Apple Needs to Hustle with Tablet, Charge $600, Says Study
With rumors of an Apple tablet reinvigorated, shopping site Retrevo released the findings of an Apple tablet study that found $600 to be the pricing sweet spot - and the need for Apple to get a move on before more Mac users buy netbooks.Just in case Apple does produce a tablet/slate product, consumer electronics shopping site Retrevo decided to poll its users to find out who would buy one and for what price.
News of an Apple tablet-the computer maker's supposed one-upping of the netbook market-began in May, when Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, wrote in a research note: "We expect Apple to fill the gap between the iPod Touch and the MacBook with a new tablet device (not a netbook) priced at about $500 to $700."
On Oct. 26, the rumor gained new ground when Bill Keller, executive editor at The New York Times, casually referred to an "Apple slate" during a talk at the TheTimesCenter, the newspaper's new lectures-and-more space.
"I'm hoping we can get the newsroom more actively involved in the challenge of delivering our best journalism in the form of Times Reader, iPhone apps, WAP or the impending Apple slate, or whatever comes after that," Keller told the crowd, according to the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, which posted the comment on its Website.
Avi Greengart, an analyst with Current Analysis, told eWEEK on Oct. 26, "I have been promised an Apple tablet every few months since the company actually stopped building one [the Newton]. I have no doubt that Apple has tablet projects in its labs."
Neil Mawston, a London-based analyst with Strategy Analytics, additionally told eWEEK, "Apple is clearly hitting a rich vein of sales with its touch-screen products, so it makes good sense to expand the technology to as many subcategories as possible. Apple has already enabled its small-screen device portfolio such as the iPod and iPhone with touch screens, so it feels inevitable the technology will eventually be stretched to bigger-screen categories like MIDs, e-books, netbooks or laptops."
Mawston continued, "I don't have any inside information at this stage, but I would be surprised if Apple did not launch a tabletlike touch device of some description next year, with pricing likely to be set at a premium level for affluent technophiles."
Retrevo recommends keeping the pricing at around the $600 mark. In its survey of 753 mostly U.S. customers, Retrevo found that 68 percent of Mac owners said they are willing to pay more than $600 for an Apple tablet, while only 36 percent of PC owners are willing to cross the $600 mark.
Among Mac users, 27 percent said they'd pay between $600 and $800, while only 16 percent of PC users said the same. And upward of $800? Retrevo found 41 percent of Mac users still on board, while only 20 percent of PC users were game.
Retrevo also encourages Apple to get a move on. It reports that "59 percent of the iPhone owners who responded to the survey [say] they already own or plan to buy a netbook this year."
In conclusion, "If Apple wants to grab a larger market and get in on the netbook craze, it will need to attract PC owners to generate significant sales," Retrevo wrote in a statement on its findings.
"To convert PC owners to Apple owners, Apple needs to consider a [close to] $600 price point for the tablet, and they should not delay bringing it to market."