By the time you read this, you'll already have decided what you think of the iPad 3 - or iPad, as Apple calls it. Apple says that it "reinvents the category", using the following adjectives in the first four paragraphs of its press release alone: stunning, amazing, amazing, amazing, unbelievable, incredible, unbelievable, incomparable, powerful, incredible, superb, stunning, incredible.
You may agree, cursing the English language as you do so for not having more words fit to describe this latest miracle. You may think it's another of Apple's incremental upgrades, and "faster and prettier" are all that's needed from the dictionary.
Does the 'new iPad' reinvent the category? Or is it just faster and prettier? Image credit: Josh Lowensohn/CNET News
Given the incredible, incomparable, superb, stunning, etc, success Apple's had with that strategy, it's not hard to see why tampering might seem unwise. But this is the last time they'll have the luxury of not even pretending to try.
The original iPad was launched in 2010, three years after the iPhone. We can reasonably expect there to be a new class of device next year, not just because of Apple's fondness for following the Jobsian playbook but because the iPad 3 represents a number of evolutionary dead-ends — pinnacles, if you prefer.
For a start — the screen. It is a thing of beauty and, until everyone else gets one that's just as beautiful, the new iPad's major grace. It is so high resolution that the eye cannot distinguish the pixels in normal use. So, what do you do for an encore? 3D? Haptics? A screen on either side? It's a measure of the lack of options that these have all been seriously proposed in the rumour mill as sensible things for Apple to do: what it can't do is make a screen that looks any nicer. It's done.
Likewise the networking. 70+ Mbps, Apple claims, on the right LTE network. You won't get that. But you'll also be waiting a very long time for anything that's even nominally faster: the switch from 3G to 4G will be with us for a while.
The interface? It hasn't changed that much since the first iPhone. Apple got that right. There isn't much to fix that isn't fiddling for its own sake: voice, maybe, with Siri left in reserve for next time.
However you cut it, there's not much 'more of the same' to come. What happens next will have to look different, behave differently, do a different job.
That will be Apple's first real test under new management. If the next launch is another cut-and-paste of this one, then legitimate questions will be raised about the company's willingness and ability to decide what it wants to be next, to evolve in a changing world. There wasn't even the slightest hint of that this time round: not one.
As someone once said, think different.