With all the hoopla around the iPad 2, I have not seen many comments about what Apple’s competitors should really be worrying about: the original iPad.

Side by side iPad and iPad 2The original iPad may be thicker, heavier and slower than the iPad 2, but if I were at Motorola or any of its would be competitors, I would worry most about the fact that with the original iPad, Apple now has a year’s worth of production experience in this device category. This gives Apple a platform to extend the category with lower-priced devices, much like they’ve done with the iPod (think Mini, Nano, Shuffle).

By doing this and holding the price of their top device at around the $500 mark, they can pretty much block any would be competitor from making much of a dent for a while.

It looks like Motorola and the others sat it out and decided to watch the market reaction to the iPad.  Now they are having a hard time coming out with a device that’s feature- and price-competitive to the iPad 2.  And while they worry about that, Apple can leverage what it’s learned from the original iPad to fill out the tablet “shelf,” so to speak, with multiple lower-cost devices.

Update (3/28)

A couple of days after publishing this post, I got an email from Staples who wanted to let me know that the Tablets Have Arrived from Motorola, RIM and Dell.

Tablets from Motorola, RIM and Dell

However, you may notice that the only one that you can “Order Now” is the XOOM, the others are still on their way.