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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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  • Naysayer (Score:4, Interesting)

    by iamapizza ( 1312801 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @03:20PM (#30644542)
    I know I'm going to sound like a naysayer, so, hey, I may as well nay say.

    Google's probably going for a tablet as well [theregister.co.uk], so 2010 will likely be the year of the tablet - in the form of iphones and iclones, with much larger screens, the next must-have at the coffee shops. But it's going to fall flat on its face. It's too close to netbooks, but not as useful as a netbook.

    Nay, I say, nay
  • by Foggiano ( 722250 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @03:25PM (#30644620)

    So we're at the first step in the Apple Product Cycle [misterbg.org]? It's nice to see we're right on track.

    As an aside, I think it makes lots of sense for Apple to produce a tablet product, but I can't imagine them actually producing 10,000,000 of these things for launch.
    First, it's a ridiculously high number, far exceeding the number of iPhones sold in a year and coming close to the number of all types of iPods combined.
    Second, I doubt Apple would ever allow any of their new products to be overproduced. Artificial scarcity only adds to the perceived desirability of Apple products, driving the hype engine even more.

  • by copponex ( 13876 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @03:32PM (#30644692) Homepage

    Apple is quickly converging it's products into single slabs of screen and processing power. I don't think the internet infrastructure will be different in 2020, but I do think you'll simply have a choice of screen sizes and the option to attach a laptop-style bottom case with extra horsepower or stick with the touchscreen top.

    Maybe Apple will pull a coup this time around and offer a large tablet interface that's easily dockable. I know for many people the option to snag their interface and take it to a meeting down the hall or at the coffee shop would be pretty valuable. Stick a camera on the back as well as the front of it and you've really got something that could save time for a wide array of industries.

    Apple will convince the public that they need it, a market will be created, and I just have to wait a few months to pick up the copycat product at half the cost.

  • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @03:36PM (#30644750)
    The author of the article has a hard time believing that Apple ordered 10 million tablets this year. While his logic is sound regarding the numbers, the author isn't quoting Apple. The author's source for this rumor is an ex-Google employee. And this employee is not saying Apple "ordered" 10 million only that Apple "plans to produce" 10 million. There's a huge difference between the two. Like any company building a new product, Apple has ordered X amount while letting their suppliers know that they may want up to Y amount. If the product sells well, Apple will increase their order. If it doesn't Apple will not. Also the Y amount may be an unreachable goal. Sometimes when negotiating contracts, some suppliers are not interested unless you are ordering a large amount. Everyone knows that goal isn't likely but it makes everything look good.
  • by lowrydr310 ( 830514 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:00PM (#30645054)
    I have a modern HP tablet (tx2500 series) that a friend convinced me to buy (got it for a great price). After almost a year of owning it, I still fail to recognize where the tablet functionality is really beneficial. I can type much faster than it can accurately recognize my handwriting, and I haven't found any applications that are truly useful in tablet mode. Sure I have some gimmicky graphics programs that work great and they're fun to show off, but overall it just doesn't do anything special. I think I'd be better off owning both a 15" laptop and a 10" netbook instead of a tablet that's right about in the middle.
  • by Jason Pollock ( 45537 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:26PM (#30645504) Homepage

    As we're seeing with the Kindle, and the iPhone, many people can find uses for additional computers in our lives. I can definitely see a use for a tablet device sitting on my coffee table, waiting to be used by anyone walking in as both a media selector (iTunes to an AirPort Express/Apple TV), or as a general device to answer "Who is in that movie?", "What's on tomorrow", "You're talking BS" questions. I already use my iPhone for that, this would just be a general device, whereas the iPhone is "personal".

    Add to that the ability to use it as a general book reader, and you've got a winner.

    Tablets aren't laptop replacements, they are secondary displays for the living room, secondary devices that enhance your ability to use the compute power you _already_ have in your house.

  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:34PM (#30645684) Homepage

    Maybe Apple will pull a coup this time around and offer a large tablet interface that's easily dockable.

    Maybe making use of something like this patent [gizmodo.com]?

    I've thought for a while that it could be pretty neat to have something like an iPhone/PDA with a stripped down portable interface, but when linked to a dock, it becomes a fully capable desktop machine.

  • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @05:03PM (#30646134) Homepage Journal
    They ordered 10 million. This does not mean that they will take delivery. We might recall that Apple allegedly orders part to tie up the supply chain for other companies, and then only accepts what it actually needs to meet production [tgdaily.com]. This makes a lot of sense as they can guarantee a consistent and compatible product until the next rev. One big problem I have with other vendors is it can be hard to figure out what drivers are needed for which models, as even within a model they may use several different products.

    In any case, what we can say is that Apple is planning to sell up to 10 million of this initial run, which will presumably be manufactured over the calendar year 2010, if they are going to be available for quantity shipments in March.

    If it follows the formula for the iPhone and iPod, there will probably be some scarcity through summer as significant defects will be found and corrected. In late summer, in time for school, there will be like a minor revision and then sales will pick up considerable. I can see them selling a couple million by mid summer, then 3 million or so for back to school, and the rest for christmas.

    I will have to see the product to decide when to buy it. If it is a small screen, 7", for under $500, it might be nice to have it in the near term. If it is much more expensive, which would be likely for 10" model, then it would worth waiting for the version that will actually work.

  • by HermMunster ( 972336 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @05:07PM (#30646206)

    A tablet is definitely NOT a phone and thus it has a much greater utility (or should have). The problem with Apple's philosophy WILL be that they will treat this like it is an iPhone. The tablet has to be not just a netbook without a keyboard, but it must also be an e-reader, a browser, a program launcher, a gaming device, and the ability to communicate via webcams, microphones, and it must also have GPS capabilities. It must also have a removable battery as well as the standard USB, wireless & wired network, and expansion such as SSD cards.

    My point is that it must be a device with more utility than Apple generally gives to their hardware/software--they tend to limit what you can/should do with it.

    I like Apple's products, but I can see that their philosophy of recent has been a wedge driven between themselves and the customer.

  • Re:Naysayer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by StubNewellsFarm ( 1084965 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @05:43PM (#30646714)
    You can say that Apple's approval process for the iPhone is unnecessary and capricious and therefore evil.

    You can say that, in the long run, locking down the iPhone will stagnate innovation and Apple will therefore never dominate the smartphone market.

    But you can't say that "independent application developers have a difficult time getting anything published and widely available." There are over 100,000 apps available, and they've been downloaded 2 billion times. The model has been, so far, enormously successful. You can wish it wasn't so, but it is so.
  • Re:Bulk discount (Score:3, Interesting)

    by slashkitty ( 21637 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @05:45PM (#30646752) Homepage
    Well, some people knew. I knew. I was using a Nokia n90 at the time the iphone came out. Even it had an app store. It of course was a great idea, but the iphone wasn't first... Then started jailbreaking the phones and the AppTap store came out for the iphone... way before Apple did.
  • Re:drive down cost (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wfolta ( 603698 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @05:57PM (#30646926)

    I would guess that the majority of tablets and convertibles you've supported ran Windows, which is poorly designed for a tablet. Your doubts sound a lot like people in the runup to the iPhone, who said that a phone without physical buttons -- even better a physical keyboard -- is a non-starter and would be useless. As always, Apple will change the game by what it does in the software combined with an elegant physical design.

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

    by dhovis ( 303725 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @06:49PM (#30647654)

    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.

    There was more to it than that. I think there was a debate between a native SDK and using a web-based SDK (like what Palm did with WebOS). Apple was clearly working on both tracks, but WebKit was just not ready fast enough. There was evidence of this.

    One of the complaints about the web SDK approach was the lack of local storage for offline use. A SQL interface had been proposed for HTML5, but hadn't been implemented by anyone yet. Apple announced the iPhone native SDK [macrumors.com] on Oct 17. That weekend (on Oct 19th), quietly on the WebKit Blog, HTML5 client-side SQL storage was quietly checked in. [webkit.org] Coincidence? No way.

    The other thing is for certain, the iPhone native SDK was not ready in time for iPhone 1.0. The jailbreakers had to deal with regular app breakage due to Apple changing APIs. Apple wasn't screwing with the jailbreakers, they were refining the SDK. That is much easier to do if you only have a dozen in-house applications to work on. Once it was declared final for iPhone 2.0, Apple had to support it fully. There have been few changes to the public API since, though there were some for iPhone 3.0.

    Oddly enough, I think the people who wish the iPhone to be more open would have been happier if the webSDK approach had won out. It would have made it easy for other companies to support iPhone apps by including a WebKit-based browser.

  • Re:drive down cost (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lavaface ( 685630 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @07:39PM (#30648258) Homepage
    what would be nice is a tablet that can be placed in a dock. the dock could have connections to a keyboard and mouse, maybe a port for an external monitor. i would buy this if the price is reasonable. a handy big iphone for browsing the web, playing games, taking notes and watching movies on the go; a regular computer at home. someone should make this . . .

VMS must die!