Thoughts on the iPad — Just Push the Buy Button, Says Apple

The hoopla has settled down and we all get a moment to step back and think about the no longer mythical iPad. Apple (s aapl) has rolled out the next genre of computing device in its lineup, and it is a cross between the MacBook and the iPhone. Well, if you take the screen off the MacBook and shoved the iPhone’s guts inside then you’d get the iPad.

Kevin did a good job summarizing the specs of the iPad, which is basically a 9.7-inch iPod Touch. Or an iPhone without the phone call bits. As the prophecy foretold, the iPad uses a chipset made by Apple based on the ARM core. It runs at 1 GHz, basically the same performance we see in the Qualcomm Snapdragon (s qcom) processor in smartphones. That should be plenty of horsepower for the iPad.

It’s too early to predict how successful Apple will be selling the iPad. It’s pricier than other solutions, and it may not be an easy sell to non-geeks. That said, Apple is going to make millions off the iPad. Hundreds of millions.

As expected, the iPad is being pitched as an e-book reader among other things, and Steve Jobs giddily announced the launch of the iBooks app. The app is standard e-book reader fare with support for the ePUB format, and it is backed by the brand spanking new iBookstore for purchasing digital books. This puts the iPad in competition with the likes of the Amazon (s amzn) Kindle and the Barnes & Noble (s bks) Nook, with a notable exception — Apple already has the customer base on launch day.

The most significant thing Jobs said at the iPad press event had to do with the sales numbers of the iPhone and Macs. He casually slipped in that since Apple has already sold 75 million iPhones, millions of Macs and millions of iPods, then the user base for the iPad is staggering. How staggering? He stated that Apple already has 120 million credit cards on file for the iPhone App Store and the iTunes Store. Think about that for a moment. There are already 120 million active customer accounts in the Apple online universe. Even if Apple only sells a few million iPads, those customers likely already have accounts in the store.

The iPad has three stores onboard, the App Store, iTunes and now the iBookstore. Customers can buy content with a simple tap on the iPad screen since Apple already has their credit card ready to charge. And these customers are already accustomed to buying things from the Apple store on their devices. So they can resume buying music from iTunes, apps from the app store and now books from the iBookstore. Apple is going to make a fortune off iPad customers;¬†every single one of them. Now you understand why Jobs believes the iPad is the greatest thing he’s ever done. Apple has not launched a new product from such a position of strength before.

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