In The Apple iPad 2: I Told You So, we looked at some of the reasons why the iPad is still the tablet to beat.
Over at Crunchgear today I saw a slightly different opinion that I also give a lot of credit to: it’s nothing that refutes the point that the iPad 2 is at the top of the market even before it’s out, but it does point out that it’s not perfect, and there’s a lot of room to improve here. Of the four things listed, I’ll give the CrunchGear team credit for two and a half of them, and put more emphasis on the half than they do.
I’m completely on board with them when it comes to wireless sync or an updated MobileMe, and I’m totally on-board with a Gorilla Glass display. I’m also on board heavily with their 1/2 item: 4G cellular. With tablets like the Xoom coming out and promising 4G abilities in the next couple of months, the iPad will be stuck riding 3G until this time next year, most likely – and by that time there’ll be a massive array of 4G modems, phones, and other devices on the market. Apple could have done themselves a favor and jumped on this one, but they didn’t.
I’m not so aligned with them when it comes to SD cards and removable/upgradable storage and the Retina Display – not because I don’t want them, but because I understand why we don’t have them.
The Retina Display is a serious high pixel density display, and if they had added it it would definitely have bitten a chunk out of the iPad’s battery life. Since they wanted to make it thinner and lighter, that really wasn’t an option. Apple had a choice – thinner and lighter with the same battery life, bigger with a Retina Display and same/better battery life, or even same size with Retina Display and same/worse battery life. They wouldn’t have added the Retina Display, shrunk the iPad 2, and released it with worse battery life. For this one, let’s see what the iPad 3 brings.
As for SD cards and expandable storage – this is a common complaint I hear from people about the iPad or other Apple products. Seriously guys: it’s valid, but get over it. Apple will never allow you to buy a 16GB iPad, slap a 64GB SD card or SSD into it, and end up with a 64GB iPad for less than they’d sell you one. As for SD cards from cameras or USB ports and such, if Apple added ports, they wouldn’t be able to sell you $29 dock connector dongles for your gear – they’re not giving up that cash cow.
The same rule applies to the iPhone and iPod Touch – removable storage would completely wreck their scaled sales model. Again – not that I wouldn’t want the ability to do this, but Apple’s got a racket going here and I don’t think they’ll ever let up.
All in all – it’s worth a read (although the comments down there are a little poisonous.) What do you think? What would you have liked to see in the iPad 2?
Lance Ulanoff, Editor-in-Chief of PC Mag has a few choice words regarding the iPad 2, and they’re in the title. He’s not bragging so much as he’s pointing out that virtually everything he predicted (and many people predicted) about the iPad 2 actually came true, but also he’s pointing out the fact that Apple’s moves here, while evolutionary in nature, are enough to keep them in the forefront of the market and ahead of the competition for a good long while, even as competition from Google, Motorola, HP, RIM, and others nips at their heels:
No, the Apple iPad 2 is not a game changer. Instead it simply, firmly establishes Apple once again as the front-runner in the tablet wars. Apple and chief executive Steve Jobs (who made an appearance and received a standing ovation) focused on all the right areas to ensure that the Apple iPad will remain the tablet you have to rule out before you buy any others.
He’s absolutely right here, and I agree with him on virtually every point here – Apple’s managed to make an update to one of their best and newest products that makes a good thing even better. But how does it stand up to the competition?
With thousands ready to ditch original iPads for the iPad 2 and the original iPad on clearance at the Apple Store (with refurb models even cheaper,) the iPad’s place at the top likely isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Lance thinks it’s still top of the market:
Unlike last year, Apple’s competitors are well on their way to entering the market with strong, viable tablets that could and should easily appeal to a variety of markets, but as of now, not the Motorola Xoom, HP Touchpad, Samsung Galaxy Tab or Blackberry Playbook stand above the Apple iPad 2. Not only because the product is now thinner, lighter, faster and just as affordable as before, but because there are currently 65,000 apps ready and waiting for iPad 2 customers. No one else has that, and it could be quite a while before any of them do. In the meantime, the Apple iPad 2 will continue to attract consumers and developers. As Rein told me, they’re not on other mobile platforms [with Infinity Blade] “because the real business is on Apple.”
While I bristle just a little bit at calling the iPad 2 the best tablet on the market or coming to market in the immediate future and that none of the competition stands above it (especially when some of the others come close spec-wise) I have to concede the point on the biggest and perhaps most important element here: apps and users.
The iPad 2 has tons of users waiting in the wings, both people who have iPads now and want to upgrade, a culture that encourages people to get the next best thing as soon as its available, and people who weren’t sure about this whole tablet thing and are finally ready to get into the game. Add to this the massive Apple app library and you have a really really compelling reason to get an iPad 2 over another tablet model.
Especially when considering none of the other tablet models that come close to the iPad, with the exception of the Motorola Xoom, have even shipped.
(image courtesy of Engadget)
Oh yes, it was predictable, but someone had to go there: as soon as the iPad 2′s specs were released, it was just begging to be compared to every other high-end tablet on the market today, including those that haven’t shipped just yet and will be the iPad 2′s major competition when it’s released.
The Motorola Xoom, which is already out but clearly the most natural comparison to the newest iteration of the iPad, the HP Touchpad, and the BlackBerry PlayBook – neither of which even have ship or pre-order dates yet – all get thrown down spec-wise to help you understand whether you should spring for the iPad 2, get a Xoom, or wait for something new.
The table is over at Engadget that runs down all of the specs (including the reported future specs of the tablets that haven’t been released yet) – and yes, I can hear people complaining now that it’s not entirely fair to compare a unit coming out now or already on the market to tablets that have been announced but aren’t shipping and are subject to change. To those people I say: I agree completely – take the future specs with a grain of salt, and don’t wait unless you’re wedded to what you’re waiting for.
Head on over to Engadget and take a look at the table.
Apple’s big iPad event was today, and we all got what we expected to get: a brand new iPad, now officially dubbed the iPad 2, along with a release date and technical specs. I talked about it in great length over at Twitter (follow me @halophoenix!) and laid out my general skepticism of the updated hardware but my happiness that Apple was making a move.
As usual, Apple’s approach is evolutionary, not revolutionary: the iPad was the device that defined the market, and after making sure to get a couple of jabs in at Samsung and Google for the former doing so poorly with their so-called “iPad Killer,” the Galaxy Tab and the latter for launching their first Honeycomb tablet in the form of the Motorola Xoom with less than 100 tablet-specific apps for Android, Steve Jobs himself (who many thought wouldn’t be on stage due to his medical leave) moved on to discuss what Apple had in store.
One thing to note before we go too much further: Apple making fun of Samsung and Google at the top of their presentation, out in the open like this, says one thing: they’re worried. The heat is on and competition is closing in on their position. They’re ready to fight them off, but it’s clear they’re worried about the threat that Android Tablets and the Blackberry Playbook – who Jobs later called out for imitating Apple – pose to them. Whether they have reason to worry considering the fact that BlackBerry and HP haven’t shipped anything to compete with and the vast majority of Android tablets are garbage remains to be seen.
Now then, the iPad 2 brings some new features to bear: a new dual-core A5 processor under the hood, front and rear-facing camera with the rear one able to shoot video up to 720p and the front one being VGA only, overall thinner and lighter than the original iPad, and a new white bezel for those folks who don’t like glossy black. The iPad retains everything else from the original model: the 10-hour battery life, the general form factor, the single dock connector port on the bottom, and the single home button on the front.
Even the price remains unchanged, although the first generation iPad quickly found itself discounted a hundred bucks and in the clearance section of the Apple Store (with refurbs as much as 50 dollars off that already discounted price, too!)
Aside from this, little changed about the iPad. It’s thinner, lighter, faster, and has cameras – that’s about all people will really notice about the new model. It may very well be enough to keep Apple on top of its game though – as I mentioned on Twitter, Apple may be holding back some more dramatic updates for a 3rd generation iPad (which a number of rumor blogs have tipped) and coasting on some substantive but not earth shattering improvements and the wealth of tablet apps in the iTunes App Store while they wait to see what the competition brings.
Apple has always led the way, but there’s nothing keeping them from making changes they know are good to the original iPad, keep up with some of the things they know other companies are doing with their tablets but sticking to their guns on others (no removable/upgradeable memory – it messes with their sales model, no additional ports – it messes with the look of the device but more importantly Apple’s ability to sell dock connector dongles for HDMI, cameras, etc, for example) without having to bring out the big changes.
All that said, the iPad is still a great tablet, but is it the one to get? Normally the apps tell the tale, but Android development has been at fever pitch lately; it’s possible for the App Store edge to thin a bit over the next year, at which point Apple will need to hit the gas again.
What do you think? Are you picking up an iPad 2 next week when orders open up? Leave a comment!
[ Apple :: iPad ]
Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to the Motorola Xoom as much as the next person, but the tone they’re taking with this new piece – which points fun directly at Apple’s iconic 1984 ad and clearly calls Apple out for its closed and curated App Store and hardware policies – is a little disheartening. They do finally get past the attention-getting part and spend some time telling me what’s good about their product as opposed to what’s bad about their competition – my pet peeve in a lot of advertising – but not enough time in my opinion.
The video is reportedly a teaser for an ad that will air during the Super Bowl this coming Sunday, and I’m more interested in what that video will tell us, and in how much the Motorola Xoom will actually cost: if it’s anywhere near the reported $700 or as much as $800 that’s floating around the Web, I don’t know if any amount of fun-poking ads will be enough to really save the Xoom from itself.
But the ad is kind of cute.
It was an unexpected announcement last week, but if you have an AppleTV – one of the most recent models – and you jailbreak it, you can now install XBMC, or XBox Media Center, on your device and turn it into a $99 streaming media powerhouse.
XBMC is incredibly popular these days, and for good reason. All of the sites going out of their way to block services like Boxee and Google TV don’t pay attention to XBMC since it looks like any other browser in most cases. It runs on just about anything, streams from any open file share on your home network, outputs in 1080p (which Apple’s own default AppleTV software won’t do,) and more.
Seriously, even if you’re not an Apple fan or have been thinking about buying a cheaper streaming media center for your home theater or building one yourself, the combination of XBMC and the Apple TV may be more attractive now than ever.
Lifehacker has a tutorial (literally it’s three steps) on how to get the job done with as little fuss and muss as possible. I know a number of people who have actually pondered buying an Apple TV now that this is available, and I doubt they’ll regret the purchase.
Well, the moment we’ve all been waiting for is finally here. Verizon Wireless finally has the iPhone 4. But I’m not getting one, and I’m a very happy Verizon Wireless customer and have been for years: since my first cellular phone, in fact.
My decision has nothing to do with Verizon Wireless, or some misguided love for AT&T (I actually rather dislike them, but not because of the company, just because for my professional gigs I can’t get their PR folks to reply to my e-mail to save my life) or any disaffection I have for Apple (in fact, I’ve been frequently accused of being too much of an Apple fan, even though I pride myself on liking their products but being willing to call them out when appropriate) but instead my decision based on a couple of things: timing, technology, and trends.
As I said in the title – this is just me. If you’re eager and chomping at the bit to get an iPhone 4 next month as soon as they’re out, by all means more power to you – drop AT&T like a hot rock, especially if you live in an area with horrible service (service that AT&T knows about and yet refuses to improve, but is perfectly comfortable charging you massive Early Termination Fees to leave) and want to switch to a carrier that, you know, actually works. Me though, I’ll hang on to my Motorola Droid just a little longer.
Hit the jump, let me explain what I’m on about here.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Verizon iPhone Announcement|
I don’t think you’ll get much commentary better than this segment from The Daily Show on Comedy Central last night. Sure enough, the rumors are over and the sighs of a thousand Apple fans everywhere could be heard yesterday morning at Apple execs and Verizon Wireless execs stood on stage together yesterday in New York and announced that a CDMA version of the iPhone 4 would be available to Verizon Wireless’ customers as soon as next month.
The tech world has been abuzz with the news, and there have been a number of hands-on analyses that have largely come to the same conclusion: it’s an iPhone 4. We know how it works already, and no one should be surprised by it. The trick, though, is that because it’s a CDMA device, you don’t have the option of using voice and data at the same time – something that AT&T is proud of (since GSM allows for this, but as does LTE, we’ll see as the next generation of 4G devices appear how much of a differentiating factor that’ll become) and will likely market to its advantage.
To counter, the Verizon Wireless iPhone will support mobile hotspot functionality, and allows itself to be tethered easily to up to five other devices that will see it as a wireless network and connect to it accordingly – a feature AT&T doesn’t offer.
AT&T will then likely counter with GSM’s ability to support global roaming, which Verizon Wireless’ CDMA network won’t allow, Verizon will say “well you can actually place calls on our iPhone,” and the battle will rage on.
Still, more choice is a good thing in the marketplace, and now iOS fans, Apple lovers, and just plain iPhone lovers have the option to pick a carrier that works for them. So much of the debate right now circles around whether AT&T sucks (it does) and whether Verizon’s network will be able to support all the switchers (it will) and whether AT&T will suffer some great harm or crippling loss of business because of this (it won’t, AT&T will be fine) because of this, but that’s all missing the point: now you have a choice, which is more than we had even a week ago.
This video, snagged by Engadget and posted at Mashable gives us a sneak peek at what Android 3.0 “Honeycomb,” the version of Android that’ll be designed with tablet computing in mind, will look like when it comes out. It’s like looking at the future.
And the future is awesome.
Granted it’s just a promo video, but Google is expecting Honeycomb capable tablets to be able to do everything from video chat with front-facing cameras to feature always-on Internet connectivity for e-mail and the Web, and support GPS navigation and mapping thanks to Google Maps.
It’s clear that – even if you weren’t thinking this was the case – that Honeycomb won’t just be a pretty skin or mod to Android to make it blow up nicely to larger screens; it looks like a real overhaul that can make use of the extra horsepower, real-estate, and features we’ll see in all the tablets that are popping up on the show floor right now at CES.
I will say this though: Apple is going to have to step up its game with iOS to compete – having tons of apps and some built-in features won’t cut it for much longer. Also, if Honeycomb looks this good, what is Google doing with Chrome OS?
I wrote about this today at Gearlog, but it bears repeating because it’s so amazing – the video above pretty much tells all – the fine folks at ThinkGeek have invented something that does iPad gamers everywhere a favor – trades in the virtual joystick that’s generally essential to a lot of games but widely disliked for a real, physical joystick that you can bend and flex to control your game.
The JOYSTICK-IT is movable and doesn’t harm your iPad’s screen, so it can go anywhere the game you’re playing demands the joystick be. It’s not available just yet, but it’ll be on sale for $24.95 later this month.