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Businesses Handhelds Apple

iPad Is Destroying Netbook Sales 911

Hugh Pickens writes "Fortune magazine reports that sales growth of low-cost, low-powered netbooks peaked last summer at an astonishing 641% year-over-year growth rate but netbook sales fell off a cliff in January and shrank again in April — collateral damage, according to Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty, from the January introduction and April launch of the iPad. In support of Huberty's theory, she offers a Morgan Stanley/Alphawise survey conducted in March which found that 44% of US consumers who were planning to buy an iPad said they were buying it instead of a netbook or notebook computer. In related news, Apple announced that it sold its one millionth iPad last week, just 28 days after its introduction on April 3. 'One million iPads in 28 days — that's less than half of the 74 days it took to achieve this milestone with iPhone,' says Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. 'Demand continues to exceed supply and we're working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more customers.'"
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iPad Is Destroying Netbook Sales

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  • by crumbz ( 41803 ) <<remove_spam>jus ... spam>gmail...com> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @12:40PM (#32112588) Homepage

    ...I find the iPad to be a perfect web surfing device. Great for e-mail and watching video. I am actually considering selling my Macbook Pro, as it is starting to get dusty. That said, I wouldn't want to write a novel on it.

  • It's not the iPad (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 2010 @12:41PM (#32112596)

    Netbooks just suck. I have a nice one (HP2140) and I hate using it.

  • Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @12:45PM (#32112686) Journal

    NetBooks were always strange devices. Marginally more portable than a laptop (although not portable enough to fit in a pocket), and a lot less powerful. Their only real advantage was their cost. They were very cheap, but since the original EeeeeeeeeeeeeePC they've gradually crept up in price and now they're just too expensive for what they are.

    The iPad, in contrast, is not just a cheap laptop. It fills a distinctly different need to a laptop. I've not entirely worked out what that need is - it seems to target a market that doesn't contain me - but it's clearly not the same set of uses as a laptop.

    The iPad isn't killing Netbooks, they're doing that all by themselves. The iPad is just giving people who might have bought one and never used it after the first couple of months something different to waste their money on.

  • by shawn(at)fsu ( 447153 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @12:51PM (#32112770) Homepage

    Hmmm a ~$250 netbook with an OS that allows the installation of arbitrary non approved applications and the ability to install other OSs... Or a $500+ for a closed OS with no ability to install unapproved arbitrary apps.

    Two comments
    1) Dear Apple please save me from your followers
    2) This is the same phenomenon as Ed Hardy popularity

    Typed on my netbook, while listening to Pandora and running an office app to type notes for a final

  • Hype-Cycle (Score:5, Interesting)

    by prefec2 ( 875483 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @12:58PM (#32112918)

    First there was no such device as a netbook. Then the geeks saw the OLPC and then they ran around, screaming "I want one of these!!!!" After some screaming, Asus thought it might be nice to sell some of these devices to geeks. Hey its about money. And then more people saw that netbooks are nice devices so they bought one. As the demand for netbooks was high the sales jumped up (because the industry suddenly provided a portable product which was very much needed by many people). Now most of those people who want a netbook have a netbook and so the sales are going back. Also there was/is a financial crisis going on. And while the crisis more or less hit the public in the US very quickly it took some time to have an affect countries with "social backup systems".

    So in short: It is not a falling of a cliff it is just the end of a peak. And yes, as already mentioned, there are no really cheap netbooks anymore.

  • by fredmosby ( 545378 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @12:59PM (#32112956)
    I got an iPad earlier this week and I haven't used my laptop since. A laptop can do more, but the iPad does everything I need, and it's much easier to use. Actually the screen size isn't a problem because I tend to have the screen closer to my face than a laptop.
  • by Man On Pink Corner ( 1089867 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:00PM (#32112966)

    I think that's the problem. I understand the cool factor, but even a netbook is so much more functional than an iPad that I can't really see the justification of going with an iPad over a netbook, unless you're someone who absolutely, positively despises keyboards and knows you'll only use it for web browsing, iPhone-type games, and e-books.

    There are a few use cases that aren't immediately obvious for a large handheld device with a very high-grade touchscreen. For instance, it makes an unbelievably nice VNC client.

  • Re:Not surprising (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:00PM (#32112968) Homepage Journal

    The iPad has a better screen than most netbooks and a longer battery life.
    I am still waiting for a smartbook. I don't need windows on a mobile device. I have a notebook if I need windows.
    I can do everything I want on a mobile device just fine with Linux on an ARM.
    I would like Flash for it until Firefox decides to support H.264 but other than that I really could do everything on Ubuntu running on say a TegraII with a nice screen.

  • Re:Sheer Madness (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CrackedButter ( 646746 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:02PM (#32112996) Homepage Journal
    Hence the ipod touch?
  • by Geeky ( 90998 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:04PM (#32113032)

    Well, I just bought a Samsung netbook.

    I needed a lightweight, long battery life device mainly for better browsing than a smartphone while travelling. I like to be able to type emails on a proper(ish) keyboard, same for web forums.

    I do a lot of photography and the 250GB harddrive is ideal to back up my compact flash cards and quick preview my shots - I used to use a dedicated Epson view for that.

    It has HyperSpace, which is a boot option that takes you into a cut down linux system - it boots faster, uses less battery and is therefore a handy option when all you want is to browse.

    Initial thoughts are that it's not that quick, but I also ordered a 1GB upgrade and when that arrives it should improve the Windows 7 performance (yes, Windows. Suits me. Sorry). Battery life seems good - I reckon the 11hrs quoted might be ambitious, but my experience so far says I should get 8 or 9 from normal use, including WiFi. Sticking a 3G USB dongle on will probably drain it quite a bit quicker...

    It was also under £300.

    Absolutely no reason I'd want an iPad.

  • by rinoid ( 451982 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:04PM (#32113042)

    > Tiny screen?
    Not. Smaller than a 15.6" laptop? Sure but bigger or equivalent to most netbooks.

    > no Flash support
    We are still fracking talking about this? Please.

    > no keyboard
    Really?! You point this out? Have you RTFM'd? On screen keyboard in landscape mode does fine for typing pretty long missives -- longer than this one. Bluetooth keyboards take you to the next level.

    It's really not "crippled" or "limited", not in the knee-jerk manner most consider. It's a nice productivity tool, and, it's a great device to have in the house or for travels. It does a ton of stuff.

    My favorite app? iSSH (with VNC tunneling support) ... now that's what I call crippled. Sigh.

  • by Flavio ( 12072 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:04PM (#32113044)

    Desktop computers and laptops are designed to be workstations. The iPad was designed to be a toy, and that's how most people use it. That's how Apple markets it, and that's why people buy it.

    What Apple and Steve Jobs realised very early in the game is that Americans have a lot of money to spend on toys that look good. Even though most Americans spend their day using computers for work or entertainment, that doesn't make them geeks. They don't need significant computing power, create very little content and only use a very small set of hardware and software resources that are available to them.

    The remarkable thing is that most Americans are wealthy enough to spend $500 to buy an iPad. And even though most people could save that money and use it to buy something more useful later, they will spend it on discretionary purchases if the product is considered fashionable enough.

  • by Azureflare ( 645778 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:07PM (#32113092)

    Netbooks just suck. That's why no one's buying them anymore. It's not because of the iPad.

    We have a hard time justifying buying an inferior tiny product that you can barely see, which can't really do that much, especially when almost everyone already has a laptop or desktop which works just fine.

    The iPad is successful with people because it provides a big huge screen which is great for lying in bed or sitting out on the patio relaxing with. While this is possible with a laptop, the iPad is much more conducive to a more relaxed environment (the ads for the thing were spot on in my opinion).

    Also it does have a longer battery life than a standard laptop. Laptops tend to chew through batteries way too fast these days.

  • by ISurfTooMuch ( 1010305 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:08PM (#32113100)

    ...with help from notebooks.

    When netbooks came on the scene, they were dirt cheap. Sure, they could do less than a notebook, but, again, they were dirt cheap, they were small, and battery life was good. Just what you needed for Web browsing and light productivity work. Oh yeah, and they were dirt cheap, easily several hundred less than most notebooks except that once-in-a-blue-moon sale you might run across.

    However, this didn't last. Companies started cramming more and more into these things, which drove the price up. In and of itself, that might have been OK, but notebook prices started coming down, and they offered more features. They were bigger, but you could do more with them, and I really believe that a significantly lower price is what drove netbook sales, not merely their size. So, people could spend maybe $250-$300 for a netbook, or, if they caught a sale, they could spend $350 for a basic notebook, which offered much more bang for the buck. That's what killed netbook sales, IMHO.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:11PM (#32113174) Homepage

    >> Why on earth would you want to use an iPad to browse the internet if you have a laptop? Tiny screen, no Flash support, no keyboard... when did it become hip to use crippled devices?
    > Try it.

    I did. The trailer at Rotten Tomatoes wouldn't play.

    This is especially interesting because of the fact that Rotten Tomatoes was on the browser menu bar. It wasn't just something I picked off the top of my head with the intention of tripping the device.

  • Look and Feel (Score:5, Interesting)

    by savanik ( 1090193 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:12PM (#32113176)

    A friend of mine has one that I got a chance to try out. It's an interesting little device - I'm not going to get one, but then, it's not meant for me.

    The iPad does notably excel in one simple thing that I have been missing for the past few years. It has no interface lag. My phone? When I'm switching screens, it lags for a couple seconds. My two year old laptop I got fed up with and threw out because the power jack kept breaking? Opening a directory took a noticable amount of time. Even my streamlined, power-user, performance gaming desktop has moments where its trying to access things and it chugs along before giving me any feedback.

    The iPad's interface is responsive. It does what you want it to, when you want it to. When you drag an icon around, it responds immediately. When you poke at a link, it responds instantly with feedback - the webpage might take a moment to load, but it lets you know it's heard you immediately. And everything else in the environment remains responsive. You access the dropdowns, they come right down. You hit the 'menu' button, and you don't get 'the application is waiting to close' hourglass or anything like that, you get MENU.

    I can see how that would appeal to many consumers in a world of stuttering, jerky computers.

  • by nick_davison ( 217681 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:15PM (#32113242)

    Discussing this one in the office, the esteemed Kevin Thompson said,

    "It could be good for the netbook market when all of those people buy an iPad and realize they can't do [expletive] go and buy a netbook to replace it."

    Apple's training users to appreciate a convenience size... yet almost completely failing to provide for content production as well as content consumption.

    The quoted Morgan Stanley figures say 44% are buying an iPad instead of. That's 56% who aren't, who wouldn't be buying anything else. Many users will stay with Apple... but how many users have Apple converted to the size of ultra portables yet let down enough on content production that they'll move back in to, and enlarge, the general netbook market?

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:28PM (#32113478) Homepage

    Why on earth would you want to use an iPad to browse the internet if you have a laptop? Tiny screen, no Flash support, no keyboard... when did it become hip to use crippled devices?

    You know, if you're holding it at less than arms length, I suspect it's a pretty usable screen size since it' about the size of a book. I see people use their CrackBerry's for Google, and you'll notice they've got an even smaller screen.

    As to flash, I don't have it installed on most of my browsers, so it's not like you're missing anything. I can't view flash on my current machine because I've chosen to do without it -- it' hardly mandatory. In fact, it's a bloody nuisance.

    If you're truly browsing the internet, you mostly don't need a keyboard for the most part.

    With a form factor more like a book, I can see sitting in a comfy chair looking up stuff on the internet or reading an e-book or what have you. And, with a purported 10 hour battery life, that's pretty good.

    I'm not going to run out and buy one, but I'm keeping an eye on them -- might be something to ponder in a year or so if they come down in price.

  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:32PM (#32113594) Homepage

    Yeah, I've been questioning the whole "netbook" classification lately. What set netbooks apart form notebooks was that they sacrificed a lot of functionality to make the cheapest, lightest, smallest thing capable of browsing the Internet (on a screen big enough that you didn't have to zoom in/out the way cell phones do). Now they're generally cheap ultraportable laptops.

    Which is fine. Whatever. But "netbook" just seems like a marketing term now. They're small laptops made as cheaply as possible, but you can't call them tiny cheap laptops.

  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:33PM (#32113620) Homepage

    Yeah, I don't agree that it's "the perfect web surfing device"-- but not for the reasons you're going to get flamed for. People are going to call you crazy because it's a little screen, no Flash, no physical keyboard, etc., but after using an iPad for a while, that's not the stuff that bothers me.

    The real problem with the iPad as a web browsing device is in how it handles tabbed browsing. I browse the web in a particular way, and it's not quite linear. When I'm reading through a page, if I come across a link that interests me, I open it in a new tab in the background. Then I continue on reading the page until there's nothing else I want, and I close the tab. That automatically brings me to the next tab, from which I do the same thing. It's a very easy and natural way of processing things, and I barely understand the point of having multiple web pages open at the same time if you're not managing things that way.

    On the iPad, however, you don't really have tabs. Instead you can back into some other screen where all your open pages appear as thumbnails. Not only is the transition of moving in and out a bit slow and aggravating, but there's no way to open a new page in the background. If you "Open in New Page", it automatically zooms you out, opens a new page, and zooms into that page. Worse yet, a lot of times if you have multiple pages open and you switch from one to another, the page you've just switched to will automatically reload itself. ??!! The whole reason I'd want to be able to keep pages open in the background is so that they'll be all loaded up and ready to go. If I have to wait for them to load each time, then I may as well just bookmark them and avoid the whole shrinky-zoomy animation.

    Apple needs to fix that experience. Along with everything else, they have these nice big touchscreens, and the best way they can come up with to change between web pages is to press a button that zooms you out to look at thumbnails? We can't get functionality to have a quick 3-finger swipe take you to "next tab"?

  • Re:Sheer Madness (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dfghjk ( 711126 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:41PM (#32113772)

    Apple's counting technique for 28 days is curious considering their presale period. The iPhone did not have a presale period nor did Apple produce sufficient stock to meet demand. iPhones remained out of stock for quite a while after launch while iPads can be seen in stores already. Had Apple executed with the iPhone like it has with the iPad it's not clear there would be a difference.

  • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:53PM (#32114062)
    Your assumption only holds true if end users expect the same out of the iPad that they would out of a netbook or notebook. I believe that the different form factor may cause a large percentage of buyers to separate the two into different categories. If people don't expect to be able to use an iPad (Or any other similar tablet device for that matter.) in the same way that they would use a notebook, they won't buy the netbook.

    The majority of people in the world are consumers, not creators, and tablet devices provide a definite edge in terms of consumption. Tablet devices can handle the content creation in a pinch, but for any serious work I think most people would prefer a large notebook or a desktop over a netbook anyhow. Consumption ability on tablets is superior to netbooks and the creation ability on netbooks isn't honestly all that great compared to a notebook or a desktop. My own personal belief is that the iPad hasn't killed netbook sales so much as consumers have realized that netbooks aren't providing the experience that they were expecting. Any convenience factor they may have had has been largely eroded by tablet devices.

    The only argument that really exists is that the iPad limits the software that can be installed. This argument against tablet devices disappears once Android tablets start hitting the market later this year. They won't have the same restrictions and multiple manufacturers will be able to compete on price, providing more affordable alternatives to the iPad. The netbook is rapidly becoming irrelevant.
  • by NekSnappa ( 803141 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:02PM (#32114320)

    If you are just a normal user, then the average consumer computer (i.e. one that runs OSX or Windows 7) is extremely simple.

    What you say is true. However for the "average user" (read not folks on /.) Install then uninstall a couple of programs on the Windows box, and the registry gets a little cranky. Or on Windows or OS X they read an article that changing this, that, or the other setting will make the machine do "something cool." And then suddenly it does work the same as it did before.

    The system isn't borked or anything. But the machine no longer behaves as it once did so it might as well be completely screwed as far as the user is concerned.

    Give the same group of people a device which does what they need to amuse themselves. With an OS designed for it. With very little flexibility to save them from themselves, and everybody's happy.

    Yes, even you. Because now you don't have to spend a weekend trying to figure out what Aunt Emma did to trash her registry.

    Have we as a culture really become that goddamn stupid? Do we really need our computers to function like digital picture books?

    Some people do just want digital picture books. Some just want to surf the web and stream Pandora. Just because someone doesn't want to use a computer for the same type. or breadth of things that you do doesn't mean they are stupid.

    If fact I'm very sure that there are a lot of people out there who are a lot smarter than you, or me, that just want that digital picture book.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:04PM (#32114360)

    In fact, Asus makes a nice convertible netbook/tablet that is cheaper than the iPad, has 10 times the storage, a faster processer, a webcam, I can install whatever software I want, it runs Flash, has more RAM, has a full keyboard built-in when I want it, etc. etc. etc.

    If I can get that at $450, why would I want to spend so much more for far less functionality?

    Oh, the i-before the name!

    I have used an asus 100he for a little over a year and love it. I have been wanting an e-reader for a while but the limitations on them and the ipad made me look elsewhere. I got an Asus t91mt netpad for less than $500. Its got a 8.9" screen, 32gig ssd & 2gig of ram and runs Win7 (quite well after a lot of tweaking). Plugged into an external monitor at work with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse it replaced my 1000he (which replaced my destop) just fine. It surf the web, OpenOffice runs like a champ, VLC plays video and Adobe Reader lets me read book. Have not tried Kindle for the PC yet.

  • by natehoy ( 1608657 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:41PM (#32115056) Journal

    As a notebook user who knows several other notebook users, and is also a tablet (iPod Touch) user who knows other tablet users, not just "no" but "hell no". The devices may seem identical on the surface, but they are fundamentally different tools for fundamentally different uses.

    Don't get me wrong, I own an iPod Touch (won it in a contest) and I love the thing for what it does, and there have been many occasions where I've thought, "you know, something like this with about a 10 inch screen would be utterly brilliant!". So I understand the demographic and applications of the iPad fairly well.

    But when it came to a portable device, I chose a netbook. I use it for a lot more than iPhone-type games, web browsing, and e-books. Well, OK, most of my stuff technically qualifies as "web browsing" but a lot of it involves typing (case in point, what I'm doing right now). The difference between a tablet and a netbook is in the ability to interact. I can have a video conference on my netbook. I can type whole paragraphs on it. I can't sit comfortably on the couch and watch a movie on it, nor can I do a crossword puzzle easily on it. Reading books on it is frustrating - especially while sitting up in bed - it's too heavy and the damn keyboard gets in the way.

    I see the iPad as cutting into the Netbook demographic because Apple is the first to introduce a somewhat affordable and (within strict limits) very functional tablet that doesn't completely suck, and many of the tablet demographic have been going to Netbooks because they are close enough, not because they are what they actually want. Now that there's a completely-non-sucking tablet out there, the tablet-desiring demographic is discovering that they need not be encumbered by a keyboard and a form factor that doesn't quite suit them, and they can buy precisely what they do want. They just have to put up with the compromises of a closed ecosystem, but that isn't as much of a downside for a tablet as it is for a netbook anyway - you use a tablet more for passive consumption, not so much for interaction.

    So, netbook sales are not being "destroyed". They will drop, though. The demand is adjusting to account for the simple fact that not everyone who bought a netbook last year really wanted a netbook. Some of them really wanted a tablet, but they settled for a netbook because it was the closest thing that they could find. Now that the tablet niche has been competently filled with an affordable device, the netbook niche will see a loss of some of these crossover sales.

    Doesn't mean the market for netbooks is going away. It just means that there's a giant pent-up demand for non-sucking tablets, so Apple moved a lot of units based on that pent-up demand. Netbooks will still sell to people who want netbooks, but they won't sell to people who want tablets any more.

  • by Amouth ( 879122 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:52PM (#32115278)

    the air would have been nice.. if it had a REAL docking station.. and was changed so that it didn't have a drop down xicom style wired network connector..

    oh and a couple extra usb ports and an option for a cheaper rotating drive.

  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <taiki.cox@net> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:59PM (#32115388)

    1 million iPads in 30 days versus 20 million netbooks from dozens of nameless, faceless vendors in 365 days.

    iPad sales have plateaued, but I wouldn't be surprised that by the end of the year, that number starts to approach 2 million.

    Compared to any given Netbook product this year, the iPad will outsell it by a wide margin.

  • Re:welp. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pimpsoftcom ( 877143 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:59PM (#32115394) Journal
    You guys joke, but I have actually dated women that were known for winning modeling contests, and they always seemed more needy. The women who are used to getting attention all the time get worried and needy when they dont get the attention suddenly because you have to work or you have a personal project you want to finish, and it makes them worry and fear and as the wise Yoda once said, that leads to anger and general b*tch*ness in the end. Granted you can usually catch these sort of women on the way down into depression and get them in the emo "I will try anything to get my self esteem back" phase - its usually worth a week or two of good times until they start feeling better - but really on the other side of the coin I have found that women who don't get attention all the time are usually more happy and easier to spend time with for long amounts of time after the fun is over, and they are generally more appreciative of the time and effort you put into the relationship.
  • by fruitbane ( 454488 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @04:04PM (#32116416)

    I think they key is that most people buying netbooks don't want netbooks. They want something that's fancier than a smart phone but they don't really want another whole computer, and the netbook is simply the closest thing they can fine. These buyers likely DO want a computing appliance rather than a computer. My astonishment is with their willingness to accept the price tag, not the product itself.

  • Re:Whatever it taks! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BlueBoxSW.com ( 745855 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @04:24PM (#32116752) Homepage

    Yeah, I agree.

    Slashdoters may be smart folk, but as for predicting what technology will become established, we have a pretty bad track record. Especially concerning Apple.

    My two leading theories are:

    1) Slashdot is a very skewed sample of the general population, but like most skewed samples, thinks it is typical.

    2) Slashdotters secretly have a crush on Apple and want to take it behind the firehouse and get it pregnant.

    No idea which is the truth.

  • Re:Whatever it taks! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Risen888 ( 306092 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @07:24PM (#32119328)

    I don't buy that for a minute. So Apple's sold a million iPads. Whee. According to this article [cnet.com], there were 33.3 million netbooks sold last year.

    It cracks me up when reports like this come out and everyone starts screaming about how Apple's taking over. No they're not. They're not close. They've never been close. They'll never be close. It's not what "everyone wants." The million people who will buy any stupid goddamn thing Apple sells bought iPads. Those million people are by no means "the general public." So in short, who the hell cares? In consumer electronics, a million units hardly even registers on the scale.

    Let's play with the data a little bit. Let's assume for the sake of conversation that iPad sales continue at this rate. I don't think they will, but let's go with it. In three months, they've sold a million. By year's end, that makes four million. Four million units is roughly 12% of the netbooks sold last year. I don't know what your definition of "taking over" is, but in my book that doesn't cut it.

"Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed." -- Robin, The Boy Wonder