A headline I never expected to read

Here's a headline that I never expected to read. I mean, I knew the iPad was going to be big, but I didn't expect it to be this big.

Here's a headline that I never expected to read. I mean, I knew the iPad was going to be big, but I didn't expect it to be this big.

Three million iPads sold in the first 80 days, with a sales rate now estimated at somewhere around 4.5 million per quarter. The iPad now beats the DVD player as the fastest adopted non-phone gadget ever. And just to put that into perspective, some 350,000 units in the first year. But consider over how many different manufacturers those sales were spread over.

That's not big. That's huge.

Several readers have emailed me asking why the iPad is the success it is. Is it because it's a good product? Is it because it's an Apple product? Is it because of the advertising? The hype? Sure, I think all those things play in, but I think the main reason the iPad has done so well is down to three things:

  • It's new and different ... And that means exciting
  • It's priced right Don't believe me? Go back in your mind a couple of years and think what $500 would have bought you.
  • It's focussed There's very little thinking that the buyer needs to do. It's down to three capacities and the choice of WiFi-only of WiFi and 3G. On an even simpler level, the choice is down to how much the consumer wants to spend.

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It's going to be really interesting to see how well non-Apple tablet sales pan out. I'm hoping that they are a success because decent, well-priced Windows and Linux powered tablets would be great. That said, I have a strong feeling that they will go through a "kludgy" stage, a "good idea but poorly implemented" stage and a "trying to make it as cheap as possible" stage before we actually see anything good. Also, as much as I like Windows 7 on desktops and notebooks, I don't see it making a good tablet OS. Not only is it a heavy OS in terms of system requirements (which translates into higher power consumption, meaning less battery life), but the interface is designed to be used with a cursor and not a finger.

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I really don't see myself jumping onto the first-generation Windows-powered tablets unless they are pure awesome.