By Greg Mills
As I read iPhone/iPad killer stories on the web, I am always amused that a "too late to the party, me too" product would be launched with the wild idea of actually replacing Apple's products.
Frankly, most of the competitors would be happy to not actually loose money on their device, and the notion of killing the Apple product is a headline used by journalists to attract readers. Apple is too well established to be displaced with some suddenly released stronger competitor. The real risk is Apple being reduced, over time market share wise, by a slew of similar product that dilute the market. Note that "similar" means fully similar in both function and price. So far any real competitors to iPad are vaporware or pads lacking a critical ingredient to actually compete.
Android is the only real threat in the long term to iPhone, but since it is open source and relies on third party hardware, it is unlikely to beat the smoothly integrated Apple product. As I have previously mentioned, the app store for a slate computer and smart phone is a critical element only Apple and Google are really making relevant.
Not having seen a photo of the unreleased "BlackPad" from RIM, one can only wonder it they included a clickable key pad and the blinking red light. According to a "Wall Street Journal" article the new BlackPad can only hook up to the Internet through a BlackBerry and has no version with a 3G radio built in. I assume they ship with Wi-Fi, but who knows?
I submit that limiting the BlackPad to the quickly diminishing RIM customer base is certainly going to hobble any chance of it making any kind of inroad into the general slate computer market. Imagine limiting the iPad to iPhone users. Or worse yet, having to buy both a RIM BlackBerry and a BlackPad to use the latter. No way is that going to fly.
Also, in the competitive spotlight one of the dedicated black & white book readers has put a commercial on TV using tricky lighting to made it appear you can't read an iPad in bright light. You can control lighting effects on film to make elephants appear to fly. There was no comparison to the cool animated page turning and amazing color iPad has.
While some people would rather buy a tiny black & white device for $139, most people would opt for a $500 full color unit complete with Internet, email and thousands of apps available. I submit that you can't sell black & white dedicated book readers cheap enough even at a loss for them to compete with the competitively priced iPad Apple still makes money on.
The loud groaning noise you heard, when Steve Jobs announced the price point for the iPad, was coming from Redmond and elsewhere, where slate computers were being designed. Malcrosoft canceled its slate computer when they saw what they had to compete with. Back to the drawing board with a clear understanding of what it would take to catch up.
The surprisingly low price point of the iPad cut off the competition at the knees, giving Apple a chance to define the market and gain a competitive advantage they are unlikely to ever lose. Steve Jobs thinks in his sleep about what to do next. Steve Ballmer just lies awake at night wondering what Steve Jobs is thinking.
I should get my Apple TV any day now and I will review it as soon as possible. That's Greg's Bite for today.
(Greg Mills, is a Faux Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. He's working on a solar energy startup, www.CottageIndustrySolar.com using a patent pending process of turning waste dual pane glass into thermal solar panels used to heat water. Greg writes for intellectual web sites and Mac related issues. See Greg's art web site at www.gregmills.info ; His email is firstname.lastname@example.org )