Apple is nimble on iPad pricing

Apple will remain “nimble” on the anticipated $499 to $829 price tag of the recently announced iPad tablet, saying it is willing to adjust the price depending on consumer demand.

“While it remains to be seen how much traction the iPad gets initially, management noted that it will remain nimble (pricing could change if the company is not attracting as many customers as anticipated,” said Bill Shope, Credit Suisse analyst, in a statement.

This Wall Street Journal blog post has a few quotes from several analysts who indicate the iPad may cannibalize marketshare for the iPod Touch — especially since initial reactions from consumers reveal they think of the iPad as a bigger iPod Touch.  The iPad isn’t expected to affect the MacBook market quite as much, especially since the price points are a bit different, but analysts are still unsure what will happen.

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“The product is positioned midway between the notebook and smartphone segments and should drive incremental demand well above the minor cannibalization of iPod Touch and Mac that may ensue,” said analyst group Thomas Weisel Partners.

Prior to the iPad’s announcement, rumors indicated the Apple tablet could cost around $1,000 — a price tag consumers instantly shrugged off as too expensive.

Analysts remain very confused about the Apple iPad, as they also can’t seem to agree to the exact number of units Apple could sell in 2010 and 2011.  At least one analyst said that up to 8 million iPads could be sold within two years, with other industry observers predicting that Apple could reach more than 5 million iPad’s sold in 2010 alone.

I’ve spoken with numerous consumers, and there seems to be an even split among those who are interested in purchasing the iPad – depending on price – and those who are waiting for other tablets.  Even so, there is still quite a bit of criticism of the new device, with many “underwhelmed”, especially since the device inspired almost 12 months of hype.

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