The Apple iPad 2 is lighter, thinner faster and chock full of features that were missing from the original. It's a sound upgrade but not a game changer, say analysts.
iPad's success launched a market that Apple's PC and smartphone competitors
have scrambled to join. Despite the competition, the iPad continues to hold
more than 90 percent of the worldwide tablet market share, a percentage that
analysts say will eventually erode
introduction of the thinner, lighter, faster and more feature-rich iPad 2 March 2
, did Apple
significantly fortify its standing?
Jeff Orr, with
ABI Research, says the added features have simply made the iPad 2 better able
to compete against the aggressive efforts of Motorola, Samsung, Hewlett-Packard
and the like.
the addition of video cameras, a dual-core processor and HDMI [High-Definition
Multimedia Interface] video output keeps iPad 2 in the running with other media
tablets," Orr wrote in a March 2 research note. "Apple's content ecosystem and
integration with other Apple products remains a point of differentiation for
added that ABI doesn't expect Apple to maintain its 2010 market share
Business Research analyst Ken Hyers likewise doesn't believe the iPad 2 rings a
death knell for any Apple competitors.
ecosystem offers a lot of value to its customers, developers and accessory
manufacturers, particularly in terms of consistency of experience, due to the
amount of control Apple exerts over the ecosystem," Hyers told eWEEK.
"This comes at
a cost as some customers and developers bristle at the amount of control that
Apple wields. From a developer perspective, Android is open-source and
it's easier to develop apps for Android devices. For hardware developers,
it's straightforward to build whatever device they want using Android. Look
at the Xoom," Hyers said.
has the competition beat, Hyers added, is in pricing and in offering a
consistent experience. "I think that what will happen is a continuation of what
we've seen so far: Apple fans will continue to buy Apple, while tech-oriented
consumers will buy Android." Plus, he added, "Future Android tablets will
likely push the envelope even further."
Gold, with J. Gold Associates, called the iPad 2's added features-a dual-core
processor, better graphics, a programmable button-"expected." Further, he noted
that what was still missing from the iPad 2-Flash support-makes it a key
differentiator for RIM's PlayBook and Android-running tablets.
Apple's claims, Flash is and will be important on the Internet for many years,"
Gold said in a research note, following Apple's announcement.
Apple kept the price the same and that the delivery date is quickly
approaching, Gold added that Apple fans will likely want to upgrade or finally
get themselves an iPad. "But I don't see any overwhelmingly compelling
capabilities that would make people sitting on the tablet fence go out and have
to buy one, despite some attractive apps," Gold wrote.
Gold pointed to Motorola's upcoming contribution to the market. "I don't see
this as heads above the competition (especially the Xoom) right now," said
Gold. "Apple didn't really move the bar all that much."
Jobs took a moment during his introduction of the iPad 2 to take what seemed a
jab at Motorola, which will retail the Xoom for $799. "Some folks out there are
saying they're only a little bit more expensive than us," Jobs said, according
to a play-by-play transcript from Engadget. "When you look at this [price]
matrix, five of these six are less than $799."
analyst Sarah Rotman Epps says that while the game is far from over, Apple
remains king of the hill-whether it's an eroding one or not.
defines the tablet market, with a product consumers will desire at a price
that's hard to beat," she wrote in a March 2 blog post.
she continued, is no small part of Apple's strategy. The iPad 2 feels good,
looks good-it comes in a number of colors and has a "smart cover" that snaps
into place, reducing mucky fingerprint smudges-and its applications trigger
emotional responses, whether by video-chatting with loved ones, editing home
movies or experimenting with GarageBand and actually sounding good doing it.
"In a post-PC
world, consumers have a more intimate relationship with their devices," Rotman
Epps continued, pointing out that Apple's investment in its retail stores has
paid off, as a Forrester study has shown that consumers "are willing to pay
more for Apple products because of their perceptions that the service (real
humans accessible in any Apple Store) is built into the price of the device.
In-store service boosts Apple's pricing power."
Jobs also said
as much during his presentation. Talking up the success of the original iPad,
he explained, "One of the things that has helped up roll this out so fast is
our retail stores. They were built for moments like this. We have hundreds of
Apple stores now. Without them, we wouldn't have been successful."
products from Motorola, RIM, HP and others consequently have "fatally flawed
price and distribution strategies," wrote Rotman Epps, adding that of the 24.1
million tablets Forrester expects U.S. consumers to purchase in 2011, at least
20 million will be iPads.
understands desire," Epps wrote.