A recent study from Strategy Analytics author David Mercer showed that two-thirds of possible iPad buyers from the U.S. and Europe want to pay less than the iPad’s current price of $500 or 500 Euros. On that note, several similar competing tabs such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the RIM Blackberry Playbook have either been released or will be released at a lower price: the Samsung Galaxy Tab is being sold for as low as $200 with a new contract and the RIM Blackberry Playbook is expected to cost under $500, according RIM’s co-CEO, Jim Balsillie.
Even though this has made tablet competition thick, and it’ll only get thicker, Apple isn’t expected to budge much on the pricing until the iPad 2 launches in Q1 of 2011–and even then, the iPad probably won’t see a significant price drop, according to Peter King, Strategy Analytic’s tablet and touchscreen analyst.
In fact, King says that the forthcoming Playbook won’t greatly affect the iPad’s pricing timetable, and the Galaxy Tab isn’t, either, even though a Samsung spokesperson confirmed that the Galaxy Tab surpassed one million sales after two months. Nevertheless, Apple will be keeping a close eye on the market, King said, and said the market share may drop by as much as 15% to 80% for Apple within the next year.
Part of the reason Apple isn’t sweating about its competitors to the iPad has a lot to do with the Apple name itself and the loyal fan base it has kept, as well as quality of product. “There are already $200 tablets from Chinese manufacturers, but just because they are cheap, does not mean they will sell,” said King, helping to drive this point home. “Consumers are savvy these days, quality is important for them, as is the prestige of owning a quality brand.”
Other reasons driving consumers to the iPad other than being the first of its kind include user experience and apps users like to own.
King also says that although there may be no set-in-stone timetable for a price drop on the iPad, evidence shows that sooner or later the iPad must go down in price in order to compete with the new tablets cropping up in the market.
Other top competitor tablets like the Asus Eee Pad and the as-of-yet unnamed HP, Motorola and Dell tablets are slated for U.S. release within the next year.
As a side note, after the early success in the U.S. and Japan, another iPad survey completed by Mercer shows that Italy holds the highest iPad usage as of recent. King points out that Apple iPhone usage is also high in Italy, but this may be because “…internet household penetration in Italy, at 59%, is somewhat lower than in other markets, therefore increasing the likelihood that the sample may be weighted disproportionately towards technophile users.” Technophile users, meaning those who love technology, of course.