The much-awaited unveiling of Apple's (Nasdaq:AAPL) iPad tablet took place on Wednesday. With the new multi-device, Apple hopes to excite consumers to spend a minimum of $499 to buy the slate, which will allow them to surf the web, email, read books, play games and more. Apple used many of the design and control features of its popular iPhone and tried to add other appeal. Although the product's unveiling in San Francisco was met with enthusiasm, stock market analysts and technology observers were mixed on how the iPad would be received by consumers and how it would eventually play to Apple's bottom line.
IN PICTURES: Consumer "Fads" That Never Faded
There's plenty of buzz about the new tablet, but there are also important details with the various partners and alliances that Apple is using for the device. AT&T (NYSE:T), despite its well-known rough moments due to its spotty Wi Fi network performance in its iPhone support, was chosen over Verizon (NYSE:VZ) as the sole 3G service provider for iPad. As Elizabeth Woyke wrote in a Forbes piece, the thinking is that perhaps AT & T, understanding how important Apple's iPhone business was, gave better terms than Verizon would have. Still, winning the service deal for iPad is an important coup for AT&T.
Components and Supplies
With all the buzz for mobile generated by the iPad, its introduction may have an impact even on more indirect companies like Cisco (Nasdaq:CSCO), which sells Wi-Fi Linksys components and ancillary products, or Motorola (NYSE:MOT), which sells Bluetooth headsets. Other smaller manufacturers of such components also may do increased business with any of the ancillary mobile phone devices, so while this would hardly mean major revenue impacts for companies the size of Cisco or Motorola, it is likely that the iPad, like any major mobile device, will probably have a large reach.
Perhaps even more significant but less well known are Apple's outsource partners, which include firms such as Simplo Technologies, which provides the iPad's battery, and Foxconn, which will manufacture the device. Foxconn already manufactures the iPhone for Apple. Apple's alliances spread out to these and many other lesser known tech companies. (For more, check out 3 Secrets Of Successful Companies.)
Yes, There's an App for That Too
The iPad has been mentioned as a competitor with Amazon's (Nasdaq:AMZN) Kindle, as well as other lesser e-readers. Apple CEO Steve Jobs also announced a partnership with The New York Times (NYSE:NYT), Harper Collins, Pearson Penguin and other major publishers, with the Times already preparing apps for the iPad. Game playing will also be a feature of the tablet, with Electronic Arts (NYSE:ERTS) preparing apps for the iPad Tablet as well.
Hit Or Miss?
Wile some observers define the iPad as a cross "between an iPhone and a laptop", and others claim "it's not an e-reader", Jobs insists it is a "third kind of device".
The iPad permits movie viewing, reading, gaming, connects to iTunes, and interfaces with Windows and Mac. But some critics decry its lack of social features, and have already labeled it nothing more than a souped-up laptop. The initial retail price for the device, $499, is far below the rumored $1,000 price. However, it increases when customers desire 3G wireless, which comes with a price tag of $629-$829.
Overall, opinion is somewhat divided on how much revenue the iPad will bring in, or whether it will be another game-changer as far as personal technology devices. But Apple recently had dynamite earnings again, and the powerhouse company certainly can't be counted out just yet. (For more, The Successful Investment Journey.)
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