Apple iPad's rivals can't hang on pricing

The alleged iPad killing tablets are coming, but with price tags that aren't going to even come close to denting Apple's lead.

This is a guest post from Larry Dignan, Editor in Chief of ZDNet, TechRepublic's sister site. You can follow Larry on his ZDNet blog Between the Lines (or subscribe to the RSS feed).

The alleged iPad killing tablets are coming, but with price tags that aren't going to even come close to denting Apple's lead.  When Apple CEO Steve Jobs launched the iPad it wasn't clear how aggressively these newfangled devices were priced. Now we know because Android tablets and other rival tablets can't hang on pricing.

In recent days, tablet pricing details have emerged. To wit:

  • Samsung's 7-inch Galaxy Tab will run you $499 for a Wi-Fi version (top right). That price matches Apple's iPad pricing and Samsung is packing in some key hardware features. But Samsung isn't likely to move the needle on thwarting Apple.
  • ViewSonic announced its ViewPad Android devices (bottom right). The ViewPad 7-inch version will run you $479. The 10-inch version will run you $629. Both versions are Wi-Fi with no 3G.
  • The HP Slate 500 has Windows 7 will cost you $799. Even though the HP Slate is geared for business use, there were plenty of chief information officers with iPads at the Gartner powwow last month.
  • Will Research in Motion's pricing on the PlayBook even be in the ballpark? We don't know yet, but it's unlikely.

These prices illustrate how aggressive Jobs was at the iPad launch. Apple had the device and the pricing to arguably grab at least an 18-month lead.

Photos: 20 iPad competitors to watch

So what happened?

  • Apple built its own chips to take on an industry that clearly wasn't ready for the iPad's launch. It will take the Android ecosystem another rev on the product cycle just to approach what Apple has today.
  • The players taking on Apple all have some sort of restriction. Apple has its own components, software and design specs. Apple also doesn't give a hoot where it gets its parts. Now contrast that with rivals. Samsung as a massive tech conglomerate has a few built in advantages, but it's Korea's champion. The company is not going to go to China for parts.
  • The software ecosystem isn't ready. Microsoft is cramming Windows 7 into a tablet. HP has the webOS waiting in the wings. Android isn't quite tablet ready yet. Apple had the ecosystem and operating system. Apple just had to add a 10-inch screen.

A few weeks ago, it appeared that Jobs was just ranting about Android on the company's earnings conference call. But one thing he had right in that well-documented rant was the pricing model as iPad mote.

"Our potential competitors are having a tough time coming close to iPad's pricing even with their far smaller, far less each pensive screens. The iPad incorporates everything we've learned about building high value products from iPhones, iPods and Macs. We create our own A4 chip, our own software, our own battery chemistry, our own enclosure, our own everything, and this results in an incredible product at a great price. The proof of this will be in the pricing of our competitors' products which will likely offer less for more."

Indeed, that less for more strategy is exactly what Apple's rivals are pursuing. Perhaps, the iPad killers will emerge, but no one seems to be able to go toe-to-toe. As a result, you'll have downmarket devices-Cherrypal's CherryPad and Barnes & Noble's Nook Color quasi-tablet-and premium plays that can't threaten Apple's pricing.

Add it up and the iPad will enjoy at least another 6 months of market domination-most likely more.


The Apple has revealed the first steps in its iPlan for stepping into the world of digital publishing. The thin iPad weighs in at 1.5 pounds and touchscreen display is a 9.7 in liquid crystal display.


I don't think the Ipad compares at all to the HP Slate. The Ipad's just a big Ipod, I have both and rarely use them (daughter does love the ipad for games). I'm purchasing the Slate as it'll do everything I'd want and more. I'll be able to have full access to my Outlook and Onenote while at a client's.


Depends on how much bang you want for your buck.


... I hasten to add that both previous comments are from IT consultants. iPad sales are coming form consumers. Huge difference. Of course if you turn up at a customers site with a Mac OSX/IOS hanging out of your brief case and cannot connect onto their network you look a bit of a prat. If you want to use an iPad the that is what you do, bugger the connection onto some grotty Windows system.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

I agree. The iPad is nice to show photos, maybe watch a decent quality movie but is limited in most applications - and especially on the business side. In comparison the Windows [and Android and Linux] based slates will allow you to actually do some work. Like justinm001 said, it's nothing but a big iPod. I'm very surprised at the costs of the Windows based slates since they have similar specs to a netbook. Paying $650+ for one of these is overpriced compared to a decent 15+" laptop.

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