By Harry McCracken | Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 8:39 am
“Apple’s 9.7-inch OLED tablet PC is expected to have a cost of about $1,500-1,700, the report explains, adding that OLED panels are pretty expensive and suggesting prices should only fall in time.”–9to5Mac.com, 11/19/2009
“As the world waits with bated breath for an Apple tablet, one thing is for certain: the rumored tablet with a 10-inch touchscreen won’t be cheap. Most new-fangled Apple products cost the proverbial arm and leg, and it’s unlikely an Apple tablet (which the blogosphere calls the iSlate) will break this trend…the likely price point is under $1000. If Apple holds true to form, that will mean $999.”–CIO, 1/5/2010
“A key factor for the tablet’s success will be price. Yair Reiner, an analyst for Oppenheimer & Co., said in a research note last month that the tablet would be priced at about $1,000, citing sources. One challenge: Apple’s MacBook laptops start at $999.”–Wall Street Journal, 1/5/2010
“Sure, the tablet we expect Apple to launch on January 27 will probably have more than its share of cool factor. But do you want to spend $1,000 or so for bragging rights?”–PC World, 1/19/2010
“Apple may price the tablet at about $750, putting it between the $399 top-of-the-line iPod Touch and the $999 entry- level MacBook notebook, said Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York.”–BusinessWeek, 1/27/2010
I could go on. If there was a genuine surprise at yesterday’s iPad launch, it was the starting price: $499. Apple, in its Apple-esque way, calls tht “unbelievable.” Well, maybe: my jaw didn’t drop, especially since it’s for a model with relatively little storage (16GB) and no 3G wireless. And some of the features that folks expected would add to the sticker price, including a camera and/or an OLED display, aren’t there. It’s one of the rare instances of Apple defeaturing a product to hit a particular price point, which I take as a sign that it does indeed want to sell iPads in vast quantities from the get-go.
But at $499, the iPad is a plausible netbook alternative, or an upgrade from the iPod Touch. And even the top-of-the-line iPad will be $830–well short of the hefty price that everyone “knew” the Apple tablet would go for.
Bottom line: all the pre-analysis of the tablet’s appeal and chances of success predicated on a starting price around a grand turned out to be irrelevant. We need to start over again, and judge the produce Apple announced at the price it’s charging.
What say you?