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iPad 2: Why Apple Isn't Bragging About the Specs [Update]

In the Apple (AAPL) iPad 2 morning-after ruminations, many have noticed that the company has adroitly ignored the details of key specifications. From the megapixel resolution of the cameras to the amount of RAM, Apple simply pretends that the specs don't exist. Why? Three reasons: cost, competition, and perception.

There's been considerable interest in why other tablet vendors have had difficulty in matching Apple's iPad entry level price. Some advantages, like scale of manufacturing, are more important than others.

One of the best ways to contain costs is to design accordingly. That means trimming back on parts specs when you don't think that customers would actually notice the difference. Including less RAM and smaller hard drives is the hallmark of bargain-priced PCs, for example. What Apple has tried to do is erase that aspect of its design decision process. By not providing specifics on a feature, the company hopes to avoid addressing what it did to get the product down to the current price. This also explains why Apple didn't move the iPad 2 to the high resolution display that the iPhone 4 has. The change would have been costly and pushed the product above the $500 price.

Another reason to avoid mentioning specs is that Apple enjoys a price advantage in the market. The Motorola (MMI) Xoom is nearly $60 more expensive in parts than the original iPad.

The price difference allows Apple to sell a roughly comparable item for less. But when exact specs come into play, the comparison becomes more discriminating. Does the Xoom having 1 gigabytes of RAM [Update: not 4 GB] mean that it runs faster or can do more than the iPad 2, which, according to the current rumor, may only have 512 megabytes? Maybe yes, maybe no. Avoid the comparison, and you may be able to delay the comparison.

As in all things, Apple wants to control its image in the view of customers and prospects. If it gave in and mentioned the specs, that would give competitors potential ground for attack, and CEO Steve Jobs spent extensive time trying to convince his audience that there was no competition.

Of course, sometimes not mentioning specifics can cause as much trouble, which has already begun to make some wonder if they're being short changed.


Image: morgueFile user runron, site standard license.
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