I guess they’ve lowered the admission requirements at pundit school.
Either that, or they’re overdoing it in that one course where they teach young seers to “always take the surprising point of view.”
First, a quick review: HP buys Palm for $1.2 billion to get WebOS. They labor for a year to create TouchPad. TouchPad gets panned by the critics. After seven miserable weeks, it gets dumped by HP. Then comes the fire sale. People line up to buy the $499 TouchPad for $99.
Cue the pundits: if so many people will buy an orphaned TouchPad for $99 — iPad is doomed!
There’s an article at CNET entitled iPad met its match in the TouchPad. This article observes that only TouchPad has come close to “eclipsing the fixation that consumers have had on the iPad.”
Over at Forbes, they cut right to the chase: Why the Undead $99 TouchPad Might Portend The iPad’s Doom. Here, it’s noted that TouchPad’s buying frenzy proves that a tablet can actually succeed against iPad by undercutting it in price.
Neither article notes the obvious: people love “steals.” Of course they’ll line up to buy a $499 device for $99. That’s 80% off. They’ll also camp out to buy a $60,000 car for $12,000 or a $400 washing machine for $80. This isn’t exactly a Mensa-level brainteaser.
The problem for Apple’s competitors is that there is no PC parallel here. Apple is selling iPads at a price that’s nearly impossible to undercut. When price isn’t the argument, it’s product vs. product — and it’s awfully hard to compete with the combination of Apple design, iOS and the App Store.
So watch out, Apple. TouchPad has proven that tablets will fly off the shelves if they’re priced at a fraction of cost. You don’t really think you can remain the leader simply by building better devices, do you?
This brand of punditry contains one serious flaw. That is, Apple doesn’t just sit still. iPad continues to improve year after year. And, in case no one noticed, Apple has incredibly good profit margins (thanks, Tim). Even if a competitor one day figures out a way to undercut iPad in price, Apple is perfectly capable of responding.
So, as HP starts making more TouchPads to dispose of all the spare parts in their warehouse, I wouldn’t take that as a sign of iPad’s pending demise.
I’d take it as a sign that if you don’t know what you’re doing in this business, your tablet will die a premature, grisly death.