ollowing the Apple Press Event this morning the question I’ve been asked the most is “why do I need the Apple iPad?”. Apple’s head honcho Steve Jobs firmly believes the iPad will fill the third segment which stands square in the middle of the iPhone and MacBook. To help understand the target audience for the iPad I found it most helpful to begin by looking at the competition.
Currently you have an eReader market heavily dominated by Amazon’s Kindle. The Kindle is a solid performer and everyone I know who owns one is very happy with their purchase. However, at the end of the day the Kindle is a one-dimensional device with limited format support and in my opinion competes in a micro niche. The distinct advantage the Amazon Kindle has over the Apple iPad is the data subscription fee. Paying $15/month for 250MB of data or $30/month for Unlimited 3G data is an attractive revenue stream for Apple, but a $180 to $360/year subscription I could live without. What makes the iPad model attractive is the option for a WiFi-only unit or if I choose to purchase the WiFi/3G model I can use data services on a monthly basis without a contract. The versatility, processing power and high-resolution screen make the iPad a no brainer for replacing all eReaders on the market.
When Apple decided to beef up the specs of the iPad they aligned themselves directly in the crosshairs of the Netbook. At 1.5-pounds and 10 hours of battery life the weight-to-power ratio puts the iPad ahead of the competition in the segment. Price-wise the $499 entry level iPad is still over 60% more expensive than the Dell Inspiron Mini and lacks many key features: multitasking, hdmi video output (external monitor), optional external dvd drive and front-facing camera (web cam). Depending on how you use your Netbook really determines whether the iPad can replace it. From an applications stand point the iPad has the App Store library of over 140,000 titles and a large developer base as a...
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