As already noted, like any impending new Apple product, the iPad was hyped to the max before its launch and it would have taken something special to live up to the speculation. Like a lot of people, I was expecting an all-singing, all-dancing super-device an OLED-based display with tactile feedback, front and rear facing video cameras and facial recognition. Given that this was supposed to be the saviour of the print industry I was expecting a multimode LED/e-ink screen at the very least.
But these bleeding-edge technologies don’t come cheap certainly not for $499. I thought it interesting that there are actually two devices: one wifi only, clearly targeted at home use and another slightly more expensive 3G-equipped mobile version.
The speculation on the technology gave rise to a rumoured $1,000 price point. If the iPad was basically a keyboardless MacBook Air replete with the aforementioned display then I would say you could safely double that and halve the battery life.
Shares in AAPL started to slide when the product was initially announced but when the pricing was revealed the market cap grew by $5bn. I’m not suggesting for a second that Apple had anything to do with this. Besides, thing have since reverted to post-announcement form and shares fell 4% the next day.
It has slowly dawned on me that this device is brilliant for the market that it’s
aimed at: namely people who consume more than they produce. It is not meant as a replacement for the laptop but more for casual browsing, emailing and a low-margin front-end for purchasing content from the Apple Store.
While not a loss-leader per se, Apple simply don’t need initial sales of the iPad to make them money.