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Apple Orders 10 Million Tablets? 221

Arvisp writes "According to a blog post by former Google China president Kai-Fu Lee, Apple plans to produce nearly 10 million tablets in the still-unannounced product's first year. If Lee's blog post is to be believed, Apple plans to sell nearly twice as many tablets as it did iPhones in the product's first year."
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Apple Orders 10 Million Tablets?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 04, 2010 @03:14PM (#30644450)

    They'll have enough units this time, but what network can handle a jump in traffic?

    I really hope it's not AT&Uknowho.

  • Bulk discount (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nacturation ( 646836 ) * <> on Monday January 04, 2010 @03:19PM (#30644530) Journal

    I'm thinking Jobs asked "How much per unit if we're making 10 million of them?" Then after the manufacturer crunches the numbers and comes back with the figures, Jobs will offer to pay that per-unit cost but in increments of 10,000 units.

  • by je ne sais quoi ( 987177 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @03:20PM (#30644548)
    My favorite part of TFA:

    The iSlate is sort of a big iPod, but not really. It performs a lot of notebook-like functions, but it's not really a notebook either.

    And the author knows this how? How do we know it will be a "big iPod", it could be completely different for all we know because nobody has seen it who is allowed to talk about it. Regardless, of what it actually does, the idea that Apple will predict that it will sell 10 million tablets in the first year is hooey. If anything, I would guess they will do the opposite and order too few units in order to increase the demand for the product by creating scarcity. Just ask the Nintendo when the Wii came out or whoever made tickle me elmo how this works...

  • by Slash.Poop ( 1088395 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @03:20PM (#30644550) Homepage
    Come on now people. This is obviously bogus. Apple would be sitting on 5 million plus (low estimate) tablets when the technology changes in 6-12 months. No way they are ordering 10 million.
  • Re:drive down cost (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reason58 ( 775044 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @03:28PM (#30644642)

    With the strong following that Apple has for its product lines and the underserved tablet market for personal computing i dont see this as unreasonable. provided they got the bugs out before investing in the hardware. a mass order will help Apple secure a better cost and that should bring about a better retail for the consumer.

    As someone who has used and supported hundreds of tablets and convertibles, let me assure you the "tablet market" is right where it should be. Tablets require the user to give up a large amount of functionality in the form of a physical keyboard and mouse, and the return for this is minimal and extremely niche. While I do not doubt that Apple could do well selling these on brand alone, tablets are simply not a practical replacement for the standard notebook or desktop.

  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @03:33PM (#30644710)
    iSlates aren't meant to compete with netbooks, they are meant to compete with eBook readers (while in addition offering all the functionality of an iPhone or iTouch). Think color eBook reader/video viewer along with a google maps implementation and accelerometers so you can play games just by tilting it, and you see it has gaming functionality that netbooks don't and large screen capability that smartphones don't. (Much as I love my Android phone, it is harder than heck to read things on.)
  • Re:Naysayer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Serious Callers Only ( 1022605 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @03:34PM (#30644722)

    In answer to you naysayers, I have only this to say:

  • by lowrydr310 ( 830514 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @03:45PM (#30644836)

    iSlates aren't meant to compete with netbooks, they are meant to compete with eBook readers (while in addition offering all the functionality of an iPhone or iTouch).

    Pardon my ignorance as I'm new to the Apple rumor mill, but it is my understanding that any iSlate or Apple-branded tablet device is just a rumor. If that is the case, then how can anyone know what this mysterious and unannounced device is supposed to compete with?

  • Re:Bulk discount (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:14PM (#30645312) Homepage Journal

    Change 10,000 to 100,000 and I wouldn't be shocked. He then states, "you want to be the manufacturer who gets this contract, because we will eventually order 10 million. And you don't want to do try and produce 10 million at once anyways. So give me the 10 million rate, and in you're in the door for 100,000 today."

    The iPhone didn't sell well initially for a couple of reasons. Most individuals didn't think they needed smart phones. Most smart phone users didn't think the iPhone was a real smart phone. It took a while for people to realize the potential of the app store, and what the iPhone could do for them. The iPhone is also tied to one network.

    The tablet could just be a plain wifi tablet with no cell phone support out of the box. You can always add a cellular modem, just like you do for your notebook today. If it isn't tied to a specific carrier, and they can launch it globally overnight (as opposed to fighting for different carrier deals in different countries) then they could easy trounce iPhone's early sales.

    Apple has customers happily paying $2,900 for laptops. If they make a nice tablet for $999, I think people will eat it up.

  • by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:22PM (#30645456)
    Manufacturers like to hype up, or pretend to have shortages but it is very bad to actually have one because you lose sales. It's worse for them to have a surplus, though, because it costs them money. That's why manufacturers tend to be conservative then they are doing their initial production runs. The goal is to get as close as possible to the actual demand, without exceeding it. This is especially true with microelectronics where waiting a year to move a product could render it obsolete and therefore worthless.
  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:27PM (#30645536)

    I don't matter what it's for. The fact that Apple made it (or MAY make it in this case) means that thousands of fanboys all over the net are scrambling and grasping at straws to explain just why this is the best way to do things.

    I swear if Apple reintroduced punch cards there would be people heralding it as the UI method of the future and assuring you that if you don't like them then you're just short sighted and stuck in the past.

  • Re:Bulk discount (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:46PM (#30645882)

    It took a while for people to realize the potential of the app store, and what the iPhone could do for them

    I actually think it was more of "What are you talking about? Web apps are fine! We aren't making an SDK for the iPhone" moment from Steve Jobs and then he eventually realized the need for an app store. People knew it needed an app store from the start, but it wasn't until the 2.x firmware that they actually got it added.

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:56PM (#30646014)
    Unless its E-ink its going to be a pain on the eyes for reading. Ever tried reading a book on an LCD? The contrast just isn't there to not give you eyestrain.
  • by __aamnbm3774 ( 989827 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:57PM (#30646038)
    Yea, and it backfired for Nintendo. They may be on top, but they could be standing taller.

    The hype that sold a lot of Wii's was the motion feedback. I waited outside a now defunct Circuit City twice in the early mornings when the Wii first came out but was unable to secure a device. Now, how many years later, I stopped caring. I saw a few and wasnt overly impressed with the graphics or performance of the motion-sensing.

    Too much scarcity will derail thousands of impulse buyers.
  • Re:Bulk discount (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dog-Cow ( 21281 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @05:20PM (#30646412)

    Actually, I refuse to believe Jobs is that short-sighted or stupid. That hoopla over web apps was Jobs telling you what you had while he had the team feverishly working on the SDK in the background.

    He couldn't say nothing. And he couldn't say it was coming later, because if he did, no one would have touched the iPhone for the first year.

  • Re:drive down cost (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Serious Callers Only ( 1022605 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @05:28PM (#30646524)

    As someone who has used and supported hundreds of tablets and convertibles...tablets are simply not a practical replacement for the standard notebook or desktop.

    Good thing they won't be building a 'tablet or convertible' then, and won't be trying to shoe-horn a desktop OS into a tablet form factor like other tablets mentioned here which run Windows. Those are attempts at replacing the laptop, which I doubt we'll get from Apple. But this isn't about revolutionary hardware (which we will not see), or devices which run Windows (which are frankly irrelevant). The Kindle is probably a more apt comparison, though it's also very different, or the as yet unreleased MS Courier concept.

    What this sort of bullet point comparison to currently shipping products completely ignores is that if the software is sufficiently well thought out, the device transcends its list of features. I imagine the hardware will be as simple as possible, ARM based slate format with a touchscreen, long battery life, and perhaps one button to turn it on. But the hardware doesn't really matter; it's not going to be the first, or the fastest, or the smallest, or the lightest, or the biggest, tablet, though I'm sure Jobs will come up with some superlatives to try and sell it.

    The magic sauce that Apple can provide here is in the software; the integration with a massive store selling every kind of media you can imagine, straight to the device, the integration with your desktop computer and phone, calendar and address book, the integration with your existing media library in iTunes, an existing catalogue of apps and games, and finally the pleasure of interacting with a UI which has actually been designed from the ground up for a touch screen interface, instead of grudgingly adapted for it. Good design matters, as Apple products demonstrate. All that stuff is available in pieces from other people, but it's quite hard to put together in a nice package.

    The iPhone OS is actually pretty revolutionary as operating systems go - it removes a lot of chrome we've become used to over the years - menus, window widgets, overlapping windows (save alerts), and replaces it with something simpler, and I expect the next evolution of it will take things a little further along this path.

    However the greatest potential this device has to shake things up is not in the hardware or software, but in promoting the transition from paper to pixels which began with the www and has been accelerating ever since. If they provide the tools to package and sell snippets of html based content in the style of iTunes LP packages, they could provide the micro-purchase web that content producers have been waiting for, and many consumers who prefer their content not to be infested with ads are willing to pay for. I hope it supports epub, pdf, plain html and other common formats too, just as the iPod supported MP3, and if iPhone software is ported, it will.

  • by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @05:34PM (#30646624)

    I don't matter what it's for. The fact that Apple made it (or MAY make it in this case) means that thousands of fanboys all over the net are scrambling and grasping at straws to explain just why this is the best way to do things.

    Except I don't think it's the fanboys this time, as much as the PC industry pundits and "analysts." It's kind of weird - because much of the coverage and sensationalism seems to be coming from typical PC-centric publications that don't historically cover Apple. I'm guessing that perhaps they got tired of all the naysaying, and decided to be a part of this one to get some hits.

    On the other hand, most Apple "fanboys" I know are quite skeptical about this one. This rumor cycle is being driven by a different dynamic.

  • by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @05:49PM (#30646790)

    At some point they'll just end up picking off their own product sales and they will become their own worst enemy,

    I think that's Apple's old way of thinking. The new Apple realizes that to move forward, it needs to compete with its own products, rather than fearing cannibalism. If the possibility for something better exists, and you don't make it for fear of competing with your own products, then somebody else will, and take that business away from you.

    This attitude is clear with iPods, where Apple produced new models at a rapid pace, including variations such as the mini and nano which competed with the more expensive full-size iPod. And finally, it happened with the iPhone, which in many ways makes the iPod obsolete. Apple realized it couldn't rely on the iPod being relevant forever, so came up with the next big thing, and finding extra revenue streams such as the App Store.

    We also see it to a lesser degree with the Macs. In earlier times, Apple would deliberately cripple its low-end computers so as not to compete with the more expensive models. However, recently, we've seen Macbooks that are nearly as good as the more expensive Macbook Pros, just without the fancy aluminum case. Sure, there are some spec differences, but it's not like the Macbooks are being hobbled out of fear of cannibalism like they were in the past.

  • Insightful? WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by weston ( 16146 ) <westonsd&canncentral,org> on Monday January 04, 2010 @07:39PM (#30648250) Homepage

    This is barely even marginally coherent, let alone insightful. "the iphone dev team will be"... what?

    a "computer" where you can run only applications personally approved by Him.

    That's an interesting theory, but it runs a bit counter to the fact that every computer he's ever been part of the design/production of has had third party applications he didn't approve.

    if you jailbreak this baby then he sends the Apple stormtroopers to shoot you.

    Dovetails right in with the latest Apple rumor I heard -- they've contracted with a Chinese company to provide 100,000 private troops. Some sources say they're amassing near Macau now.

    only reason people paid for physical news media is that it was cheap.

    Um, no. People paid for physical news media because it had value to them and it was pretty much the only large-scale way of distributing information until about 20 years ago.

    the kindle is a success because i can read the news for free online, not books.

    The Kindle may be useful to you for that reason. That's fine, but if there's a most-frequently-made mistake commentators here on Slashdot tend to make when evaluating products, it's evaluating them by personal priorities alone (and, for bonus points, assuming any other priority set is irrational: no wireless, less space than a nomad == lame, right?). Remember, there's a whole world of other people out there. Some of whom care more about the convenience the Kindle offers than concerns about DRM. The Kindle's a success because some people like it for any number of reasons.

    And because it enables one of the world's largest retailers/distributors to move to a model that favors their profitability.

  • Re:drive down cost (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CxDoo ( 918501 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @09:00PM (#30649370)

    Why is Windows poorly designed for a tablet? Vista and 7 have excellent support for my Fujitsu Siemens ST5031D.

    As always, Apple will change the game for the hip crowd and show them the light.
    I just want to point out before Steve invents it that some of us already have decent slates.

  • Re:Bulk discount (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SoupIsGoodFood_42 ( 521389 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @04:22AM (#30652452)

    You really think that they hadn't had the SDK in the works right from the start, that they just whipped it up after reading some Slashdot comments or something? No way. They were just doing what Apple always does -- doing things in smaller steps and only announcing things once they've been polished.

  • by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @07:45AM (#30653444)

    Indeed, given the historical usage of Macs in DTP and design, it would explain the pro-Apple views that pervade the media.

    That's an utterly absurd comment, because the layout people and designers aren't the ones who write the articles or edit the journals. Anyway, I'm talking about websites and publications which have been outright hostile to Macs.

    I think it has more to do with insider trading, for example, see Jim Cramer talking about how he tried to manipulate Apple stock prices.

  • by Serious Callers Only ( 1022605 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @10:06AM (#30654228)

    Firstly, I'm surprised that such a logical fallacy gets modded up, but then this is an Apple story ("X prediction was wrong in the past, therefore Y prediction must be wrong too"?!) But what's wrong with that often-quoted statement? He doesn't say the Ipod will fail, he says it's lame. Since when does being popular mean it can't be lame? Oh okay - it's now fair game to ridicule every Apple fan who criticises Windows and Internet Explorer. Given how popular they are, they obviously can't be lame, right?

    You have a remarkable talent for arguing with yourself. The arguments you attack are absurd, of course, but only because you're misinterpreting the intent of the original statement. The original comment on Slashdot is infamous because it illustrates how out of touch with mainstream thinking geeks can be. I'm sure your Sansa is fine, but the original iPod (not the shuffle) was a game-changing device, not because of its technical prowess (it was indeed 'lame' in technical terms), but because it integrated beautifully with a desktop, had a nice simpler interface, and fitted just enough music in a pocket sized package to be revolutionary and acceptable as a mainstream replacement for something like a walkman.

    I think that statement a salutary reminder of how out of touch geeks can become, particularly in an echo-chamber like Slashdot.

    I expect this tablet will be similar re the many competing tablets/ereaders/etc. out there at present. It wouldn't take much to completely change this area of computing, given the limited utility of something like a Kindle and the clunkyness of the current crop of Windows tablets (not the unreleased MS Courier, which looks good, but is sadly still a prototype). We'll have to wait and see what Apple comes up with before knowing if its an expensive flop or another revolutionary device though - the gap between the two can be very narrow.

  • by hmar ( 1203398 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @12:47PM (#30656488)
    Ipod and iPhone are limited. Mac desktops/laptops/servers have never been. The question is which camp this device will fall into.

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"