The New iPad launched yesterday by Apple may only be an incremental step up from the iPad 2, but when its already the best tablet on the market, that improvement is all that’s required to stay ahead of the competition.
It’s got the best App Store selection around, the highest screen resolution, and the fastest processor. If it’s not the thinnest and lightest 10-inch tablet on the market, its close enough that you wouldn’t know the difference. It’s got the best selection of accessories available on the market.
But there’s just one more thing that raises a problem with that – the iPad doesn’t just have tablets to contend with.
Apple already owns the consumer market with its iPad – there’s just no better device for watching video, looking at photos, or browsing the Web. But, the New iPad misses out on an opportunity to convince creators that they are also important to Apple, that this tablet can be used to make things as much as it can be used to consume things.
Steve Jobs, Apple’s late chairman and former CEO, is famously quoted as describing Apple as sitting at the intersection of liberal arts and technology. When he launched the iPad 2 in 2011, that motto was clearly apparent. Not only was the iPad clearly technologically better than the previous generation – including a camera, and significantly reducing the size – but Apple also had a slate of new apps to make good use of those new toys. Garageband made every iPad owner an instant musician, and iMovie turned the tablet into a portable video editing suite.
With the launch of the New iPad, there is less technological advance. But more significantly, there are also less apps to support creators. Granted, iPhoto for iPad was announced, joining the other iApps released by Apple. But those photo-editing capabilities have already been brought to the iPad by apps including Photogene and Adobe’s PhotoShop Express.
The step up in camera technology is fine, but no amount of megapixels will make a lens this small perform at the level expected by serious photographers. There’s more to photo quality than megapixels, and more to video quality than HD resolution.
Later this year, Windows 8 will come to PCs, tablets, and laptops outfitted with touch screens. These new Ultrabooks, a thin and light laptop standard created by Intel, have potential to win over creators in a way that iPad hasn’t. They will offer both the intuitive user interface that consumers desire, but also the added complexity and available software set to produce content.
There’s no question Apple will stave off tablet competition with the New iPad. But will it withstand Ultrabook competition?