Sunday, May 30, 2010

Let's compare Apples with, umm, Apples?

OK, I can see what they are getting at - the iPad looks like a hit. Despite tablet PCs being on the market for yonks, when Apple releases a slick product with some key features (and the usual missing ones) it gets massive media attention - and somehow people feel the urge to queue. Not everyone, but well, lots do, anyway. As a product it's well designed and styled but probably needs a key long-term driver, other than pure hype. It may be that we "need" another e-reader or a bigger iPhone - and the swish iPad combines enough features of these genres to provide that enduring push. Although sheer numbers sold may also allow it to become a quasi-standard in such things as automotive electronics by simply dominating the "ecosystem" like the iPod has done.  It depends upon standardised connections and incoming competitors. If someone offers easier connection coupled with similar packaging at a lower price that may shove the iPad off the ecosystem stage. But Apple would adapt it - slowly - as they do with all of their products, to mesh with the market drivers.

But exactly why are we comparing the Mac with the iPad? Just for fun? As in "Oh, here's an interesting stat. This new device is different and cheaper and is selling more!" Wow, that's an insight!

Hmm. More seriously it's a competitor, sure, and may cannibalise some Apple Mac sales. But it's complementary, really. Of course if people don't want full functionality in a computer and really just want a few key things in a portable package then, yes, it may well kill off the severely niche-borne Mac. Is that what they are looking - or hoping - for? To me that's a sad view - let's accept that the tablet is finally here and that it will settle into its niche, just like the Mac has done. And let them both live on.

Apple iPad Sales Expected to Exceed Mac Sales Internationally | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD
Noting that the nine countries in which the iPad debuted today are among Apple’s strongest international markets, RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky said he expects the company to sell more iPads than Macs internationally–600,000 to 700,000 or more in the third quarter of fiscal 2010. Abramsky figures international Mac sales will come in at around 500,000.

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