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iPad forcing a tablet price war, killing netbooks?

updated 08:05 am EST, Fri January 29, 2010

ASUS, MSI caught off guard by iPad price

Apple's iPad has triggered a panic in the Taiwanese PC market over the low price, according to reports from industry sources in the area. ASUS and MSI had allegedly expected Apple to charge as much as $1,000, but the $499 base price for an iPad has left them with little if any room to undercut their American rival. They had planned to price themselves between 20 to 30 percent lower but now have to reconsider as they may kill profit margins to achieve a similar effect below Apple.

These and other companies may consider avoiding a price war altogether, DigiTimes' sources added.

At the same time, display maker AU Optronics' global business executive VP Paul Peng has noted that Apple has already had a ripple effect on the netbook industry. Often a supplier of notebook LCDs, AUO has been asked to provide panels similar to the 9.7-inch, 1024x768 LCD found in the iPad. Peng believes this is a reflection of companies switching up their strategy and that Apple could eat into the netbook market, selling as many as 10 million iPads this year.

The official believes Apple's main obstacles are possible component shortages and e-books. Despite adding text reading as a feature, Peng is concerned that Apple may have little effect on dedicated e-book readers as LCD isn't as suited to reading. Where e-paper displays are easy on the eyes, LCD reading isn't necessarily comfortable after about an hour and may lend the iPad only to short stints or its non-book functions.

by MacNN Staff



  1. tsmelker

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Oh, whaaaaaaah...

    ... poor widdle PC-making babies whining because Apple's forced them to try and keep up again. Same story, different day.

  1. ebeyer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Much depends..

    Steve pointed out that the iPad and netbooks are different devices. The iPad offers a relatively sanitary computing experience. You can only use apps officially blessed by Apple, but in exchange you have very few dealings with the "under the hood" aspects of using a computer. You're limited in what you can do, but what you can do runs reliably and with good performance.

    Those of us who value freedom over convenience (open source fans, for example) and those who need Windows for whatever reason won't get an iPad.


  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sounds good, but I wonder...

    how this $499 price would be killing netbooks. Netbooks certainly cost in the $300 - $400 range, so how does this affect netbooks. I kind of doubt that consumers are going to give up netbooks to go to tablets based on the complaints I've been reading so far. They feel that the Apple tablet is a step backwards because it doesn't come with a physical keyboard or support Adobe Flash.

    I also can't imagine Apple selling more than 5 million iPads this year considering nearly every pundit saying that there's no consumer market for tablets and never will be. It would be an amazing feat if Apple can prove the naysayers wrong. I've been concerned about the initial tech-head reaction to the tablet. They're saying how flawed the iPad is and that ANY company could produce one that's a lot better. I think the average non-tech consumer will feel differently. I'm heavily into tech and yet I see the potential of the iPad even if it's not quite there yet. I absolutely have to have one.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. namenotfound

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iPad vs Netbook

    Apple's iPad will not replace netbooks in our healthcare environment, at least in version 1.0.

    No Flash
    No VPN
    No ActiveX browser (hate it all you want, it's a requirement for healthcare web apps)
    No real keyboard for touch typing OR pen input.

    I can see the iPad as a replacement for the ipod touch for those with bad eyesight like my mother in law. Touch Senior?

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    If it ran MacOS...

    ...the concern might be more valid... Perhaps iPad '11?

  1. rytc

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The iPad

    runs the iPhone OS which supports VPN and also supports input via a pen. The other issues you list such as ActiveX mean anything not running Windows is out of the question for you.

  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Innovation, disruption and (horrors!) COMPETITION?! Oh, the humanity!

  1. Geoduck

    Joined: Dec 1969


    NetBooks in Decline

    One of the biggest complaints I hear about NetBooks is that they are underpowered. Sure with Win or Linux on them you COULD run anything, but in reality they load down and are too slow. I've talked to a fair number of people that found them interesting but ended up going to a low end laptop that had a bigger HD, more memory, and faster processor. Unless ALL you want to do is e-mail and little else they just are severely limited. I've read a number of articles in the last six months or so about how NetBooks are seeing spec (and price) creep as users want to do more regular 'Laptop' things with them and need more horsepower to do it.
    The iPad is a big threat to NetBooks. It is vastly more capable, in a package that's about as easy to carry, and will bring with it a 'coolness' similar to what the iPhone has (had?). The lack of Flash is an issue, but with HTML5 I expect to see more and more sites moving away from proprietary (and expensive) Flash graphics in the next few years, reducing the impact of this deficiency. The iPad is a closed iPhone environment so it won't appeal to geeks that want to get in and tinker with their systems. Their may always be a market for NetBooks to us geeks. But to the average person that just wants something light and cheap to e-mail, surf, and play a few games this is going to be a compelling product.

    OTOH I might be able to pick up a NetBook at a closeout "Fire Sale" price this year. $99 anyone?

  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Killing off netbooks...

    And the downside would be?

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969


    On Pricing

    You've got to wonder what that copy of windows OS costs the netbook sellers in terms of unit price.

    An unrelated note: if mass adoption of a product like this kills flash, I'll be ecstatic.

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