Apple's iPad 2: An incremental upgrade enough to kill the competition

Apple's iPad 2: An incremental upgrade enough to kill the competition

Summary: Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad 2 and boxed in the competition for potentially the next two product cycles.

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Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad 2 on Wednesday and the festivities went about as expected. The iPad got two cameras, dropped some girth and introduced some snazzy new covers.

Missing from the equation was a USB port and a new display.

But when you add up all the moving parts, Jobs had every right to be cocky and kick around the competition, notably Android, Samsung, Motorola and RIM. Sure, you could argue that Jobs lowered himself by calling out rivals by name, but the message was received: Apple just ensured that the other tablets are dead on arrival.

"We think 2011 is going to be the year of the iPad 2," said Jobs.

More: Apple statements on iPad 2, iOS 4.3, our live analysis, Gallery, iPad 2 specs, 33 percent thinner, all incoming on Apple and iPad 2

No argument here, Steve.

Simply put, iPad 2 may be more 1.5 to some folks, but it's more than enough to put the rivals to rest. Why? Most tablets---all preannounced by the way---aren't going to hit the market before the iPad 2 launches. The iPad 2 will hit the U.S. market March 11 and global markets March 26. The iPad 2 "will be everywhere," said Jobs.

That fact means it's going to be very hard for rivals to come close to competing with Apple. The Art of War goes like this:

  • Apple's iPad 2 will hit stores before rivals.
  • Most of the performance talk from Android rivals will be negated.
  • Apple left just enough features out of the iPad 2 to convince some folks that iPad 3 will be coming later.
  • The space between iPad 2 and iPad 3 is enough to convince most consumers to freeze thoughts of other tablets. Consumers may go Apple now---or later. Either way Apple wins.

As my colleague Jason Perlow noted: The competition is "mega screwed."

Here's the fallout:

Motorola Xoom: Jobs made a point to note that Apple only had one model over $799. That quip could have been directly addressed to Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha. The big bet for Motorola is that 4G---something lacking on the iPad---will be enough to woo business users. On the floors of Best Buy, iPad 2 is likely to win the day hands down. The Xoom will have to come down in price quickly. The Xoom has its merits, but it will be tough to unseat Apple.

Samsung and the Android army: These Honeycomb Android tablets will have their merits, but they will have to compete on price. The commoditization of Android tablets will be fast and furious. It's unlikely that Samsung or others can win that game with Apple owning the supply chain. Research in Motion: If Apple didn't announce the iPad 2, there would be significant questions about RIM's PlayBook. As Perlow noted, battery life, thermal management, the software and email tethering are all question marks. And oh yeah, RIM doesn't have a price tag either. Advantage Apple.

Hewlett-Packard: HP showed off its WebOS tablet and got into the game. The problem is that we don't know when HP's tablet is coming or the price. Toss in the fact that the app situation is unclear and you have no reason to pause a purchase to see what HP cooks up.

Bottom line: Apple just forced the hand of tablet rivals. Jobs bravado looks justified. The year of the iPad will be 2011 too.

More coverage:

Topics: iPad, Apple, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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296 comments
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  • RE: Apple's iPad 2: An incremental upgrade enough to kill the competition

    You mention that it launches on the 26th. I thought it was in the US on the 11th and other countries around the 26th.
    Admin71
    • you are correct

      @Bookmark71
      Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
      • Thick plasticky but pricy "competitors" cry today

        @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh: it is true.

        LTE is in just 1% of territory, so it is pointless as "advantage" of competitors. SD card and HDMI are accessible in iPad with small adapter -- though most people do not care since Apple has AirPlay technology and access cloud-based services. There is simply no need to even deal with physical connectors for most of people.

        Also, 65000 tablet apps against 100 -- huge advantage.
        DDERSSS
      • NOT

        @denisrs it isn't pointless if you are in those areas and it isn't .1% that is an outrit lie, 4G LTE will be in quite a few major markets within 3 months and I happen to be in one of those markets so I will take the future proof technology without walls thanks!
        slickjim
      • 4G capability not available at launch

        @denisrs LTE coverage is quite good and expanding. The real issue is that the Xoom is 3G only for now, 4G is coming later and you will have to send your tablet back to moto to get it upgraded.
        otaddy
      • Wi-Fi is free of charge, faster and does not turn you into "lab rat" with

        @Peter Perry, @otaddy: .. that LTE testing mode, which will not actually unfold in good scale until two-three years will pass.

        So, most of the time, LTE is useless for now. The only area where is can be useful is when you are stuck in some traffic jam <b>within</b> the city. If you are in the jam while trying to approach the city from your suburban home, then you are out of luck because LTE is out of coverage there and it will not improve, as I said, before two-three years will pass.

        So it is not worthy to disregard iPad 2 advantages over being lab rat with that LTE signal. And when LTE *will* improve, Apple will, of course, release updated iPad. But now it is not the time; user experience is too spotty and pricy for now and the nearest time.

        <b>Taking into consideration level of iPad's sales, LTE mode will be killed under the load and everyone would be frustrated.</b>
        DDERSSS
      • RE: Apple's iPad 2: An incremental upgrade enough to kill the competition

        @denisrs you need to show something to back that up because verizon assures me Tampa will be covered.
        slickjim
      • RE: Apple's iPad 2: An incremental upgrade enough to kill the competition

        @denisrs I have an LTE modem now and average around 20Mbps. Ive traveled the midwest and Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland are pretty well covered now. I've had no trouble using it in the airports or in the downtown areas.

        Sorry, but your unfounded criticisms of 4g just dont cut it. Not sure what you mean by test mode either.
        otaddy
      • RE: Apple's iPad 2: An incremental upgrade enough to kill the competition

        @otaddy LTE will be big in 1 or 2 years from now. At that time iPad 3 already launching. Who need LTE while you cannot use it anytime anywhere ?
        Voltus
      • Dunno about you guys

        But T Mobile's 4G (Harley) is considerably faster than ATTs 4G (bicycle) or Verizon's 3G (tricycle).

        The LG Slate is priced similarly as iPad 2 and its similar in size and weight. Plus the additional dock and keyboard.

        65K apps that Apple has that are expensive compared to over 160K apps for Android is no comparison Android wins.

        But above all.. you can use REAL Multitasking with Android or a crippled version with an iPad 2/iPad.

        And in six months, iPads will cost the same while Android tablets will go down in price and increase in capabilities.

        Choose what you guys want, I and many other users that relate to things we do will purchase Honeycomb tablets (and its not peanuts like a 1000 units). We are just waiting for the right time, hardware and software maturity that will come within the next six months.
        Uralbas
      • RE: Apple's iPad 2: An incremental upgrade enough to kill the competition

        @otaddy

        LTE is really not much off an advantage at this very point. By the time iPad 3 gets here is when LTE map will start to really grow.
        dave95.
      • RE: Apple's iPad 2: An incremental upgrade enough to kill the competition

        @denisrs, @dave95

        Please read my initial reply, I clearly state that 4G isnt an advantage for the Xoom since you have to get it upgraded to support it at a later date.

        I fully expect apple to outsell xoom. That said, I live and travel in areas already well covered by LTE and it works really well.
        otaddy
      • RE: Apple's iPad 2: An incremental upgrade enough to kill the competition

        @denisrs [i]SD card and HDMI are accessible in iPad with small adapter [/i]

        Ahh small but pricey. If that's important to have, it just narrowed the margin on price.
        Badgered
      • RE: Apple's iPad 2: An incremental upgrade enough to kill the competition

        @Bagered - USB/SD card combo adapters start at $20.00 - HDMI adapters start at $30.00. Oh...so pricey!
        The Danger is Microsoft
    • RE: Apple's iPad 2: An incremental upgrade enough to kill the competition

      What's up with ZDNET ramping up the confrontational headlines? Do you guys actually ENJOY reading the kind of crap Talkback these baiting tactics generate? I'm getting tired of wading through all the fanboy nonsense to winnow out the thoughtful responses, which are becoming fewer and fewer as you drive intelligent comments away.
      If this is the future of ZDNET, you can count me out!
      radleym
      • RE: Apple's iPad 2: An incremental upgrade enough to kill the competition

        @radleym You can't really complain when Apple does the same thing.
        Aerowind
      • RE: Apple's iPad 2: An incremental upgrade enough to kill the competition

        @Aerowind

        Nice catch.
        Badgered
      • RE: Apple's iPad 2: An incremental upgrade enough to kill the competition

        @radleym

        Agreed. ZDNET is sinking fast.
        Rob.sharp
      • RE: Apple's iPad 2: An incremental upgrade enough to kill the competition

        @radleym
        Agree with you in principle, though there is also the possibility that you will find fanboyz and trolls in even the most innocuous of ZDNet reports. The increase in these could also be attributed to culture and society and not necessarily the level of controversy in the headlines.

        The net effect is a reduction in the readability of the threads and enjoyment of the site.
        andmark
      • so true

        @radleym
        zdnet used be tech-talk, now is all about fanboy devices.
        FADS_z