Summary: The new iPad is a minor update. Better tablet options are on the horizon.
I almost pulled the trigger to purchase the third generation iPad. I actually went through the process of putting it in my cart several times, but I couldn’t checkout because of the over $600 price that kept staring back at me. I couldn’t justify spending that much money for a crisper screen. The new iPad is a beautiful product, but it is not as revolutionary as some anticipated.
Apple’s iPad strategy is truly genius. Release a revolutionary product (first generation) followed by incremental updates while maintaining the same price. By tailoring the software to only one device, they are able to maximize and utilize system resources so that they can get by with more without having to play the higher specs game that Android tablets rely on as selling points. While many upcoming Android tablets and phones will feature quad-core CPUs, the iPad has an “enhanced” dual-core A5X CPU. Apple’s marketing tells you that you need to upgrade to the newest model, but the iPad to is essentially the same thing. The average consumer will not notice a big difference between the second and third generation iPads.
The following limitations prohibit me from jumping on the third generation bandwagon.
The new iPad’s higher resolution screen dictates that apps will be larger and thus take up more space. Videos and photos taken with the iPad will also be higher resolution and eat up crucial storage. The new entry level iPad is still a 16 GB. This is pretty small considering that many of the apps designed for the new iPad’s high resolution screen will be nearly double the size needed for the iPad 2. I like to sample apps and keep the ones I use frequently installed for quick access. The image in this post shows that I only have 2 GB for free space on my 16 GB iPad 2. I also sync only a few playlists as my music library would use nearly all of my space.
High PriceThe new iPad maintains the same pricing matrix as the previous generation: $499 for 16 GB of space, $599 for 32 GB, and $699 for 64 GB (Wi-Fi only models). It’s not too pricey if you’re a first time iPad buyer, but not worth the price if you want to upgrade from the iPad 2. The only difference between these models is the amount of storage; There are no distinguishable features between the 16, 32, and 64. Rumors are coming that Google plans to team with Asus, Samsung and/or Motorola on an soon to be released Nexus tablet. Word on the street says that this tablet will feature a Tegra 3 CPU, 7 inch form factor, have expandable storage, and cost somewhere between $199 and $249. That’s a good deal.
Lack of Focus on Productivity
I recently attended the eTech Ohio Conference in Columbus, Ohio, and there were more folks using iPads than I could count. Everyone using the iPad was implementing it as a productivity tool. One lady in a small group session had turned the chair in front of her around, placed her iPad on the seat of that chair, and had a bluetooth keyboard in her lap. Not exactly the best scenario for typing on the iPad, but it worked.
People are hungry for a tablet device that actually produces content rather than just eat it up. The new iPad continues to focus only on content consumption. Google has not yet stepped up yet either but is in a position to do some damage. Integrating Chrome into Android could allow for Google to position their Nexus tablet as a consumption/entertainment device as well as a productivity tool.
I’ll keep waiting for the next iPad or the 7 inch $249 Google Nexus tablet. Many may argue that the 7 inch screen is too small for productivity, but price eventually triumphs over all factors in the end. The 7 inch portability and size allows for quick thumb typing. Smaller tablets can also easily be synced to wireless Bluetooth keyboards. Low price, a more flexible tablet and productivity will eventually lead Google and Android to win the tablet wars.
- GottaBeMobile’s Kevin Purcell details his thoughts on the iPad’s storage limitations. [via GottaBeMobile]
- Asustek Computer of Taiwan will soon introduce a quad-core Ice Cream Sandwich tablet. [via Technorati]
- My thoughts on areas Apple or other manufacturers should focus to make the iPad more useful productivity tool.