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Apple’s iPad Delivers on the Hype

by Van Baker  |  January 27, 2010  |  6 Comments

There has been much speculation on what an Apple tablet would offer, and the company did not disappoint with today’s announcement. Apple introduced the iPad with the core productivity apps an e-reader with and e-book store and 140,000 apps from the Appstore, all at a very aggressive $499 price point. This product will define the tablet form factor for the market, and it sets a high bar for other manufacturers.

Apple is offering a product that is very competitive with a netbook and offers a clear value advantage over the Kindle assuming Apple is able to line up the publishers for its e-book store. At first glance, the iPad offers little incremental value as an e-reader other than being color which has some value. However when comparing a $249 Kindle with this device the additional value is immediately apparent. For $250 more a consumer gets a device that offers productivity software, a media player for HD media, a music player and access to 140,000 cheap applications in the App Store. Seems like a pretty easy decision to me. This product will be very strong at $499.

Additionally the company is offering data plans for 3G connectivity that do not require a contract which are aggressively priced and could attract additional data plan users to AT&T. That said the majority of users will find Wi-Fi adequate for their needs as the product is most likely to be used in the living room, the classroom or the local coffee shop, and Wi-Fi is likely to be available in all these venues.

Aesthetically the iPad is a beautiful product that is a half inch thick with a beautiful display and very intelligent multi-touch controls. This new product is positioned on par with netbooks in price but well below most notebooks in both functionality and capability, so the consumer should find it easy to make their decision between the two It is not hard to imagine a use model where a consumer carries a smartphone and an iPad and leaves the netbook at home.

This is not to say that there are no challenges for Apple in this market. Communicating the value proposition for this new category of device is complex by Apple standards, and it will take a little time for consumers to digest exactly what the iPad offers, but the Apple Stores present a great venue for Apple to do exactly this. Additionally Apple has the challenge of lining up the same variety of content in its iBook Store that Amazon offers for Kindle, and they are not there yet.  Additionally, for those customers that have been unhappy with AT&T those challenges still exist with the iPad. In short it is not a slam dunk for Apple but the prospects look good.

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Van L. Baker
Research VP
20 years at Gartner
29 years IT industry

Van Baker is a vice president and research director for Gartner's Retail and Manufacturing Industry Advisory Services. He covers consumer behavior as it relates to electronic commerce and emerging Web 2.0 technologies in the retail industry. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Apple’s iPad Delivers on the Hype

  1. Wilson says:

    Are you crazy? This didn’t deliver on the hype. If It were going to live up to the hype, Apple would have been trying to sell this as a revolutionary e-book reader. It is an impressive e-book reader, but a disappointment in every other aspect. The final nail in the coffin is that they’re using AT&T as the 3G carrier. Compare the functionality of this device against any netbook and you’ll find that for the price, the netbook wins out in every category. Apple just phoned this one in by blowing up an ipod touch.

  2. Chris says:

    Definitely. This is a perfect product for the Average-Joe type person.

    I remember when the iPhone originally came out, and everyone was upset that certain features weren’t there at launch. Look at how much it’s changed by either software, or hardware update. I’m sure the iPad will be similar.

  3. Mark McDonald says:

    Sorry guys I think that you may be missing the boat. Think of this as a platform for services rather than a device. As a device it kills netbooks for the average consumer, it also kill eReaders but it also creates a consumer platform that can drive SaaS. applications.

    Some thoughts at

    Think outside the box and beyond the hardware.

  4. […] colleagues, Ray, Allen, Mike, Mark, Andrew, Mark and Van,  are all over the iPad.  Ray’s posts are particularly thought provoking, as he […]

  5. […] colleagues, Ray, Allen, Mike, Mark, Andrew, Mark and Van,  are all over the iPad.  Ray’s posts are particularly thought provoking, as he […]

  6. […] colleagues, Ray, Allen, Mike, Mark, Andrew, Mark and Van, are all over the iPad.  Ray’s posts are particularly thought provoking, as he looks at the […]

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