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iPad Takes Bow, But Price May Hold Back Sales

Apple readied the Wi-Fi version
of its iPad for sale through
its stores, Web site and most
Best Buy stores at press time last
week, but an NPD study found
it may be too pricey for many.

The debut was set for Saturday,
April 3, through Apple’s 221
locations and online site as well
as through most Best Buy locations.
Previously, Apple declined
to disclose whether any of its authorized retailers would have it in store
on the same day that the product would
be launched through Apple stores. Apple,
however, has always said the iPad would be
offered through its authorized resellers.

Apple also announced that it will offer
free iPad setup for every customer
who buys an iPad at the Apple stores,
helping purchasers set up email accounts,
load their favorite apps from the
App Store and more.

Suggested retails for the Wi-Fi-only
iPads on sale April 3 are $499 for a 16GB
model, $599 for 32GB and $699 for 64GB.
The Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available
in late April at a suggested $629 for 16GB,
$729 for 32GB and $829 for 64GB.

All versions will be sold through Apple’s
stores, most Best Buy stores, other
select authorized resellers and campus

While reported last week
that consumers who pre-ordered iPads as
of Friday, March 26 may get delivery late — by Tuesday, April 12 —
an NPD survey shows that
for the general public potential
sales may be hindered by
price and no clear need.

A study of 2,000 consumers
by NPD found 66 percent
were not likely or not likely at
all to purchase an iPad in the
next six months. This compared
with the 9 percent who
indicated they were extremely
or very likely to do so. This
figure went up slightly to 10
percent among the coveted
18- to 34-year-old demographic. Sixty percent
of current Apple-product owners were
not likely or not likely at all to buy an iPad.

This is despite the fact that 82 percent
of Apple owners were aware of the iPad.
Many of these were also interested in
owning an iPad, if not necessarily willing
to pull the trigger and make a purchase.

The study found 18 percent of all consumers
expressed a real interest in the device,
with this figure growing to 27 percent
among 18 – to 34-year-olds. About
24 percent of Apple owners were extremely
or very interested.

Apple owners were
particularly interested
because the iPad came
from Apple and has a
multi-touch screen.

Steve Baker, NPD’s industry
analysis VP, said
those most interested see
the iPad primarily as a
music device or for its Internet
access capabilities.
However, he pointed out
that these usage models
are part of the reason why people may not
make an immediate purchase.

“Considering what people are planning to
use the iPad for, it’s not hard to understand
why people who have these capabilities on
other devices, such as the iPod Touch or a
notebook/netbook, may not want to spend
$500 or more on a similar device,” he said.

Fifty-seven percent of the 18- to 34-
year-old crowd cited the $500 price tag
as the primary reason for not buying an
iPad. This figure fell to 43 percent among
Apple owners.