Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Analysts Ask if the iPad Can Live Up to Its Hype

When the Apple iPad goes on sale on Saturday, most of the major questions surrounding the device will have been answered, save for one: can it live up to the hype?

Apple fans have breathlessly awaited Apple’s entry into the tablet computer market. Since the company unveiled the iPad in late January, investors have jumped on the bandwagon, too, running up Apple’s stock more than 10 percent.

Part of that rise can be attributed to the steady rise in sales of the iPhone and the company’s Mac computers. But much of it clearly has to do with tablet fever. On the day this month when Apple made the completely unsurprising announcement that the iPad would go on sale on April 3, the stock jumped nearly 4 percent.

Expectations are clearly high. Now the iPad has to meet them.

Apple has given no public indication of what kinds of sales it expects, or what may constitute success. But at the iPad introduction in January, Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, implicitly set a lofty standard. He said the iPad would offer an experience that was superior to that of netbooks, a rapidly growing category of inexpensive and lightweight laptops that accounted for $11 billion in global sales last year.

He also said that the 75 million people who own iPhones and iPod Touches already knew how to use the iPad, which uses the same operating system and touch-screen interface.

But analysts and investors are searching for their own ways to judge the iPad over the short and long term. Their projections vary, but many Apple analysts seem to think the company will sell around a million iPads by the end of its quarter in June, and around 5 million by the end of 2010.

To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/29/technology/29apple.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a21

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