News across the wire today is that the iPad has killed off the netbook. Many are reporting it, and a few a playing loose and fast with the cause and effect theories that govern these sorts of correlation versus causation arguments.

After reaching a historical high last summer, the netbook manufacturers have seen a massive slope downwards in sales which coincidentally coincide with the announcement of the iPad in January and the US release in April. It’s important to note that despite the correlation between the iPad announcement and netbook sales, the iPad may not have been responsible for the downswing in netbook sales.

Off the top of my head, I can think of at least one reason for the sales slump.

People were excited about small and cheap computers at a time when the economy was taking a serious hit. I’d be a little more comfortable attributing the sales of cheap computers with the state of disposable income levels last year. If you were without a job, would you prefer a full-priced computer or a two-hundred dollar netbook? Seems like a simple choice.

Is the iPad going to cannibalize Touch and MacBook sales?

It’s obvious that Apple has to be a little bit worried about the bottom line of their other products, especially considering the successful launch of the iPad. The top management brass have been frank about seeing the iPad as a complimentary tool to their existing lineup, but the question remains, does the public see it the same way?

According to the latest research out of Morgan Stanley, 41% of people polled were planning on buying an iPad over the iPod Touch. Again, this might have a lot more to do with the iPad getting most of the attention these days, but there’s also a very good chance that the iPad could hurt sales.

It’s all about the price point, and we have a hard time seeing the price being a problem. As of today an iPod Touch comes in at $199.00 and the iPad at $499.00. No matter how pundits slice it, the iPod Touch is going to be around for a while–there’s a fifty dollar difference between the iPod nano and the iPod Touch. Don’t be surprised if Apple phases out the iPod classic and nano and starts focusing on the iPod Touch.

We’re a long way from laptops being replaced

We’ve yet to have an iPad in our custody for a prolonged period (we’re blaming FedEx), but we’re having a very difficult time seeing how the iPad can be classified as a laptop killer in the short term. Sure, maybe three or four generations from now, as mobile hardware catches up to the power a laptop can push out the iPad might replace the MacBook lineup, but I wouldn’t go holding your breath.

It’s a complimentary device, not a cannibal

The iPad was designed to compliment a typical Apple environment, and it’s been doing that exceedingly well for most. There’s time’s where you’ll want a laptop to conduct business, and there will be other times when an iPad might be the more logical choice. Having both is going to be an asset–but, it’s also going to be a frivolous luxury for some. Some people won’t be able to justify the expense of a MacBook, but an iPad is a cheaper pill to swallow. It’s those people, the people who check email, read the web, and watch the occasional video online that are going to be buying an iPad.

Actually, on second thought, maybe the iPad is responsible for destroying the netbook market. Every argument that can be made for a netbook, I just made for an iPad. I take it back, the iPad is eating at netbook sales.

Article Via The Apple Blog

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]