The iPad 2.5 years later: How wrong many were

“9 Billion Dollars,” Sam Stevens writes for The Motley Fool. “That’s how much revenue Apple generated from iPad sales in its most recent quarter, which wasn’t even a holiday quarter. To put that in perspective, in the quarter right before the iPad launched, Apple generated $13.5 billion from all its other products, including the iPhone.”

“Lets take a look back at investor pessimism towards the iPad when it was first announced,” Stevens writes. “The first iPad was often called an ‘enormous iPhone’ or, in the words of Fool langco1, an ‘instant dud and rare miss for apple.’ While there were some initial supporters, many focused on what the iPad wasn’t, and not what it was. It was ‘too late on the netbook market’ and a more expensive Amazon kindle. From Retired31B5M, ‘Exactly what am I going to use it for?'”

Stevens writes, “Perhaps the greatest proof of all was the market’s reaction to the iPad’s announcement. On Jan. 27th, the day of the announcement, the stock opened at $207. By Jan. 29th, the market had pushed AAPL as low as $190. The stock dropped more than 8% on the announcement of a product that now earns Apple $9 Billion in sales in a single quarter just 2 1/2 years later.”

I believe there are at least 3 lessons to be learned from the iPad story:

Lesson 1: Upon the launch of a new product, focus on what it is, not what it isn’t
Lesson 2: Never underestimate the power of branding
Lesson 3: The market isn’t completely efficient

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Many people were wrong, not all.

On January 27, 2010, the very day the iPad was unveiled, our own SteveJack wrote in our Opinion section, “The iPad has a larger target audience than some people might think” as he explained why he, “along with millions of others” would be buying an Apple iPad. Full article, and readers’ reactions to it, here

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Ellis D.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Nobody saw over 10 million iPads being sold in 2010 – except for MacDailyNews – January 21, 2011
Dvorak: I really cannot see much of a need for Apple iPad – October 22, 2010
Dvorak: iPad is not going to be Apple’s next runaway best seller – February 12, 2010
Dvorak on Apple iPad: ‘First of all there is no stylus’ – January 29, 2010’s Moritz: Apple’s ‘iFlop’ tablet ‘shelved’ until 2010 (with video) – May 21, 2009’s Scott Moritz foments: Apple’s unannounced tablet will flop – March 24, 2009


    1. ahem… I clearly said that any TOST analysis that corrects for PBAJ towards BUN would see AAPL achieving the kind of SAMN earnings you’re now seeing.

  1. I just wish it wouldn’t stagnate for 2 years.

    It is still just a big iPhone and I can oly use it to consume stuff.

    It has a terribly crippled file system preventing me from doing any kind of serious work.

    I personally give a shit about that stupid retina display.

          1. +1
            The iPad is a wonderful product; this entry is being typed on the “new” one. Yes, you can do certain types of work on an iPad, but say PhotoShop? No. Maybe 50-page spreadsheets? Not sure but doubtful; it all depends on what you’re working on.

            I think people who defend to the death the iPad’s ability to do “real” work don’t consider the fact that just because you can make something work by using multiple steps rather than a few, or using all sorts of workarounds to accomplish something an Air or a MBP can do with ease doesn’t make it great.

            There are many tasks that are the equivalent of flying from San Francisco to LA, then to Denver, to Chicago and then on to New York. Or you can take a nonstop from SF to NY. At the moment, too many tasks on the iPad can’t be made using a “nonstop” flight. I love my iPad, but I would be totally delusional if I considered it a replacement for any computer running OS X.

            Your MMV

            1. The fact, that an iPad cannot replace your Mac is by design. Apple wants everyone to have an iPhone (for web and communication on the go), and iPad (for full web, communications, and light productivity), and a Mac (for professional level productivity). I personally have all three and they make a terrific team.

            2. Just because it isn’t designed to replace a desktop / laptop doesn’t mean you can’t do real work on it…

              Maybe people defend it because often it is faster, easier and less steps than on a laptop / desktop depending on what you are doing and the app you use – all in a smaller package with 10 hour battery!

            3. You have a very narrow world view so when something is taken away you put up with it rather than ask yourself why, what’s the utility of having it as opposed to having it removed. File organization is an important aspect of workflow. You don’t have any inkling of what people do with their iPad. You might live without a file system because you don’t have a huge document load where locating a specific document within a project oriented set up is an important aspect of efficient workflow.

            4. Nothing taken away as it was a new product, so new workflow.

              As with any new device you look at whether it can help you…and the short of it is it can for millions.

              If you need a file system it does exist for some apps. It all depends on what you do.

              Just because it doesn’t work for you (whether because of your particular need or ignorance of what is available) doesn’t mean it can’t be used for real work. To think / state that…well *that* would be narrow minded.

        1. Me too, particularly as an ebook proofing press, for client presentations, and simplish Photoshoppery.

          As for being a consuming device, well yes. I held a sit-down Sunday lunch for my big sister last month, when both Wimbledon and the British Grand Prix were running. Two iPads, sound off, TV on, circulated among lunch guests to keep ’em up to speed!

        2. No doubt I could do word-processing and email, which is my main activities for my profession – but the iPad is pathetic for storing the files in any meaningful file structure, and causing those to be accessible from the Mac desktop/notebook. Sure, there’s Dropbox, but why does Apple not provide their own system, and make it so inconvenient for others?

          So for me the iPad is pathetic at “content storage and retrieval” which amounts to being pathetic at content creation.

          The use of the iPad for making money is not the definition of whether it is good at content creation. Bullsh*t back to yourself. It can well be used for making money, but the iPad is not good for handling content that has been already created, and subsequent editing – solely because of Apple’s idiotic notion that the OS and iOS should be designed for the base user who can’t cope with more than a single layer of a file structure. Why can’t we have Spotlight AND a good file structure. Why does Apple, once again, as always, force it’s agenda on us?

      1. Complete nonsense. Hotels, doctors, airlines, pilots, engineers, lawyers, moms, students, teachers, accountants, financial advisors, investors, designers, artists, network admins, scientists, restaurants, city workers, all use it. You have no idea what it can do because you never have used it, tried, or know anything about it. The iPad does not need a filing system as the applications take care of that. It may be a shift in paradigm but it is by no means crippled.

        1. This is the most retarded comment I have read in a long time. You don’t know in the first place whether I have an iPad or not. You’re making accusatory statements without basis in fact.

          Your use case and mine are completely different. To me, the iPad is crippled because I cannot access documents on a hierarchical file structure so I can retrieve them and send them as email attachments. Ever tried answering an incoming mail and attaching a file to your reply? Thought not.

          Documents are not app-centric. Documents should be project-centric. This is where a file system comes into play. Just because you use your iPad for viewing a couple of movies and playing one or two games doesn’t mean the rest of us waste our time like you do.

          Stop spewing fanboy nonsense. You’re giving the rest of us Apple users a reputation for rabid foam at the mouth responses to anything remotely critical of Apple’s approach to simplifying the file system such that it becomes nonexistent. Try looking at the larger picture and stop gazing at your navel.

          1. “Ever tried answering an incoming mail and attaching a file to your reply?”

            Wow- you accuse others of being fanboys, narrow minded and navel gazing but this I’d your argument?!

            So your definition of *real work* is replying to emails with attachments?
            See for others, at least some of us, we create documents on the iPad. When done we email it direct to clients, customers, patients right from the app which is easier than the old file system.

            Obviously this ‘crippled file system’ ruins the device for everyone like you doing real work but there are others who benefit,

            I use the file system on mac less and less each day. While beneficial there are ways to access it and use it again depending on what you need. I regularly need PDFs stored in the labyrinth so I use an app that I can edit the PDFs if needed, and yes all the files/folders are laid out exactly as on the mac. Dropbox and hundreds of other apps do something similar again BLN just because the device doesn’t fit your workflow doesn’t mean no one does real work on it.

            Content consumption on my iPad is less than 40% Creation obviously makes up over 60%

      2. I do real work with my iPad every day. Lack of exposure of the file system is meaningless to me. I can access any file IO need to with the proper app. No, it’s not the desktop. But if you can’t get real work done, then you should reexamine your workflow.

    1. There is a file system, accessible to anyone who roots the device, and that apps can make use of it. It just doesn’t have a built in app like Finder for directly modifying the file system. This was a deliberate design choice that makes the devise better to use.

  2. The difficulty predicting the success of the iPad on the day of its launch was the prevalence of netbooks that could be bought at about the same price point as a 32GB Wi-Fi model. People thought that the iPad was predominantly as consumption device that had a limited market. I think it is difficult to fault the thinking. Then people come to realize that most of their activities centered on reading books, writing email, watching movies, playing games, all of which could be done by a device you could hold in your hand that was portable enough to slip in a carryall bag for commutes to work.

      1. ^^^^^ This. Those of us who bought one on day found the device we were always looking for.

        BTW, iBooks has a pseudo file system that I use all the time. The last trial I had I put EVERY document on my iPad. The courtroom had Wi-Fi so the only things I brought to the trial were my iPad and and AppleTV to use for Keynote presentations (the court provided a big TV to use). Very slick. I found that not having a bunch of papers and files laying around helped me focus more on testimony and made me able to do my job more efficiently. I submitted all of my exhibits on a throw away flash drive. Love the iPad!!!

          1. I actually agreed with some of what you said in responses above, about lack if a file system crippling the device for certain kinds if work. But to insult someone else because they found a way to make the device work for them, that’s just petty.

            What screwed up world do you live in that someone else has to be wrong in order for you to be right? Because, in the real world, it doesn’t work that way. Someone else can find the iPad incredibly useful, while *at the same time* you can have legitimate gripes about missing features that cripple your workflow.

            But you’re just an ass. Wait, I’m sorry, you’re a testicle. Same smell different location in your case I’d presume.

  3. I did not pay much attention to the first iPad when it came out but over the year I looked at what it could do and finally bought one when the iPad 2 was launched. I use it every single day and even have it in front of me even while writing this response on my iMac. For me it was a matter of what could it do and then found the apps that solved problems for me and I have never looked back.

  4. Saves my eyes …. Makes reading easier ….. I no longer carry maps in my truck …. I can be inside a warehouse looking at a leak and look at the roof on my iPad …..

    I show my customers pics of their roofs and others, on my iPad …..

    Email, weather apps, Bloomberg, calendar all on my iPad ….. MBL as well on my iPad ……

    Purchased every single one ….. Gave 1 / 2 to my grandkids …..

    Did I mention editing photos and making PDFs for my clients …. Emailing them from the roof and then reviewing photos – proposal twenty minutes later while they are looking at their computer ….. Blows their minds ….. Did I mention I directly sold $115K job because of my presentation ….

    Yep, I really like my iPad and it is productive …..

    Did I mention videos!

    1. Have you tried Quickbooks online with it. Use it when meeting with clients to create invoices or quotes. iPad is ultimate Keynote machine for those meetings. Also there are a slew of network utilities which make network diagnostics a breeze.

  5. People who look at the iPad as being ‘crippled’ don’t realize who the target market was for this device. It was, to borrow an old Apple marketing slogan, literally, “the computer for the rest of us.” The iPad originally wasn’t meant for the readers of this blog, who tend to be advanced computer users or above. It was for people like my grandmother, who never used a computer, or for people who were ‘afraid’ of computers. It was a computing appliance that had a limited set of functions, but could do them very, very well. In no time at all, Grandma was surfing the Web, corresponding via e-mail, taking pictures or playing music, or downloading apps, with very little effort.

    In time, the i

  6. Those above that wish the iPad was more than it is are still missing the point.
    It is a device for consuming information. It has limited use for creating information.
    If you accept that then the product makes sense.
    For those that want a file system and want to create stuff etc, get a Mac. That’s what its for.

    There’s an article today by the BBC about all the PC makers making ugly looking tablet / laptop combos. As always they will be crap and not do anything well.

    1. I have used and experienced Android tablets with exposed file systems. You should widen your horizons and take a look at those. Manipulation of documents within a file system is easy and seamless. Don’t let the Apple RDF blind you to the fact.

  7. I love you geeks…. Crippled for real work because of the inaccessible file system….what only what you do is “real work”… Lots of people can do real work using the iPad and don’t have to access the fold system or want to…. If your work requires accessing the file system the iPad is not for you… Period, end of story …. Buy what you need and let the “rest of us” get on with our work usIng a device that does what we want without having to think about anything else
    Getting in the way…. I write and publish IOS and Linux software …. For that I use a desktop… No matter what I would NEVER use a tablet for that work….BUT… The software on my tablet helps to control my life and publishing efforts… It’s called using the right tool for the job…. Sometimes I need a hammer , sometimes a jack hammer…. Get over it already

        1. Don’t be too harsh – the file system is a hard thing to break post windows… Sure it has it’s uses but to windows users you’re lost without it.

          I had a huge hierarchical file system when I can to mac but quickly learned I didn’t need to depend on it as there are better ways to find / use files on mac.

          My step father moved to mac (he’s 65 civil engineer) a year or so later. But when user him I cringe at the way he still does stuff. He was birthed in IT with the file system and I think it will only die with him. I’ve shown him faster easier ways but he continues on, set in his ways.

  8. I can do Pages, Keynote, iPhoto, iMovie, Numbers, print, email, FaceTime. That includes ALL of the things ANYONE in an office needs to do 95% of the time. Sure, if you want to do some weird function that you do once in a blue moon, you go to a desktop. ICloud hels with that seamlessly!! On t.op of that it does a million other things I haven’t even mentioned……including replying to bozo’s with crippled brains on MDN while watching stuff from my Apple TV whitch is simultaneously being controlled by the same iPad I am typing on…..oh s’cuse me while I forward to the next episode…..oh my calendar says only two more weeks to the big event……oh s’cuse me, just got a notification that Apple stock dipped to a buying opportunity……done, got more Apple…AALL OF THIS DONE ON MY iPad.

    Crippled my ass. You can do more than 90% of your shit sitting in front of a TV in your B’day suit. All on a $500 device.

        1. I could write the contract but try finding it later 2-3 months down the road if you need to resend it or reuse it again for another purpose. You might like digging around making random searches for documents but I like mine neatly organized so I know where to look for them any time I want.

  9. Credit our school district for purchasing 1500+ iPads (retina version) for the entire high school. I have always been on the fence about their value in the educational system… guess I’ll get to find out first hand how the deployment works.

    Having attended the mandatory informational meeting, it looks promising.

  10. Scott Moritz was the genius who coined the iPad, the iFlop when it first came out. He was just one of the many tech-pundits who swore they could see into the future and knew that Steve Jobs would end his stay at Apple with a massive failure of a product. Everyone knew that, ahem, tablets were a waste of time when consumers could just run out and buy fully functional $350 Windows netbooks with USB ports, Microsoft Office and Adobe Flash support.

    The iPad was destined to be a huge failure. Consumers would hate the damn thing and they sure weren’t going to pay $499+ for some crippled toy. The tech pundits all knew that Apple was making the biggest mistake ever and the company was surely doomed. They saw the future and there was no iPad in it. Microsoft failed to sell tablets to consumers and the iPad wasn’t didn’t even have half the function of a Windows tablet. Apple would never sell a million of those useless tablets in a year and maybe not ever. Steve Jobs would be the laughingstock of the entire computer industry. End of story.

    1. and he now writes for Bloomberg.

      I have to admire the fiber of such people, to make such patently false statements, be proven utterly wrong by all accounts and still have the courage to take up a keyboard.

  11. The iPad is more than sufficient for my mobile computing needs. I have a mid-’11 13″ MBA as well but I prefer to just take the iPad out for short business trips or on vacations along with the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. It’s very rare that I’d miss the MBA on such occasions.

    I also use Dropbox app for the iPad (as well as the iPhone) extensively to access all the files on the computers (my MBA and the iMac at the office), so as long as I have Wi-Fi or cellular Interent connection, I’m fine. I use FileApp Pro on both the iPad and iPhone to keep certain files locally but that’s not a large number of files.

    The iPad does not replace the MBA or the iMac but is a very nice complementary device that can become one’s primary device for a certain period of time depending on the environment and the situation. I’m on business trips to Asia and Europe over a third of my time and the iPad is definitely my main device when I’m on the road. It’s all I need on vacations as well along with the iPhone.

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