Comment : Apple iPad, it's Only The Beginning

Do you remember when the iPod was first launched back in October 2001? It was a white box with a mechanical scroll wheel, up to 10GB capacity and a tiny screen. The first generation iPad is at the same stage right now.

Eight years later and with more than 250 million units sold worldwide, the iPod has been Apple's success-seeking missile to the road of recovery.

There are five models of iPhones that spawn a staggering number of "generations" as well a a whole vibrant ecosystem that's worth tens of billions of dollars and supports tens of thousands of developers and employees.

Apple is keen to apply the same winning strategy to the iPhone and to the iPad. We've already seen three generations of iPhone over the past 3 years and one can expect the same for the iPad.

Remember loyal customers are third in importance for Apple (and any other firms) behind the employees themselves and the shareholders for whom they must provide regular dividends

One can therefore expect the company to have a ten-year plan for the iPad which means that Apple will not provide with all the bells and whistles that we could expect from it.

To put it in other words, the lack of features on the current iPad is what will make customers come back in January 2011 and thereafter, maintaining their enthusiasm and adrenaline levels sky high.

Just like a CSI cliffhanger at the end of a season, Apple's quarterly events and the expectations of something new and better means that customers keep flocking to their products.

True, yesterday's event left a number of questions unanswered especially when it came to content on the platform and whether Apple is not, for the first time ever, expecting to sell a product at a loss.

So just like we saw the iPod evolve from a basic music player to one that can access the web, connect wireless to a network, make phone calls (via Skype), play videos and run applications.

We are convinced that Apple will try to bring the iPad paradigm to the desktop - and in the consumer space - over the next decade. Having apps that you download from a desktop Rather than going to say, Adobe Premiere, and download applications is one aspect.

We also believe that Apple will ultimately shed Intel altogether and x86 completely by bringing ARM and PA Semi to the desktop. No surprise then that ARM's shares rose considerably yesterday given how closely the two are working together.

Things will fall into place eventually. It will only happen as and when Apple decides it and it will be at a price. We might not love the iPad and despise the idea of a giant iPod Touch but the laws of the market reign supreme.