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Old 07-02-2010, 07:25 PM   #1
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The Success of the iPad and KISS

Hello everyone!

Disclaimer before making a fool of myself: This post is purely my opinion and is not based on fact. I'm not an iPad fan and I don't own one. On the other hand, I'm very happy to see it doing so well because it opens possibilities for all of us with competitors and better pricing.

Back when I wrote some reviews for LCD multi-function devices last year (with a tilt towards using them to read on), the iPad was just a rumor. Some people scoffed at the idea of Apple's idea, and others were waiting with baited breath for the thing to be released. Now that it has flooded the market, we can see that it is very successful. It doesn't matter if you hate Apple or not, the bottom line is that the thing would sell just BECAUSE it has the logo on it. Nevermind the fact that the device delivers on a deep level in just about every facet except being a true operating system and supporting flash.

We even have folks who weren't normally Apple enthusiasts buying the device now. Some people buy it purely for reading books, as it does that task almost as good as eInk with a lesser battery life and a backlit screen for people to take advantage of in low light situations. So all of you know this, and chances are those of you reading this have at least one or more ereading devices of some kind. Most of us have several!

So what did Apple do right? As I said before, in my opinion, they did these things right:

1. They are Apple. People will buy it just because it is. Some folks love it, some hate it, but thats a fact. Let's move on from the obvious.
2. It is easy to use. To me this is the most important aspect of a reading device or any electronic device. The general public will not adopt to trying to figure out devices and get things working. They want to take it home, plug it in, and buy a book to read, all without not having to figure out why their wireless isn't working or how to transfer the files over USB.
3. The interface is consistant with their other products. As much as we have problems with no flash or multitasking, the iPhone OS is a very nice little OS with many applications available. People get used to things and are resistant to change.
4. The device supports many formats of books
5. Surfing the internet works very well
6. Music sounds great and is easy to handle via already popular iTunes

The list goes on. We can see some of these things are fairly obvious. The thing is, do their competitors realize what Apple missed and can they develop some compeitition? I think so. Tell me what you think of my ideas:

1. iPad is pretty big to lug around and travel with. Some folks feel it is just fine for mobile computing, but many of us feel a 7-inch device would fit much better with our needs. Some of us also liked our Netbook form factor (and this bugs me because we might see the death of netbooks because of the iPad) and just wanted something more portable. Competitors could release 5" to 7" devices before Apple wises up and releases their own (Dell Streak comes to mind).

2. iPad is expensive. OK I said it. Some folks may not agree, but I still think $499 for the lowest price iPad is too much. I know, you can use the thing to remote control your TV, and even cook breakfast, but man, the prices for each model climb enormously (especially for 3G). eInk was expensive when it first came out. It stands to reason that Apple will significantly lower their prices as time goes by. Price is always a factor for adoption. At the same time, I think we all know that the iPad's popularity, as well as Android phones and tablets, are putting a dent in Kindle, Nook and eInk sales in general.

3. iPad (Apple) does not support Flash. For some people, especially those that play Flash games a lot (like my kids), that is a problem. I don't think the answer lies in this war between Apple and Adobe. Someone could beat them to market with something that works better in this regard.

I'll stop there and hope that someone else has thoughts in this and we can have a fun discussion. No matter where we stand with our devices, there are many new ebook reading-capable devices coming out this year and next. What would you like to see?
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Old 07-02-2010, 07:47 PM   #2
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Another item for the what they missed column; Apple's insistence on absolute control, to the point of paranoia. One of the main factors of the huge success of Android is than many (most) folks don't like to be controlled. especially if they have spent big bucks for something that they want to control. And after all, that's what computers do, that's why we have keyboards.
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Old 07-02-2010, 08:26 PM   #3
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Another item for the what they missed column; Apple's insistence on absolute control, to the point of paranoia. One of the main factors of the huge success of Android is than many (most) folks don't like to be controlled. especially if they have spent big bucks for something that they want to control. And after all, that's what computers do, that's why we have keyboards.
The thing is, what you call "control" is my idea of user friendliness. I'm willing to pay more for convenience. I have no interest in tinkering with computers. You could say the landscape guy "controls" my yard; I call it hiring out to do something I don't care to waste my time with. As long as I can do what I want on an iPad or any other tablet, and it's easy to use, that's the product that gets my money.
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Old 07-02-2010, 08:35 PM   #4
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Hi Maggie.

I think that is a key point. Ease of use. No one wants to fudge with their entertainment. They want it to be fast and easy to use. It doesn't matter if you are a rocket scientist or a janitor - no one wants to waste time. I think that is the most important aspect, and one that Apple has a unique advantage in the maket.

In my opinion, Microsoft really messed up with the Courier, or the Zune. As you know, Courier is currently dead (or so we have been told). Zune released the HD version but failed to expand upon the device and kept it too small. I have actually compiled applications that work on Zune, but no one does this and the device doesn't grow. It has a seriously easy to use OS though. Maybe Windows 7 Embedded devices will gain interest?
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Old 07-02-2010, 09:02 PM   #5
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Hi Maggie.

I think that is a key point. Ease of use. No one wants to fudge with their entertainment. They want it to be fast and easy to use. It doesn't matter if you are a rocket scientist or a janitor - no one wants to waste time. I think that is the most important aspect, and one that Apple has a unique advantage in the maket.
My husband is an IT guy who builds his own computers and such. I get that some people like to tinker. Many of those who do, though, fail to understand that there are many more consumers who don't care to tinker. To me, it doesn't matter the brand. Give me reliability and ease of use. If you can deliver such a tablet at a lower price, even better.

I wanted a tablet long before Apple announced one. I was going to wait and see what Microsoft and HP produced, but then they pulled back. With iPad's success, now everyone wants a piece of it. Great. Many companies have gotten off the pot, thanks to iPad. About freaking time.
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Old 07-02-2010, 09:51 PM   #6
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It's a little too soon to call it a success. What is it? 2 months old now. There is a ton of them on ebay and the prices are dropping. It was fun for a while but it looks like folks are starting to wonder what they got this thing for ...and some suckers are dumping them now before the rush starts.
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Old 07-02-2010, 10:05 PM   #7
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3 million in 80 days and they still can't make them fast enough for the demand....yes, it is a smash hit. I look forward to the coming Android tablets. I don't see how folks who like gadgets have so much animosity towards a particular gadget.

kISS is certainly a large par of the appeal od the iPhone and iPad. However, it's a philosophy that doesn't sit well with everyone. One person's simple is another person's constraint. It's terrific that in Android we have much of the good if the iOS with a different philosophy.

However, folks that are dissatisfied that the iPad isn't a net book will be just as unhappy with the android tablets. But guess what? The can buy a net book instead of a tablet. Stylus based windows tablets have been available for years if you really want one.

As for price...Android phones are priced in line with the iPhone and I really do not forsee any android tablet with equivalent hardware being much cheaper.

Nonny
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Old 07-02-2010, 10:09 PM   #8
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Yeah, I'm guessing 3 million at this point is a success. I mean, other than some Android phones and the iPhone, what else sells that fast?
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:47 AM   #9
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It's a little too soon to call it a success. What is it? 2 months old now. There is a ton of them on ebay and the prices are dropping. It was fun for a while but it looks like folks are starting to wonder what they got this thing for ...and some suckers are dumping them now before the rush starts.
My husband is an anti-Apple guy, and even he laughed at your "logic." I was chuckling, he asked why and I told him what you said. His response: "That's a pretty desperate argument."

Millions sold within months of debut. People reselling your product at hundreds over retail. Hardware competitors chomping to unleash rival tablets. Wow, if that's not success, I'm sure many companies would settle for it, lol.

The reason there are so many iPads on eBay now: Many people are selling them over retail to make a quick buck. Some people are selling their wi-fi models to switch to 3G. Some people also might be selling them because they don't like iPad, of course. This is along the lines of my approach to iPad: Buy one early, try it out and, if you dislike it, sell it for profit. If I waited till supply exceeded demand, I would lose money by reselling. Supply is improving, of course, so resale prices are dropping. Who's going to buy a resale if they can get one new for the same price? (A few exceptions include people buying from abroad, who want to avoid tariffs, taxes and such.) Lots of in-demand products are sold that way on eBay, Craigslist and such. Take the Wii on debut, for instance. Try selling a Wii system over retail now. Good luck with that. That doesn't make the Wii a failure. It's simply supply and demand at work.

I fully expect iPad to gain improvements and to see prices drop. I figure you buy something early, you're buying early enjoyment time, is all. I paid $359 for a Kindle more than a year ago. They're about half that price now. Do I regret buying one? Nope. I got plenty of enjoyment out of mine, and have now moved on. If spending on something I enjoy a lot makes me a "sucker," OK, I'm one happy sucker. I'm loving iPad now, and if something better comes along, I'll give it full consideration. Even if Android tablets turn out not to be a good fit for me, I won't begrudge others who like 'em. I'm a happy camper and don't have a problem with people exercising consumer choice, no matter what their choices are. I also support reading in all its forms.

Last edited by Maggie Leung; 07-03-2010 at 01:51 AM.
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Old 07-03-2010, 04:15 AM   #10
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One of the main factors of the huge success of Android is than many (most) folks don't like to be controlled...
Really? So nothing at all to do with the fact that Android is free?

And to the OP, I don't think iPad is expensive; the fact that they're shifting as many as they can make suggests to me that the pricing is about right, or if anything, that it's too cheap.

I agree that there's a market for a say, 6" tablet - my wife does a lot of commuter reading and finds iPad too big & heavy to be comfortable - though in my opinion manufacturers may have to rethink the whole widescreen thing; yes, it's great for movies, but speaking personally a widescreen device in portrait mode makes for an uncomfortable reading experience.

The other thing that alternative tablet manufacturers need to do is advertise and market their products properly; I know it's easy to snipe at Apple and call them 'just' a marketing company and how it's all about hype, but they certainly know about building product awareness. Contrast this to the Dell Streak (5" Android tablet/phone) for example, that launched here in the UK a month ago... and nobody noticed. Apart from press releases in specialist media, I've seen no advertising or marketing for this product at all - and this is from Dell, not some obscure Chinese clone-maker selling through eBay or direct from a badly-translated webpage. This is a product that's stocked in the high street stores of some of the major network providers - and yet there's nothing to let you know that it's available.

What else? Pricing is important; with iPads starting at $499 I think a 6" tablet needs to be around $349, or better still $299 to be perceived as value.

So there you go; build me a 6" 4:3 screen tablet that as fluid and easy to use as an iPad, price it at $329 and I'd buy one. Maybe...

Pete
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:36 PM   #11
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Contrast this to the Dell Streak (5" Android tablet/phone) for example, that launched here in the UK a month ago... and nobody noticed. Apart from press releases in specialist media, I've seen no advertising or marketing for this product at all - and this is from Dell, not some obscure Chinese clone-maker selling through eBay or direct from a badly-translated webpage. This is a product that's stocked in the high street stores of some of the major network providers - and yet there's nothing to let you know that it's available.
I drive past a huge billboard advertising the Dell Streak in Manchester city centre each day on my way to work.
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:36 PM   #12
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Hello everyone!

1. iPad is pretty big to lug around and travel with.
I don't find it to be such. After lugging around a 4.5# laptop, it's nice to not even notice the weight of the iPad in my bag.

Quote:
2. iPad is expensive. OK I said it. Some folks may not agree, but I still think $499 for the lowest price iPad is too much.
Again, I have to disagree. Up until just recently, the Kindle DX was only about $20 less and it does a whole lot less. The iPad is a very versatile device at a decent price point.

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3. iPad (Apple) does not support Flash. For some people, especially those that play Flash games a lot (like my kids), that is a problem. I don't think the answer lies in this war between Apple and Adobe.
Considering how poorly Flash runs on Macs in general, it's no loss. A lot of Flash games have already been ported over to run on the iPad/iPhone/Touch.
There are also lots of alternative games in the App Store to replace Flash games.
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:38 PM   #13
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Again, I have to disagree. Up until just recently, the Kindle DX was only about $20 less and it does a whole lot less. The iPad is a very versatile device at a decent price point.
$10 less, in fact. The low-end iPad was $499; the Kindle DX was $489. The DX has now been reduced in price to $379.

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There are also lots of alternative games in the App Store to replace Flash games.
It's not Flash games that concern me. What I do miss on my iPad is being able to watch video on the BBC News web site, which is my main source of news. Unfortunately they are all Flash.
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:48 PM   #14
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3 million in 80 days and they still can't make them fast enough for the demand....yes, it is a smash hit. I look forward to the coming Android tablets. I don't see how folks who like gadgets have so much animosity towards a particular gadget.
I hate the iPad because I'm scared of it. I see the drive on the market everywhere is for more control over products and Apple is a large part of that drive. Government are looking to control and monitor our internet access, Software product are moving to the cloud and new devices are released with less options and they call it features! I fear that the PC days as a multi-purpose device will soon be over.
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Old 07-03-2010, 03:01 PM   #15
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My perfect device is an iPhook or iPhindle. I plan on getting the iPhone 4 and having a dedicated eReader. I am an Apple fan, but I don't really need an iPad. I do, however, need the new iPhone. Okay, I don't need it, but I waaaaaaant it so bad.

Now, if I didn't have the MacBook Pro I'm typing this on I may feel differently about wanting an iPad.

An aside, I think the logic of Apple bashers is really funny:

1995 to 2007: Don't use a Mac. Nobody uses them.
2007 to Pres: Don't use a Mac. Everybody uses them.
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