Originally Posted by konqerror
The difference is that cheap people are getting around to buying tablets. And people who aren't cheap already bought theirs.
Any time you saturate a market, sales will begin to decline until you hit a replacement cycle. But I don't think we're there yet, and I don't expect big declines in Apple's sales, especially if they release new models, which will garner new interest.
Back in the "computer days", the analysts always used to argue that Apple should either license the OS or find a way to produce cheap computers like Dell and the other clone makers. Look where Dell and those clone makers are today. Apple said they didn't want to play in the low-end of the market and they were proven correct. While Apple has become much more of a mass-market company since then, they don't want to play at the low end of the Pad (or Phone) market either. You can drive out a lot of units that way, but they're all at no margin and if the models are crappy, which they'd probably need to be, it destroys your branding and product line reputation. And the analysts also complain when Apple's mighty margins dip a bit, but they seem to want it both ways.
I think a lighter iPad is going to sell a lot of units and I think there's going to be a lot of continued demand for the mini. There are still tons of people who haven't completed the "I guess I don't need a computer anymore because for the type of things I do, I can do it on a Pad" purchasing rationale. Furthermore, if price were the primary consideration, Amazon's Kindle and Barnes and Noble's Nook would have already killed Apple and B&N is rumored to be backing out of the Nook business.
I think with the maturation of the Pad business, additional sales are going to come from people buying additional iPads for more members of the family....kids, etc.
If Apple really wants to knock one out of the park, they would release a new iOS that's more than a slight evolutionary improvement. An iOS with a vastly improved look and feel, especially if it appeared to the average person to be incredibly superior to Android, would drive a lot of Apple hardware sales, IMO. One of the things that both Android and Microsoft have accomplished is that they have taken away Apple's monopoly on decent UI design from a look and feel standpoint, even in such simple terms as the use of fonts and color, taking away much of the obvious factors of Apple's uniqueness.
Frankly, I don't trust any analyst's opinions of Apple, even in the cases where I might agree. If they're projecting bad news, I don't know if they're actually trying to short the stock or not. Even if they are optimistic, they might just be trying to inflate the stock price.