Rumors are building that on Jan. 27 Apple will unveil an as-yet-unnamed “tablet” device on which users will be able to listen to music, watch TV, read books and newspapers, and play games. Although the famously secretive company is refusing to comment on the speculation, the Wall Street Jounal is reporting that Apple's Tablet will go on sale in March and retail for $1,000—the same price as the company's lower-end laptops and many times more expensive than, for example, an iPhone or an Amazon Kindle e-reader. Can Apple persuade cash-strapped consumers to drop a thousand bucks for this new variety of gizmo?
America is ready to pay Apple's price: Apple has picked its timing well, writes Ben Kunz at Business Week. The "world is recovering from its Wall Street hangover" and "gadget demand is pent up among Americans who held off on toy upgrades during the recession." If you want to be an "early adopter," then yes, you will pay an "artificially high price" as "penance," but "within two years the price will fall to $199"—and in the meantime the Tablet will "change the world."
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Pay the price for what, exactly? A thousand bucks is a lot to pay for what sounds like a "giant iPhone on steroids," says Ben Parr at Mashable. After all, you can buy a laptop with a "giant screen, 500GB of space, and 4GB of RAM" for the same amount. What the Tablet needs is a "killer feature" to justify the price, something unprecedented like "free nationwide Wi-Fi" or a "one-of-a-kind interface." Whatever it is, it had better "impress the pants off us," or the "Apple Tablet is sure to fail."
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Apple knows what it's doing: Don't underestimate Apple, says MG Siegler at TechCrunch. After all, it has always shown a "masterful hand" at "manipulating the media." Maybe it deliberately started this pricing rumor "to set expectations very low." Then, when the actual price of $800 is announced, "the public will erupt in applause." And even if it launches at the full, four-digit price, the company could quickly "shave a few hundred dollars off the price" to "spur sales," just as it did with the iPod. Even at $1,000, "I would not bet against this device."
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