Forget the iPad 3, make the iPad 2 cheaper

December 31, 2011

Forget the iPad 3. Just for a moment, at least. What Apple really needs to do is make the iPad 2 cheaper. That is what’s crucial at this moment in time.

The last week has seen rumors galore about Apple’s plans for the iPad. The iPad 3 is guaranteed to arrive in 2012, but the when (release date), the where (it will be announced), and the what (multiple versions, sizes, features, etc.) are open to debate. This is an Apple product we’re talking about here, so rumors will persist right up until the press conference.

Throughout all the speculation over the iPad 3 one thing remains constant: no one expects Apple to lower the price. The iPad 3 will launch at around the same price point as the original iPad and iPad 2 did. Which is great. It will sell. But it leaves a whole raft of consumers out of the running to buy one, purely because they cannot afford to spend that kind of cash on a tablet.

Apple has got away with its premium to this point thanks to there being very little in the way of competition. What there has been has cost around the same apart from during fire sales. But that is no longer the case thanks to the Amazon Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet, cheap and cheerful Android tablets that actually work. And more are on the way.

This means it’s essential for Apple to offer a lower-priced alternative itself, or it risks losing a huge swathe of customers. Possibly forever. The simple solution, which has been touted by more knowledgeable people than myself, is to keep selling the iPad 2 beyond the release of the iPad 3, but cut the price by a big margin.

I’d love the latest iPad, but I’d settle for an older model if it was close in price to the Kindle Fire and Nook. In fact, I’d become an Apple convert on the spot if the company followed that route. Unfortunately I fear its need to make colossal amounts of money at every turn means this will remain just wishful thinking.

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7 Responses to “Forget the iPad 3, make the iPad 2 cheaper”

  1. aquaadverse:

    Apple remains a hardware company. They can’t afford to roll around in the low cost, high volume mud.

    Every lower cost iPad2 essentially kills an iPad3 sale and has Apple directly competing against itself as well as other tablet makers.

    The Nook and Kindle Fire aren’t the same size. have less powerful hardware etc..

  2. Josh:

    That would create a damn in the sales channel… and with your method… we’d have shitty products

  3. Joey:

    I agree with aqua. It would pretty much kill sales for the third iPad. In essence, you get what you pay for with the Kindle Fire. With that lower price point, you get a good processor, many different apps, and a few other good things. Having a Kindle Fire as a first tablet probably won’t see many problems with it, but once you play with an iPad, it doesn’t seem the same anymore.

  4. Dave Parrack:

    I take your points on board but I’m not sure that would be the result. Apple would still sell tons of iPad 3s but would also kill the Kindle Fire/Nook market dead instantly. I cannot afford an iPad 3 but I’d buy an iPad 2 for $250.

  5. Mr. X:

    I agree with Dave. As with other products, having low end versions never kills off sales high end verions. Giving consumers choices is normally a smart business decision.
    The Kindle Fire is probably selling hot because of a combination of several factors; the two more important ones being low price and because it’s not made by Apple. Right now its not much, but when fielded Fire units reach a critical mass, app developers cannot ignore that market any more. If Apple neglects the low end for short-term profits, in the long run, they will take a much bigger hit.

  6. aquaadverse:

    Apple has never played in that market segment and goes to great lengths to ensure no competition with their own products. It’s why they made the iMac with a built in monitor and it’s why the iPad has no MicroSD slot.

    3rd party Mac clones damn near killed the company.

  7. Randy Grein:

    What was the estimated price of the original iPad? $700? $800? $1000? And people were slavering over the mere idea! Now that Apple has sold some 50,000,000 iPads somehow the actual base price ($499) is outrageous! Get a grip on reality, what?

    That rant being over there is substantial evidence that iPad 2 sales will continue, just as the iPhone 4 and 3S continue at reduced prices and a range of iPods has been employed for many years. So aquaadverse is wrong – Apple does provide a REASONABLE range of products when it makes sense. (The iMac has a monitor and the iPad has no MicroSD slot for the same reason: cost and simplicity.) Jobs had an excellent rationale for killing Mac clone sales – sales figures showed no new sales were generated, the clones were cannibalizing current Mac sales.

    That won’t be the case with a new, higher capacity iPad 3. Exactly how continued iPad2 sales will play out is of course anyone’s guess. Mine is that the 2 will be limited to the 3G model with a great new price.

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