Why the real threat to Apple will be the $15 iPad

Mobile Technology

Why the real threat to Apple will be the $15 iPad

John Kennedy asked for the moon. Viktor Zhdanov foresaw the end of smallpox. And last month, social entrepreneur Paul Polak called for the $15 iPad.

In remarks at the 2012 Seoul Digital Forum, Polak said the world doesn't need such an implausibly affordable device because it'd be morally right. Instead, he said, his call is important "because there are massive, new profitable markets awaiting any bold company that is willing to take the risk to design ruthlessly affordable products and services to reach that under-served market of the other 90 percent. … It’s those customers, and their tastes and preferences, that will determine the success or failure of companies like Microsoft within the next 25 years."

Today, Polak said, the richest company in the world "basically makes cool toys for the ultra rich." But from the perspective of history, Polak suggests, Apple risks becoming Cadillac in the 1920s: trapped upmarket after the Henry Ford of computer hardware figures out how to create a slightly inferior product for far less money.

The "hardheaded entrepreneur" who does so, Polak argues, will be the inventor who truly changes the world.

Follow Paul and his team on twitter: @OutofPoverty

RELATED: Doing less, better: the case for higher prices at the bottom of the pyramid, from Harvard Business Review

RELATED: International Development Enterprises website, founded by Paul Polak

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