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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

March 7, 2012 at 11:43 AM

Wall Street iYawns, but cheaper iPad 2 will fly

If you can see past the embarrassing media frenzy over Apple’s press conference today, you might notice that investors aren’t as enthused about the updated iPad.

While the overall market’s up a bit, Apple’s down about $6 or about 1 percent at $524. The stock has been phenomenal, especially in the frenzy of rumors leading up to today’s announcements, approaching $550 a few days ago.

UPDATE: The stock ended up closing at 530.69, up 43 cents or .08 percent. The Dow ended up .61 percent and the NASDAQ closed up .87 percent.

Perhaps investors were hoping for more than the expected updates to the processor, camera and display resolution of the iPad, or disappointed that it’s getting thicker rather than thinner.

I think they should focus on the iPad 2 instead. Apple’s going to keep making it, and drop the entry price to $399. That may turn out to be the biggest news of the day.

By lowering the entry level price of the iPad, Apple will be better able to fend off Amazon’s Kindles and other Android tablets at the lower end.

This alsos make it harder for the upcoming Windows 8 tablets to compete against “the iPad” since the latter now “starts” at $399. Windows devices — with quad-core processors and hardware that compares favorably with the iPad 3 — will probably “start” at more than $500.

Most people won’t make apples-to-apples comparisons, and most of them will opt for the $399 model.

The addition of a high-def camera isn’t going to be a huge seller since nearly everyone who can afford an iPad already has a decent or better digital camera or phone.

It’s just like PCs — if there’s a cheaper one available and it does pretty much the same thing, it will sell more than higher-end models with quad-core processors and more powerful graphics capabilities.

It looks like the stampede toward the cheaper iPad 2 is already happening. When I visited Apple’s site at the start of today’s lunch hour, the page touting the iPad 2 and its lower price wasn’t loading, presumably because it was overwhelmed with visitors.

Apple probably won’t tell investors much about the mix of older vs. newer iPads that it sells this year. It hasn’t done that with the various iPhones now on sale. It will just report surprisingly big sales of the overall iPad line, boosted by the discounted models it announced today.

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