Apple resellers and dealers are being kept in the dark about the upcoming iPad, and many fear they won’t be able to sell the unit direct.
Although several Apple resellers were reluctant to speak on the record about their dealings with the tech giant, all confirmed to ARN that no Australian details on the iPad had been provided since its global launch in January.
The lack of information hasn’t dampened MyMac technical supervisor, Steve Derbyshire’s enthusiasm for the device.
“There have been numerous queries from prospective buyers in and out of the store, when’s it due, what’s it look like,” he said. “For generic browsing of the Internet, it’s going to make life a lot easier.”
But Derbyshire admitted the unit had limitations compared to similarly-priced laptops that would stop sales reaching the levels of frenzy generated by Apple’s iPhone.
“Look, it’s not a fully-fledged OS, it’s not going to be doing the funky things that a laptop can do,” he said. “I don’t personally think it’ll be a huge seller first off, that’s just my opinion. Yes there is interest, but I think it’s limited in its use.
“If you added the likes of a camera, it might make it a bit more appealing but I’m sure that’ll come down the way in the second or third generation.”
Mac Centre Norwood director, John Peart, agreed plenty of buzz had been generated by the iPad, but said the impact on resellers would come down to the level of differentiation between units.
“It fits into a gap in the market that has not been there traditionally and it can only do good things for Apple,” he said. “You’ve got to look at how many people are going to adopt the 3G version versus the Wi-Fi version.
“I think the Wi-Fi version will be the most successful, presuming it gets adopted by schools and institutions, which is the most likely place for it to gain saturation.”
But while several resellers agreed education was a key market for any iPad-style device, Peart said he would not be pursuing the field as an opportunity.
“Apple has very strict guidelines about which resellers can and can’t do education. But certainly having looked at a few interesting scenarios… there’s probably a few enterprise opportunities,” he said.
Beyond the Box business manager, Michal Bogatko, added app-makers would likely be the bigger winners once they could start programming for the iPad.
“We think it’s a brilliant product. I think for the development community, it’s a great win. We work with a lot of developers and we’ve found lots of people that weren’t interested in working on the iPhone are really excited about putting stuff out for the iPad,” he said.
“The big issue we’re seeing at the moment is there’s no detail on the book store being available in Australia. I think that’s going to be a big clincher for a lot of people, especially in schools.
“I think the Kindle will see some erosion in sales from the iPad.”
All resellers agreed pricing would be one of the biggest points of contention when selling the iPad to Australian users.
“All in all, I think Apple been quite good with pricing of late,” Bogatko said. “That said, you look at other things such as the iPhone and we are paying more for that.”
Contrary to the view held by many companies that Australians are willing to pay more for good tech, Derbyshire claimed locals were very budget conscious and unwilling to accept inflated rates. Australian pricing for the iPad has not yet been confirmed, but the unit’s US pricing ranges from $US499-$US829.
“Australians per se are very penny conscious. Since the dollar went down, customers are thinking very cautiously about spending their pennies on the repair and hoping it will get through the next 12 months because they just cannot afford a new one,” he said. “It depends on demand really. Emotive demands can stretch your wallet.
“I don’t think [more than $1000] is reasonable. Pushing it up in excess of a grand is a big ask.”