps, movies, and books can be downloaded all the time keeping the content fresh.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 7:52 PM, crunchyoyster wrote:

    I'm pretty sure quite a few people predicted the iPod to be a flop. $500 for a music player?? Who would pay that? Apparently a lot of people.

    A lot of the people buying netbooks aren't that net-savvy. In fact, they often aren't satisfied with what they buy because of the small screen and cramped keyboards.

    This product will be great for people who simply want to browse the internet. I like Apple's phrase of "holding the internet in your hands." They've obviously spent some time getting their employees to use this language. However, I think that once people actually use the internet in this ergonomically friendly way that they will become addicted to it. I personally love being able to be pinch and zoom on text features on websites on my iPhone.

    We'll see. This doesn't have the power to eclipse the iphone. It will however be a very successful niche product.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 10:00 PM, MrArbitrage wrote:

    "...I have long admired the visionary Steve Jobs and Apple so I don't want to seem antagonistic but when I saw Jobs unveil the price of the new i-Pad today, it seemed like he was trying to channel the spirit of Billy Mays. He said “not for $999… (dramatic pause) just $499.00..." I’m going to wait another month for the “order within the next 30 minutes and we’ll DOUBLE the offer!” Maybe Apple will even throw in a Magic Bullet or a set of steak knives..."

    From www.ThurstonHowell.NET

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 10:19 PM, rbelfore1 wrote:

    Many uses here. Too many are trying to squeeze the iPad into a category. It will be many things to many people, and that is its power. The world is looking for the all-in-one device. This isn't it, but it is closer than anything thus far. There is enormous potential with the apps. Apps are the new game changer. And the device with the most apps will lead the charge.

    Video conferencing would be fantastic. v.2.0.

    Apple was the first with video (with audio) on a phone. And I believe they will be first to the table with "tablets."

    On a side note: Imagine going to a coffee shop with your girlfriend, sitting down at a table and playing a mean game of scrabble...using the iPad scrabble app.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 10:21 PM, rbelfore1 wrote:

    Many uses here. Too many are trying to squeeze the iPad into a category. It will be many things to many people, and that is its power. The world is looking for the all-in-one device. This isn't it, but it is closer than anything thus far. There is enormous potential with the apps. Apps are the new game changer. And the device with the most apps will lead the charge.

    Video conferencing would be fantastic. v.2.0.

    Apple was the first with video (with audio) on a phone. And I believe they will be first to the table with "tablets."

    On a side note: Imagine going to a coffee shop with your girlfriend, sitting down at a table and playing a mean game of scrabble...using the iPad scrabble app.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 10:56 PM, Checkka wrote:

    Just to quote another site:

    "Just yesterday I was looking at my iPhone thinking "Hmmm, I wish this thing didn't fit in my pocket and couldn't make phone calls." Then I looked over to my netbook and couldn't help but feel it would benefit from losing the keyboard and being made of 50% glass.

    Finally apple gives me what I wish."

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 10:59 PM, Checkka wrote:

    @rbelfore1:

    On a side note, I don't think you know how to play scrabble. Because if you did, you would realize it wouldn't work the way you think it did on the iPad.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2010, at 10:59 PM, Checkka wrote:

    @rbelfore1:

    On a side note, I don't think you know how to play scrabble. Because if you did, you would realize it wouldn't work the way you think it did on the iPad.

  • Report this Comment On January 28, 2010, at 2:17 AM, DarylDad wrote:

    I'm 54, wear bifocals and love the iphone. However, the size of this is perfect for easier reading, it will fit nicely into a purse, and I will have better graphics than ever for photo's etc..

  • Report this Comment On January 28, 2010, at 2:26 AM, bornbully wrote:

    It's all about the Apps. Content is king and the Ipad will do very well..

  • Report this Comment On January 28, 2010, at 2:35 AM, rbelfore1 wrote:

    @Checkka:

    I'm sure if you used your imagination, you could anticipate an app which would make scrabble possible between two users in the same room. I hope I don't need to explain it to you.

  • Report this Comment On January 28, 2010, at 3:19 AM, APJ4RealHoldings wrote:

    the Ipad does not need to be a winner for Apple, but for such an innovative company to go through the motions and hold a big launch for a new product...its sad.

    agree wtih many ipad=FAIL.

    no multasking, no videoconferencing, no new OS enhancements, no native voice2text & text2voice, no usb or any sd storage expansion capabilities

    pointless to have if you already own an iphone.

  • Report this Comment On January 28, 2010, at 3:20 AM, APJ4RealHoldings wrote:

    the Ipad does not need to be a winner for Apple, but for such an innovative company to go through the motions and hold a big launch for a new product...its sad.

    agree wtih many ipad=FAIL.

    no multasking, no videoconferencing, no new OS enhancements, no native voice2text & text2voice, no usb or any sd storage expansion capabilities

    pointless to have if you already own an iphone.

  • Report this Comment On January 28, 2010, at 3:28 AM, Checkka wrote:

    @rbelfore1:

    No please, tell me how you can keep the iPad flat on the table and enjoy a game of scrabble with another person sitting across from you.

    Hope you explain it soon because I can't wait to play Battleship with my friends on my iPad!

    Back on topic, the iPad from a feature standpoint is disappointing. There really isn't much argument here. It's essentially an inconveniently sized iPod touch. It's too featureless to be tempting those looking for netbooks and way too big for those looking for smartphones.

    But there is a silver lining, the dataplan associated with the iPad is the cheapest available. $29.99 for unlimited 3g access (now with VoIP support) may ring in a new era in cell phone plan pricing.

  • Report this Comment On January 28, 2010, at 3:55 AM, BoughtyCanton wrote:

    I am long AAPL and am definitely hopeful that the iPad will help that investment along. When I got my iPod Touch a couple years ago I loved the ability to surf the web with my fingers on a small device, heck I couldn't put it down, my only regret was the size (though it was also the best thing about it). Just this month my family took a trip together and my mother and I played several board games on my Touch. I recently got an iPhone 3GS as well and am often found with both on me. Clearly I am an Apple junky, but I don't think I'm alone in wanting an iPad to make the experience I already have better, and heck folks who are buying a netbook will have a real question on their hands, as the touch interface that Apple has created really is amazing. I don't have a kindle because I don't live in the US and it isn't very useful to non-residents, but I've been eying a reader anyhow. Couple that all together and I'd say they'll sell a few iPads, no probs.

  • Report this Comment On January 28, 2010, at 4:49 AM, lotontech wrote:

    I would buy one if it supported multitasking and Adobe Flash, which it doesn't :-(

    I typically have several windows open simultaneously so that I can spread bet (on more than one account), log in to my regular stockbroker, read the Fool, view charts, update my trading blog, and check how my books are selling -- all at the same time! And on the Flash front, the majority of spread betting platforms -- a UK thing, I know -- are Flash-based.

    It looks pretty, though :-)

  • Report this Comment On January 28, 2010, at 7:49 AM, TMFKaren wrote:

    I'd like to see the Ipad (or relevant app) as a work device similar to what the UPS delivery guy use when they deliver a package requiring signing. I imagine being able to digitally sign documents and wirelessly transmit them. Good for real estate agents, insurance salespeople, home inspectors, etc. Maybe the addition of a small wireless printer so those without email access can have hard copy on site. (But there is always USPS for that.)

    While it can be argued that this technology is available for the Iphone, the Ipad has a much larger, more visible screen that makes it easier to see when reading or filling out a document.

    I can see one of these devices in my future.

  • Report this Comment On January 28, 2010, at 9:14 AM, mgl8 wrote:

    I don't care for the name (does Apple have no women in marketing research), but I think the product has a ton of potential, particularly in academia and in some professions. Certainly I have no difficulty envisioning a student carrying one iPad loaded with textbooks, etc., and a doctor toting one around. I think Apple may be broadening its reach, and I like the iPad as a start.

    As with almost every high-tech product, the first iteration won't satisfy everyone, but I do believe that Apple will identify where to make changes and produce solid ones when they do.

    Eventually Apple will produce the iDo, and it will just do everything for us!

  • Report this Comment On January 28, 2010, at 12:00 PM, Suthrncomfrt1884 wrote:

    The only way I'd ever buy this pointless gadget is if my TV, Home Computer, Laptop, and Ipod ALL broke at the same time.

    I see no point in combining all of these things into one electronic that when taken apart and compared to the individual product it replaces....is inferior.

    It's too big to carry around with me, so it can't replace a phone. It's too small for me to replace my home computer/laptop with because I don't want to stare at small print for hours. I'll stick with my iphone and laptop. Sorry Apple.

  • Report this Comment On January 28, 2010, at 10:05 PM, lutece7 wrote:

    When I read all the naysayers comments, it reminds me of all the other times in the past when Apple introduced a new idea, and people scoffed:

    1st Personal Computer that wasn't a kit: "what can you do with it"?

    Point and click Graphical User Interface with "windows": "just a toy, not for businessmen and professionals"

    1st Laptop, the Powerbook: "too expensive, not powerful enough"

    1st computer to get rid of the floppy disk (which they had first introduced) "how can you get by with a computer that doesn't have a floppy disk drive?"

    iPod: too expensive, a toy

    iPhone: too expensive, no 3G service

    Apple was first to market with the mouse, the floppy disk, Firewire, laptops, the PDA (Newton), the iPhone was revolutionary, and many, many other innovations and innovative products. Yet the people who are still stuck with their crummy PCs, and the people who missed out on buying Apple, are still on the outside looking in. And with their resultant envious, spoilsport attitudes, they are still proclaiming "Failure! Apple has failed and is producing a iDud"!

    LOL, When are you ever going to learn???? Apple is n't perfect. But they get it right more than any other company I can think of. So please don't be so quick to judge. Give Apple some credit. The iPad is a niche product. I predict that it is a niche large enough to add greatly to the value of Apple stock. You naysayers are just missing out on great technology and missing out on Apple stock gains.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2010, at 11:34 AM, Turfscape wrote:

    lutece7 wrote:

    "iPhone: too expensive, no 3G service"

    You forgot the criticism that it didn't have a slide-out keyboard, "who's going to use it if you have to type on the touchscreen?"

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2010, at 11:46 AM, Suthrncomfrt1884 wrote:

    lutece7, that's interesting.

    Apple fans seem to think that PC fans care about all of this stuff. Apple fans are also notorious for being so against windows that they'll down anyone who has it.

    Windows is what most people grew up with. Windows is the only thing most people know how to use or need to know how to use. Why switch operating systems just because apples apparently get no viruses?

    You call PC users naysayers, but the only reasons that most people buy PC is familiarity and price....not the operating system (which most people don't know the first thing about).

    I honestly don't care if this thing had an Apple or a Windows logo on it. I think the iPad is too small of a "niche" market to succeed. The only people who would possibly buy this are college students so they don't have to carry lots of books or apple obsessed people who buy everything the company releases.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2010, at 1:13 PM, Turfscape wrote:

    Sutherncomfrt1884 wrote:

    "I think the iPad is too small of a "niche" market to succeed"

    If it's planned for a niche market, and hits that niche market...then it is a success. I think a lot of criticism is based on some irrational expectation that whatever product Apple announced was going to cause people to throw away their existing device(s) and rush out to buy only this new thing. I'm pretty sure Apple didn't plan for that. Considering the expectation of around 3 million units in the first year...I'd say that Apple is aiming squarely at the niche, which improves their chance for success.

    "Windows is what most people grew up with."

    That's just weird to hear, as someone who grew up when the home computer was introduced.

    "Windows is the only thing most people know how to use or need to know how to use."

    As though the GUI is so radically different?

    "the only reasons that most people buy PC is familiarity and price....not the operating system"

    I'd narrow that down further to just price.

    Apple, as a company, has found remarkable success by providing a unified user experience. By maintaining tight control over the hardware and OS, they can better refine how the user interacts with the computer. They found further success by extending that principle to accessory devices (iPod, iPhone, etc.). They maintain solid margins on these items, as well as the core desktops and laptops.

    If the iPad offers the niche user a solid user experience, then that niche market will grow because further uses will be found and developed for the platform. The key thing for Apple at this point is to assure the initial users of that solid user experience. That will mean content, programs (apps), and support. They've made a decent start...I'm curious to see where it goes.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2010, at 1:48 PM, KoolJA wrote:

    Of course I haven't gotten my hands on the iPad yet, but I am fairly optimistic that there is a pretty substantial market for this product. There must be many people out there besides myself who would love to have a carriable device that surfs the web (at least where Wi-Fi is available), lets you check your email, and lets you read your newspapers and books. Additional plusses are that it also plays music, videos, and video games. Add to that the high quality video and the 10-hour battery charge. What's not to like?

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2010, at 2:03 PM, artistx wrote:

    People are jaded when it comes to new gadget/computer specs and expectations are never met. Why is this? It's because user experience doesn't come across in a spec sheet. Once people try these devices and see what they can really do they "get it". Remember when there was no market for another mp3 player when the iPod came out, especially at Apple's price point? How about the iPod touch? Why do we need an iPod with a bigger screen? Expensive Apple laptops, they can't compete with all the cheaper competition. The beauty of Apple devices is that they allow the user to figure out how best to use them, via all the great apps, software and ecommerce sites Apple creates. Like iTunes, the ebookstore will be the thing that makes the iPad more than the sum of it's parts.

    I think the iPad can only add to Apples portfolio and bottom line. I don't think it will cannibalize any existing product in their lineup. And what if this is "only a niche product"? Let's say a conservative 1 million of these sell and that's conservative considering all the "loyalists" out there. I'm guessing a minimum $300 profit per unit from some sources I've read. Not a bad niche income if you ask me.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2010, at 2:54 PM, CDavidHunt wrote:

    can you say google docs/wave/voice? Or Bluetooth? for input and throughput.

    And iBooks. An Amazon head to head.

    From hardware to content--with an accelerometer.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2010, at 3:27 PM, MJH1959 wrote:

    The iPad has no camera YET!, It has a data port, Hmm I hava PC and plug in this cheep logitech camera and use skype to talk to folks in the UK. If some bright spark isn't thinking how to put a portable camara on the iPad I'm a monkeys uncle and will eat my hat, OOOH OOH OHHHH, ooooHHH, munch munch. Now I've let the cat out of the bag, dang it.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2010, at 3:28 PM, MJH1959 wrote:

    The iPad has no camera YET!, It has a data port, Hmm I hava PC and plug in this cheep logitech camera and use skype to talk to folks in the UK. If some bright spark isn't thinking how to put a portable camara on the iPad I'm a monkeys uncle and will eat my hat, OOOH OOH OHHHH, ooooHHH, munch munch. Now I've let the cat out of the bag, dang it.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2010, at 4:58 PM, bwfci wrote:

    The naysayers just have it all wrong. I have never had an apple product. then, i got an iphone 3 months ago. i love it so much i got my wife one for christmas. Then i got my daughter an ipod (and tossed the Creative brand mp3 that pretended to be an iPod).

    we have a laptop that is used at home to surf the web during evenings, and to check email. i am 100% certain that the ipad will replace that laptop. when i am out at work, having an ipad handy to check my inventory for sales calls will be incredibly better than using my iphone.

    the only downsides i see to the ipad is no flash player and no multitasking. with a 1ghz processor, there is no reason not to allow multitasking. with the outcry from the user base, it is only a matter of time before flash or an app to play flash is available.

    my personal wish list for the ipad:

    camera/video, GPS, capability for phone calls (they already have the technology, and surely it would fit into the ipad, and with a bluetooth headset, it would work just fine.)

    really, i personally think the idea Steve Jobs and apple has is the money will be made on the APP side, not with the hardware. i mean, 3 years ago, the idea that developers would have 100,000 apps available for the iphone was laughable. now, it is a huge moneymaker for apple. so much so that apps are available now for even such off brands as HTC, nokia, etc. Every programmer/developer <should> know that there is more money in software than in hardware. Apple is proving that out with itunes and with the app store.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2010, at 10:40 PM, RJAGarrity wrote:

    bwfci you have pretty much made the case I was going to make. (Glad I read all the way to the bottom of this list.) I read on CNET I think about how without a USB plug it's a non-starter. The first thing I thought of was walking through the computer store with my wife not 4 years ago and seeing all the laptop PCs still sporting floppy drives. The ipad is a cloud-computing device deluxe. And as easy to use as an iphone or a touch. Dig that. Wireless storage? (http://www.tuaw.com/2010/01/04/airstash-brings-wireless-stor... just one I found with a few seconds of googling.

    Another big thing. As of today the new update of the SDK will allow programers to add Voice over ip in 3G. Skype already does this. This is a phone already. I'd be shocked it there wasn't a video solution via 3rd party or Apple before or shortly after the launch. My guess that it was precisely back room haggling with AT&T that kept video off the ipad-probably until the 4G network or just a better 3G backbone takes hold.

    I've only had a few days to dream of the possibilities of the ipad. I can forgive the Apple dev team for getting a little over-effervescent after over a year with it.

    I'm long on APPL.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2010, at 3:28 AM, yetanothersteve wrote:

    "Pointless if you already own an iphone".

    The same could be said of the iPod touch. I think they've sold a couple of those.

  • Report this Comment On January 30, 2010, at 1:10 PM, cannedcat wrote:

    iPad is not (only) an e-book reader, iPAd is a mobile thin-client, the best appliance to replace millions of PC where a PC is not a "personal computer" but only a semi-dumb terminal of centralized systems.

    From this point of view, the lack of some features (camera, phone, Flash, USB ports) is a point of strength.

  • Report this Comment On February 01, 2010, at 5:58 PM, guixiu wrote:

    I sure hope textbook companies hook up with the iBooks store ASAP. School kids are damaging their backs lugging backpacks stuffed with heavy textbooks. Laptops have far more power and weight than most kids need at school. The iPad could really lighten their load and reduce their need for chiropractors later in life.

  • Report this Comment On February 02, 2010, at 4:43 PM, foolishdoog wrote:

    the ipad is a dud...

    (bomb dropping sound pheeeewwwwmm.....with no explosion)

    amazon's partnership with mcgraw hill explains it all.

    i can imagine a (perfect) world of no text books in school and only kindles.

    call me crazy but the ipad just a cliche for fanboys.

    it reminds me of the giant TV remotes or calculators with oversized numbers for old and obese people

  • Report this Comment On February 03, 2010, at 12:01 AM, alimaamoser wrote:

    If the iPad is a tablet, how can it be an alternative to the many models of TabletPC that have been on the market since at least 2002? I have used a Tablet PC since early 2003 and I have always thought that the only essential difference between a regular laptop and a TabletPC is the fact that I can write on the TabletPC, using the Windows Journal software.

    <a href="http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/smoke-relief-rev... Relief</a>

    http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/smoke-relief-rev...

  • Report this Comment On February 03, 2010, at 9:29 AM, Turfscape wrote:

    Whoa! Deja vu...I thought for a second I popped into a forum discussing the release of the iPhone. Almost identical sentiments.

  • Report this Comment On February 06, 2010, at 7:20 AM, alimaamoser wrote:

    Dose the new Apple iPad have drawing capabilities? Would you be able to use a stylus?

    Also would you be able to import programs such as Photoshop or Sketchbook Pro? I really want to get the iPad but I also want to be able to use it as a drawing tablet to. Its hard to find nice tablet PCs for a relativity decent price. And what I mean by that is not over 1000 dollars.

    http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/advanced-acai-re...

    [url=http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/advanced-acai-re... Acai[/url]

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2010, at 4:56 AM, alimaamoser wrote:

    How come when i logged into my gmail it said you recieved a free apple ipad?

    im only questioning because when i clicked on the link there was a real apple symbol above and it said i was a winner and they want to give it to people to test out if it looked like it was really apple should i trust it and give them my adress and phone number and stuff they want from me?

    http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Weider-X-Factor-Review&id=...

  • Report this Comment On March 09, 2010, at 1:00 AM, alimaamoser wrote:

    im only questioning because when i clicked on the link there was a real apple symbol above and it said i was a winner and they want to give it to people to test out if it looked like it was really apple should i trust it and give them my adress and phone number and stuff they want from me?

    http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/colopure-cleanse...

  • Report this Comment On March 12, 2010, at 3:30 AM, alimaamoser wrote:

    im only questioning because when i clicked on the link there was a real apple symbol above and it said i was a winner and they want to give it to people to test out if it looked like it was really apple should i trust it and give them my adress and phone number and stuff they want from me?

    http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/livea-diet-suppl...

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2010, at 7:23 AM, alimaamoser wrote:

    Please help CEO Steve Jobs come up with a different name for his Apple tablet instead of ipad?

    Apple CEO Steve Jobs came up with the "ipad" name for his new Apple tablet. A friend of mine (female) just reminded me that the "ipad" sounds like a feminine product. I'm getting a bad visual in my head: "Dude, can I borrow your ipad? I left mine at home." Not cool! What was Steven Jobs thinking?

    http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/dentasmile-md-re...

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