he April Fools of iPad Predictions

While Apple announcing Flash for iOS or a 7-inch iPad might make for humorous copy on April Fools’ Day, truth can be just as entertaining. The truth for the iPad 2 is that a month after its release in the U.S., supplies continue to be extremely constrained, and the international launch saw inventory sold out in a day. At the same time, supplies of the original iPad have dwindled to nearly nothing. Despite this incredible demand, 11 of 35 analysts queried by Fortune predict the iPad will sell 5.5 million or fewer units this quarter, down from 7.1 million the previous quarter. Chris Whitmore of Deutsche Bank is on record for Apple selling just 5 million iPads. How foolish is that?
Not as foolish as Gianfranco Lanci, former CEO of Acer must be feeling. Lanci just resigned as CEO, purportedly because of differences of opinion with the board of directors. However, sources suggested to DigiTimes that the iPad  has “significantly impacted” netbook sales, hurting Acer’s bottom line because Acer has been slow to respond with its own tablet. In an interview with AllThingsDigital, Lanci talked about delaying Acer’s tablet response to the iPad until this year with Honeycomb. Nonetheless, the ex-CEO is also on record asserting that Acer would quickly achieve 10 to 20 percent market share of the tablet market “and become the market leader in 2-3 years.”
Tell that to Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer for Microsoft. From the Sydney Morning Herald, Mundie, at an economic conference in Australia, defined the near future as being “mobile” and “portable, suggesting the smartphone would be become the “most personal computer,” and laptops would become the “portable desk.” He said tablets “live in the space in between,” and doesn’t know “whether that space will be a persistent one or not.” Well, at least that explains Microsoft’s foolish tablet strategy to date.
Also looking foolish in Australia was Andy Lark, VP at Dell, who was reportedly down on the iPad Down Under. According to CIO, Lark said the iPad is “great if you’ve got a lot of money and live on an island.” Lark clarified what he meant by that snark on his blog, but it comes down to the iPad not being suited for real work in the enterprise because of cost and IT integration issues. Of course, those assertions are at odds with rates of adoption for the iPad at Fortune 100 companies as high as 80 percent, and let’s not forget the “lot of money” cost of the Dell Streak with its meager 5-inch display at $549.
Finally, what would April Fools’ Day be without cognitive dissonance: the uncomfortable feeling that arises when attempting to reconcile paradoxical thoughts in one’s head, like the popularity of the iPad despite its many “failings.” Katherine Noyes of PCWorld recently listed seven reasons the iPad 2 left her “cold.” They include the usual rationalizations: specs, walled garden, app censorship, “humdrum” OS, lack of Flash, security, and, of course, that old canard, “it’s all marketing.” April Fools’ Day seems to have been more of a March-long event this year, if you ask me.

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