High water mark: Can iPad 2 sales possibly match the original?

iPad 2

My expectation at the launch of the iPad 2 was that this product would quickly eclipse the first iPad; it ia better product and there were a lot of people who appeared to be holding off and waiting for the second generation. But Apple seems off its game. Circumstances, and one mistake, may be working to make this prediction of success inaccurate. Let’s explore this.

Launch delay

Typically, Apple’s most successful launches occur when the product is available at the time of announcement. Strangely, that wasn’t the case this time. In the days following the launch, journalists still had to do reviews, and appeared to disparage the product they couldn’t touch. We put the Xoom in first place in our comparison, CNN focused on what Apple left out, and Fortune just seems to call Steve Jobs a liar.

iPad 2

The mistake that Apple made – which is common to others but rare for them – was getting the media in a feeding frenzy about the product, but failing to keep them fed. That same media started tearing it apart. It is a textbook mistake, and not one I’d expect Apple to make.

Is marketing slipping?

Hard data points to sagging iPad 2 hype too. Viral videos covering the iPad 2 aren’t getting anywhere near as much play as the original iPad videos did. According to a piece on AdAge, interest is running about 50 percent for the new product what it did for the old. I recognize that it is hard to get the same kind of interest in two different videos, but the article goes on to point out that another video, which got better play initially for the iPad 2, dropped off like a rock and got a fraction of the coverage. People just don’t seem to be all that excited about it.

Magical vs. incremental

Now look at how the two products are described. The first generation iPad was generally described as a “magical” product, but the iPad 2 gets the far less exciting “incremental” tag associated with it. I mean, I get that once you have seen an iPad an improved iPad is far less exciting, but that didn’t happen with the Kindle; the new Kindle quickly overcame the first product even though it too was an incremental improvement. It wasn’t as if the Kindle ever did more than help folks read books, and the improved display for the current product wasn’t even available when the second generation launched, it was slipstreamed in.

iPad 2I just don’t think more people are going to get excited about an incremental product over one that was magical (I.E. amazing) in the first place.

Gas prices

The biggest problem for any product in this class at the moment is likely gas prices. They are going up fast, and appear to be having an adverse impact on buying behavior. Granted, this is mostly anecdotal at the moment, but that is what has happened in the past when gas prices have gone up sharply, and clearly more than the iPad is at risk here. For folks who already have an original iPad, buying a new one may simply be too hard to justify when they are trying to figure out how to make their rent, buy gas, or continue to buy food. Gas prices can have a chilling effect on discretionary expenses, and gadgets fall solidly within that category. Be aware, this problem could also apply to the coming iPhone 5 launch as well, and curtail much of the planned switching that might have otherwise occurred from AT&T iPhone users and Verizon customers still under their existing contracts, who had been planning to take a penalty and switch to the iPhone 5 early. For those of you thinking it’s crazy to mention gas prices as having an impact here, just ask yourself when was the last time you bought an incremental second generation product in a time of financial stress? If you don’t have to absolutely have it, you are likely to pass for now.

iPad 2-Gas

Tough launch for Apple

This is starting to look like one of Apple’s most challenging launches yet. The company has stumbled a bit on timing and execution, and world events seem to be working against them as well. Apple is a crazy capable company, but it just feels like they are off their game at the moment, and clearly with their CEO under the weather, there are good reasons for that.

In any case, the iPad 2 ramp-to-market, which I thought was going to be a walk in the park for Apple, is quickly looking like anything but.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

Product Review

Sleek and expensive, the Apple TV 4K will still delight the Apple faithful

Is Apple’s latest streaming set-top box a revolution, or too little too late? Find out in our Apple TV 4K review, and learn how this device wins in some big categories, but falters in others.
Product Review

Fascinating Finney phone is crypto in a nutshell: Exciting, but also terrifying

The Sirin Labs Finney phone is to cryptocurrency what the iPhone is to Apple Pay. It facilitates the payment, processing, and exchanging of cryptocurrencies on a smartphone, and surprisingly does it in a user-friendly way.

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for February 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for December 2018.

This list of PlayStation 4 exclusives puts its competitors to shame

The PlayStation 4's game library and incredible selection of exclusive games could make anyone with an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch think twice. Here's our list of the latest and greatest PS4 exclusives.

Amazon cuts prices on the Apple Watch Series 3 for Presidents’ Day

The Apple Watch Series 3 is seeing the same price cut we saw during the Amazon sale just last week. So if you're hoping to pick up an Apple Watch for less than $250, this $50 discount from Amazon can make that happen for you.

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for February 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.

With Galaxy S10e, Samsung unapologetically rips a page out of Apple’s playbook

Samsung's Galaxy S10e -- a new entry in the Galaxy S-series -- has a few things in common with Apple's lower-cost iPhone XR. From the price tag to the color, we take a look atthe similarities.

Chrome is a fantastic browser, but is is still the best among new competitors?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.

Apple brings back the iPhone SE with a $100 clearance discount included

Apple is offering the iPhone SE on their online clearance store once again. With discounts of $100, you can get a brand new unlocked iPhone SE for as little as $249. This offer is only available while supplies last.

Looking to upgrade? These are the best iPhone deals for February 2019

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for February 2019.

From Air to Pro, here are the best MacBook deals for February 2019

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.

Apple stomps on one FaceTime bug, only to have another one appear

Having fixed a FaceTime bug that let users eavesdrop on calls, another issue with Apple's video chat app appears to have surfaced. It concerns adding people to group calls, though there is a workaround.

Protect your iPhone or iPad with the IPVanish VPN, on sale through February

One of our favorite virtual private networks for iPhones and iPads, IPVanish, is now offering a huge discount on its two-year subscription as part of its 7th-birthday promotion. Read on to find out more about how this VPN works and how you…

The 5 best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods, nice as they are, aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, and if you're looking to buy a pair of high-end in-ear headphones, we've got the best AirPod alternatives on the…