The consumer electronics shopping site Retrevo.com, in its recent Gadgetology Report
, discovered that 68% of people who primarily use a Mac would be willing to pay $600 or more for an Apple-made tablet, while only 36% of users who spend most of their time on a Windows PC would pay that much.
"Mac loyalists will buy almost anything from Apple," said Manish Rathi, co-founder of Retrevo, which had an independent organization do a study of 753 users distributed across gender, age, income and location in the United States. "But how do you grow it past the loyalists?" Rathi asserted that to expand its market beyond people who are already enamored of Apple products, they have to cut price - essentially marketing the long-rumored tablet as a "netbook" device.
According to Retrevo's survey, 37% of Mac users already own, or plan to buy, a netbook this year, as compared to 35% of respondents who use a Windows-based PC. "They have missed the bus from a timing perspective for the holidays," said Rathi. "There's a big time window this holiday season, and Apple doesn't have a netbook."
An analyst interviewed by Computerworld
disagrees. "Sure, Apple missed the bus as far as taking an appreciable share of that market," said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research. "They missed that bus from Day One." Gottheil makes the point that Apple's success doesn't depend on just pushing more boxes out the door. "They were never going to come close to matching the price of Windows netbooks," he says. "For them to be successful, they don't need to seriously erode the share sold by other vendors. So to say that they 'missed the bus' on netbooks, that's just silly."
If the rumor mill is to believed - and massive amounts, not grains, of salt should always be applied to rumors - Apple will be positioning its new device as a digital media viewer
, rather than as just another low-cost general purpose computer. The tablet will thus be sold as the next must-have gadget, and will likely come at a price premium
like Apple products generally do.
Mac/iPhone enthusiasts are said to be "price insensitive." Apple may be taking a risk in assuming this will continue to be the case as they roll out new products and modernize their existing lineup, but they haven't been wrong so far. Apple just had its most profitable quarter ever
... in the midst of an economic recession.
image via Retrevo