Apple releases its iOS 4.2 update for mobile devices, with features such as AirPrint and AirPlay, as CEO Steve Jobs takes another backhanded swipe at tablet rivals.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs wasted no time using
the new iOS 4.2 update, available for download Nov. 22, to launch yet another
broadside at his competitors in the mobile space. The update introduces
features such as multitasking, folders and Game
Center to the iPad.
"Once again, the iPad with iOS 4.2 will define the target that other
tablets will aspire to, but very few, if any, will ever be able to hit,"
Jobs wrote in a Nov. 22 statement posted on Apple's
Since Apple's Oct. 18 earnings call, during which he made a surprise
appearance, Jobs has launched a series of blistering attacks against Google
Android and Research In Motion, his company's two top competitors in the U.S.
"We've now passed RIM, and I don't see them catching up with us in the
immediate future," he told the assembled analysts and media during the
call. "I think it's going to be a challenge for them to create a
competitive platform. ... With 300,000 apps in Apple's App Store, RIM has a high
mountain to climb."
Jobs then swiveled his cannons to bombard Google. "[Google CEO]
Eric Schmidt pointed out that they're activating 200,000 [Android] units per
day," he said. "By comparison, Apple has activated 270,000 units per
day, on average."
The iPad represents a substantial-and growing-business for Apple. An October
research note by Bernstein Research analyst Colin McGranahan estimated the
current iPad sales rate at 4.5 million units per quarter, and 2011 revenues for
the device at around $9 billion. Apple's fiscal 2010 fourth quarter saw sales
of 4.19 million iPads, a significant increase from the 3.27 million sold during
the preceding period.
Research firm Strategy Analytics estimates the iPad's worldwide share of the
tablet market at 95.5 percent. Despite that strength, however, Apple faces a
rising tide of competition from the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Tab and RIM's
PlayBook. Early 2011 will see the release of still more tablets running
Android, Palm WebOS and Windows 7.
In an effort to head off that competition, and buttress Apple's mobile
enterprise credentials, iOS 4.2 boasts features such as AirPrint, which allows
wireless printing for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, in addition to stronger
security and device-management capabilities.
On the consumer side, iOS 4.2 offers AirPlay, which allows an Apple mobile
device to stream multimedia to an Apple TV or supported speakers. Game
Center turns the various i-Devices into
a multiplayer-centric gaming platform, matching players to new opponents and
displaying top scores.
rumors suggest Apple's work on a next-generation iPad is already well under way,
with additions such as a front-facing camera and the ability to operate on both
GSM- and CDMA-based networks.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.