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 ]