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Hats off to you for your willingness to tackle a complex subject, and for the graciousness to include others. I wish you the best. A couple of quick thoughts, for whatever they’re worth –
• A factor not to be underestimated: Apple’s network of retail stores, with its enthusiastic and knowledgeable employees and the periodic hysteria-inducing product launches for each new iteration of the iPad.The opportunity for curiosity seekers to interact with the iPad inside the friendly confines of an Apple Store cannot be matched by competitors positioning their wares on the sterile shelves of the Staples, Walmarts and Best Buys of the world. Shoppers leaving a big box store with a PC tablet under their arms will head home to decipher its manual and begin the task of setting it up. Apple buyerscan leave the store with a living, breathing appliance, already engaged in helpful or entertaining tasks. Ease of acquisition and simplicity of use: Advantage Apple.
• Apple has put together a decent moat on pricing, so much so that Asus declared no intention of jumping into the tablet market. I don’t know if it has since changed its mind, but the fact remains that Apple has constructed a barrieragainst which competitors may well bloody themselves in an attempt to break through. Others here could speak more expertly on Apple’s ability to secure favorable contracts for components vs. the other players in the field. Affordability: Advantage Apple.
• Also, you mentioned the integration of software. The presence of dozens of killer apps, downloadable immediately – or in many cases, already inthe possession of the owners of iPhone or Touch devices – give iPad users a vehicle to exhibit the “magical and revolutionary” qualities of their new gizmo to family, friends and co-workers. I’ve seen it happen with my iPhone, but even more than the iPhone, the iPad’s social qualities (sharing videos or games between two or more people) lend it to viral marketing on a grand scale. With Apple’sfirst-mover advantage, the playing field will remain clear of competitors for at least the next four to six months…... and in that time an army of amateur salesmen will unwittingly evangelize the masses, just by enjoying their iPads under the curious gaze of nearby onlookers or by using them in productive manners in the enterprise. Unmatched Marketing: Advantage Apple.
The early adoptersdemonstrated an imagination of what the iPad can be. Those who follow behind will see ample proof of what it is.
Agreed, great idea and well thought out points. I hope you get something in return (even though that isn’t your aim).
There are 3 main, huge advantages as I see it.
1) Apps: The ease of development and potential for usefulness and profit will make the production of iPad apps go ballistic.There will be so many fun and functionality offerings that appeal to individuals and businesses of all kinds, that everyone will absolutely have to have one (or 3). As with the smartphone market,  the apps developed for other platforms will likely pale in number and quality. The iPad will be the Swiss army knife of technology. Apps=usefulness
2) The near-complete apple product ecosystem: iPad,iphone, ipod, iMac, macbook, iTV, X-serve, all connected by awesome software, applications, apps, itunes, and soon, some sort of cloud storage and intercommunication system. Other companies only have small parts of this complete package. I don’t see them catching up. The iPad is the perfect instrument for enjoying many of the products of these other parts of the ecosystem, and vice versa.
3) Applevision and hype: Who knows what their current vision is. What we are seeing today was imagined (and unimaginable) many years ago. Its finally getting to the point where even the average Joe and nay-sayer are starting to understand the genius and vision at Apple – enough already for hype to take care of a lot of Apple’s marketing with just a little clever pushing on their part. They’re about to...