The “You Call This Journalism?” Department

The Inquirer isn’t normally this silly, and it isn’t even April 1. Nick Farrell writes:

Why Apple might regret the Ipad [sic]

THE IPAD HAS DOOMED Apple, according to market anlaysts [sic] that are expecting the tablet to spell trouble for its maker. … Rather than killing off the netbook, the Ipad [sic] is harming sales of the Ipod [sic] and Macbooks… if the analysts are right the Ipad [sic] has killed the Ipod [sic] Touch.

This is just silly, for four reasons. Three are obvious:

  • The iPod Touch fits in your pocket and can be easily with you all the time. Nothing bigger can ever kill it, but only replace it for a subset of users who don’t need in-pocket portability. (Besides, even if all iPod Touch buyers bought an iPad instead, the latter is more expensive and so the correct term would be not “kill” but “upsell”.)
  • The laptop has a real keyboard and full applications. Nothing not full-featured can ever kill it, but only replace it for a subset of users who don’t need the richer experience and applications.
  • Even if it was killing the other business outright, which it isn’t, it’s always better to eat your own lunch than wait for a competitor to do it.

And the fourth reason it’s silly? Let’s be very clear: The iPad has sold 1 million units in its first 28 days. At $500-700 a pop, that means the iPad is becoming a new billion-dollar business in two months.

Nick, I don’t think “regret” is the word you’re looking for.

2 thoughts on “The “You Call This Journalism?” Department

  1. I’m a little surprised that the iPad is doing so well. I’m wondering whether people are just buying it because it’s from apple, or whether they’ve really tapped into some new market that no one really noticed, or at least was able to deliver on before.

    The idea of another computer that I can’t program on doesn’t really appeal to me, but I’m curious to see what people really use the device for.

  2. Brendan: You and I (and likely a lot of readers of this blog) like to be able to program our computers. That’s true of maybe 1% or 2% of the population, and leaves out most computer users. Those people want to do other things with their computers, and the question is what the computer will do.

    Another thing that comes up in these discussions is multi-tasking, and that’s something almost nobody, proportionally speaking cares about. Somebody might care about running Pandora and something else, but that will be addressed soon, in the next version of the OS.

    Similarly, the ability to install arbitrary applications is unimportant to most people, who simply want apps that will do what they want, and a large selection of apps to browse through, and the App Store provides that.

    The iPad does neat things out of the box, and more with easily and inexpensively available apps. It’s convenient to handle, has a nice display, and the touch controls just plain work better than on my first-generation iPhone. It’s great for web surfing, with the exception of Flash, and Apple is doing its best to bury Flash. (If nothing else, putting millions of easy-to-use systems that can’t use Flash in people’s hands will cut into its general use.)

    The iPad is more of an appliance than a general-purpose computer, but that’s exactly what a whole lot of people want. The appliance trick has never worked before, but I’d say that’s because it has never been done well before. That’s the new market Apple has hit.

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