Wednesday, October 20, 2010

iPad is Great...if people on the street call you 할머니

The iPad is going to arrive in Korea very shortly.  Today, this article was posted in the Korea Herald.

In the U.S., the iPad, at first, was everywhere. It is being sold at Apple stores, at an electronics store (similar to an eMart in Korea), and also at Verizon (the American version of SK Telecom).  There are many iPad applications, which are largely available on the iPhone and iPod Touch.  However, unlike the iPhone and the iPod Touch (I own the iPod Touch myself), the iPad is too limited for actual use, unless you have very young children, or are a grandmother/grandfather.

As usual, all the great photo album applications and iTunes, the App Store are all available.  The keyboard is actually quite good:  the keys are naturally spaced from each other.  There are some pretty nice iPad-only applications as well.  For ebook reading, the iPad may be the best.  Amazon's Kindle is very popular in the U.S., and non-existent in Korea, as result of the huge number of book publishers in Korea, who have very obviously tried to prevent widespread use of eBooks. 

However, let me briefly explain why the iPad has missed sales expectations in the U.S.  First, the price.  It will be twice as expensive as any netbook.  It will be as expensive, if not more expensive, than an average notebook.  It does NOT have a hard drive.  It has no USB ports.  It does have WiFi.   And that is it.  Some of the best features, such as video rental, will not be available in Korea. 

So while, the iPad is a beautiful looking machine, and of course, the applications work seamlessly, it just does not have the functionality to justify the price.  For feature-hungry Koreans, there will be great interest, the decline of that interest will also likely be rapid.  Koreans learn quickly, which means that after the first set of buyers, who are dedicated to all things Apple, will not be able to convince those who are more skeptical.  So unless you are a 할머니, it probably won't work for demanding Korean consumers.


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