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The iPad: it will be as successful as the Netbook…

… the question is, just how successful has the netbook craze been?

“The first five million will be sold in a heartbeat. But let’s see: you can’t make a phone call with it, you can’t take a picture with it, and you have to buy content that before now you were not willing to pay for. That seems tough to me.”

I was surprised to read this quote in the NY Times from Guy Kawasaki – who was Apple’s original evangelist.

He tends to be pretty buoyant on Apple products and so his luke-warm response on the iPad was telling.

I agree with the NY Times’ view that the iPad suffers an issue of redundancy. That’s ironic, btw, as they are looking to the iPad to form a platform for future content monetization.

This is Netbooks all over again. Depending on who you talk to, Netbooks are either a big hit or a big flop. Neither the industry nor consumers can really decide.

For me, I love my Netbook – it is perfect for taking to conferences, where I don’t really need a full MacBook Pro, and also for using on vacation on the beach. But all of this is because my Dell Mini 9 cost less than $200. I almost see it as disposable.

But I am not your average computer buyer, and it’s really hard to get a clear consensus of whether Netbooks have captured the interest of the personal and business buyer. For all their ‘accessible price point’ greatness, there remain distinct disadvantages around what they can do and the degree of overlap with both your main computer and your cell phone.

It’s worth remembering that the iPad not only suffers the same overlap but it also won’t be a cheap $200 throw-away device – at least not for the mainstream buyer. The majority of Apple’s first 5 million (to quote Guy) sales will certainly be sold to the types of folks for whom $600 is throwaway. I know loads of people in that category personally.

But I really remain to be convinced that your average Joe Public is going to be willing to shell out $500-$700 for a device that doesn’t have a clear vertical and, as Guy observes, is intended to get you to pay for content you hadn’t previously intended to consume or pay for.

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  1. Marshall Kirkpatrick Marshall Kirkpatrick

    Agreed and well put. I must admit, hearing early adopters be described as peop;le for whom $600 is throwaway stings.

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