The march of the iPad continues

30 April, 2012
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Is it just me, or do you also feel that the past few Apple releases have all been quite predictable? In the lead up to the new iPad it seems that every man and his dog had a complete list of all the enhancements we would see on the new iPad.

Everyone knew the iPad would have a Retina display, a better camera and probably 4G networking. Some doubts lingered about the pricing, but if you’ve paid attention to Apple you will have quickly realised that the game plan is never to raise prices but rather to keep a consistent price while improving features.

The one really big but unimportant bit of information was what Apple would call the iPad. iPad 2S and iPad 3 seemed like the strongest contenders. But to everyone’s surprise Apple decided to call the new iPad the ‘new iPad’.

It makes sense if you think about it. Product names with an incremental number just don’t make sense in the long term, and Apple has shown that simple product names work best. For the past 10 years the iPod has just been called ’iPod’.

Please don’t take my comments as any sign of disappointment.

I think the new iPad is a wonderful device. Many of my friends and colleagues complain that the iPad didn’t get a visual refresh, but that belies what make Apple products truly great, which is the blend of hardware and software that just keeps improving over time.

I’m typing this on the new iPad, truth be told.

I got my first glimpse of the product at the airport duty-free the morning of its release. Because I was in a rush I picked up the new iPad in store and glanced at its Retina display, but decided that while it looked good it probably wasn’t as big a deal as others were making out. I forgot about the new iPad for a couple of days until I returned home to find my new iPad in its box.

I synced my old model, restored that to my new iPad and then properly dived in (just that process could have its own story, mind you – when was the last time you could transfer the full contents of one device to another with just a few taps of a mouse?)

And then it hit me. The new Retina display really was something that needed to be seen to be believed. I don’t think you can appreciate it until you’ve actually sat down with the new iPad and played with it.

So, how is the new iPad going to sell? I think it’s pretty clear, given the fact that Apple has sold millions upon millions of old iPads already. Apple will set records with this new iPad.

But what about Apple’s competitors who hadn’t even caught up with the functionality of the iPad 2? Well, Apple has made it infinitely harder for them too.

The old iPad 2 is still on sale, but for $100 less, which means every other tablet on the market except the iPad now looks positively expensive. It’s going to be very tough.

Analysts maintain the line that Android will catch up in the tablet market as it has done in the smartphone market. But I think that’s plainly wrong.

I think rather than compare the tablet market to the smartphone market, intelligent analysts should rather compare it to the market for MP3 players, a market that Apple has dominated with over 70 percent market share for many years.

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