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Apple's Secret Weapon To Win the Tablet Wars

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the why-steve-jobs-is-tired dept.

Businesses 716

Hugh Pickens writes "International Business Times reports that when manufacturers trotted out their Android tablet prototypes during the CES show two months ago, pundits were happy to toll the death knell for the Apple's iPad, but now manufacturers are discovering that simply making a good tablet does not guarantee that it will sell — much to the chagrin of Motorola and its Xoom product. Now it is plain for all to see that Apple's secret weapon is their network of dedicated Apple stores worldwide where dedicated sales people are not only able to better explain its tablet to consumers but Apple also captures more margin than competitors who have to share margin with retail partners. Apparently, we are not going to see a repeat of the Android ambush of the smartphone market where the combined, price, savvy marketing, and modulated supply releases of the iPhone created so much aspirational demand in the market that buyers simply surged at the chance to buy what was perceived to be an equivalent product at lower prices. 'Motorola's Xoom is only the first to face these problems,' writes AA Defensor. 'Soon RIM's Playbook, and HP's TouchPad will hit the shelves and unless they can do something drastic over the short term, it might remain to be an iPad market. But not because they did not build a good product.'"

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Was Microsoft Riight? (3, Interesting)

tbannist (230135) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706808)

If that's true, then the Microsoft guy might have been right. That tablets computers are a fad that will fade into a niche product that isn't worth their time to pursue.

That would make it the first time in many years that the world "Microsoft might have been right" have appeared in a sentence written by me. I feel a chill. Is the world ending?

Re:Was Microsoft Riight? (1)

fidget42 (538823) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706832)

Could you explain your logic here? If seems as if you are saying "if a == b then c == d"

Re:Was Microsoft Riight? (5, Insightful)

tbannist (230135) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707026)

Simple. If making a good tablet isn't enough to sell a good tablet, that means that the demand for tablets is being driven by Apple rather than a need for tablets. That seems, to me, to be a classic indicator that a product is meeting a fad-driven need as opposed to a real need.

Additionally, if the need was real, then similar products should be also be popular particularly if they enter the market with a lower price point because price-conscious customers should prefer the cheaper alternatives. If there are no price-conscious customers, then the demand is also likely to be driven by style rather then meeting a need the public has. Anything not meeting a real public need, is extremely likely to be a fad.

I'm not convinced that tablets are a fad. However, while I do see a lot of potential for their use in niche areas, I have little desire for one and I have to wonder if they will have staying power.

Re:Was Microsoft Riight? (1, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707090)

Let's go with:

Microsoft was clueless and once again counting piles of coins while Apple engineers were getting the full supply chain details buttoned down to make other tablets extraordinarily difficult to get into the market.

When you consider that the only real "invention" Microsoft has put into the market with any aplomb is the Kinect in the past five years, it's easy to see why they would wishfully dismiss it as a "current fad" when it's both a reasonably new market and Windows isn't plastered all over it.

So you're right. Not a fad. Hugely popular device and incredible insult to development teams that have a bunch of not-invented-here attitudes.

Re:Was Microsoft Riight? (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707180)

Simple. If making a good tablet isn't enough to sell a good tablet, that means that the demand for tablets is being driven by Apple rather than a need for tablets.

That assumes anyone wants to buy a tablet. Almost no one does. They want to "do stuff" and use apps from the itunes app store on something about the size of a book. It conveniently happens that the action of "buying a tablet" is a step on the path to that destination. Buying a tablet about as relevant as buying gas for the car to drive out there and buy it, its just something annoying, tedious, and expensive that you have to do before you have fun.

Anyone who sells something that connects to itunes and is about the size of a book will win. Anyone whom sells a similar sized piece of glass and plastic with some computer chips will not win.

Re:Was Microsoft Riight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35707222)

Anyone who sells something that connects to itunes and is about the size of a book will win.

Only with the "connects to iTunes" part being optional.

Re:Was Microsoft Riight? (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707254)

Hence the comment above. You have a disjoint in your reasoning - while otherwise sound, you are forgetting that there arguably aren't any products comparable in price to the iPad - at least at the moment. That's one of the things TFS was talking about, regarding how the other tablets need to split margins and hence cost more.

Once comparable products at significantly (>$100) lower prices hit the shelves, I'm sure we'll see them gain popularity. But the reason that isn't happening is probably because they aren't there yet, not necessarily that it's all a fad.

Re:Was Microsoft Riight? (1)

EvilMonkeySlayer (826044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706850)

One second, i'll check to see if cats and dogs are living together...

Oh shit. [imgur.com]

Re:Was Microsoft Riight? (2, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706944)

I don't believe that statement from the MS exec - they can't stand not to put a placeholder entry into every item category. I think that statement was just more marketing, but almost like Reverse-Vaporware.

This post from Paul Thurrott says that MS is toying around with blending Windows 8 & Windows Phone code chunks. Somewhere in there someone will smash together a Windows-Something tablet.

http://www.winsupersite.com/article/windows-7/windows-8-secrets [winsupersite.com]

Re:Was Microsoft Riight? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707050)

I wouldn't trust Microsoft to understand the portable market anyway. I haven't tried the latest Windows 7 phones, but years ago I did get to try several Windows phones and they had a start button on the bottom left for christ's sake. That was their mentality throughout the 00s with tablets and everything up to the Zune, to try and kludge in a desktop metaphor and GUI where it didn't belong.

I'm pretty sure they could have owned the smartphone market if they let go the premise that it had to look like and run windows-like programs and start the GUI from scratch. That's usually what kills these giants, refusing to innovate the obvious in front of them based on considerations of exisiting business.

Re:Was Microsoft Riight? (1)

Phaeilo (1851394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707226)

I hope the Zune is excluded in your statement, because it had/has a pretty nice GUI that exactly fits its purpose.

Re:Was Microsoft Riight? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706986)

Which Microsoft guy?

I though Gates was pushing tablets for over a decade now.

I think the big fad that is fading the last few years is netbooks, and theyre being done in by iPad and smartphones. My local Walmart used to have 3 on display last year and now it's back down to 1. (I'm not saying they'll disappear entirely though.)

Re:Was Microsoft Riight? (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707032)

Which Microsoft guy?

The guy from this story [slashdot.org] .

I still don't understand why it would be problem though if tablets were to fade away in a few years. That doesn't mean they're hot right now and you can earn some cash if you play your cards right. Of course, that would mean you need to act quickly and competently... which might be where the problem lies.

Re:Was Microsoft Riight? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707234)

Yeah, but I think it must be explained why they would fade. I don't see that forthcoming from people who make these pronouncements.

There are fads that fade because they're stupid to begin with. The pet rock. There are fads that fade because it's a fashion item or just a sign of the times.

While I'm sure a lot of Apple haters will latch onto the fashion accessory thing, I read somewhere that 70% of the people who bought iPad2 on opening day were iPad1 owners. I don't think people who rebuy a fad that's useless. Imo, it filled a need better than existing tech and will continue to do so until something better will show up.

But what's better right now? Turning to a laptop or netbook?

Re:Was Microsoft Riight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35707164)

tell that to my company which is switching many of our users to ipads vs laptops

desktops/laptops will be dead in 10 years or less

Re:Was Microsoft Riight? (1)

Edzilla2000 (1261030) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707248)

What "work" do you do on an Ipad? Watching movies on Itunes?

Re:Was Microsoft Riight? (1)

donjefe (1088955) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707170)

Hmm. Unless Ballmer said it. He has a habit of putting his foot in this mouth.

Re:Was Microsoft Riight? (1)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707262)

I sure hope so. I like devices with keyboards.

too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706818)

Apple's retail experience is so poor.

The stores are crowded and hot, you can't find anyone to help you, and you can't even find a cash to pay and get out. Apple can do better than this.

Re:too bad (1)

MrMarket (983874) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706838)

Nobody goes there. It's too crowded.

Re:too bad (3, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706920)

The stores are crowded

That should probably tell you something right there. Apple stores are hip. They're like that really exclusive dance club that everyone seems to want to get into. Once you're inside, it's crowded and hot, the DJ sucks, the drinks are overpriced--yet people will line up around the block just to beg the bouncer to get in.

Re:too bad (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706992)

That should probably tell you something right there. Apple stores are hip. They're like that really exclusive dance club that everyone seems to want to get into. Once you're inside, it's crowded and hot, the DJ sucks, the drinks are overpriced--yet people will line up around the block just to beg the bouncer to get in.

And if you go into the men's room, you'll see four feet in one stall. Yep, that's the Apple Store, all right.

Re:too bad (2, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706932)

Really... Mine was not, I sat naked in front of my computer with a bowl of jello, clicked a couple of things and my tablet was delivered the next day to my home. IT was a fantastic retail experience...

What, I was hot and hungry...

Re:too bad (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707022)

Apple doesn't need stores, they make enough money from the 30% they get from App Store sales that they could probably give iPads away and still come out on top.

It's like game consoles, sell them at a loss and make up for it in licensing fees. Motorola can't do that because they make nothing from Android app sales. RIM and HP could do that since they own their app stores but Apple's store has millions of sales a month already, RIM and HP would have to hemorrhage money for years to catch up.

Unless someone comes out with a ~$200 Android tablet (Nook, I'm looking at you [techrepublic.com] ) I really don't see anyone offering any competition to Apple.

A 'higher' idea? (5, Funny)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706820)

Did they hire Moses as their campaign manager? That guy was a whiz at promoting tablets.

Re:A 'higher' idea? (2)

oscarwumpus (1637213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706988)

Did they hire Moses as their campaign manager? That guy was a whiz at promoting tablets.

That is true, Moses was a marketing genius: from publicly destroying a couple of prototypes because the crowd were ignoring him, to preserving for posterity a poor substitute of the prototypes, whose actual command set weren't nearly as coherent as the originals. And his publicity stunts were talked about for years: magic shows, violence, years-long group exercise program!

Re:A 'higher' idea? (1)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707190)

Moses worked for NeXT? But that was Steve Jobs running all tha... WHAT? (Running to glue a long, flowing beard to a picture of Steve Jobs)

Re:A 'higher' idea? (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707016)

Those tablets required a lot of power to be effective. Not designed for continuous everyday use.

Re:A 'higher' idea? (2)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707092)

Those tablets required a lot of power to be effective. Not designed for continuous everyday use.

Are you kidding? It's been showing the same message for thousands of years without having to recharge! Granted it took a lot of energy to change the display in the first place. I hear they're a bitch to carry around, though.

I dunno (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706830)

As far as knowledge base I'm not convinced either. I went in with a simple question of whether garageband would run in the background as I run a guitar tab app and still function and they didn't know the answer. Though I will admit that they at least understood the question, they just didn't know or have a way to verify and answer. I was a little bit disappointed seeing as garageband is an apple app.

Re:I dunno (1)

musikit (716987) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706854)

im surprised they said "i dont know" and turned you away. the apple store i worked out we would say "i dont know lets find out" and download your app and try it to see if it worked.

Re:I dunno (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707012)

They weren't that bad and did try but were unable to set up the exact environment with an actual iRig and guitar (or equivalent) so the best they could do is try to simulate it and ended with a 'I believe ...'. I don't want to sound too harsh, though I will say if they had left me convinced it would do what I wanted they probably could have upsold me into buying the one with more memory that they did happen to have in stock. Far better then you would probably find at Best Buy, but still not a holy grail either.

Re:I dunno (1)

clifyt (11768) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707216)

It really wasn't intended for more than basic multitasking in mind...at times I am pleasantly surprised...other times, it works exactly as intended...which means the background program goes into a low mem / cpu state with very little else running. The multitasking for the most part was intended simply to communicate with the outside world for things like messaging -- or updating GPS.

Garageband on the iPad is a pretty powerful tool...I was surprised how powerful it was on the iPad considering it is a toy when compared to other recording apps on the Mac (ok...it IS built on Logic's codebase).

I'd be surprised if it could...OK...just checked...couldn't get GB to play in the background with my tab programs (which does audio and would probably conflict anyways) OR even a simple PDF reader...

I don't think so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706840)

I don't know about everyone else, I'm simply waiting for the 4G to come preinstalled, then I'll buy it.

It's the APPS stoopid (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706842)

The problem with android isn't the dedicated stores, it's the lack of apps.

Re:It's the APPS stoopid (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706966)

Apps and marketing. Most people I talk to don't seem to know the Xoom exists. I bought one, and while I love most things about the Xoom, so far there are very few Xoom-native apps. And many apps designed for phones crash when trying to upscale to the Xoom resolution.

For $600 you can get a 32 GB iPad or a 32 GB Xoom.

The Xoom has better cameras, Flash support, SD card reader, higher resolution, faster processor, more RAM, etc, and yet no one seems to care.

Then again if I'm a developer, I'd jump all over the lack of Xoom-native apps. It is easier to stand out in a very small pool of apps.

Re:It's the APPS stoopid (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707046)

my HTC Inspire has more RAM than my ipad 2. yet the ipad is faster and a lot less laggy to use.

specs is not everything

Re:It's the APPS stoopid (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707182)

My wife has the Samsung Captivate. It shipped with Android 2.1, which has a notorious file system bug that made everything extremely slow. The GPS was basically unusable. The moment she flashed 2.2, it was considerably faster. Then she flashed the Cynogen mod version of 2.3, and it is even faster.

And 2.x builds of Android can't use hardware acceleration for rendering on the screen.

Honeycomb was specifically built around dual-core processors and hardware acceleration. I'm in the exact opposite boat where I find my iPhone 4 to be pretty laggy, where as my Xoom is really fast.

Not exactly (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706852)

Apple's secret weapon is their network of dedicated Apple stores worldwide

No, their secret weapon is their network of dedicated Apple *users* worldwide. Many (not all, but many) Apple fans have an almost cult-like dedication to Apple products, and are also pretty effective proselytizers for the cause. Motorola, HP, etc. don't have that kind of advantage, no matter how good their product.

Re:Not exactly (1, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706984)

I still hear on a regular basis that Macs are better for graphics. My mother is convinced she needs a Mac because she can't design a basic flyer on a PC. Perception trumps reality.

Re:Not exactly (0)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707020)

Mac's come with the software included. with a PC by the time you add the same upgrades/features and the software the price is about the same as a Mac

Re:Not exactly (1)

Petron (1771156) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707122)

For a basic flyer? Not true at all.

Any PC can do a lot of graphic design and image manipulation using The GIMP for free. Heck you can make a basic flyer using Word templates.

Re:Not exactly (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35707242)

photoshop is the same price whether mac or windows. the image editor that comes with mac os x is laughable, windows 7's paint works a lot better - and it is barely an amateur last-minute tool.

the thing for the mac is that their displays ARE good, and, before vista, windows users had a hard time calibrating their colors. but even then, if you build a good windows box with a dell ultrashap display (about same quality as apple's), you have a lot more bang for your buck.

so, apart from print media design (marginally), a mac is better for nothing

Re:Not exactly (5, Insightful)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707078)

Maybe they could... you know... build a product that inspires the devotion that Apple's products do? This "it's just garbage that's marketed well to a bunch of cultists" meme doesn't explain the millions of units sold, doesn't explain the repeat customers, and doesn't explain their consistently high customer satisfaction ratings.

And if it is just garbage, then why don't HP and Motorola hire a better marketing team and beat Apple at their own game? There's nothing that's inherently "Apple" about producing good advertising and marketing campaigns - there are hundreds of memorable ads and millions of useful products that are produced every year - it's not like you can't find an advertising company willing to help you build a campaign.

After all, if "Garbage + Good Marketing = huge sales," imagine how much more money they can make if they were to hit the magical "Good product + Good marketing = ??? PROFITS" point.

Re:Not exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35707240)

The PC guys doesn't understand it because it's a different mindset from theirs. While they often focus on features and specs, Apple focues on what the product _can do_. That's important. I firmly believe that any pc maker could easily put Apple out of buisness, but they need to a) ditch windows and b) maybe lower their specs on pure numbers and focus on features. Instead of putting in a 4GHz CPU, invest in creating a touchpad that isn't unusable, just to take an example. Also, if they were to do as Apple did, take a BSD, invest in making it useable(This will take time, I'll readily admit that), bundle a lot of nice software on it, advertise it as Virus-free and watch people buy. A lot of the things that Apple has going for them is purely that they're *not* a Windows/Microsoft shop. Yes, there are someone who buys Macs because you can run both, but you're the minority.

Re:Not exactly (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707112)

Exactly this. I expect the Blackberry users will ensure the RIM tablet is not a complete failure. Whether the RIM tablet will expand the user base is another question altogether. Blackberry marketing basically hinges on the security and compliance elements of the platform. Heavy handed security compliance concepts are not the best way to market a product to a new user base.

Build it and they will come... (2)

King InuYasha (1159129) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706856)

If the solution is to start building retail stores and hiring people to explain the products like Apple does, then go for it! Samsung, Motorola, HTC, Acer, ViewSonic, etc. should build their own stores and sell the products directly. They'd get wider margins, which means they can offer at slightly lower prices. Additionally, people are pulling away from the carrier centric model, because quite frankly, most carriers treat their customers horribly because they know that they can. Customers are not inclined to judge products solely on the product like they do for Apple devices because there's no clear separation of the product from the carrier. Most people's logic is something like: "Oh, AT&T is terrible, that means all the devices that run on AT&T's network are bad too." While their Android devices have some serious suckage, in general the device does not equal the carrier in suckage. Unfortunately, that's how must people think.

Decoupling the device from the carrier is the best way to fix this problem.

The Secret Weapon is obvious... (2, Interesting)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706876)

The secret weapon is obvious -

Its making apple products look 'cool' and special - in part because of their price, and in part because of their 'magical exclusivity'. The dedicated apple stores do help. But not because of the profit margins.

If apple were to sell a brick, they would sell much more than a normal brick, because of the 'prestige' that buying an apple product brings.

Re:The Secret Weapon is obvious... (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707028)

The secret weapon is obvious -

Its making apple products look 'cool' and special - in part because of their price, and in part because of their 'magical exclusivity'.

Microsoft tried doing that to the Zune... Did you see what happened?

And people keep buying iPods, warts and all...

Re:The Secret Weapon is obvious... (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707044)

in part because of their 'magical exclusivity'.

It must be very magic indeed. They have 25% of the smartphone market and, what, 75% of the MP3 player market. That's clearly no normal kind of "exclusivity".

If apple were to sell a brick...

Part of Apple's success is choosing what markets to go into and when. Apple wouldn't sell a brick. They're not perfect... the set-top-box market was a mistake. But the MP3 player, the smartphone and the tablet markets they entered at just the right time.

Re:The Secret Weapon is obvious... (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707246)

This is the only explanation I have for the success of Apple stores. Apple is like Big Brother when it comes to their products, but that's bad for consumers. Why don't they realize this? Why would a customer want to go to a store where they only sell one brand? You'll never get an unbiased comparison of products from the Apple store. You're much better off going to another retailer like Best Buy or a cellphone company where the employee isn't trained to sell one particular brand. Why doesn't Motorola tout those benefits?

Re:The Secret Weapon is obvious... (1)

donjefe (1088955) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707266)

Part of this is pure marketing psychology. Apple has released this product first (we don't count the lame MSFT tablet PC), therefore, they have set the expected price and feature set. From now on, everyone expects a tablet to cost $499.00, expects it to work all the time, and be simple to use. Price too far above that, and it's to expensive. Price too far below that, and it must be a "cheap" product. The same thing happened with the iPod years ago. Unless there is an Android tablet that offers something significantly better, I think it will be hard for them to compete (outside of the rebel nerd crowd of course).

Not convinced (2)

darjen (879890) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706886)

Apparently, we are not going to see a repeat of the Android ambush of the smartphone market

It is WAY to early to make this kind of a judgement. There is absolutely no reason why Android couldn't take over tablets as well as smartphones. Judging by the success or failure of a first gen product like the Xoom is definitely not an adequate representation.

Re:Not convinced (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707054)

Apparently, we are not going to see a repeat of the Android ambush of the smartphone market

It is WAY to early to make this kind of a judgement. There is absolutely no reason why Android couldn't take over tablets as well as smartphones. Judging by the success or failure of a first gen product like the Xoom is definitely not an adequate representation.

Agreed, and the £500 Motorola zoom [google.co.uk] is not going to prove one way or other whether anyone will buy a £600 iPad 2 [google.co.uk] ot £400 iPad [google.co.uk] . Wait until something decent hits the £200 mark

Re:Not convinced (3, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707152)

The "wait until the competitors produce something cheaper" argument never worked with iPods. In part because most people wanted the real thing. And in part because the best company at undercutting the price of an iPod was Apple itself with it's next model of iPod.

Apple had a big advantage of scale for iPods. They could get components cheaper, and even get exclusive supplies of the latest components. They look to have the same advantage in the tablet market.

The smartphone market was different because the iPhone was an entry in a mature market. Apple was never the company with the scale advantage.

Apple Store are pretty underrated (2)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706890)

when people talk about the success of Apple, where they always focus on singular Apple products and techgeeks especially zoom in on specs and the like.

It means a lot to be able to walk into a store and have people actually help you. The trend is usually towards superstores where there is a million and one products which nobody knows anything about anything. Even in Best Buy, where I usually avoid/ignore the sale's people, when I do take advantage of their nagging "Can I help you", the inevitably don't know anything about the products they're selling, even in their department, and read to you from the box as if you're illiterate. (I asked a salesperson in that department if a specific computer case fit ATX sized boards because it looked a bit small. Total deer in the headlights look. Box didn't say anything.)

The closest I've come irl people knowing, is at microcenter, although mine the salespeople are so pushy it's uncomfortable. But it can be a powerful thing for a brand. I know Sony has stores and Gateway tried them the last decade, but not sure what became of them.

Re:Apple Store are pretty underrated (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706982)

It's also a real pain in the ass when you go in there to buy something and you have to find a member of the sales staff who isn't too busy showing someone how to use iTunes to process your transaction, perfectly combining the stress of buying something expensive with the stress of trying to ask a girl to dance at the prom.

Is it too much to ask to have a manned counter (and a till?) so those of us who aren't drooling zombies can actually buy things?

Reality.... (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706898)

Your product will FAIL if it's priced higher than the "premium" product that is out there.
Yes the new Motorola tablet is better than an Ipad, but it is not PERCIEVED as being a luxury item like the iPad has become.

Have an iPad? you must be rich. no really, it has that "feel" that has been perpetuated by apple.

The only way the Android competition can touch the iPad is to be cheaper and get units out there that are BETTER than the ipad. not cheap knockoffs that are half baked... Like the ones that dont have a legitimate Market app on them.

IF your tablet does not ship with Market ready to be used, your tablet is a fail. If your tablet does not ship with honeycomb or at least a 2.2 android and can be upgraded to the latest easily.... then your tablet is a FAIL.

How about - the iPad is just the best value? (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706900)

Ford used to have Ford shepherds, looking after Ford sheep, so they didn't have to share margins with wool manufactures. Vertical integration isn't a silver bullet.

Besides, Apple engages in resale price maintenance (which is kind of illegal), so they *don't* share margins. Companies who stack Apple hardware do so with only nominal profits (IIRC).

The reason the iPad sells is that its got a years headstart, and Apple has locked in all the good components, so it's also the best value. Plus it's got the Apple brand.

The Apple stores do help them, as a niche seller of iMacs. But iPads sell themselves.

Re:How about - the iPad is just the best value? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706996)

that's pretty much with everything now including x-box and TV's. the main purchase item is sold at a loss or break even and the profits made on the warranty and accessories. with iCrap almost everyone gets accessories like my $60 ipad case i bought or my wife's iphone 4 case. with TV's and other electronics most people avoid accessories and warranties like the plague.

my ipad 2 cost me $762 with tax included. that's $700 to Target minus credit card fees which are probably $25. $675 gross revenue plus they have to pay apple. and these idiots didn't have any ipad 2 cases the day of the launch.

Give it time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706902)

The iPhone was first released in June 2007.
The T-Mobile G1 hit the U.S. over a year later, in October 2008.
As a result of their early lead, Apple was untouchable for a long while, but that's changed.

In this case, the iPad also had an early lead... but if the last go-around means anything, then early sales data doesn't necessarily indicate which one will come out on top in a few years.

Re:Give it time (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707134)

iPhone likely went down more because there was a lack of carrier options.

iPad doesn't have that problem. It's sim unlocked and no carrier by default. Plus Verizon compatible versions right at launch.

Apple was kind of stupid releasing a Verizon compatible iPhone halfway to the next iPhone as well.

Other good tablets? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706906)

Who else actually makes a good tablet?

Re:Other good tablets? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707006)

The WebOS tablets from HP and the Playbook from Blackberry certainly look promising. I think both are supposed to ship this month.

Re:Other good tablets? (1)

intheshelter (906917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707196)

I know this is your opinion, but how can you say the Playbook looks promising? You have to have a blackberry phone to use it for email, etc. That is absolutely the dumbest design decision I have ever seen aside from the shit brown Zune.

Re:Other good tablets? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707252)

I hadn't read that.

All I've seen is that the base model is $500, the UI is supposed to be pretty slick and that it will run Android apps as well as Blackberry apps.

And a quick Google search shows that RIM confirmed the tablet will have a native mail app, it just won't be ready on day 1. But you can simply point your browser on the tablet to Gmail, Yahoo or whatever.

source of du rounds, tear gas, land mines secret? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706922)

secret mystery of god providing? seems as though rulers get them by default, then, arm the (soon to be) armless/lifeless? yikes

Don't think so (3, Interesting)

ceeam (39911) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706940)

Apple is a software company and the fact that it comes inside a piece of complimentary hardware is not really that important. But look up what Mr. Kay had to say about the companies that are "serious about their software" some decades ago.

As for "Apple's secret weapon is their network of dedicated Apple stores worldwide" - well, there are ZERO of them here in Russia. iPads and stuff are still VERY popular.

Re:Don't think so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706998)

I think you've got it backwards.

Usability maters (4, Insightful)

Tei (520358) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706948)

Wen I use a computer, I want raw power. A PC with Ubuntu will do. With windows... mostly .. I get angry at the lack of decent virtual desktop,but is almost there.
But wen I want a tablet, I want usability. And Apple has that. I don't need my tablet to have 16 GB of RAM or any other stat. Is not about stat, is about the experience, and Apple has it. I suppose Android can get here, but I am unsure if thats what the Android people ask for... maybe Android is taking notes from Windows, and not from iOS.

Re:Usability maters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35707080)

Try a XOOM then.

Re:Usability maters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35707250)

I've seen almost every pad out and the interface on the iPad is slick: the touch controls are still better than anything else, sites have custom designed pages for iPads and iPhones, the shape is pleasing, the case is not bad, the one button "back" and the general arrangement of things makes sense.

Android is still playing catch-up on this one, simple as that.

If you've heard people complaining about PDFs on the iPad, I saw a guy on the train tonight whipping the M-er F-ers out as fast as you could say "whiplash", full of graphics and all -- faster than my PC. I was jealous. People who bash on the iPad for not being a great product haven't *seen* one.

so apple is good because it's best buy? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706950)

actually the massive profits earlier in this century were due to not having fixed costs. turning into a chain of stores is a different thing, with great fixed costs and the need for constant sales, in other words, needing a hit product all year long. earlier when they didn't run practically any stores they could just take a few months off in engineering instead of releasing a new product to fill the shelves. now they must release a product quarter by quarter to keep in profit in the stores and the stores are under pressure to recommend even products that don't make sense for the potential consumer.

i'd rather have them engineer something for the computer literates though, than this crap of only engineering the product to be cheaper and easier to be put together and to be used while more and more intoxicated.

Use cases? (1)

jameson (54982) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706956)

Can someone explain the use cases IPad-like finger-only tablets are intended for to me?

Laptops I understand: you can use them to code, do your e-mail, ssh into machines to get stuff done etc.
Phones I get: you can use them to read your e-mail `on the go' and perhaps even send quick replies to important things, read maps, and do skype if you're the adventurous kind who likes voice communication.
Tablets with pens I also get: you can read and annotate papers/books with them or draw.

But I don't understand the use cases for finger-only tablets. They seem to be selling well, so my guess is that it's games or porn. Does anyone have experiences with these fingery tablets?

Re:Use cases? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35707040)

So you don't get the use case for an iPad like device but then you go on to state a ridiculous comment that it must be for games or porn. Yes, that's it because if you, the all knowing nimrod, don't get it hen it must not be valuable.

Re:Use cases? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707066)

..They seem to be selling well, so my guess is that it's games or porn. Does anyone have experiences with these fingery tablets?

I think you just answered your own question.

Re:Use cases? (1)

Marcika (1003625) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707124)

Can someone explain the use cases IPad-like finger-only tablets are intended for to me?

Laptops I understand: you can use them to code, do your e-mail, ssh into machines to get stuff done etc. Phones I get: you can use them to read your e-mail `on the go' and perhaps even send quick replies to important things, read maps, and do skype if you're the adventurous kind who likes voice communication. Tablets with pens I also get: you can read and annotate papers/books with them or draw.

But I don't understand the use cases for finger-only tablets. They seem to be selling well, so my guess is that it's games or porn. Does anyone have experiences with these fingery tablets?

They are useful as a computer replacement for those who are tech-incompetent or just don't want to become power users. They do e-mail, facebook, web browsing/commenting, book reading, simple games etc. Sales staff like it as a lightweight photo album/video screen.

They are inferior in terms of input methods, extensibility and raw processing power - but most people who are on-the-go or on-the-couch are willing to make that sacrifice.

Re:Use cases? (1)

MosX (773406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707138)

It's for consuming things. Books, TV shows, movies, music, web pages, etc on the go. Not that hard to understand.

Re:Use cases? (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707160)

Laptops I understand: you can use them to code, do your e-mail, ssh into machines to get stuff done etc.

Well, there is your problem. Of your 3 tasks listed, only 1 of them is something that a normal person is only likely ever to do.

Re:Use cases? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35707168)

Light web surfing; email; Twitter; reading; watching video (TV/movies/YouTube); gaming; on-the-go photo and video editing; note taking; star chart; map/GPS; music composition; code reviewing; code writing (tedious but possible); replying the comments on Slashdot; etc.

Just look through the iPad AppStore to get an idea of what people use it for. It's just a computer, albeit a new and different for factor that has uses we're still discovering. There are more and more apps coming out that take advantage of touchscreen-only capabilities (eg Twitter, Garage Band).

Oh and it's way more fun to read and draw with your fingers than a stylus.

it's to surf the web (1)

mozumder (178398) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707194)

you know, the only thing that 99% of the world does on computers.

Have you ever gone online on the world-wide-web?

Re:Use cases? (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707200)

PDFs.

Re:Use cases? (1)

crunzh (1082841) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707228)

Umm, they are fine for annotating papers/books. They got a virtual keyboard for text input (hold a place in the paper/book a note pops up and you can input text). Other usecases: Websurfing (I prefer to browse on my tablet, computer to a laptop). Wathing videos Games (and ssh works fine too)

Plain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35706960)

"Now it is plain for all to see that Apple's secret weapon is their network of dedicated Apple stores worldwide where dedicated sales people are not only able to better explain its tablet to consumers"

I don't think the people lining up at 1am at all of the Apple stores were there for an explanation. Apple's secret weapon is making good quality, working products and being able to market them to their fanboys.

Who graded these other tablets as 'good'? (1)

david.emery (127135) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706970)

What makes a good tablet? It's a combination of hardware, software and 'ecosystem.' Some of the non iPad hardware is interesting, particularly for things like cameras. The value of Android for tablets is yet to be shown, the new tablet focused Android release is immature when compared to iOS. So I'm not convinced that it's yet fair to cite alternatives to iPad as "good" yet. "Promising", but not verified as "good". We'll see what RIM has to offer shortly.

When you bring in the ecosystem, you have not just the Apple store (both on-line and brick-and-mortar), but also the associated maturity of Apple iOS applications. I think Apple still has at least a 1 year lead, when you look at the total package.

Personally, I'm disappointed by the iPad 2 camera, but otherwise I think it's a very solid device, at a very convincing price point.

Decent competitor to the iPad (1)

thetartanavenger (1052920) | more than 3 years ago | (#35706976)

but now manufacturers are discovering that simply making a good tablet does not guarantee that it will sell

I'm confused. Have we actually had a good tablet not made by Apple that has hit the market yet? The latest batch of Honeycomb tablets are looking promising but how many are actually available yet?

Apple is the Value Provider (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707042)

Which is strange. The best price/performance is from buying Apple.

That said, my rooted Nook Color ($250) does enough tablet stuff for my needs.

A good tablet is not enough (1)

bickle (101226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707048)

simply making a good tablet does not guarantee that it will sell â" much to the chagrin of Motorola and its Xoom product.

A "good" tablet will fail. Especially when it is more expensive than the iPad. The challenge that the Xoom faces is that it is a good tablet, but not *as* good as the iPad, and it's more expensive to boot. A sucessful competitor will need to be as good as or better than the iPad, and have a competitive price.

Apple and their stick up their ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35707062)

"Apparently, we are not going to see a repeat of the Android ambush of the smartphone market where the combined, price, savvy marketing, and modulated supply releases of the iPhone created so much aspirational demand in the market that buyers simply surged at the chance to buy what was perceived to be an equivalent product at lower prices."

All android cellphones I have used have been far superior to the iPhone, not equivalent!

What? Customer interfacing is bad? or new? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707104)

Apple, in their sneaky and not-to-be-trusted ways, have managed to re-discover that there is value in interfacing directly with customers and keeping them happy. Banks and other companies have been pulling out of direct customer face time feeling that keeping their people trained and professional is just "too expensive" and sometimes puts them in harm's way when some asshat in management or directorship decides to do something that makes customers angry.

What Apple is doing is not new. It is something that other companies have been weaning themselves away from for decades. Apple sees that people really WANT this and have proved that it can be used to dominate a market.

Dell, on the other hand, has also been trying to cut back on some of the services they provide and have also been paying the price.

The more I see businesses treat their customers as if they hated them, the more I wonder how it is they stay in business. It can only be because of the reluctance of people to change.

Android's secret weapon: pr0n (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707106)

Yeah, whatever. My wife and I are having plenty of fun with a G-Tablet and Flash.

OK, so I admit, I actually haven't ever touched iOS ever, so you could say my experience is quite limited. Butt, I've played with enough Apple products to feel the discomfit of roaming around their walled garden in a designer straightjacket. It was some work to get a custom firmware (TnT-Lite 4) onto the G-Tablet to fix Viewsonic's misguided attempt at customization. But once Android manufacturers figure it out, they'll have a solid product that supports insertion of external memory devices and USB sticks and keyboards and joynipples and other devices and pretty much all of those things I've heard Apple people complaining about. And Flash.

But other than Flash, I am disappoint in Steve Jobs' promise that there would be pr0n apps on Android. So far the best I could find after extensive searching (aside from all the lame jigsaw puzzles) is some kama sutra app featuring stick figures.

Suggest an android tablet.. (1)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707120)

Can anyone suggest a decent Android tablet for app development that is not too expensive?

Are you experienced? (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707126)

Apple's products are not just hardware or software, they are an experience, and possibly even a lifestyle for a lot of folks. I was in an Apple Store around Christmas time getting an iMac repaired, and they were running Genius Bar sessions teaching people how to use their iPads & MacBook Airs. What surprised me was the vast majority of them were gray/white-haired men & women. Apple is tapping into a demographic not usually well served by other computer manufacturers, and doing the whole guiding & hand-holding to get them up to speed. It was a pretty impressive effort, and goes to show why Apple isn't going away any time soon.

Not Apparently (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707132)

"Apparently, we are not going to see a repeat of the Android ambush of the smartphone market where the combined, price, savvy marketing, and modulated supply releases of the iPhone created so much aspirational demand..."

How is that apparent? Apple has 10% of the total market, who tend to be fervent "early adapters". Once the market accepts the product (which I think is early to say with the pad/tablet), Apple has made high profits on low market penetration. Whether or not it's called an "ambush", I wouldn't assume that the exact same thing won't happen every time a similar good product is available cheaper. The post looks a little fanboy to me. As for the stores, running your own retail to boost "purchase experience" didn't work for Levis.

Re:Not Apparently (1)

crunzh (1082841) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707256)

Ahh, apple got way more than 10% of the smartphone market, and way way way more of the tablet market.

It's more like an arsenal (1)

ablaze (222561) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707136)

Apple's secret weapon is the product itself. And with the product“ I don't mean the iPad alone. It's the whole iPad experience. It all begins with the buying experience in the Apple Store (like it or not), goes on with their perfect minimalist design, the quality of the software, the software update process, the iTunes/AppStore infrastructure, and, not to forget the fact that the iPad is the gadget you want to own if you want to be part of the in-group. It almost seems unbeatable for the ex-hippie silverback generation and not so individualistic younger consumers alike.

user feedback (1)

georgesdev (1987622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707166)

I use an iphone. and a samsung android phone.
If I had the need for a tablet today, I would go for the ipad.
The simple reason is that the iphone works way better.
With Android, you keep dreaming of a future version that solves everything. My Android device is stuck at version 2.1 (although I bought it after the iphone 4 came out!!!)
Today we dream of version 3 devices. but the iphone 5 is surely around the corner ...

A network of stores (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707176)

There are lots of networks of stores which would be delighted to sell tablets - phone networks. In the UK virtually every small size town & above has not one but multiple phone outlets - Vodafone, TMobile, Three, Orange, O2, Carphone Warhouse, Phones4U. On top of that the likes of Sainsburys, Tesco, Asda etc also sell phones and computer kit. And Dixons / Currys / Comet etc. Then all the online stores Amazon.co.uk, Play.com etc.

If tablet manufacturers can't find a way to distribute their products there is something seriously wrong with them. In truth I reckon they'll do okay and in aggregate Android 3.0 tablets will sell more eventually than the iPad. I also expect that most of the major tablet models will individually sell in the millions too, assuming they're competitively priced.

As an aside I strongly suspect Amazon will launch a tablet soon too. They sold something like 10 million Kindles and it's not hard to imagine that figure being matched by a Kindle / tablet model. Even B&N sold 3 million Color Nook tablets so there is a huge market. Biggest question is whether a Kindle tablet would have Android 3.0. I would not be surprised if all the open source / not open source shenanigans isn't directly related to what Amazon is up to and trying to head them off.

Anyone who saw the MP3 Player wars... (1)

rtilghman (736281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35707218)

Saw this one coming a mile off. The iPod wasn't nearly the best player on the market, and yet it dominated everyone from iRiver to the Rio Karma by an absurd margin. Marketing + digital lifestyle = profit. How much of an idiot do you have to be not to see this one coming...

The only thing Android can fight for at this point is the product halo, but unfortunately between Apple TV, NFC iMacs, iPhone, and iPad (all of which speak together fairly easily) Apple's already ahead of the game for the living room. The big battle will be the content creators and providers, who aren't nearly as disorganized as the music industry.

-rt

oppressed pop. worldwide receiving arms shipments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35707230)

many of the newer subscription issues include the even newer miraclemorph prosthetic devices, so that the advanced weapons may be operated by the armless of every discipline, race, motive etc... being fair to all is truly disarming.

censored? chariots? honestly?

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