With the iPad, Apple just jumped the shark

Everything was going great at Apple, until today. The Macs are selling because Vista was a terrible operating system, and while Windows 7 is better, it’s still not considered “cool” to own an HP, Dell or Acer computer. The iPhones are selling because they truly are awesome pieces of technology. You can fit a web browser, camera, and more into something small enough to put inside your pocket. Our European and Asian audience will scream that Nokia has been doing this for years, which is true, but you don’t see your 90 year old grandma using her Nokia to watch an episode of her favorite television program while commuting on the New York City Subway to Brooklyn to see her grandchildren.

Then, for some strange reason, Apple announced the iPad. This following slide is telling:

Apple is already making 40% margins on mobile phones, and on computers, so why not fill that gap, between two highly successful product categories, with yet another piece of hardware that can reap the same 40% margins? Even if it doesn’t sell in the millions of units, it’s still going to make the company a lot of money. It’s as if the iPad was created just to increase Apple’s already swelling bottom line. They’re frankly getting a bit greedy.

You’ll be able to buy productivity applications, one for presentations, one for spreadsheets, and one for word processing, for $10 each. Why not just bundle them with the product?

You’ll be able to buy books at $14.99 instead of the $9.99 you can pay today for Kindle books, which by the way can be read on a dedicated device that costs half the price.

But wait a minute, the iPad does more than a Kindle can! It can browse the web, it can play music, it can play videos, which is all very well and good, until you realize that you already have two devices, your mobile phone and your laptop, that can do the exact same things.

Pricing, here is the kicker, it’s going to cost $500 for the base model without a built in cellular modem, and $630 for the base model with 3G inside, on top of an additional monthly fee of $30/month that you’ll need to pay for data. Really, I mean really? For twice that amount you can buy a full fledged computer, a MacBook. It can do everything the iPad can, but at the same time, and it also has a webcam so you can call your grandma. For that same $500 you can buy an iPhone, which is infinitely more useful since it’s always going to be with you.

Hey now hold on, the iPad has a large 9.7 inch screen, that’s bigger than the iPhone, but smaller, and thus more portable than my laptop!

You’re not getting the point, it’s a product created for a market that Apple, along with every other hardware maker with dollar signs in their eyes, believes should exist. Slate computing isn’t new, people have been doing it since the early part of last decade when Microsoft was dabbling in the space. Buy a touch screen enabled Windows 7 device today and you’ll get the best handwriting recognition on the market, and oh yea, it also supports multitouch, and chances are high that said device will also have a keyboard attached for when you need to do some actual, you know, real work.

This rant is less about the iPad itself and more about the product category. I bitched and moaned endlessly in a missive that contained over 3000 words about the string of rumors leading up to the introduction of the iPad today, and frankly I’d be wasting time if I did the same thing right now.

The iPad, to me, is Apple saying that they’re going to enter a brand new market, confidently, with the assumption that their brand alone is going to help them succeed.

Look how well that worked with Apple TV.

[For those who care: Apple iPad spec sheet]
[iPad Press Release]
[“Jumping the shark” on Wikipedia in case you don’t understand the reference]

  • DeVo

    i couldnt agree more….and lets not forget the Mac Mini …horrible ..

  • radical24

    pathetic really, but hey pompous stance sometimes gets you what you want……only is it really worth it?

  • Bart Stevens

    A typo …

    shouldn’t the last word not be “iPhone” ?

  • Andre

    excellent post… i think they might sell though.. they have coughed up enough hardcore fan boys by now. however the lack of flash on a HUGE device like this will be a bigger problem then with the i-phone.. firmware 2..?

  • Joe Crawford

    “The iPad, to me, is Apple saying that they’re going to enter a brand new market, confidently, with the assumption that their brand alone is going to help them succeed.”

    “Look how well that worked with Apple TV.”

    The meaning of your ending sentences rather changes if you replace “Apple TV” with “iPod” or “iPhone” or “iTunes Music Store.”

    You make good points, but dismissing Apple as merely the makers of Apple TV is bad thinking and writing.

    • Chris P

      Im not sure you get it Joe.

      ipod – mp3 player, mp3 player market existed before apple entered..

      iphone – smartphone market

      ipad – existing netbook market..but this isnt even a netbook – no multitasking? locked down video player? No keyboard? No camera etc. Its not really a competitor in the netbook market.

      Where it potentially competes is the ebook/on price, but 10 hours is nothing for an ebook..

      Ill say ipad v2 might fare better..

  • Kristoffer Lawson

    Been saying the same for months, and I still don’t completely get it. It’s solving a problem which doesn’t really exist, and very little in the actual presentation feed made me think differently. I’ll admit that the idea of working on presentations and even simple spreadsheets with a touch display has a certain appeal, but can I even connect it to an external projector for the final presentation?

    Would I have one lying around for random web surfing at home? Why not, if given one. But at that price I would not jump to pay for it. The use case is still so limited.

    Oh, and I love the iPhone.

    • Rusell

      You can hook up the iPad to an external monitor for displaying presentations. Theyll be selling an adaptor for it. $29

  • Fred

    Well could you do me a favour? Please check if you can hook up your iPhone to the keyboard dock… 😉


  • James Burland

    Surely the phrase ‘Jumped the shark’ has jumped the shark by now?

    You’re wrong this time Stefan. Not just a little bit wrong, but very wrong. The iPad isn’t designed to fit in between the iPhone and MacBook. It’s designed to replace the MacBook entirely. Clearly, it would be stupidity to come right out and announce it as such, but the signs are there – video out, dock connectors, keyboard support, iWork. The iPad (in various sizes) will replace the iMac and all MacBooks in less than 5 years.

    During those 5 years Apple will unify the iPhone and iPad OS and UI so that there will be effectively just one Apple computer.

    • Stefan Constantinescu

      5 years from now I’ll have written roughly another 6000 blog posts, what I’m talking about is the iPad.

  • Kato

    I’ve been wishing for a bigger version of the iphone / itouch since I got my iphone 2 years ago. Sorry that you “don’t get it” but some of us do. I don’t want a laptop… to big and heavy. I don’t want Windows on a little PC. I want a multi-touch no keyboard and no mouse device with just like this.

    • Dr Jerkyll

      Ill second this.
      I dont want to carry around a laptop, and a cluttery netbook is no option. The iPhone is ok, even for browsing the web with that little screen. Now beeing able to see everything better, buy specialized apps etc, and even produce text relatively non cumbersome, all in a non cluttered way is perfect for me and other avarage joe’s. Think of a student beeing able to carry all you books, plan you work, write and play a occational game. Ill use SPSS att home.

      I think the ipad is going to be my main carrying around computer, leaving my laptop at home maybe even replacing it totaly in ipad generation 2 -3, though with some kind workstation at home.

      So, concluding. Stefan. You where utterly wrong in that 3000 word post of yours, which u don’t admit. And you are wrong this time to.

  • Al_Knows

    I totally agree with the posting. iPad is a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. The only use for this display would be as an secondary display/virtual keyboard hooked-up via Bluetooth to a smart phone.

    A $500-$800 media player/web surfer/e-book reader? FAIL!

  • Thomson

    Sorry but it was the worst and biggset iphone I ever se
    What a HUGE FLOPP

  • jerry

    In many ways, I think it’s very nice. And if there is an iPad 2 or iPad 3, they’ll be great.

    Still, a lot that is wrong with it is demonstrated by how it needs a case to cover its screen.

    Too big for a pocket, it needs a case and most likely a bag to shove it in.

    Not really instantly accessible like a phone, you need to drag it out of the bag and undo the case to get to it.

    Well, netbooks and laptops don’t need cases. because their much better physical keyboard takes the place of the needed case.

    They coulda been a contender.

  • Barwin

    Totally agree with you Stephan! They should have announced the 4th gen iPhone and this yhing should have stayed in Steve’s closet

  • Thomson

    Well it most be awkward running round with this
    mega gigantic iphone in your pocket.

  • Lee Gates

    But isn’t this the iPad that you said would never exist and is just a 10 inch laptop? God do you really hate apple that much you Tosser as usual replace Tosser with CUNT if you don’t know what it means, if you do know then well you really know your are one…

  • Matt

    your page came up in a search… lol how wrong you were!

Back to top ▴