Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider
Apple executives are saying that the low priced Kindle Fire could actually be a good thing for the iPad because it introduces another level of fragmentation in the Android platform.Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes just met with Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer, and here’s what he heard about the Fire:
While the pricing at $199 looks disruptive for what seems to be the iPad’s most important rising challenge, the Amazon Fire – it is important to note that it could fuel further fragmentation in the tablet market—given it represents yet another platform. While compatible with Android, the Apps work with Amazon products. The more fragmentation, the better, says Apple, since that could drive more consumers to the stable Apple platform. We believe that Apple will get more aggressive on price with the iPad eventually but not compromise the product quality and experience.
Apple has a point. Amazon’s Fire is based on Android, but looks totally different. Android-based apps for the Fire will probably look out of place initially.
However, in the long run as it sells millions and millions of Fires, developers will see it as a third platform and start building custom apps for Amazon.
And, the bigger picture for Apple is that the Fire, at $199, severely undercuts the iPad. If you were on the fence about buying an iPad, there’s a good chance you’ll go for the Fire, since it’s so cheap.
All that said, there’s one huge, honking caveat with the Fire: No one has really tested it yet. The thing could be awful. In which case, Apple has nothing to worry about.