News Analysis: Apple’s iPad has been an unbridled success. But the features and technologies in the latest competing tables are making the Apple original look obsolete. That’s why Apple is updating it.
Apple’s iPad has been performing extremely well at retail. During Apple’s last-reported quarter alone, the company sold 7.33 million iPad units. Just about everyone can agree that such performance at retail means the iPad has been an absolute success. And going forward, the tablet is the benchmark by which all other products in the mobile space will be judged.
But with the recent launch of the Motorola Xoom along with all the tablets unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in January and the Mobile World Congress in February, it’s becoming clear that the original iPad isn’t as up-to-date as it was when it first hit the market. Competing devices are delivering new and exciting features that Apple’s tablet lacks. Moreover,Apple plans to hold a special event on March 2 reportedly to show off the follow-up to the original iPad.
Simply put, the current iPad, as successful as it is, just doesn’t cut it any longer. It’s obsolete.
1. Bigger displays
Apple’s iPad comes with a 9.7-inch display, which has so far proven to be just fine for tablet owners. But the Motorola Xoom, which launched last week, comes with a 10.1-inch display. Samsung also plans to sell a Galaxy Tab model with a 10.1-inch screen. More screen real estate makes for a better experience for customers, in most cases. Right now, Apple’s iPad has less screen space than its top competitors. Is it the end of the world? Not in the least. But it could push some customers to, say, the Xoom, simply because a bigger screen appeals to them.
2. Android 3.0 Honeycomb
Google’s Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system looks to be the best tablet OS on the market. It combines the touch functionality consumers expect in a tablet operating system with the functionality of a desktop computer. It includes an improved keyboard, full browsing (more on that in a moment) and a new Action Bar for contextual application options. Android 3.0 is a fine choice by all accounts. Now iOS 4 might not cut it in the tablet market any longer.
3. Dual cameras
One of the key additions to several iPad competitors, including the Motorola Xoom, is dual cameras. With the help of dual cameras, users can snap pictures, record video and do much more than they can on the iPad, which offers no cameras. The chances are the iPad 2 will come with dual cameras. But until it’s announced, its predecessor looks to be outdated.
4. Dual-core processors
Apple’s iPad doesn’t suffer from any apparent slow performance, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be quicker. In fact, the tablet lacks a dual-core processor that some of its competitors offer. Dual-core processors deliver better performance and typically make the respective tablet a bit more user-friendly. The current iPad’s processor just doesn’t cut it when compared to the competition.
Will the iPad 2 Remedy the Originals Shortcomings?
5. The full browsing experience
One of the major issues with Apple’s iPad is that its Safari browser doesn’t deliver the full browsing experiencing those on the desktop offer. For one, it lacks Flash support. It also doesn’t have real tabbed browsing. In Android 3.0 Honeycomb, tabbed browsing is available. Those who have used the platform say the browsing is top-notch. Until Apple makes improvements to iOS and delivers better browsing, its iPad will be a step behind.
6. The Motorola Xoom
As many of the items above have noted,the Motorola Xoom seems to be one of the more promising iPad alternatives on store shelves. The device comes with a 10.1-inch display, Android 3.0 Honeycomb, dual cameras, a dual-core processor and many other features that the current iPad doesn’t have. For now, the Xoom seems like a nice option for customers. A solid argument can be made for why all its features make the current iPad obsolete.
One of the biggest issues with Apple’s iPad is that it only allows users to access AT&T’s network with an additional networking accessory. The tablet can only connect to Verizon’s network with the help of a device like the MiFi 2200 Hotspot. Moreover, it lacks 4G connectivity. Considering several devices, including the upcoming RIM BlackBerry PlayBook, will boast 4G, it would only make sense for folks to consider the WiFi and 3G-only iPad an obsolete alternative.
8. Improved multitasking
When the iPad first launched last year, multitasking wasn’t available. Now, it finally is. But current iPad owners need to double-click the device’s home button to bring up a display of icons representing apps that are running. It’s multitasking, but exactly how well it’s implemented is up for debate. In Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Google delivers improved multitasking, allowing users to see each app in windows. That effect allows users to see a thumbnail of open apps. It saves users time and generally makes for a better multitasking option. Hopefully that will be addressed in the iPad 2 running iOS 5.
9. Video conferencing
As noted, the current iPad lacks any cameras. So, those who want to snap photos can’t do so. Even worse for enterprise customers and users of Apple’s FaceTime platform, the iPad doesn’t come with a front-facing camera for video conferencing. There’s no telling if video conferencing will take off in the tablet space, but considering the vast majority of devices will deliver front-facing cameras, Apple’s omission is rather glaring.
10. The iPad 2
If there is any new technology in the tablet space that could make the current iPad obsolete, it’s the upcoming iPad 2. Expected to be unveiled at a special press event on March 2, the iPad 2 will likely deliver many of the features current iPad owners are hoping for, including dual cameras, an improved operating system (eventually) and a better processor. There’s a good chance that the device will come with a few surprises that helps push it above the competition. At least right now, theiPad 2 promises to be the top tablet contender in the market. And not even its predecessor will be able to match it.