Now that the new iPad is here and official, it’s much easier to compare its specifications against those of the host of competitors that have flooded the tablet field since the introduction of the iPad 2.
And while the changes to the iPad may seem more evolutionary than revolutionary, the tweaks were just enough to all but ensure that the iPad will stay at the top of the pack for at least another year. Sure, the tablet will lose marketshare, but Apple was able to neatly and efficiently address the majority of major complaints about its tablet with the upgrades to the new iPad.
Apple added better cameras, 4G LTE and made a couple of significant internal upgrades to the tablet, all with the aim of making it a better machine for content creation.
It also takes on a wave of competitors who banked on offering one or more of those features in order to get a niche of customers that prized one or more of those features enough to look off the beaten path at iPad alternatives. Adding 4G? That’s a punch in the eye for tablets like the HTC Jetstream, T-Mobile Springboard or Galaxy Tab 10.1, which have been able to argue their network speeds as a selling point against the iPad 2.
Apple even took a step to take on its low-priced rival, the Kindle Fire, by dropping the price of the iPad 2 by $100 to a $399 price point. That’s definitely still expensive, but it may be enough to sway people who were considering the $199 Kindle Fire but want a fuller tablet. With a cheaper iPad, Apple’s main competitor for the new iPad is probably itself.
The iPad still has its vulnerabilities, though. Samsung is still arguing that its new Galaxy Note 10.1, with its S-Pen stylus beats any version of the iPad in the content creation game. And Apple still hasn’t added—and isn’t likely to— say, an SD card slot or HDMI port, choosing instead to challenge tablets with more ports (Toshiba Thrive, Acer Iconia) or expandable memory (most Android-based tablets) with iCloud storage and streaming through Apple TV. And the company still hasn’t introduced a smaller tablet at a time when the 7-inch form factor seems to be catching on with tablet consumers.
There’s also always the possibility that Microsoft, with its plans for Windows 8 tablets, will be a challenge to Apple in the enterprise market — an area where Apple has been making a big push. According to a report from The Post’s J.D. Harrison, there’s not much in the new iPad that will tempt businesses, but the introduction of Microsoft Office on a tablet has the potential to be very interesting to businesses.
Overall, however, Apple’s managed to stay just enough ahead of the rest of the market to stay the strongest competitors in a field that’s growing more crowded every day.