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Do we really need the iPad?

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Bill Radke: The new Apple iPad unveiled yesterday is a tablet computer that costs from $500 to more than $800 for the fancier version. Apple calls it a third device — you buy it after you already have a computer and smart phone. But Marketplace’s Brett Neely asks, is there really a market now for another pricey gadget?


Brett Neely: Apple CEO Steve Jobs thinks the iPad sells itself.

Steve Jobs: It’s unbelievably great. Way better than a laptop, way better than a smartphone.

But the big question is: what need does this tablet meet?

Peter Rojas: A device like this, it doesn’t replace your smartphone. And if you own a laptop, this isn’t going to replace that either.

Peter Rojas runs the blog gdgt.com. He says at best, the iPad is an electronic supplement.

Rojas: What they’re aiming at here is actually people who are considering buying a second computer and would normally be buying a netbook.

Only this device downloads books, like the Kindle. But the lack of a real keyboard and other drawbacks will cut into sales, says ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr.

Jeff Orr: We think that this year, there will be around four million of these media tablets sold worldwide.

By comparison, Apple sold nearly nine million iPhones last quarter alone.

I’m Brett Neely for Marketplace.

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