Why the iPad will fail, part 2

As far as I am concerned, Apple is one of the finest brands on the planet. It ticks just about every box for me. Design, product innovation, user interface, image, brand culture, service, communications and so on. But when the iPad launched, I wrote a piece about it and gave 8 reasons why I thought it would fail. You can read the full article here. At the end of the article you can read a number of comments from readers. I am responding to Carl Brooks comment.

Carl makes some interesting comments about the iPad, including “Who knew many people could get by with a device that allowed them to do 90% of the tasks they did on a PC.” He adds, “f you don’t have an iPad pad yet, you are missing out on a truly mobile device. Instant on, long lasting battery, huge screen, multitouch interface that even a baby can pickup.” He also says, “I don’t even bother dragging my laptop offsite anymore.”

I have a couple of reactions to Carl’s comments.

A few of days ago I tried to plug in a portable hard drive to an iPad so I could show someone some TVCs. Unfortunately I couldn’t do so because the iPad doesn’t have a USB port. I’m serious. I also tried to show the same person some images but the iPad doesn’t have an SD slot. Now I appreciate this isn’t an industry standard but it meant that I was unable to use the iPad in a way that I have become accustomed to using computer hardware.

As for missing out, well that doesn’t appear to be the case as I have a superb Apple laptop that does everything an iPad does plus I can multitask. I can listen to Pandora and write a document at the same time. Something I can’t do on an iPad. On my laptop I can have my Twitter app open at the same time as my browser.

I heard that an iPad won’t allow you to have AIM open at the same time as your email! Well I can on my laptop. Oh, and on long flights I can watch a DVD on my laptop, something I can’t do on an iPad. Talking of flights, when I am away, I can talk to my kids on skype with my laptop, they can see me and I can see them. Something you can’t do on your iPad.

Carl mentions that the iPad does 90% of the tasks done on a PC. That’s not much use if you want to do one of the tasks included in the 10%. If you do, then the iPad is useless. To me, that’s a bit like saying a Trabant does 90% of the tasks a Rolls Royce does.

Carl finishes with this comment “I will enjoy this device until a better one is created by Apple or by any other competent competitor that can make something better.”

Well Carl, that moment may be here sooner rather than later. The iPad may have the market to itself now, but by early 2011, it’s nemesis, the Android may gatecrash the party in the same way it has gatecrashed the iPhone party. 10.6 million smartphones using the Google developed platform were sold during 2Q2010, equal to about 17% of the market. Apple sold 8.47 million iPhones in the same period, equal to about 14% of the market. A recent report in Digitimes says that Google, Verizon and Motorola are creating an Android tablet with a 10.1-inch screen that could be on sale at the end of 2010.

One solution to some of the issues above would be to buy yet another adapter but even I, a long time Apple devotee am tiring of all the extra money I have to spend on Apple accessories to carry out basic tasks. And anyway, that wouldn’t solve the SD issue.

I still think that Apple is one of the finest brands on the planet. But the cynic in me thinks that perhaps the reason there isn’t a SD card slot on the iPad is to stop consumers buying a 16GB model and increasing the storage themselves, depriving Apple of further income.

Although I’ve been aware of Apple’s strategy of only letting proprietary products complement its devices, it hasn’t really bothered me. However, I do think that if a brand pushes consumers too far or constantly adds new products that require existing customers and those brand ambassadors who build the brand to spend more money then the brand will eventually lose its lustre, especially today when consumers are more fickle and less loyal.

But that is another story. This article began as response to a comment on a story I wrote giving 8 reasons why I thought the iPad would fail. The iPad, in its present form is a flawed product and there are opportunities over the next 12 months for other tablet manufacturers to take market share from the iconic brand.

However, if we take iPad sales (3.27 million units in Q32010 alone) then it could be a success but I still reserve my judgement!


5 thoughts on “Why the iPad will fail, part 2

  1. Nice thoughts!
    When you mentioned the market shares changes over the second quarter of this year a thought popped into my mind.

    I once read that Apple didn’t aspire to be on everyones desk (maybe that was before they really took off but ok). Any Apple product has a serious price tag which automatically prevents it from being on everyones desk, or lap.

    The same happened with the iPhone, the same will be true for the iPad. No doubt other platforms, in cheaper devices, will have bigger sales numbers.

    But it is that premium that makes them the real money. This is a shot in the dark but maybe Apple product users spend more on things like apps and are more profitable in other ways?


  2. What everyone seems to be missing is that the iPad is NOT a productivity device. It was never designed to be one. The iPad is, in reality, a CONSUMPTION device. It’s for consumers to buy stuff, watch stuff, hear stuff and basically suck down anything streaming at them.

    In short, the iPad is no more a productivity device than your average television set — which is really all it is.

    In the Age of the Consumer, where just about everyone will buy just about anything, the iPad will thrive. Even if the only reason to buy it is to have one.

    Rob Frankel


    1. Hi Frank

      Thanks for taking the time comment.

      It’s an interesting proposition and one that I think has a lot of credibility. However there are a lot of people out there who have interpreted the sales pitch as touting the iPad as a productivity tool, including the author of the comment I was responding to.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.