A lightly edited correspondence with Aaron Shepard:
Morris, here’s the Wall Street Journal on sales of the iPad’s biggest competitor so far:
I didn’t even know the Samsung was out yet. Seems to me (a recent) WSJ article on the serious contenders has them coming out in the summer and running a version of Android that is still pre-release.
I don’t think the tablet market will be any more brand dependent than the phone or laptop market. I know one guy (college professor) with an iPad, the college bought it for him. I know one guy with an iPhone (a cousin) and nobody with an iMac, unless you happen to have one. I’m sure Apple will end up with the market share they deserve for being an innovator in tablets, but I don’t see them having anything like the long term effect on the book market that Kindle and its successors will likely have.
It’s not pre-release, but it’s a version that Google has said is not suited to the larger screen size of tablets.
This is a bit different, because Apple has basically defined the category. It will be more like the iPod. How many people do you know who have any other brand of digital music player, or any other brand of tablet?
Are you kidding? Have you compared the latest sales figures? The iPad is outselling the Kindle 3 to 1, even with the price difference, and it’s still in its first generation. Anyway, just look at the discussions of publisher involvement with ebooks. How many articles do you see about publisher innovation for the Kindle? Nada. Everyone’s focused now on the iPad. The only thrilling statements about the Kindle are coming from Amazon press releases. The Kindle has about as much of a future as black-and-white television.
Just out of curiosity, and as a point of comparison, how many people do you know with HDTV?
Every single one of my nieces and nephews own an unbranded MP3 player, don’t ask me what they listen to. I have one friend with an iPod, she listens to library books. Maybe other people I know have them and I’m just not aware of it. Personally, I tend to cut anybody who walks around with earphones.
I don’t know anybody with any other brand of tablet, but I suspect I will when cheaper ones appear that run Windows like things. My friend with the iPod swears she will never buy anything else Apple, because she hates the way it only works just so. Tablets are too multifunctional to be lifetime items. The friend I have with one uses it for e-mail and video, that’s it. When it’s dead, he’ll look for something else that does e-mail and video, and price will determine.
I think the number they gave out (iPad sales) is 20 million. (This was wrong, number may be 10 million). Damned if I can figure out who bought them. Probably a lot of Yuppies with too much money, social signalers:-)
You get excited about claims of publisher innovation? They’ve had the web to work with for fifteen years and they haven’t done squat. They’re just clueless. <snip – named names> They’re all out to lunch.
100% of the people I know who own one (iPad) say it sucks for reading. Amazon will continue to produce new generations, but as I’ve pointed out to you and whoever else is listening time and time again, it’s their store that counts. Apple has yet to do a successful bookstore.
Remember that I don’t watch TV so I don’t pay attention, but I would estimate that everybody who’s replaced a TV in the last five years has HDTV. Many of them replaced to get an LCD, not for higher resolution. The one friend I know it mattered for watches a lot of hockey, you can actually see the puck. But I certainly have friends who are still watching picture tubes, don’t have cable, etc.
I don’t see what the one discussion has to do with the other. By your argument, I’d think everybody would have to own an iPhone. Except their growth of market share has been falling steadily while Android phones accelerate. You know I’m not a mobile phone user either, but from what I understand from the WSJ, the reason Android is winning is a combination or price and choice of form factors.
Well, when you do figure that out (who’s buying iPads), you’ll be looking at the future of publishing.
From my brief experience, I say the opposite. The iPad is a pleasure to read on. The Kindle sucks. I just refuse to read on it, the experience is so primitive. The only advantage the Kindle has is in bright sunlight — and rumor has it that Apple’s about to address that.
Apple’s iBookstore is less than a year old. Where was Amazon’s store after a single year? If you want to know where Apple’s book sales are headed, look at their music sales.
Morris, what you don’t understand about Apple is that they don’t roll out full-blown products. They start with just enough to get something rolling, then they build on it. The iBookstore you see now is only a kernel. They’ve barely begun.
The reason Android seems to be winning is that it’s a platform, not a product. It’s being adopted by a host of companies. If you want a fair comparison, look at the largest number of Android phones being sold by any one company, then compare that to iPhone sales. Anyway, it’s not a good comparison, because Apple came late to the field. The iPad is a different game entirely.
I think Android has sewn the seeds of its own destruction. By trying to be more open than Apple, they’ve destroyed their chance to match the quality of the experience. They’ve also opened themselves up to the world of viruses. Android is going to be the Windows of the mobile world — the OS that everyone wishes they hadn’t bought.
I think you’re just an Apple homer. I don’t see iPad as the future of reading, but I guess we’ll know within a year based on their penetration, intention to dump Kindle, etc. I think you underestimate the dislike many people have for Apple’s closed platforms and high-handedness.
I still remember your telling me years ago about people in Japan reading on their phones. While that turned out to be a sort of a niche thing in the Western world, which was my guess, I think there’s something to the small format, portability and much lower cost of dedicated eBook readers. I already broke one of my Kindles, though I still use it every day, and I won’t hesitate to buy another if the dead screen area grows.
By Christmas, I expect their WiFi version to be $99. While you and I are making enough money that we don’t need to care about such things, most people who read books do. iPads are toys for technophiles, Kindles are for readers. Don’t sell readers short when it comes to books.
If Amazon needs to come out with a color book reader running Android to protect their market share, they will, and they will subsidize it heavily, something I don’t think Apple does.
You sound like me when the Mac came out. I was convinced it was just a toy. But the Mac isn’t a toy, and neither is the iPad. The range of useful apps on it is making it an extremely useful tool in all kinds of fields. My main fear in buying it is that it’s going to open up so much potential capability. I dread having to keep up with it.
The iPad is NOT going to technophiles. Just the opposite. It’s going to people who want computing to be simpler. It’s what computers would have been if they hadn’t originally been designed by and for engineers.
You want to know who’s buying the iPad? Trendsetters.
That would be a good idea. Even the Android-based Nook has outclassed them, at this point.
That’s it, I thought I’d give Aaron the last word. I had a conversation about who’s buying iPads with Jon Reed before writing this, figuring he’s more plugged into the world than I am. He estimated that at a recent IT conference he attended (or heard about, I already forgot), 50% of the attendees had iPads. The selling point in the business travel community would be battery life and cloud access to check e-mail and thin-client browser apps.
I wonder what percentage of iPads have been sold in foreign countries, as opposed to Kindles. I couldn’t find a number quickly.