Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things

5 Reasons The iPad Will Fail

While everyone else is falling in love with a product that’s not even released yet, I’m opting to take a more realistic view on the iPad.  I think it’s going to fail.  I don’t see it being 1/10 as successful as the iPhone.  Here’s 5 reasons why it will fail to connect with consumers.

  1. Price: Simply put, it’s too expensive.  Considering you can get nearly ALL of the functionality the iPad has to offer in an iPod Touch, which starts at $199.99, I don’t see many folks opting to upgrade.  Also consider the number of people who already have laptops.  You get infinitely more options on a laptop than you do with an iPad.  This essentially makes the iPad a “treat” or “splurge” item.  Considering the sorry state of the economy, can you see the average family of four spending a minimum of $499.99 for a “nice to have” product?  Me neither.  Lastly, consider all the people with Kindle’s or other eBook readers.  Buying an iPad makes no sense for these folks either.
  2. The Network: The smartest thing Apple could have done was choosing any other cellular provider over AT&T.  Despite all of the uproar over AT&T’s shoddy network, it makes zero sense that they’d choose AT&T.  Can you imagine downloading a 500mb TV show from the iTunes Store over the AT&T Edge network?  Ouch, it would be painful.  But, ok…what’s done is done.  They chose AT&T.  Fine. The next smartest thing they could have done was use a normal SIM card to access the network.  This would have let people who have iPhones simply swap their SIM card from their iPhone, place it into their iPad, and then connect away.  I think this wasn’t done for only one reason.  By choosing an alternative SIM card design you are forced to pay AT&T even more money to access their horrible network.  Bad move.
  3. No Camera: How they missed the boat on this is mind blowing.  The iPad with a built in camera would have been a killer device for people who are frequent travelers (business or personal).  The ability to video chat from such a lightweight and compact device would have made this a must have product for travelers.
  4. No Flash: Say what you want about HTML 5, but not having Flash essentially eliminates the ability to watch over 50% of the meaningful video content on the web.  Hulu is no dice.  Network television sites like ABC.com are no dice.  Entertainment sites like Funny or Die, MetaCafe, and Break.com are no dice.  People want things to work as anticipated.  So when they visit Hulu.com and essentially get a giant fail whale, there will be huge disappointment.  That disappointment will manifest itself into negative peer to peer recommendations.  So much for buzz driving sales.
  5. Walled Garden: I still can’t install apps like Office.  I still can’t install programs like Photoshop.  The ability to create and edit files is limited to the iWork software bundle.  Sure, that would be great…except no one really uses it.  Like it or not Microsoft Office is still king.  When pundits described the iPad as a large iPhone, they weren’t kidding.

The iPad could have been killer.  Instead, it’s about as exciting and will be as successful as the Newton.

UPDATE 4/3/10

This morning I headed over the Mall of America to visit the Easter Bunny.  But, seeing as I had some extra time on my hands, I decided to swing over and check out the “scene” at the Apple Store.  Well, there wasn’t much of a scene.  The Apple Store clearly was anticipating one.  There were two sets of gated lines; one for pre-orders and one for new purchases.  The gates stretched about 200 feet.  I think they were over-prepared.  When I walked by, there were 4 people in the pre-order line and 6 people in the new purchase line.  It took me all of 15 minutes to go from being the 7th person in line to purchasing the iPad for my daughter as an early birthday present.  That kind of “scene” isn’t exactly reminiscent of the iPhone release scene.  It was more like the scene at a 7-11 at 3 in the morning.  Newton, here we come!