RE: Price and mass market
1) Mass market = low profit
- incidentally this didn't stop many from the "mass market" to buy ipad/iphones.
2) A phone <> a tablet
- noneteless the rapid growth of Android phones is nothing compared to iPhone's market penetration. Especially considering the profits made on Apple products while e.g. HTC has already a 5$ COST to microsoft on every Android device sold.
3) You described a distinct use for the thing (occasionally surf the web without the hassle of a computer). For that single use you're obviously not going to spend 700UKP (which is a perfectly sane reasoning). But the majority of ipad users perform many tasks with their device, many of these tasks replace their desktop PC needs (email, surf, read books, media consumption, entertain the kids at restaurants etc...). For their diversity of use an iPad is a much better device than a desktop or laptop computer.
- as is proven by another el-reg reader. iPads excel in their simplicity especially for generic consumers (and infants).
I predict that in time there will be a divide between consumers and creators. Tablets and low-en notebook/netbooks will be the mass-market computing products for passive consumers. While desktop computers and high powered notebooks will be for the ppl in IT-production process (e.g. secrataries, accountants) and/or creation (e.g. gfx-design, webdesing, software development). Apple has the best position for the passive consumer market because of their ties with music- and moviesuppliers and unrivaled the success of iTunes-store as a passive media-selling portal. Even today iTunes makes more money from music then from apps but I agree that the apps are more in the spotlight these days. Due to many tech sites "reviewing" every jackshit app on it. Even El Reg does it.
Which imho it shouldn't. ElReg is European it should put European tech at the forefront and not US-tech. But every day there's either an iOS or an Android app that gets reviewed while native European technoly gets neglected. It's a goddamn shame!