Apple’s iPad Product: Marketing Analysis

Introduction

The iPad product is one of the products that are produced and sold by the Apple Company. The Apple iPad is a tablet that comes with an interesting range of features, which include the ease of accessibility to the web, email, photos, and videos; all merged within the same device. It also has built-in apps that were designed to make the best out of the multi-touch screen. These apps come with an extra advantage to the user as they work from any orientation (Apple, 2010). The tablet, which retails at $499, makes it the most affordable in the market today relative to the competition, has an attractive color, and sharp text, which enhances its readability (Kobie, 2010).

Web pages, for example, can be viewed on a page at a time, thereby helping to retain their crispiness. Scrolling through the pages is done using the fingers, and thus, making navigation easier and more interesting. The iPad product is going to be analyzed in detail in this paper. The marketing environment of this product is going to be considered, and there is also going to be a SWOT analysis. However, before the actual analysis is carried out, an overview of the Apple Company in general and the products it offers to the market is going to be given.

The Apple Company: An Overview

Apple Inc is a multinational technology company that was founded in 1976 as Apple Computer Company and incorporated in 1977 in California, USA. It later rebranded to Apple Inc. to capture its expansion into the production of consumer electronics products (Linzmayer, 2004). Among its globally recognized brands, which include Macintosh computers, iPhones, iPods, and iPads, have received the greatest attention by consumers, the media, and the industrial players. Apple has a workforce of about 35,000 employees spread across the world. Its sales during the period ended in September 2009 amounted to the US $ 42.91 billion (O’Grady, 2008). Its advertising campaigns are quite unique and mainly focus on incorporating aesthetic value on its designs.

As a result of the innovative strategy, they have carved out a unique reputation in the consumer electronics market, especially in the US market (Corporate information, 2010). This has earned it an endorsement from the media industry where the Fortune magazine voted it as the most admired company in America in 2008, followed by a similar endorsement by the same magazine as the most admired in the world in 2009. As a result, IPad is expected to be a major hit with the customers.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths
  • Brand Perception
  • Ease of use
  • Innovation and improvement
  • Better advertising strategy
Weaknesses
  • Expensive
  • Faulty products
Opportunities
  • Introducing new products to the market
  • Better quality control procedures implementation
Threats
  • Tough competition
  • Global financial instability
  • Political instability

Strengths

Brand perception

The Apple Company has been quite successful in regard to being an innovative organization. It has been able to develop its products in a manner that has been quite pleasant to the customers. The products of this company have been, in most cases, linked with “image of fun” and perceived as being of high quality and sophisticated products.

Ease of use

The Apple Company’s products are designed in a way that they are easy to use and to be handled. For instance, the touch screens of the iPad and iPhone differ from that of other similar products offered by other companies. The iPad screen, for instance, is resistant to scratches, its shape is thin, and it is light and not heavy in weight.

Apple is innovative and in a position to improve

Another major strength that the Apple Company has is its ability to be innovative and ready to carry out improvements on its products, and it is through this spirit that the company has recently launched the iPad tablet, considered as being a “revolutionary device” (slideshare.net, 2010).

Better advertising strategy

The Apple Company has a very strong advertising strategy, and this is what has enabled it to promote its products globally. Every time a new product is introduced to the market, the company makes all the possible efforts, through advertising, to ensure that the potential customers for the product are informed.

Weaknesses

The company charges high prices for its products

Apple’s products are, in most cases, costly, and can only be affordable to a particular group of customers. This discourages some particular customers from purchasing products from this company, and they, instead, prefer going for similar products being offered by the competitors of the company. The high prices charged result from high production and marketing costs.

Faulty Products

The Apple Company has, on some occasions, been found to offer faulty products. The company, at some point, encountered problems in the iPod Nano product, which was established to have faulty screens, and the screens as well could break easily under impact. There were also complaints concerning “early iPod batteries” (slideshare.net, 2010).

Opportunities

The Apple Company can carry out the implementation of “better quality control procedures to enable in providing more magical and revolutionary quality products to consumers” (slideshare.net, 2010, Para 6).

Another opportunity is the introduction of new products to the market. The company has immense designing as well as manufacturing techniques that it employs in the development of new products to meet customer needs. These techniques are superior to those of the competitors in the market. This implies that the Apple Company is in a position of being a market leader, a position that can be achieved through product differentiation in order to meet the customer needs ahead of the competitors.

Threats

Existence of Strong Competition in the market

The Apple Company experiences stiff competition from other major global competitors in the market, such as Dell, Nokia, and Samsung, among other global competitors. These competitors have the capacity to innovate in order to stage competition against Apple’s iPad – “newly launched revolutionary device” (slideshare.net, 2010). It is pointed out that “before Apple, Amazon Inc. had already launched a similar product like iPad named ‘Amazon Kindle’ but this e-reader did not get fame as iPad have got before its pre-launch” (slideshare.net, 2010, para, 9).

Global financial and political instability

Another threat in the market is the financial crisis and lack of political stability in nations. The current lack of consistency in the stability of the world financial market, as well as the stock market, has great impacts on the profitability of business organizations. Therefore, by the Apple Company bringing new products to the market, this could have a bad effect on the company’s position since the global financial crisis force consumers to move away from new products and do not support the new products because of the personal financial problems that they may be experiencing.

The company may also face political instability in some of the nations in which it may be carrying out its operations. Political instability may result from such issues as ruling power transition, and political power struggles within the nations, among other issues. These can make the introduction of new products in the nations that may have big opportunities like the Asian countries and South Africa to be difficult.

Apple’s current and future iPad Market

The prediction was made that there would be domination of the iPad beyond this year (2011), and this would go on till the year 2015, even if this product faces stiff competition from the “Android Platform” (huffingtonpost.com, 2011 ). However, as Gary (2011) points out, “according to the analysts Informa Telecoms & Media, Android’s low priced policy will eventually help overhaul iPad in the hotly contested new tablet space, but it is going to take until 2016 to do so” (Gary, 2011, Para 1). Android will succeed in the competition based on the fact that it will be capitalizing on Apple’s weakness of offering products to its customers at high prices, making the customers shift to similar products being offered by the competitors. The cheaper products will still be high-quality products.

As a result of this competition, it is projected that the Apple’s current tablet market share that stands at 75 percent at the present time, will be brought down to about 39 percent while the Android tablets will take 38 percent, making both of them be almost at par, by the year 2015. Beyond this period, by the year 2016, it is projected that Apple’s iPad will have been overtaken by the Android tablet.

However, despite this projection, if Apple takes a step to employ its innovative power to improve more on the iPad and at the same time charge a lower price, it may still stay ahead of the competition. Since Android will be competing on the basis of price, it will be reasonable for the Apple Company to realize the importance of changing its pricing policy and, at the same time, remaining innovative. The high product prices result from high production and marketing costs, especially where the market is not a monopoly. There is a need to conduct adequate research in order to find ways of bringing down the level of the costs of production. This may be done by identifying and using less expensive technologies. The company should also seek to cut down the marketing costs, but at the same time ensuring it reaches the highest number of customers as much as possible.

According to Gary (2011), “three factors have proven to be decisive in the success and failure of tablets: brand, access to distribution channels, and product quality, including the application environment offered (Gary, 2011, Para 6). At present, Apple’s iPad takes the lead in these three areas, but there is a high likelihood that Apple’s edge will decline as there is ongoing improvement in the competing product quality as well as improvement in these products’ application environment (Gary, 2011). There are expectations that, the moment there is launching of windows 8.0, various tablets will come up in the market which is, as pointed out by Gary, “based on Intel and ARM architecture and these are most likely to include Nokia device as well as a number from the traditional PC vendors” (Gary, 2011, Para 11).

The Apple Company will have to take the challenge in order to use its innovation power in order to counter the competitors’ actions. For instance, it will have to improve on the existing iPad in order for it to be better than the ones introduced by the competitors on the market. Since the company has been putting in place a strong advertising strategy, it will have to capitalize on this strength in order to reach more customers across the globe.

Conclusion

The Apple Company has been innovative and has been bringing to the market products which have been perceived positively by the customers. Currently, Apple’s iPad takes the lead in the tablet market, with a 75 percent share. This product is expected to remain in the lead in the next few years, up to 2015, and in case no drastic measures are taken by the company, it will be overtaken by the year 2016 by the Android tablet.

However, since the competition will be on the basis of price, the Apple Company will have to charge lower prices than the prices it currently charges its customers. It will have to work on its production and marketing costs, to bring these costs to the lowest level possible and by doing this, the company will be able to charge its customers lower prices. In summary, Apple will have to capitalize on its strengths and opportunities available and, at the same time, work on the weaknesses and threats in order for it to remain competitive in the tablet market.

References

Apple, (2010) Apple and environment: Designed to make a difference. Web.

Corporate information, (2010) Apple Inc, the Winthrop Corporation. Web.

Gary, C. (2011). Analyst: Android tablet horde to overtake iPad by 2016. Web.

huffingtonpost.com. (2011). iPad predicted to dominate tablet market through 2015: Gartner. Web.

Kobie, N. (2010) As Apple gets ready to unveil its own tablet computer, we look at the competition already out there. Web.

Linzmayer, W. (2004) Apple confidential 2.0: the definitive history of the world’s most colorful company. New York: No Starch Press.

O’Grady, J. D. (2008) Apple Inc: Corporations That Changed the World, London, Greenwood press.

Slideshare.net. (2010). iPad SWOT Analysis. Web.