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.