Apple iPad not drawing buyers

The announcement of a new Apple product always generates lots of buzz, and the iPad was no exception. In advance of the iPad’s unveiling on Jan. 27, thousands of posts predicted the product’s name, features and functions, and a few were even correct. If success was measured by preannouncements, Apple had another winner.

Unfortunately, good press doesn’t always equate to good sales. Post-iPad news conference stories have not been particularly kind to Apple’s new kid. “iPad hype hangover follows buzz binge,” said one headline. Many writers complain about missing features, screen size and aspect ratio, connectivity, and the biggie: no support for Flash.

Confirming market confusion is a Retrevo Pulse study looking at consumer interest in the Apple iPad, both before and after the product’s announcement. According to the study’s authors, “Not only did Apple fail to convince new buyers, it may have lost many potential buyers who now say they don’t think they need an Apple table computer.”

The Retrevo Pulse study indicates that the more consumers learned about the iPad, the lower their interest in buying it. Retrevo’s study asked consumers whether or not they had heard about the tablet before the tablet was introduced and again after the announcement. The word definitely got out as the number of respondents saying they had heard about the tablet rose from 48 percent shortly before the announcement to over 80 percent after the Jan. 27 media frenzy.

While just over a quarter (26 percent) of the survey’s respondents said they were not interested in buying an iPad before the announcement, that doubled to 52 percent after the announcement. Simultaneously, while 19 percent said they were interested in buying the product before the announcement, only 9 percent remained committed after they heard about the iPad.

In a Feb. 8 story on, the writer says, “Apple may be finding that as time goes on, people like what they see less and less.” Another indication of how successful a product might become can come from the investment community. According to the above source, analysts from Credit Suisse met with Apple executives after the product’s release, where the company indicated it would consider lowering the price. "While it remains to be seen how much traction the iPad gets initially, [Apple] management noted that it will remain nimble (pricing could change if the company is not attracting as many customers as anticipated)," analysts wrote.

Consumers may be saying, "let’s see what else becomes available over the next few months." The table space will be hot with new products and innovation. The Apple iPad will get its share of buyers, but it may not share the same degree of success as the iPod.

Internet driver's license

Surely a person as smart as Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer, Craig Mundie, isn’t dumb enough to think the world should require a driver’s license to surf the Internet. If that’s not enough to make you scratch your head, he’s also asking that the equivalent to the World Health Organization be formed to police the Internet and its users.

About the driver’s license: Could a person could use an avatar as the image on one’s driver’s license? Would you have to register personal information? Or maybe just giving your Facebook info would be sufficient. Perhaps there could be a charge for the driver’s license, and if you don’t pay up, your Internet access is cut off? Oh, that won’t work. Hasn’t the U.S. government decided that Internet access is a “right?”

Mundie continued, “When there is a pandemic, it [the WHO] organizes the quarantine of cases. We [governments /IT companies] are not allowed to organize the systematic quarantine of machines that are compromised. ... We need a kind of World Health Organization for the Internet.”

I understand the need to locate and nab crooks and criminals, but requiring a driver’s license and building a massive, ineffective, expensive, bureaucratic, quasi-governmental organization to police the Internet? Clear thinkers would not support that solution.

The discussions came as part of a Jan. 30 conference of the ITU at a World Economic Forum debate. At the conference, ITU secretary general Hamadoun Toure gave a warning, saying the world needed a treaty to prevent cyber attacks from becoming an all-out war. “A cyber war would be worse than a tsunami — a catastrophe," he said.

His proposal was for nations to sign a treaty where countries would pledge to not launch a first strike cyber attack against another country. Yea, like that’s going to work. Anybody following the attacks already being launched against U.S. companies: Do you really think China, Russia and other countries would sign, let alone honor, such a treaty?

May I suggest Mr. Mundie and Mr. Toure each take a vacation to recharge their minds. These suggestions should be filed under bad ideas.