There is much chatter today (this, f0r example, or this) about a research report by Credit Suisse analyst Bill Shope that cites Apple execs as suggesting they are prepared to cut the price of the forthcoming iPad if it doesn’t sell well. This leaves me in the odd position of completely believing the conclusion while strongly suspecting that Shope’s finding may have been based more on sound business logic than anything an Apple exec actually said.
In my experience, Apple officials do not talk, hint, suggest, or in any other way communicate their future plans about much of anything. Ask marketing senior vice president Phil Schiller a question with a perfectly obvious answer, like will Apple eventually release PowerBooks with Calpella processors. and if it’s not on the list of things that Apple chooses to disclose that day, all you will get is a cryptic little smile. As about something where it’s really not in Apple’s interest to say anything, say speculation about a price cut for a product that has not yet been released and you won’t even get the smile. Nor would anyone expecting to have a career at Apple wonder out loud about the appeal of a product that Steve Jobs has just declared to be the next big thing.
Of course, Apple will cut the price of the iPad if it doesn’t sell well. And it will cut the price if it does sell well, but only after it has satisfied at full price the demand of the folks who will start lining up at Apple Stores a couple of days before the iPad is released. That’s the way the business works; Apple cut the price of the original iPhone by a third just three months after it was launched. If you don’t need to be the first person on your block to get an iPad, you’ll probably be able to score one for less than the current $499 base price.
The main thing this latest kerfluffle reveals is that the actual announcement of the iPad has failed to quench the thirst for rumors and speculation, no matter how obvious or thinly sourced.