Reality-distortion field fail


I paid a combined $550 last year for an Asus netbook AND an 8G iPod Touch, Steve Jobs! The “big” one has a camera and can run Flash and Skype—in fact, it can run all those applications, and many others besides, at the same time! Meanwhile, the little one fits in a pants pocket; it’s pretty much the futuristic miniaturized version of the product you rolled out with such fanfare today. I was already fairly sure I didn’t personally have room in my life or budget for your tablet device (isn’t it funny how Apple can make everyone forget there’s a recession?), but I thought maybe there was a chance of some kind of crazy breakthrough in data pricing or mesh computing or gesture recognition or something. Like, maybe you would have something more fundamental to show us than just an overgrown, overpriced iPod?

And I’ve underestimated you before, Steve, but when it comes to this device that’s supposed to rescue my industry—well, are you really married to “iPad”? Because you kind of have the reputation of being an autocrat, and this seems like the paradigm of a marketing decision that an autocrat would make; everyone around him knows it’s messed up, but nobody wants to say anything and have their head bitten off. It seems to me that if you’re trying to move a product that nobody has a crystal-clear need for, that sort of consideration counts double. I’ll shut up now.


Reality-distortion field fail

  1. And in big news out of the States today, a new gadget from Apple.

    I'm somewhat surprised they're going with an existing format of ebook reader & not going propriatory.

    • I'm somewhat surprised they're going with an existing format of ebook reader & not going propriatory.

      Apple's generally gone with open formats then added the DRM layers demanded by the rights holders on top of them for everything they've done from a media standpoint so far. Easier than building the entire encode/decode system from scratch.

    • Hey apple’s GENIUS an over/underused term steves in there with Tesla,Einstein,stravinsky,mortal but genus in the aetheric I paid 850 for an 8 gb g iPhone off Rogers.the carriers for the most suck excre, cept
      Bell(never ONE problem)apple, oracle,sun/spark rule! Not too many finger in pies UNO nothing about they only do what thyre best at that’s MAC
      and integrity? Steve came back to a
      stockticker disaster now they rule the earth, the third+ ipad will rip your head off like mike keneally’s guitaristismaztics just like iPod touch #3 does (the new one that SMOKES the rest. Like their desktops. So be patient grasshoppers!

      • Is this performance art or legitimate comment?

        • Legitimate. Otherwise the link would work.

        • Whatever it is, it's incredible.

      • Someone needs to buy a Mac.

        Your PC appears to have butchered your comment.


  2. I dunno, Mr. Colby. If I was thinking about buying an eBook reader – and they are flying off the shelves without doing anything but provide a smaller, monochrome, touchless book reader (and in one case, getting books from only one source) – at $499, why not?

    And when it can do everything (absolutely Everything! including my cooking and laundry and pay down my mortgage), I think they have a solid product here.

    Kindle starts at $259. Sony e-Reader starts at $269.

    Will people pay $150 for a way better and more useful and more versatile product?

    If they think about it as a purchase instead of their iPhone, laptop… probably not.

    But for the longest time, I had a batman utility belt with my blackberry, my phone, my pager, my iPod, in addition to laptop. I'm down to three now – iPod for music adn BlackBerry for everything else (which I hate using it for surfing and couldn't read a book from) and my laptop (which I hate carrying around since I just use it to read bigger documents, play games, photos.

    • Yeah I was pretty excited about this, but without flash or multitasking it just doesn't do it for me.

      What I am excited about now though is the effect it's going to have to have on the kindle. I've wanted to pick one up for a while, but I'm having a hard time justifying paying more than the cost a playstation 3 or a reasonably large HDTV for the Kindle DX. With the iPad being only $10 more than the current price of the Kindle DX, I expect Amazon is going to start dropping the price of the kindle to something more reasonable pretty quickly.

      • Excellent point about the Kindle DX (which is the better thing to compare the iPad to than the Kindle of course, given they're about the same size). When you put the Kindle DX and the iPad side by side, suddenly the iPad doesn't seem so expensive!

    • This was my thinking too. For all those people who have THOUGHT about buying an iPod Touch, or a Kindle, or a netbook, or some combination thereof, this would seem to me to be a pretty attractive option (and I use "pretty" and "attractive" deliberately). Sure, it's not "cheap", but it's brand spanking new after all (I would have called it dead in the water had the $1000 price tag been true, but leaving aside whether one needs this device or not, the price point seems completely reasonable to me for what it does, even if people wish it did more). Also, this is the first price point for a totally new device. If Mr. Cosh had bought his netbook the day after the first netbook came out, and his iPod Touch the day after they came out, I'm not so sure he would have paid $550 for the combo. The price will come down and the functionality will improve over time.

      I was underwhelmed myself, but you have to keep in mind all the people out there who DON'T have smartphones, and DON'T have a netbook, and DON'T have an iPod Touch. This could end up being an attractive option to them. As you say, for what it adds in functionality many people might prefer to get this iPad for $500 rather than a Kindle at $260 and an iPod touch for $200.

      • I think it goes after the kindle e-book market and blows them away. Is this market big enough?

        I think secondly it goes after the netbook market and frankly, I think that is where the game changer could be.

        Then it is going after the cool kids who can afford it thereby making it more cool and more desirable and the cycle continues.

        The success rests on whether there is enough of a market there to get it over the first growth bump. Given how the netbooks and the e-readers have been flying off the shelves, I'd say there is.

        • Admittedly I don't know enough about the iPad to intelligently comment (but when has that ever stopped anyone?) but I think if you want something small to do serious computing, go for a netbook. If you want something small for internet/email/bookreader, etc. go for the iPad

        • I don't know how well it takes aim at the netbook market. It can only run one app at a time – kind of irritating to have to shut down your web browser before checking your e-mail. It also lacks a physical keyboard, which is still the easiest way of entering text into a computer. The virtual keyboard lacks tactile feedback, and takes up screen real estate while you're typing. It's also more expensive than a lot of netbooks. Finally, we really don't have any idea of how fast or powerful this thing is – it uses a proprietary Apple processor, versus the well-documented and widely available Intel Atom chips in most netbooks. My first reaction upon seeing the iPad was "wow – that's cool! I want one!" After thinking about it, I'm not sure what I'd want it for…

        • US$489 — Kindle DX, with 3G connectivity and free data plan.

          US$439 — Dell Mini 10v with choice of 3G hardware (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon; just the hardware, no data plan use included), and the larger battery option. Comes with a desktop operating system (Windows XP) able to multitask and run a wide variety of programs. (For US$40 more, you can Hackintosh it with a retail copy of OS X and an 8 GB USB drive necessary for the install procedure.)

          US$629 — iPad with AT&T 3G hardware and no data use included, running iPhone OS (no multitasking, App Store apps only).

          • It's a little awkward to compare the Kindle DX with the 3G iPad though… The Kindle does come with 3G, but here in Canada you can only use it to buy things from the kindle store or painfully browse wikipedia – every other site is blocked.

          • A little. But it's not like the Canadian market will decide the issue. (Thus my listing the US Dell Mini 10v networks; Dell Canada has a "talk to Bell" notice instead of the ability to specify hardware.)

      • The price will come down? Not very fast, and not at all if they can help it. Apple doesn't do Moorean arms races.

        • I don't know about that.

          The iPhone debuted at $599 in the U.S. for the 8GB version in July of 2007, and those that got on board right away were pretty ticked when it dropped to $399 just 6 months later (and Apple abandoned the 4GB version). In fact, Apple even ended up sending out $100 rebates to some customers who were angry that they'd missed out on a $200 price drop by buying in the summer and not waiting until September. Then, just two years later, you could get a 32GB 3GS for $100 less than THAT, and a 16GB 3GS for $199.

          From $600 to $200 (for a phone with twice the memory) in less than two years is a pretty good price drop.

        • Even the Macbook Air, a "luxury item" considered somewhat of a failure for it's high price for (relatively) limited functionality has gone from an average retail price of $2449 to $1649 in the two years since it came out in January of 2008, an $800 price drop in 24 months.

          Certainly Apple products tend to be expensive compared to other companies' products, and stay expensive compared to those other products after price drops, but the prices themselves do drop. The iPad will likely be one of the more expensive tablet devices (for it's feature set) for some time to come compared to Windows-based (or other) tablets, but I'd be willing to bet it'll be significantly less to buy a 2012 iPad than it is to buy a 2010 iPad, and you'll probably get multitasking, a camera, and 128GB of internal memory to boot. In fact, THAT's Apple's price strategy. Sell a product to the fanboys for what they'll pay, and then introduce a better version at a lower price within 12-24 months so you'll get the broader audience AND all of the fanboys will feel compelled to trade in their year old iPad for the new and improved version. Apple wants you to buy a new "whatever" ever year or two, and they get you to do that by adding features while dropping prices.

  3. I will buy a IPad,. Not cause I mortgaged my future with by buying a 7600 back in 95 (OUCH). I just finished paying off that student loan.

    I didn't know anything about Windows till it crushed my soul.

  4. Well, I don't think I'm the only one wondering why Apple is selling the "iPad" so hard. I guess the autocrat theory is as good as any. They're jumping through hoops over there for this thing.

  5. If I had the money to spare, which I don't, they probably would have had me sucked in. Thank goodness for the sober second thought of of the Canadian market.

  6. No phaser, eh? Dang.

    I can't grasp the notion of a portable computer without a keyboard. I barely use a mouse anymore, it's all shortcuts. Plus, what about, you know, writing? Someday there'll be sub-audible voice recognition — strap something to your throat, etc. Then we'll talk portability.

    Bought an aluminum MacBook last year; wondered about the MacBook Air, but I need RAM.

    • All the apps in the app store for the iPhone work on the iPad, so presumably that iPhone Taser extension would work on the iPad. Sure, it's not a PHASER, but at least incapacitating your enemies is something, even if you'd rather vaporize them.

  7. Nice rant Cosh. On one of your more cynical points:

    I would have thought that "making us forget that there is a recession" by employing people to produce a new product which the public could then choose to buy or not – you know, capitalism – is what a corporation is supposed to do.

    Isn't it the job of private companies to lead us out of recession? Or would we rather Apple sit back, stop developing anything and just ask for a government bailout?

  8. The iPad absorbs more text than the leading brand. It has soft rounded edges for a more comfortable fit.

    The Apple iPad for those heavy days when an ordinary device won't do.

  9. …if you don't factor in having to sign a cripplingly expensive contract with a horrible provider. Um, in the U.S., I mean.

  10. Well, fair enough, but that initial $200 drop six months in didn't have anything to do with contracts I don't think.

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