Good Luck Building A $399 Tablet That's Better Than The iPad 2

tim cook

Photo: AP

Apple made exactly one game changing announcement today.It wasn’t the new iPad.

There, Apple took the same path it took with the iPhone 4S last year — announced a lot of step-function updates (better screen, faster graphics, iPhoto) that together add up to a better product.

Apple TV? Minor update to a product that has never sold very well.

No. The truly groundbreaking announcement is that Apple is keeping the current iPad 2 around and dropping its price to $399.

That means that every Android tablet maker, and all the companies planning to make Windows tablets, now have to set their starting prices at $399. Or they’ll be immediately dismissed.

So far, tablet makers have had trouble getting prices under $500. Dropping them another $100 is going to be a very tall order.

The last time PC makers tried to make $400 computers, we ended up with netbooks — some of the slowest, ugliest, worst-performing pieces of technology ever seen.

Apple didn’t quite go for the kill — it could have dropped the price to $299 and destroyed Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire, which has a smaller screen and doesn’t do as much, as well, as the iPad 2. Amazon will still have a place at the very low-end of the tablet market.

But at $399, the iPad 2 is going to make life very hard for Samsung, Google/Motorola, HP, and every other tablet maker out there.

 

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