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Abt On The iPad

Abt Electronics' Mike Abt talks about Apple's new creation

By Janet Pinkerton | January 31, 2010

Mike Abt, president of Abt Electronics, told Dealerscope that the industry needs devices like the iPad. "Overall people love technology. They love change. I think it looks like a neat device."

While some may pick apart the iPad's features, Abt said, "I can't say anything bad about it other than I can't sell it."

But when it comes to specialty CE retailers like Abt being included in Apple's yet-to-be-announced iPad distribution plan, it doesn't look good.

When Apple's iPhone launched in June 2007, it sold first through Apple stores and AT&T outlets, and was later sold through Best Buy, Walmart and Radio Shack. "We don't have it still," said Abt. "iPhone is tough for retailers," said Abt. "It's so in demand we really couldn't switch them into the Google phone. My family had to have one, and I can't sell it. It's frustrating."

"It's hard selling upscale product when you're not able to sell product that's most in demand and most upscale."

Yet Abt had nothing but praise for the iPad device itself, as well as iPhone and the iPod Touch. "We need product like that for our industry in general."

iPad is "different—that was the main thing I like about it," Abt said. "It's like half a computer. Light. Real nice video. Easy for kids to watch movies on."

While iPad lacks a webcam or multi-tasking, Abt said, "It's the first-generation. I don't fault them for anything."

Abt thought it was "smart" that iPad launched with a starting price of roughly $500, instead of $800. "Every one loves to go into the Apple store. It will get a lot of hype, and as soon as they (consumers) get it into their hands, they'll want it."

Abt is eager to see what third-party aps will be made for iPad with its 9.7 inch screen. He's also curious about how rugged the tablet is. "That's a big piece of glass."

He sees iPad competing "a little" with one of his favorite CES products: Sony's Dash "personal Internet viewer" slated to launch in a few weeks. "I could just see people grabbing these little devices while they watch TV. It's just making portability even more portable."

And, "Maybe the guy looking for a netbook will buy this iPad instead. But I say, the more that's out there, the better."

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