Apple's next-gen iPad: New battlefields emerge

Apple's next-gen iPad: New battlefields emerge

Summary: Apple's competitive set has swollen as the vertically integrated tech giant plays in more spaces. The formula works as long as Apple can keep innovating.


Apple's launch of its latest iPad illustrates how technology's most valuable company in terms of market capitalization competes with damn near everybody.

The rollout of the and HD iPad brought the usual pyrotechnics. The iPad features LTE with a whopping 9 hours of battery life on 4G---unheard of in the world of smartphones. A retina display also adds a differentiation point from rivals. There's also a new chip---the Apple A5X---that offers better performance. And the price tag---starting at $499---stays the same. For good measure, the iPad 2 now goes for $399 to start.

Meanwhile, Apple will launch the new iPad March 16.

Reading between the lines of Apple CEO Tim Cook and Phil Schiller, marketing chief, it's clear that the company's competitive set has swollen as the vertically integrated tech giant plays in more spaces. The game for Apple is still the same---integrate hardware and software better than anyone and use the supply chain as a weapon---but the battlefield is immense.

Related: Apple's New iPad In The Enterprise: Laptop Replacement Gets CloserNvidia on Apple's iPad A5X graphics claims: Show us the benchmarks | CNET: Apple's new iPad: First Take | Techmeme

Among the key nuggets from Apple's iPad event highlighting the competitive set.

Semiconductors: Schiller showed a slide of Apple iPad's graphic performance. The Apple A5X chip has four times the graphics performance over rivals. "It's a graphics powerhouse," boasted Schiller. The competitor: Nvidia. Nvidia's Tegra 3's graphics performance was the stubby foil in Schiller's presentation. Also: Nvidia on Apple's iPad A5X graphics claims: Show us the benchmarks

PCs: Apple was more blatant than ever about its plan to lead the post-PC era. This fact is going to complicate PC upgrade cycles everywhere. The better specs the iPad gets the more it's going to look like a replacement for the laptop. It's possible that many companies will go for iPads over laptops.

PC makers: Cook took direct aim at HP, Dell, Acer and Lenovo in terms of units vs. the iPad. Apples and oranges so to speak? You bet. But Apple clearly sees the iPad as a way to hit its PC competition. Maybe it sells a few Macs on the way.

Samsung and Android tablets: Apple poked Samsung in the eye early on. A Twitter app was shown on a Samsung Android tablet. Cook noted that the Android app looked like a blown up smartphone version. It was. Apple is extending its lead in tablets. To make the price wars on tablets more interesting the iPad 2 will now start at $399.

Amazon and Barnes & Noble e-readers: Cook duly noted that reading e-books was a favorite activity on the iPad. With a retina display it's clear Apple has the pixels to compete with e-readers.

Digital video cameras: Apple executives noted the latest iPad has an enhanced iSight camera and a lens that will improve video. More interesting is the software integration that can shoot video and remix it easily in iMovie. Add it up and you have 1080p HD video camera with software built in.

There are a lot of rivals emerging for Apple. That formula works as long as it can keep delivering leapfrog technologies.

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

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  • So ZDNet is wrong about all this "Post PC" nonsense.

    By Apples own admission on the slide, they call them "Personal Computers".

    So can ZDNet stop this "post-PC" rubbish from now on.

    • Clearly they won't

      Why? It irritates some people. It sounds "serious." It (they might think) makes them sound like they know things that mere mortals can only wonder at. Other than that, it's just one of the currently over-used terms (such as for example, meme) that are flying around like so many England or Chelsea coach possibilities.
      • It just shows.

        Being downrated has nothing to do with the truth.

        I'm pointing out that Apple itself, you know the creator of the gospel, is claiming that iPads are personal computers. It's even part of the article. It's quite clear to see. I guess people only see what they want to see.
    • Clear distinction between the iPad and x86 desktop-based PCs...

      Or desktop-based Mac OS. The iPad is a restart, it leaves behind all the complexity of the 30 year old traditional desktop-based OS, which is defined/branded by Microsoft and partners as "PC". So yes the iPad by definition is clearly a post-"PC" device.
      • Tell Apple that, not me..

        So Apples own slide is wrong then? Or did you completely miss that out...

        It doesn't matter what ZDnet calls the iPad when the creator calls them PC's... Does it.. Sir.
      • Bozzer, you obviously missed the show

        Twit dot tv had a drinking game for the number of times 'HD' and 'post-PC' were said.
      • Not getting it.

        Hey Bozzer, yes its a personal computer, just like your smart phone is a type of personal computer in your pocket.

        Not to be confused with the "PC" branding (or should I say hijacking) by Microsoft and partners over the decades for their marketing of x86 computers. Windows PC, Tablet PC, UMPC (Ultra-mobile PC), even Pocket PC was branding for Microsoft and partners computers - the iPad is non of that, it is post-traditional-Microsoft-branded-"PC".

        Recap - the iPad is a modern 'personal computer' or personal computing device, not to be confused with the whole "PC" branding. That it is not, it's post-pc.
      • Actually

        As I've pointed out in another thread, in terms of being a 'computer' it is barely a computer at all with low power CPU performance and insufficient RAM for what would be the most basic of tasks on an ACTUAL computer. It may be 'adequate' for some tasks, but if underpowered is the 'post-pc' future, then we have a long road ahead .....
      • @ dave95 Missing one small point....

        The whole premise of your comment is that the PC, has been superceded. i.e. 'post'-pc, as in 'after the fact'. The PC is still around, it is still holds the strongest computing footprint and this is true of Windows in particular.

        That is why throwing around 'post-pc' does not make it a reality. We are not post-pc, the iPad is not by any stretch replacing the PC and it is in fact quite possible we never will be 'post-pc'.
    • Post PC Era is an Apple pipe dream.

      Why do you think Apple is pushing this whole notion of a "post PC era"? Its as blatantly nonsense as nonsense could be, but there you have it, Apple keeps insisting its almost upon us, or already is.

      Its going to be Apples big downfall if they don't face reality. Bringing out the iPad and declaring PC's are dead or almost dead is much akin to the stupid hype that Dean Kamen tried to stir up before the Segway came out. There were times he implied it was the beginning of the end of the automobile as we know it.

      I jut read a great article today where several people knowledgeable in the field made it plain that all this "post PC era" talk is extraordinarily premature. Its beyond me why there are ANY writers at ZDNet entertain this kind of talk.

      Use your brain!! Look at workplaces, look at the home where gamers are playing, where people have media systems. Please please just look!!!! Its PC's!!! Sure people use smart phones for internet and sure multi millions of iPads have sold but they are not and can not do what a PC can. Sure these gadgets take up a large part of todays computing but the very largest part of that is NEW computing, not replacement computing. Nobody is throwing away their PC.

      Apple is pushing the whole post PC era idea because they are hoping if they say it often enough people will start t believe it. Mr. Jobs and crew could not break Microsoft's grip on the PC market no matter how hard they tried so they are trying harder then hell to get people to somehow believe that PC's no longer exist!!


      Its pure nonsense! Its garbage and its subliminal advertising at its poorest. PC's are now more reliable and better working then ever before. In fact, as far as tablets go it looks to me that with any luck at all Microsoft will have a tablet that works more like a PC style computer, giving most people what they were hoping to get, but didn't, when they put their hard earned money into an iPad.

      To Apple, "PC" always meant a Windows computer. And make no mistake, what Apple is really trying to convince the public has happened is that Windows computers have all but left the building. Meanwhile, its like too many journalists haven't bothered to even look INSIDE the building because if they did they would see its bloody packed to the rafters with PC's, and although they are not pouring in as fast as they used to, they are still piling in!

      The current situation hardly qualifies as being anything close to a post PC era. Apple is punch drunk and I would hope we soon get a few writers pointing that out.
      • You might have a point ...

        "is much akin to the stupid hype that Dean Kamen tried to stir up before the Segway came out"

        ... if Apple had failed in the marketplace with these devices instead of becoming the most valuable company in the world.
      • Their own data said as much!

        More than 3x more PCs than iPads sold last year (I like the way they try to spin it otherwise by breaking it down by individual vendor). They still have a LONG way to go, and the 2000lb gorilla (Microsoft) hasn't even entered the room yet.

        I work for a company that has more than 50,000 PCs in use. It also has iPads...numbering in the dozens. The official policy set forth by the governance department is that iPads, even corporate owned ones, are considered personal devices in the same category as smartphones, and therefore are not allowed on the corporate network. And I don't see that changing in my lifetime...unless the user is footing their own bill for 3G data, I can't imagine them ever becoming very useful if they can't even be used in wifi mode.
      • @jvitous

        Yes, the 2000lb gorilla has entered the room, his name is Ballmer and he's going to fail again in mobile like he did the iPhone, iPod, and now the iPad.

        Bank on it....
      • And the other stuff didn't make Milwaukee famous

        I know what you mean. It's like Budweiser going around saying it's the "King of Beers." Whoever heard of beers having a King? LOOK AROUND, PEOPLE! What beer -- anywhere -- ever had a King?

        Budweiser is pushing this whole "King of Beers" nonsense because they are hoping that if they repeat it often enough, people will start to believe it!

        I share your concern with these marketing slogans. We all need to get our shorts in a bunch over every one of them! Have you ever actually heard anyone say they are a Pepper? Me either. Do all of your kisses begin with Kay? Probably not. We need to get our shorts in a bunch over that one as well.
        Robert Hahn
      • Ummm really

        "look at the home where gamers are playing"

        On gaming consoles, of many size and shapes. Two things are slowing PC sales (growth for 2011 was .05%)

        1. Internet based/cloud based apps. A browser is all you need. My wires company uses Quickbooks online and Office 365. No one uses local mail/calendaring apps on computers in her small company, its all via the browser or mobile device.

        2. Millions upon millions of PC users should have never been...but for the few things they wanted to do there was only the PC. That is changing rapidly. A iPad is all many people need. Each version of it cuts the cord more and more. iCloud is helping that.

        In my company 80+% of users have Wise Thin clients. They are hitting a VDI or terminal server but they don't have the a PC anymore. More and more of their daily apps are via web browsers.
    • And it still isn't. Think about it for a second - why isn't iMac up there?

      Apple would [i]never[/i] place Mac sales on a chart like that aginst the other companies, as it would be heavilly lopsided towards the other OEM's, yet a Mac is far closer (if not basically the same thing) as what Dell, HP, ect sell.

      But suddenly, something that isn't a traditional OEM PC (It's not even that similar to their own Mac "PC" line) is now a "PC"?

      If iPad didn't sell that well, they wouldn't be calling it a "PC". That name is for the sake of the moment, nothing more, IMHO.
      William Farrel
      • iMac wasn't being released or updated

        So why release those figures?

        Go back to your anchor position Ron Burgundy.
    • Don't take it so seriously.

      It's a loose marketing term used to make a brand distinction against their competitors. Nothing more than that, it's meaning is generally understood and is not intended as a legally binding phrase.
  • The iPad is not a smart phone

    [i]The iPad features LTE with a whopping 9 hours of battery life on 4G???unheard of in the world of smartphones.[/i]

    It's physically larger allowing for a larger, and thus higher capacity, battery. One would hope it could exceed a smaller, lower capacity battery equipped device.
    • Well spotted, it's not a smart phone, it's an iPad!

      However, given that this new and infinitely more evil device has a whole lot more pixels to manipulate and dominate and ever speedier telco data plan chewing capacity all in the same handy form factor/weight (Meaning that they appear as though they'd work quite well as a platform for supporting a jug of beer) and yet get the same battery life; Well, I'd class that as a "gosh" moment, before I went on with what passes for normality.