First I should get my opinion on the $AAPL iPad out of the way. Yes, I want one – but I will probably get rid of my iPhone if I do. Lack of multitasking and a keyboard drives me nuts. I want a $GOOG Android phone.
iPad is cool media consumption device, but those who buy it as a computer will be disappointed – although it might be a good solution for my mom.
The far more interesting question raised by the Apple event is what happens to wireless pricing – particularly wireless data – going forward. The announcement that AT&T would be the carrier, and pricing would be $14.99/$29.99 was the most notable thing said in the event.
Let’s first of all get out of the way, nobody (except maybe my mom) is going to pay $14.99. Remember this is a media device. 250 MB barely gets you a movie trailer, much less a movie.
So if you figure everyone’s paying $30/month, that’s not so bad especially considering the connection is wired to the device and can’t be shared. A family such as mine with 4-5 iPad users could be running up $120+/month in data charges. That pays for a lot of movies. (Fortunately I’ve also equipped mi casa with a kick-ass cable WiFi setup, so any iPads purchased in my home will be the WiFi only versions).
Still, it’s becoming increasingly clear that 2010 will witness significant change if not outright decline in wireless pricing. This will be great for the market by opening the doors for new types of mobile applications. But it’s probably not so great for the carriers.
AT&T ($T) is clearly in the spotlight – it’s time to not just talk about their network but deliver. I have a hard time believing a company as smart as Apple would have hitched their new wagon to a star that couldn’t – but we shall see.
My recent misplaced optimism on Sprint ($S) was heavily dependent on Sprint’s pricing being significantly lower than AT&T & Verizon ($VZ) – my $S position was stopped out at a small loss after $T & $VZ announced new ‘improved’ pricing and partially kicked the legs out from under that investment thesis. I still believe Sprint is well-positioned strategically but they’re in no position to fight a price war with their much bigger competitors.
Of course, if you really want an iPad and are going to be mobile, you could always buy the WiFi version and get yourself a MiFi. I am currently long Novatel ($NVTL) and might just wind up with a ‘mobile’ iPad 30 days sooner than the rest of you.