Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs made an appearance at the Apple event today, unveiling the next generation iPad.
The iPad 2 is thinner (8.8 mm) and lighter than the original, but will be marketed at the same price. It features rear and front-facing cameras, a faster A5 dual-core processor, offering up to 9 times faster graphics processing, and the ever-elsuive but finally-here white model, which was displayed at the Palo-Alto event today.
The device is slated for shipment in about a week. According to Jobs, it will hit shelves March 11, which is eleven months since the original iPad went to market. This one, however, will be immediately available on both AT&T and Verizon.
iPad 2 purchasers can also get a $39 cable that permits mirrored HDMI video out to HDTVs for 1080p high-definition output. Another cool feature is a magnetic case that can be made fast to the screen. While on the iPad 2 is locked; when removed the device is unlocked. The “smart screen” ($39 standard or $69 for leather) is outfitted with microfibers which clean the screen and magnets which align it to the screen’s corners.
The new release comes just as the tablet market is heating up. Apple’s competitors have come out with their own offerings, and Apple needed to maintain its hegemony by releasing an updated version. However, unless you have a lot of disposable income and are a technophile, you may want to put off this latest iteration. That’s because reports have already surfaced that Apple’s coming out with an iPad 3 before the year’s end. According to reports, the iPad 3 is the one to “sing and dance about.”
How Far Ahead is Apple in the Tablet Game?
The iPad currently commands 90 percent of the tablet market. One hundred new tablets are coming to bust that stronghold up, but it’s hard to see anyone catching up.
- Price edge – Apple’s tablet has been around for a year. Everything in its supply line is in place for mass producing tablet devices. Meanwhile, competitors’ supply lines are all over the place as they are still evolving and trying to get things nailed down. This gives Apple buying power, and leaves other tablet makers paying out of their noses.
- Best Specs – the iPad 2 just matched Apples’ one competitor for processing speed, the Motorola Xoom. The Xoom beat Apple to the dual-core processor, but Apple only waited about a week to counter it.
- Most Apps- Jobs said today that there were 65,000 iPad-specific apps. Android, the nearest competitor, is at 100.
- iOS Ecosystem and iTunes – Apple has a strong following and good retention with its ecosystem, with iTunes acting as the mortar holding it all together. People have tablets primarily for media. iOS and iTunes are extremely media-friendly. More than 100 million people have iPhones, 15 million have iPads, and between 150- 200 million people are on iTunes. People don’t want to step out of this ecosystem to use an Android tablet when they’ve already bought and stored all of their media on iTunes.
By 2012 competitors may have great specs for their tablets, they may have wrinkles smoothed out in their supply lines, and a comparable number of apps. These industry standards will help them cut into Apple’s market. But remember, it’s Apple that’s carrying the banner for industry standards. The number of apps in the ecosystem won’t cease to grow. Apple will keep innovating in the tablet space. And by the time its competitors get these preliminary kinks ironed out, Apple will be releasing the iPad 3. Aside from all that, and perhaps more importantly, Apple’s suite of services and products are–for better or worse–inescapable. People use tablets for media consumption, and they’ve invested in iTunes since the inception of the first iPod. Therefore, Apple will always reign in the tablet space.