Blog Post

Thoughts on the iPad — Just Push the Buy Button, Says Apple

The hoopla has settled down and we all get a moment to step back and think about the no longer mythical iPad. Apple (s aapl) has rolled out the next genre of computing device in its lineup, and it is a cross between the MacBook and the iPhone. Well, if you take the screen off the MacBook and shoved the iPhone’s guts inside then you’d get the iPad.

Kevin did a good job summarizing the specs of the iPad, which is basically a 9.7-inch iPod Touch. Or an iPhone without the phone call bits. As the prophecy foretold, the iPad uses a chipset made by Apple based on the ARM core. It runs at 1 GHz, basically the same performance we see in the Qualcomm Snapdragon (s qcom) processor in smartphones. That should be plenty of horsepower for the iPad.

It’s too early to predict how successful Apple will be selling the iPad. It’s pricier than other solutions, and it may not be an easy sell to non-geeks. That said, Apple is going to make millions off the iPad. Hundreds of millions.

As expected, the iPad is being pitched as an e-book reader among other things, and Steve Jobs giddily announced the launch of the iBooks app. The app is standard e-book reader fare with support for the ePUB format, and it is backed by the brand spanking new iBookstore for purchasing digital books. This puts the iPad in competition with the likes of the Amazon (s amzn) Kindle and the Barnes & Noble (s bks) Nook, with a notable exception — Apple already has the customer base on launch day.

The most significant thing Jobs said at the iPad press event had to do with the sales numbers of the iPhone and Macs. He casually slipped in that since Apple has already sold 75 million iPhones, millions of Macs and millions of iPods, then the user base for the iPad is staggering. How staggering? He stated that Apple already has 120 million credit cards on file for the iPhone App Store and the iTunes Store. Think about that for a moment. There are already 120 million active customer accounts in the Apple online universe. Even if Apple only sells a few million iPads, those customers likely already have accounts in the store.

The iPad has three stores onboard, the App Store, iTunes and now the iBookstore. Customers can buy content with a simple tap on the iPad screen since Apple already has their credit card ready to charge. And these customers are already accustomed to buying things from the Apple store on their devices. So they can resume buying music from iTunes, apps from the app store and now books from the iBookstore. Apple is going to make a fortune off iPad customers; every single one of them. Now you understand why Jobs believes the iPad is the greatest thing he’s ever done. Apple has not launched a new product from such a position of strength before.

Related Research: “Rumored Apple Tablet: Opportunities Too Big to Ignore

44 Responses to “Thoughts on the iPad — Just Push the Buy Button, Says Apple”

  1. Technogeekchris

    I wish they added up Video/Web Cam on this device. It may have convinced me more to buy this device. This option was never on the IPOD Touch, Not on the Iphone, and now NOT even in IPAD!!! I wonder why Apple wasn’t able to workout adding up this feature on these devices? Now I’m thinking IPHONE O.S is not a powerful platform, unable to support this Video feature… I can’t believe Apple Designers and Developers didn’t even think of this option!!! IMHO, It just makes this device so primitive…

  2. Norman D. Robinson

    It looks great to me and has a very appropriate sixed screen. However…, where is the styles. No inking function>….!!!!! Not good news at all Steve…!!!!

  3. I have to agree with those hoping for Pixel Qi – I would have bought one the seconds they were out if it had that tech or some equivalent.

    I’ll stick with my iPhone and IRex Iliad for the time being, thanks Steve.

  4. So I looked at the iPad,and what possible uses would make it worth purchasing for. I already have an iPhone, so theoretically can do almost everything the iPad can.

    I read eBooks happily on the iPhone, would the iPad help here, probably not, I won’t be carrying the iPad to the can with me..

    Magazines and newspapers – This could be winner for the iPad, a large display, easy software, and if all the newsprint vendors sign up then this could be huge.I already use the cut down versions of newspapers on the iPhone.

    Internet browsing – The iPhone is usable, but the iPad display will make this much better. Lack of flash support will be a killer though. I reckon Apple will be the company that kills flash off, as everyone starts to develop HTML 5 instead.

    Mobile notepad – This would be a killer app if someone develops a usable pen that works on the iPad screen. I’ve seen some pens for the iPhone, but am not sure how usable they would be.

    The lack of a webcam is not a serious issue in my view. I bet $100 it appears in the next iPad version. Webcams are great, but with the way you’d hold the iPad, your video contact is likely to see more up your nose than anything else :)

    Overall, the iPad will be a stonking success, mostly because it will bring tablet type functionality and benefits, to the masses. This in turn will drive the while market place to me more usable and developed.

  5. Think the ipad is a realy good stuff for consumer but not for content or multimedia producers. I had expected a full desktop OS in a cool tablet form factor. But on the other side i`m very happy about the Apple products. Cause of playing with their aaappppps people and beeing trapped in the perfect apple world they have less and less time to produce realy own stuff ;-)

  6. From a UK/EU perspective it’s a price thing.
    We always get shafted by Apple with the exchange rate and if they do their usual trick of a one-to-one conversion the £499 will be a total deal breaker for what is essentially just a big iPod Touch.
    At £299 I’ll get one, any more than that and I’ll stick with the netbook for armchair browsing.

  7. ramfrancisuk

    Hi, I was really looking forward to this iPad, but was disappointed with the launch. Does not seem to offer anything new, or really WOW. I think I will stick with my GSM mobile, iTouch and my trusty Netbook.

    Let’s hope iPad 2 brings something people really want.

  8. It amazes me that the contributors to this site are such technology snobs and elitists. How can you make up your mind about such a product without ever having held one? I for one won’t make a judgment until I have. Steve and the other presenters kept reiterating that point throughout the presentation: it’s the intimate relationship and interaction between the user and the device that is revolutionary here. I think this will likely seduce millions of people who don’t want to be isolated from others when they use their tablet–staring at a screen instead of sitting in a favorite chair or couch, leaning back, and enjoying the diversion of all those apps and the web. I laugh when people say, “It doesn’t do anything my netbook doesn’t already do better and cheaper.” I just don’t think they get it. People want a simple, personal relationship with technology. That is what Apple has always offered.

    As for the pro-Kindle crowd, I have one question: Where are color photographs and video on the Kindle? That will be a huge selling point for the iPad.

    I think the harsh critics will be surprised by how many people will fall in love with this device when they get their hands on it–especially when we finally all move to TV-Video on demand. I am already looking forward to reading the NY Times on this thing. I hate all the scrolling and pinching necessary to this on the iPhone.

    Well, that’s my $0.02. Thanks for listening.

    • Fish7170

      @David – I think you get it right. This device seems not primarily designed as a sit at a desk and produce device. It was designed more as a sit in a chair and enjoy device.

      And I agree wholeheartedly with your Kindle comment too. Books have photographs, tables, and drawings — especially the books I’m interested in buying — not just text.

      Also when you get tired of pinching and unpinching on your iPhone, just double tap on an area of the screen to bring it forward, and again to push it back. Works great for me.

    • Fernando

      Hello David: your point is well argued, but I think what some of us “snobs and elitists” are expressing is frustration about what “could have been” vs “what it is”.

      I completely agree with improving the relationship with technology at a personal level, and the level to which Apple has provided that over the years. In fact, I have owned Apple products for most of the past 25 years since I was in college. Today, there are 4 Macs, 3 iPods (all different generations) and 2 iPhones in my house (2 daughters, my wife and I). Believe me, I wanted yesterday to be “the next big day for Apple”, but…

      I can tell you straightfaced that the iPad is an INSULT to me, PERSONALLY, as an Apple customer. This iPad is a half-baked product that doesn’t do anything that other devices (including Apple’s) don’t already do. Examples: no camera, no flash, no inking, not particularly good for content production, no USB or other I/O ports. And I don’t even need to hold the device to be able to say this.

      I think, like with the iPhone (now THAT was something), that this device will sell well and hopefully get better in future versions. But that does not deny the fact that this version is utterly disappointing and unimaginative for today’s standards.

  9. This is just another glorified giant Ipod touch for the mac sheeps to spend on. Nothing is revolutionary about this product despite what Apple marketing wants to drill into your head that it is.

    The resolution stinks.

    Now if it ran some sort of downgraded version of OSX it would’ve been a ‘maybe’ buy for me but Iphone OS..come on Apple…back to drawing board.

  10. I disagree with the comments on this and other blogs that imply the iPad is limited and therefore will only appeal to “geeks” or niche users. Because it *is* limited, has a tightly integrated ecosystem of online stores and content, and is dead simple to use, the iPad will therefore appeal most broadly to the lay public who couldn’t give a damn about multi-tasking, pen input, blah blah blah…

    It is only us ‘geeks’, power users, whatever you want to classify us that are (slightly) disappointed because we realize that with a just a few tweaks, the iPad could be so much more. I completely admit I’m in this later camp. I’m a little underwhelmed: I really wish the iPad could ink. Still, I’m willing to see what it can do. I never thought the MacBook Air could be so useful, and it’s all I really use on the go now – the old Tablet PC has been relegated to only when I teach.

  11. I think some people aren’t getting the idea here. It’s all about content. Sure it does iwork and stuff like mail and the web.. basically what people think of as survival gear for a computer, but the focus is on consuming content.

    It almost feels to me like the iBook thing was kind of a grudging way to get into a market that Jobs doesn’t have much faith in. It’s kind of like “Why do people want text when they can have video?”. Apple does pride itself on Multimedia stuff.

    Think about it this way.. it’s a portable mp3 player, video player with a 10″ screen, digital picture frame with a 10″ picture, portable gaming device with networking, digital PIM (personal information manager), portable mail client and web browser.. all rolled into one. With access to stores for content built right in.

    That to me is what they were thinking of.

  12. Telling consumers that you will be successful because you have their credit card on file is not the most compelling argument. You still need to sell people on the product.

    I predict slow adoption, improving as new features are added. If you already have an iPhone and a notebook, what does this add? A more restricted Web browsing experience without greater portability.

  13. While the key point is that Apple feels the large number of iPhone and Touch owners gives them a built-in user base, I’m sure I’m not the only one to say “but I can do all that now” albeit on the smaller screen.

    Would I turn one down if it were a birthday present? Of course not. Will I run out and buy one? I don’t think so. I’m waiting for the HP Slate, as well.

  14. The credit card Apple has on file for me in iTunes is only worth $20 maximum. And, I only use it to “buy” free apps. Apple has made it nearly impossible for you to do much online in iTunes without giving them a credit card number.

  15. Fernando

    “Apple has not launched a new product from such a position of strength before.”

    Good point; it explains why Apple feels “entitled” to come out wt such a CRAPPY product because they know it will be a money maker no matter what.

    This product is behind its times (for all the myriad of reasons that are now all over the web). It is a MAJOR disappointment. The good news is that there are other really innovative players (Viliv, Archos, and many of those at CES) that are willing to put good products out there.

    Apple: shame on you!

  16. ArchiMark

    Unfortunately, the new device is pretty much what I expected, a big iPodTouch….more or opposed to what I would consider a ‘real tablet’ more like what the Newton would have been by now if His Steveness hadn’t killed it back in ’98….

    Main things missing for me are:

    A. Handwriting recognition option

    Don’t have problem with an onscreen keyboard or an option for an external keyboard option, but why not include a HWR option with stylus for people like me who’d like to have a digital substitute for pen and paper???…

    B. OSX – Multi-tasking

    Why not include OSX or at least multi-tasking capability???

    Oh well, pretty much expected to be letdown by the giant iPodTouch…. ;/

  17. I’m sure this device will be wildly popular at launch. I will also be very interested to see where this goes, and how the hardware and software evolves in 2nd and 3rd generations of the device.

    But…I don’t think it is for me. It’s a bigger version of the iPod Touch that I already have. Would a bigger screen be nice? Sure, but I think there are too many other compromises to functionality that I am not ready to accept in a device of this size.

    This is certainly innovative in the infrastructure prepared around this device. But overall, I’m still left feeling underwhelmed after all the hype leading up to this announcement. I was certainly expecting something much more innovative in hardware and interface.

    I think I will wait for the Notion Ink “Adam” tablet and others before making any commitments to this new market segment.

  18. tmarks11

    haha, my credit card was one of those millions on file on the itunes store. Never made a purchase, but someone else did… $450 spaced over 8 purchases in less then a week. Apple’s response (once they responded 24 hours later because they have no phone support for itunes)? “Talk to your credit card agency.”

    duh, already got that one covered. Apparently, Apple will do nothing about fraudulant itunes purchases. Google “itunes fraud”. I am not the only one who got bit.

    Someone jacked omy itunes account. Changed the password, changed the email address (and I got no notification of this happening). Nice security hole.

    • And this is why I buy iTunes gift cards and load them on to my account instead of giving Apple carte blanche with my credit card information. And, at Costco, you can buy these cards at a discount.


  19. But as a company that flourishes under the connotation of “underdog” is a position of strength the best place to make a decision for this company? All emotional exultations resulting from an over-hyped launch letdown aside, this product has some serious deficiencies narrowing its appeal to that of a beyond-niche product. It’s productivity pales in comparison to that of a netbook, a product whose abilities were acknowledged to be constrained from the get-go. It’s multi-tasking is nonexistent, but that could be said to be remedied by IphoneOS 4.0, yet remains conjecture at time of launch. There is no front facing camera, which prevents video Skype, in itself not a vast market, but it’s the same market that would be interested in an ultraportable lightweight device such as this. It’s abilities as an e-book reader are there, and easily accessible to the collection of itunes users numbering approximately 120 million. Yet how many users will buy this when all they want is too easily read e-books when the Kindle 2 undercuts it in price and simplicity of form. I think the Geek world may take “convergence” as the gospel of the day, but the average individual still has preferences for dedicated devices when it comes to certain segments of their life. In which case the iPad is overpriced. It’s funny to me that Ballmer himself said that they(Microsoft) prefer not to dabble in small margin markets, yet the star of Microsofts CES event was a product designed to compete with the phantom(at the time) of Apples Tablet.

    That said, I am curious and interested to see where this evolves, and will look into the second gen device of this when it comes, for now a netbook will help me through college just fine.

    sorry for the long post

    • The iPad is not an e-reader. It has an LCD screen. It is not e-ink. Please recognize the difference and remember this. Also note the price difference. $259 for a Kindle and $499 for the iPad (without 3G)

    • I see that Apple marketing is already working on you. The (max)iPad is not an eReader since it doesn’t have an e-ink display. You will still strain your eyes as much as any other non e-ink tablet out there right now.

  20. No-one seems to mention the issue with using the lcd screen to read books for a lengthy period of time. It’s not e-ink, it’s not pixel qi, it’s not liquivista and it’s not mirasol.

    I, for one, love eink for reading books and think there is still a market for dedicated ereaders.

    Come on Kinde V3 with Mirasol in Sep 10

    • I’m glad at least someone gets this. This is all about e-ink. Imagine what people do with an iPad: paying hundreds of dollars to do almost everything they can do on an iPhone, and then read books by staring into a backlit screen.

      Jesus, just buy an iPhone and a Kindle. It’s about the same price, the same size, and you don’t destroy your eyes.

      • Sorry, the iPhone plus Kindle isn’t about the same price as the iTamp; it’s significantly cheaper, because the proper comparison is the 3G + Wifi iPad, which starts at $629. A 16GB iPhone is $199, plus $259 for a Kindle = $458.

    • I sort of agree about the eReading part.

      This device is pretty solid, the UI looks great and it seems extremely responsive and fast.

      You are right. A glossy LCD screen is not good for reading ebooks. I can’t see myself staring at another LCD to read when I stare at an LCD for almost 10 hours a day to begin with. Way too much eye strain.

    • I don’t think the iPad is a Kindle or e-book killer by any means. As long as e-book readers last for days between charges and have a free data connection, while the iPad has neither, there’s a market for e-book readers. I can even see why someone would want both a Kindle and an iPad with complete data synchronization on the Kindle app.

      It’s too esoteric for me to know about, but it does seem like the iPad threatens Amazon’s bottom line on e-book sales.

    • I think the people who compare tablet pc’s, UMPC’s with ebook readers using e-ink techology are the people who have not seen the readers in action. Not charging your device for many weeks, clear viewing under low light or direct sun are themain benefits of dedicated reader. Comparing them is apples and oranges. However, Apple is pretty good on commercializing people’s ignorance to technology and they might manage to market it as a reader.

  21. borax99 (AlainC.)

    Nah, my reaction to the iPad boils down to meh. Now that nifty little HP tablet (suspiciously similar form factor) looks sweet, especially running Windows 7. If that device has decent battery life, I would seriously consider it. Besides, it’s likely to have *some* form of onboard USB connectivity …

    Wonder when it’s going to be available?


    • Didn’t the HP tablet come out first? Didn’t HP have the TC1100 years ago? I think that Apple doesn’t get credit for this form factor, so there is NO “suspiciously” at all. HP did it first in both cases. Just my opinion :-)

  22. The application universe for this device will be immense. We are certainly interested in an Oysterdock derivative for this device. I just wish I had a single processor core option, i.e. the pad as docking screen device so I simply use it to expand the screen real estate on my iphone. That way my laptop stays at home.

  23. I was very interested in what they had to say about content. It is the content deals and the music, movie and book stores that I am most interested in. I agree 100% that it is the strength of these stores that let us buy what we want, when we want for a price that is generally quite inexpensive. Kindle, iPhone, Nexus One, iPad they all benefit greatly from the ability to buy the content we want right then and there.