It’s The Price Stupid!

Hey gang, here’s one fun thing we all can do as we wait to see if the latest hurricane is going to kill us all; let’s think about the price of technology!

Just about everyone in the known galaxy announced new products last week.  Apple, Google, Microsoft, the Klingons, and the Penguins of Madagascar (the GERD thinks it was a tablet; the one that eats everything ate it so I’m not sure).  In the wake of this gadget blizzard there is one thing that stands out when considering this cornucopia of cool gadgets, what’s the price?

When Apple introduced the original iPad one of the things that attracted the GERD (besides the engineering, the great display, the size, and the ecosystem) was the price – $499 seemed like an extremely affordable price for what the GERD was getting.  So much so if fact that he would go on to buy 4 of ‘em (in the GERD’s defense, I didn’t buy them all at once and the other three did eventually go to family members).  To purposely misquote a famous politician, “it’s the price stupid!”

Let’s recap – Kindle Fire HD – $199; Google Nexus 7 – $199; Samsung Chromebook – $249;    Apple iPad Mini – $329?  Oops!

The GERD has bought expensive toys and inexpensive toys – there was a time when the gulf between the two was wide.  However, Apple has forced everyone else to not only innovate but engage in aggressive pricing and Amazon, Google, Asus, Samsung, and others have done so.  When good companies are forced to do this, we, the consumer, are the winners.  As long as this competition continues, we will continue to win.  Once they start idolizing the bottom line, the prices will start rising and the quality will start dropping. When that happens the era of the tablet will be over.

Apple – what in the world are you doing?

The GERD has been silent recently, not because he’s been lazy (well, not entirely because of that), but because there has been a ton of new technology news lately and even the GERD needs some time to digest it all.  Knowing how much the GERD likes digesting things (no fat jokes, please!), here is a summary of what I think, ready?  Here it is…Apple, what in the world are you doing?

Apple has invented a whole range of innovative products; the smart phone, the tablet, the iPod, the black turtle neck shirt (OK, maybe not invented but made to look cool again), each product engineered to meet a specific need.

Remember when the iPod came out?  We could finally throw away our “portable” CD players and walk around (or even run around) with a small device that stored tons of music.  The iPhone gave us connectivity, apps, and media, all in a really cool design.  The iPad was an absolutely revolutionary device – yes, I know the idea already existed but no one could make one that worked well at such an affordable price.  Each of these met a need at a price people could afford.  As I said in my last post “Did You Hear That?” Apple, for the first time, is responding to someone else instead of leading in a product category.  When you respond, you normally try to one-up them.

All of this leads me to the new iPad Mini.  Again, as I said in my last post, I bet a friend of mine a soda that Apple would price the iPad Mini at below $249 – I even went as far as to say I thought it would go for $199.  I mean, if you’re going to compete, then compete.  Apple can surely afford to make less profit on a product as a means to crushing the competition.  As I sat reading a live blog of the Apple event last week, I was excited to hear the specs of the new iPad Mini – good solid specs for a device costing $199.  Then I spent the next several minutes picking up my teeth (my jaw hit the floor, you see.  Well, not really, just, ah – just look up “Metaphor”) when I heard the $329 price announced.  $329?  Apple, what in the world are you doing?

$329 is far too much for a 7” product when the competition has ‘em for $199.  I know, “our specs are better”, “we’re not going for the low-end market”, “Apple always charges a premium price for a premium product”.  The GERD owns quite a few Apple products, he knows all about the Apple quality and he appreciates it.  But the GERD also has the Amazon Kindle Fire HD – it has all the quality I could ask for AND a price in the $199-239 range (depending on memory).  The GERD is a simple person, not prone to throwing hundred dollar bills out the window as he drives his Porsche down exorbitant avenue.  I like to get what I pay for, but nothing I have is solid gold.

Apple – I think you made a mistake with the price of the iPad Mini.  I’m not real sure what market sector you were going for with this, but it wasn’t me.  As much as I like the engineering, the quality manufacturing, and the never ending app Eco-system, I’ll not be plunking down $329 for a basic iPad mini.  Hopefully enough people with money to burn will buy them so as not to make you look a little silly.

By the way, my friend, the one who won the bet, split his winnings with his cubicle-mate.  They both taped their winning quarter on their overhead in plain sight of everyone with a note saying how they were right and the GERD wrong.  Oh well, I guess the GERD was overdue for a little humility!