The iPad is going to fail 8

Just like the iPhone.

“We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”
Palm CEO Ed Colligan, commenting on then-rumored Apple iPhone, 16 Nov 2006

“Apple is slated to come out with a new phone… And it will largely fail.”
Michael Kanellos, CNET, 7 December 2006

“The only question remaining is if, when the iPod phone fails, it will take the iPod with it.”
Bill Ray, The Register, 26 December 2006

“The iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks. In terms of its impact on the industry, the iPhone is less relevant… Apple is unlikely to make much of an impact on this market… Apple will sell a few to its fans, but the iPhone won’t make a long-term mark on the industry.””
Matthew Lynn, Bloomberg, 15 January 2007

“Five hundred dollars? Fully subsidized, with a plan? It is the most expensive phone in the world and it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard which makes it not a very good email machine… So, I, I kinda look at that and I say, well, I like our strategy. I like it a lot.”
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, 17 January 2007

“How do you deal with that? How do they deal with us?”
Ed Zander, Motorola CEO/Chairman 10 May 2007

“It’ll sell a couple million units to the many people who have wet dreams about Steve Jobs, and that will be about it.”
Matt Maroon, , 7 May 2007

Quotes compiled by Terry Gregory from AAPLinvestors by way of Edible Apple. HT Tony Pittman


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8 thoughts on “The iPad is going to fail

  • Christopher Heard


    On a serious note, what impact do you envision a teacher’s iPad having on a classroom of non-iPad users? I am trying to think through various “use cases” before I go to those who hold the purse strings.

    • Chris Brady Post author

      I don’t know that there would be any great “impact” of a teacher using the iPad as opposed to a laptop. (I envision, for example, creating my presentations on my MacPro and then carrying only my iPad into the classroom for projection.) I am not sure yet what other projection options it will have. Can I gesture on the tablet and have it show up on the screen? Circle a place on the map? Will other apps aside from Keynote project, as with a notebook?

      On the other hand, I was just talking with our IT manager and we are both eager to see if/when textbook publishers come on board. Once that happens, and hopefully in a relatively platform agnostic manner, then I can see a major impact on class use.

      For me it is going to be an easy purchase (using research funds set aside for hardware) since I have been looking at an electronic reader for all my PDFs and of course the iPad adds all the additional functionality that the Kindle does not.

  • Steve Brady

    Actually, if you read the quotes, they were more or less right. At the price point when the iPhone was initially introduced, it was a high priced luxury item that only sold to the most ardent of Apple fans.

    Once the sales slowed down (significantly by most accounts) Apple lowered the price (significantly) and juiced the sales. Heck, even Jobs admitted they priced too high when entering the market. (reference my blog posts talking about Jobs’ admission and dealing with “temporal price discrimination.” http//

    The big lesson Apple seems to have learned here is that they need to price their product more appropriately at entry. And with the iPad they seem to have done just that. Of course, they seem to have also conditioned people to expect a significant price reduction, if some of the speculative blog stories I have read are to be believed.)

    • Chris Brady Post author

      “They are more or less right”? I will assume you are referring to Balmer’s quote alone. All the others were proved simply false. The iPhone has had huge appeal, the “PC guys” walked in and got it right, and it did not fail, largely or otherwise.

  • Steve Brady

    Actually, I was referring to almost all of the quotes.

    * First, in a rather semantic battle, we are constantly reminded the Mac is not PC. And the PC guys were already there, and not doing well. So is apple a PC company or not? (Choose wisely, grasshopper)…

    * Kanellos was wrong. It has not failed, largely or not. Although if you read his article, he states the purpose of the statement quite early–to antagonize apple/mac fans. And it worked.

    * Bill Ray’s comment about whether it would bring the iPod down with it in failure was a small quote in rather long article the discusses–you guessed it–the price point, and that the higher prices would be unsustainable. So he got it riight–in the near tearm.

    Oh–and the iPhone really has taken the iPod as we knew it then, down. It is harder and harder to find buyers for the iPod classics, apparently. Too bad–I still love those, and love mine.

    * Matthew Lynn got it “right” in the near term also. A luxury item that really only sold the a (relative to the market) small niche before they were forced (by Jobs’ own admission) to lower the price. Significantly.

    * Ballmer, as you said, nailed it.

    * Ed Zander, from Motorola also “nailed it.” Think about it. He was asking “how will they deal with us?” And we found out. That was a witty retort while on stage in a public forum that most likely earned him laughs and/or applause. He followed it, however, with this comment, as paraphrased in the article:

    “But the iPhone, which will go on sale for US$499 or $599, depending on the memory capacity, will stimulate the overall market for feature-rich mobile devices, including Motorola’s, said Zander.”

    Looks like he got that right–Motorola and Google answered, within two years, with the (apparently successful) Droid.

    * And Matt Marroon? Well, had they not lowered the price (again, note Jobs admitted they priced it too high) they would have found their market had dried up.

    So there ya go. Did they get it wrong? Not really–not if you place their comments in the context of when they were said, and in the context of the larger documents in which they were either quoted or writing. I believe you would call this the “sitz im leben,” right?

    • Chris Brady Post author

      Talk about semantics.

      * His prediction failed. Apple walked in an did it. The context of the first quote makes it clear the Palm CEO was referring to Apple, a maker of Personal Computers.

      * His prediction failed.

      * His prediction failed. (And iPod sales continue to be strong, different models come and go, but iPods sell.)

      * His prediction is still false. It HAS made a significant impact on the market. Every phone maker is scrambling to make touch interface phones, following Apple’s lead.

      * Ballmer didn’t “nail” it. They mobile platform is languishing and while Apple made adjustments to pricing (NOT the point of this post, by the way) and the iPhone OS is growing in market share, including into businesses (which was not Apple’s target market).

      * Motorola is answering, but they are on their heels. But I say the more the merrier. Apple is making the market richer and more creative, that is a good thing.

      * His prediction failed. Certainly Apple made adjustments, as any good company will do. Marroon’s prediction failed, if in nothing else, than not taking Apple’s agility into account. But more than anything else, it failed because millions have been sold.

      There you go. Most of these folks predicted the failure of the iPhone and they were wrong. If we consider their quotes in their own context AND the context of this post, which was not about pricing in a market, then it is clear that they predicted a bleak future for a device which has transformed the market.

      Now, you tried to change the context of these quotes by making this about Apple’s initial pricing of the iPhone. (And as I recall, at the time you suggested that this was Apple’s plan all along, to charge an obscenely high price first, get all the cash they could and then penetrate the market by dropping the price. But my memory may be faulty.) But none of that changes the fact that 4 of the quotes explicitly state that the iPhone would fail or sell in very small numbers. That did not happen.

      Sitz im Leben, by the way, is broader than the context of a given piece of text. That is simply context. Sitz im Leben takes into account the geographical, historical, political, religious, etc. “situation” in which the text or event originated. For example, within the broad Sitz im Leben we can understand that many of these individuals had a vested interest in Apple’s not succeeding and perhaps were seeking to influence their investors, consumers, and others by making negative and dismissive comments about the iPhone.

      What will happen with the iPad? I have no idea. It may be like the AppleTV. Not a failure, but hardly a success. Or, more likely, it will sell in moderate numbers, something between the MacBook Air and the MacBookPro.

  • Steve Brady

    Ah so if Sitz im Leben calls for a broader understanding than simply the text in which the words appear, then one might have to assume the words they chose were meant to convey not a prediction, but rather a different sort of message.

    So–not a prediction.


    If not a prediction, then there is no “prediction” to get wrong.

    Now, as to the intent of your post. I of course will defer to you, the author, when you say your intent wasn’t to talk price. In fact, I never assumed it was. I was simply pointing out that their “predictions” if you choose to see them as such were simply based on the assumption that the iPhone would be overpriced, and thus not succeed at that price point–a view all have come to concede. Including Jobs.