40 Comments

Summary:

Apple may have reason to welcome, not fear, the growing popularity of the Amazon Kindle Fire. According to J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz in a note late last week, the Kindle could encourage, not take away from, Apple’s own iPad sales.

ipad-kindle-fire

Apple may have reason to welcome, not fear, the growing popularity of the Amazon Kindle Fire, which is on track to become the No. 2 best-selling tablet. According to J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz in a note sent late last week, the Kindle could encourage, not take away from, Apple’s own iPad sales. But in order for that to be true, there are certain conditions that have to be met.

Moskowitz is mostly reiterating what he heard from Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer in a recent sit-down with them, during which they discussed the Kindle Fire’s role in relation to the iPad. Moskowitz came away with the clear impression that “Apple is not seeing much pressure from lower-priced tablets” and that current Kindle Fire buyers “could gravitate to more feature-rich experiences” down the road based on their initial use of the cheaper Amazon device.

J.P. Morgan and Apple execs apparently aren’t all that concerned over Amazon’s new Android tablet, which is already projected to beat the sales of all other tablets based on the Google mobile platform by the end of this quarter. And it’s true that the Kindle Fire could act as a sort of gateway drug, turning users on to the tablet experience but leaving them craving features missing from the Amazon device, like a full-fledged market of applications targeted to large-screen devices, a larger screen itself and cellular data access.

It’s an admittedly rosy outlook from a source with a vested interest in seeing this outcome come to pass, however. There is another obvious possibility to contend with too: Users could find that the Kindle Fire provides everything they really need in a tablet experience (web browsing, media playback) for an acceptable price and might not look further. Whether or not those users would have looked at iPads otherwise or whether another, significant portion of Fire owners might not find themselves wanting more is another question.

I think Apple’s optimistic outlook should pan out, however, as long as one thing remains true: tablets continue to encroach upon and replace PCs as primary computing devices for general users. In that case, the Kindle Fire and the iPad likely will enter into a mutually beneficial orbit, with the cheaper device’s drawing in first-time tablet users and the iPad’s acting as a sort of graduation gift for when they opt to use tablets as their main computers.

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  17. Luca Filigheddu Monday, December 5, 2011

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  71. If this isn’t FUD I don’t know what is.

    Get real, the ipad doesn’t do much more than the Kindle Fire–poor cameras and hdmi out with an expensive dongle????. In fact, the Kindle Fire is doing exactly what the ipad was designed to do–be a media consumption & entertainment device.

    Sounds more like JP Morgan is worried apple stock is going down and want to pump the price up so they can sell their shares off.

    1. It’s not about the hardware features. My 1st gen iPad doesn’t have a camera or HDMI out, and from what I’ve read of the kindle I’d rather have my iPad.

      It’s about software features, and the quality of available third party software. That’s where the iPad kicks the kindle’s ass. Some of those software features do require the iPad’s more expensive hardware (bigger screen, bigger battery, etc), but mostly it’s a software thing.

      The Fire may be great in future, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

    2. “If this isn’t FUD I don’t know what is.”-AppleFUD

      You obviously don’t know what FUD is.

      FUD is “Fear, uncertainty and doubt.” None of those elements come into play here.

    3. That’s probably what’s happening. But besides that, I feel that Apple doesn’t really need to compete with anyone.. Its always other companies who are trying to do what Apple are doing, never vice-versa. The Apple customers have an involuntary trust on the brand and will continue to buy its products. And the fact that its over-priced also makes people buy it.

      Latest Technology Blog

    4. By FUD you mean BS, methinks. BTW, I do a lot of productive on my iPad, which I wouldn’t be able to on a KF.

  72. Paramendra Kumar Bhagat Monday, December 5, 2011

    This analysis is faulty. I think most Kindle Fire users will stay put.

    1. “This analysis is faulty. I think most Kindle Fire users will stay put.”-Paramendra Kumar Bhagat

      Thank you for that evidence-free, fact-free, and thought-free opinion.

      It’s ironic that you criticize the article’s analysis while providing zero analysis yourself.

      1. Mr. Kirk, Android is open, and that all you need to know why an android tablet will always be better than the closed, properitery iOS. UI be dammed, who cares a out that.

  73. Marci Rosenblum Monday, December 5, 2011

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  75. Interesting. So Apple thinks that people will, en masse, buy a Kindle and think it’s terrible to the point where they’ll buy an iPad the next time? Pretty ballsy way to put things but hey, I suppose anything is possible.

    I think the real fight comes next year when Amazon releases the Kindle Fire 2. I expect to see all the “missing” features people complained about this go ’round added (Bluetooth, Webcam, etc). If they can do that and still keep the price at $300 (or below), the tablet wars will be far from over.

    1. “Apple thinks that people will, en masse, buy a Kindle and think it’s terrible to the point where they’ll buy an iPad the next time?”-Brian

      Many commentators have suggested such a thing, but neither Apple nor the quoted analyst did. They said that consumers “could gravitate to more feature-rich experiences”. Moving up from, say, an iPod to an iPod Touch, an iPod Touch to an iPhone, an Iphone to an iPad etc. doesn’t seem so unreasonable. So why should it be unreasonable to predict such an eventuality here?

      “I expect to see all (of the Fire’s) “missing” features people complained about this go ’round added…”-Brian

      You presume that while the Fire improves, the iPad will remain the stagnant.

      1. Great post. Your observation made me wonder if its the iPod Touch that is threatened by the Fire (or if those that move from the Touch go to the Fire instead of the iPad). If so, the real battle is the installed base of iOS devices vs the various flavors of Android. I wonder if you’ve seen an authoritative analysis on this?

      2. Not only will iPad keep improving, staying 2-3 yrs ahead of the competition, but, like all others before it, Amazon will have difficulty to match the price for a 10″ tablet with similar HW and UI offerings, even if it is able to secure all the components need to offer adequeate quantities. In addition, while Amazon can take a loss, but not by much. Also, taking loss for a consumption tablet is one thing, but making something similar or better than an iPad, will not have enough return for Amazon.

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  78. wow guys( previous commenters ).. iPad is a computer.. kindle is not.. the idea is that kindle users are more likely to turn to tablet computers.. not that the kindle is a terrible product.

    1. If an iPad is a computer then so is the iPhone. And every other smartphone on the planet. But they’re not, so can can please put this conversation to rest?

      1. Yup, you are right. All smartphones and iPad are computers. However, you need a certain screen size to do productive tasks effectively, so smartphones are not applicable

    2. “iPad is a computer”

      Not hardly! The Kindle is a standalone device, but an iPad can’t even be activated without using a computer.

      1. Yes you can activate any iOS device, including the iPad, which is running on iOS 5, untethered.

  79. Mark Tanjutco Monday, December 5, 2011

    Kindle = gateway drug for tablets http://t.co/tkPEPIgM

  80. Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales — Apple News …: Apple may have reason to welcome, not fear,… http://t.co/Lzy1wSus

  81. First off, tablets ARE by definition “PC’s”. Next, I’d be very careful predicting that they will “replace” laptops and desktops for general users…at least for a good while to come (tablet CPU’s, memory/storage, graphics, and IO abilities are still incredibly weak & pathetic compared to their laptop/desktop counterparts, and most of us do more than just read email for a living). Predictions similar to this have been made before about various technologies, due to editors jumping the gun based on large initial sales of a new form-factor of computer, and they were pretty much always wrong.

  82. FMHC Corporation Monday, December 5, 2011

    Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/wNxMPPMK

  83. Purnoor Sodhi Monday, December 5, 2011

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  84. Michael W. Perry Monday, December 5, 2011

    Apple has nothing to worry about if Amazon continues its current policy of indifference to work/productivity apps on all its Kindle products, including the Fire.

    Apple didn’t intend to create the marvelous third-party apps for its iOS devices. Steve Jobs was apparently against the idea. But when the market developed, Apple has cleverly taken advantage of the result. Thus far, Amazon has shown no interest in doing something similar. ePaper Kindles are for reading books, although they could do much more. And the Kindle Fire exists mainly to consume content purchased from Amazon. It doesn’t even offer full-feature support to Instapaper, which would seem to be a natural fit. There are limits to how much you can grow a limited product. There are only so many passive browsers.

    That’s certainly been true with me. Attracted by the price, I initially considered preordering a Fire. But further reflection convinced me that I’d rather wait and pick up a much more versatile used iPad for the same price.

    That and I’m waiting to see what Scrivener for iPad will offer when it’s announced early next year. My hunch is that it’ll be a leaned-down version that synch seamless with Scrivener files on Macs and PCs.

  85. Joe’s World Now 2012 Monday, December 5, 2011

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  86. Jason T Clark Monday, December 5, 2011

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  89. Klaus Milczewsky Monday, December 5, 2011

    #Kindle could light a #Fire under Apple’s #iPad sales — Apple News, Tips and Reviews http://t.co/rkFUvfZ3

  90. kevin fitchard Monday, December 5, 2011

    Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales @drizzled http://t.co/Qd3H8Xa8

  91. I am a proud owner of: Andriod Phone (Galaxy S), iPAD2 and lately the Kindle Fire and the Samsung 10″ Tablet.
    I believe I have a good feeling for the Android experience the iOS tablet experience, and now the Amazon (android?) Tablet experience.
    As far as I can judge, you can’t even start comparing Kindle with iPAD. They are as seperate as one can think of two touch based computers.

    I think Bezos done it right – as far as Amazon interests plays – he is targeting Kindle customer base. He didn’t try to “replicate” iPAD or even other Android Tablets.
    Bezos extended the Amazon experience. From web only, to a handheld, mobile, touch base device.
    The Kindle and iPAD experience is a perfect example where you see that Form and Content are combined to create a product.
    iPAD is fun, engaging, butifull and consumes you in every possible way. You fall in love withit. It becomes an extension of you.
    The Kindle is simple, plain, direct to the point – gets the work done. Its another accessory.

    1. You make a good point. Going head to head with Apple and Apple’s ecosystem was a mistake that RIM, HP and the various Android manufacturer’s made. It’s unknown whether the Fire will succeed, but at the very least, they’ve adopted a strategy that maximizes their strengths and avoids Apple’s strengths.

      1. True. KF may succeed if it stays in its own orbit and does not try to offer an iPad like device. Not that they can’t, and do have a great ecosystem. However, to start making a tablet which can be used for productivity needs expertise Amazon doesn’t have.

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  95. Filippo Selden Monday, December 5, 2011

    Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/mnGQGB3P @FilippoSelden

  96. “@jkOnTheRun: Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/FsPk1sgr” perhaps in the US, but Kindle is reeeally small in EU

  97. You were expecting them to say they’re worried? If they’re not, they should be. My wife and I are big Mac fans, but she just loves her Kindle Fire.

    1. But neither you nor your wife purchased an iPad. Doesn’t that seem to suggest that many who will purchase the Fire were not potential iPad customers anyway? If that’s the case (and we really won’t know until the numbers come out), then the Fire is no threat to the iPad.

  98. Brandy Luscalzo Monday, December 5, 2011

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  101. James Kirslis Monday, December 5, 2011

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  105. Patrick Chapman Monday, December 5, 2011

    Makes sense: Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/j5LMZk6C

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  123. WRONG. Amazon will end up making a more upscale tablet to get the people that want to “trade up” to a bigger, better tablet. iPad needs to be worried. Remember all those people that were not worried about the iPhone or the iPad… yea most of them are looking for jobs.

    1. And you assert this because…..?

      Do you have any data to support it, or just a gut feeling is making you blow smoke from your rectum?

  124. RT @gigaom: Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/dtG3Q8qR

  125. Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/fTAcPkYS

  126. Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales — Apple News …: Apple may have reason to welcome, not fear,… http://t.co/ofkDNQVw

  127. It’s only a matter of time that Kindle will have a 10-incher screen (just like iPhones evolved to iPads).

    Once that will happen, other brands will follow; history will repeat itself. But this time, it will have new players.

    1. And you assert this because…..?

      Do you have any data to support it, or just a gut feeling is making you blow smoke from your rectum?

  128. Bruce Benjamin Thomas Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    I’m not so sure that Kindle’s popularity won’t cut into the sales of iPads, yet I agree that there will be some that will enter the market with a Kindle and then upgrade to an iPad. My mother never wanted a tablet, but we knew she’d enjoy one so we got her a Kindle which she loves, but now she wants an iPad as she’s gotten a taste of what’s possible.

    1. I agree with you. I’m sure KF will do just fine, and will cut more into other Android tablet share than that of the iOS iPad, because of the great ecosystem they have. And the iPad doesn’t have to be 95% plus to be dominant. I believe that in the next few years the market share of iPad will be between 2/3 and 3/4.

  129. Encore Consulting Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    RT @gigaom Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/xPkiYM8K

  130. Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/gSEJf3u4 (via @summify from @theappleblog)

  131. Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales – GigaOm: http://t.co/czABd0As

  132. Why should Apple not fear the growing popularity of the Kindle Fire? http://t.co/tJCXvPNI

  133. John Harrington, Jr. Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    http://bit.ly/tJSXgz covers how the two tablets compare “out of the box”, their tech specs, use cases, and IT management capabilities

  134. Lincoln’s Corner Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales
    http://t.co/tcyJj4Kl #yam

  135. Jaime Rodriguez, Jr. Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Will the Kindle Fire be a gateway to iPad sales? #apple #amazon #kindle #fire #ipad #tablet #android http://t.co/NS27kBKY

  136. RT @louiebaur: Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/AyfU92Td

  137. Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/KpKv5Mkg

  138. RT @louiebaur: Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/AyfU92Td

  139. The Kindle Fire lacks basics like a camera and mic, but most 7″ tablets are just as feature-rich as an iPad. More so, actually, since a lot of them have built-in SD and USB support. Furthermore, the 7″ form factor is far more portable and certainly more comfortable for holding for long periods of time, such as when reading.

    Given the global economy is worsening, I think the folks at Apple are being a bit optimistic to be so unconcerned. After all, the Android Market now boasts as many downloads as Apple’s App Store.

    1. iPad and KF are two different devices serving different consumers. iPad is at least a quasi-laptop replacement (not the computer), while KF is merely a consumption device, and an extension of the Amazon storefront.

  140. Sorry, I should’ve clarified my comment about the global economy. Items like the Kindle Fire and the iPad are not necessities of life, and the worsening economy is going to mean that people have less money to spend on toys. At its current price point, the iPad is a bit of a luxury item.

    1. To each his/her own, iPad has become a necessity to me. The laptop is a luxury. The iPad lets me do 90% of what I want to do with a computer; a cheap desktop lets me do all. For mobile, I so everything I want on an iPad, and don’t even miss my laptop.

  141. RT @louiebaur: Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/AyfU92Td

  142. Harrison Slowde Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    RT @louiebaur: Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/AyfU92Td

  143. RT @louiebaur: Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/AyfU92Td

  144. RT @louiebaur: Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/AyfU92Td

  145. RT @louiebaur: Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/AyfU92Td

  146. Guadalupe Blaise Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    RT @louiebaur: Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/AyfU92Td

  147. Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales – http://t.co/irilDLQI http://t.co/TpO6ghwt #iPad

  148. RT @gigaom: Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/h1FnqolE

  149. Thomas K Johnston Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    RT @gigaom Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/ROVqikRk >> yes, until @amazon release their own 10″ tablet

  150. Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/infnog8w

  151. RT @louiebaur: Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/AyfU92Td

  152. Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/hBw6msdj #mobile #commerce

  153. I purchased a Kindle Fire for my mother, and an iPad for my wife. Both will use the devices for their email, facebook, browse the web, watch movies and Youtube. There are almost as many adroid apps out there nowadays as Apple Apps, but quite frankly most apps don’t appeal to either of the.

    After setting up both devices so that they will be ready for use when they are opened on Christmas Day, I came to the conclusion that the Kindle Fire does everything I need in a device. I work for a software company and travel a lot to tune performance on networks using our software. I have to have my laptop, the iPad doesn’t provide the word processing and presentation tools I need. (Yeah, there is an app that is supposed to be compatible with Word, but I tried it and sending formatted documents back to a PC user doesn’t work… the formatting get’s all screwed up.)

    So I don’t see the Kindle Fire as a gateway to an iPad, I see it as a low priced alternative. It will be perfect for when I’m in the air and just want to relax. Neither the iPad nor the Kindle Fire have what I need for work.

    1. You are a wise man. Had you given your mother an iPad and your wife a Kindle, you would’ve lived in the doghouse forever

  154. RT @JitterNoise: Kindle could light a Fire under Apple’s iPad sales http://t.co/ICXXhbje

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