New iPad: Not a major update? Of course not!

New iPad: Not a major update? Of course not!

Summary: Pundits are upset that the new iPad wasn't a more "game-changing" upgrade than it is. Good business practice makes such a major refresh not only unnecessary, but risky.

SHARE:
TOPICS: iPad, Mobility
30

While millions of us are waiting for the FedEx person to bring us our new iPads, pundits are flinging pixels all over the web complaining that Apple has let us down (the again is implied). These experts are railing that a refresh of a major product like the iPad should be radical, game-changing even. These folks must not understand good business is what I think.

When the new iPad was announced recently, I thought it over and determined that Apple had done the upgrade just right to meet its objectives. The goal with the new iPad being to add value to the product line, without risking upsetting potential buyers. Go ahead and read my article, I'll wait here for you to get back.

Read: The iPad success story -- giving us what we want again

Welcome back. Now you have an understanding of what has turned Apple into one of the most successful businesses of all time. Ignore the fact that the Retina Display turns the new iPad into the highest resolution device in your house, no matter who you are. Overlook the insane battery life that makes the new iPad the longest running device over LTE connections, ever.

Yes, concentrate instead on the fact that Apple has added a good value to the new iPad over previous models, while keeping the price the same. That's just enough incentive to get owners of the iPad 2 to seriously consider upgrading, but not enough to make some pass on the new one without feeling bad about it.

The objective of any company with a wildly successful product should be to keep pushing the envelope in subtle ways, without risking upsetting the huge existing market. If you're like me you can remember far too many times in the past when a company has refreshed one of your favorite products, and with a radical change (or two) turned the new one into a product you would never buy.

Related: Apple’s next-gen iPad: New battlefields emerge | Microsoft’s business pitch for Windows 8 depends on tablets | Apple’s New iPad In The Enterprise: Laptop Replacement Gets Closer | The new iPad’s great but what’s wrong with a good, inexpensive Android tablet? | CNET: New iPad hands on | CNET: All CNET iPad coverage (roundup) | iPad HD will surpass laptops on key features

This has been a common occurrence in the laptop space. I can't remember how many times a company has refreshed a great laptop by making radical changes to the new model in a misguided effort to best itself. The changes end up infuriating otherwise happy existing customers, insuring they will not buy the new one. This risky business decision makes no sense on any level, as the older model was already successful in the market.

I don't see Apple ever doing that with a wildly successful product like the iPad. It not only carries the risk of alienating prospective buyers, but it makes the group of happy customers lose trust in the product line. A good incremental update like executed with the new iPad keeps that happy group firmly in Apple's camp. If they were willing to buy the iPad last week, they are even more willing to buy the new one this week. Mission accomplished.

Topics: iPad, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

30 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Agreed

    Why does every release of a product have to revolutionary?

    No company is going to do so year in and year out.
    THavoc
    • Then why does everyone act as if it is revolutionary?

      They'll gladly dump the previous version so they can stand in line to get the latest version. Or pay a premium to someone on Craigs List because the store is sold out and they can't wait a few weeks for a restock?
      ye
      • Facts?

        This "they" you speak of; do you have a poll, white papers or whatever to back this up? I'd like to know what percentage of "they" do these things.
        Arm A. Geddon
      • All one need do is look at the idiots standing in line for them.

        @Arm A. Geddon: Or paying inflated prices on Craigs List. Or the myriad of stories. You'd have to be blind, willfully ignorant, or a fanboi not to see it.
        ye
      • Re: All one need do is look at the idiots standing in line for them.

        @ye

        Oh there's a lot of people that do but I'm sure it's a smaller percentage than most people make it out to be. One more thing; why is it when one doesn't agree they resort to the name calling?
        Arm A. Geddon
      • Facts?

        @Arm A. Geddon: [i]Oh there's a lot of people that do but I'm sure it's a smaller percentage than most people make it out to be.[/i]

        For someone requesting facts why did you not feel the need to provide any yourself?

        [i]One more thing; why is it when one doesn't agree they resort to the name calling?[/i]

        I don't know. I've never understood that about fanbois. But you'll have to take that up with them if you want an answer. Who knows, maybe they'll provide you with one.
        ye
      • I really enjoyed the way you reacted..

        to being called out for name calling by more name calling.

        Seriously, are you still in junior high?
        msalzberg
  • RE: Why does every release of a product have to revolutionary

    Well when it comes to Apple that is how they advertise every release of a new product every year.
    bobiroc
    • Advertising

      Actually, all the PC companies advertise their products like that.
      THavoc
      • All?

        Can't say I have ever seen that.
        bobiroc
      • How amazing

        Dear old Bob (who clearly is somewhat less than rocking) seems to be oblivious to the past 20 years of PC hardware and/or software advertising.

        Mind you, there are plenty of people in the city here that have never seen the Thames or Westminster (either Abbey or Cathedral) and are mystified by what on Earth such a thing as the London Eye might be and heresy of heresy neither know where Harrods is or have been there.
        ego.sum.stig
    • They???rrrre GR-R-REAT!

      I am shocked -- I say [i]shocked[/i] -- to hear that advertising contains exaggerated claims.
      Robert Hahn
  • Yes Bob, All Major PC Companies

    @ bobiroc

    Apparently you never watch TV them. Heck in the last 30 minutes on CNN, I saw a commercial for Dell and HP toting how wonderful (thin, well made, etc) their newest laptop is.
    THavoc
  • iPad/iphone will finally run out of steam in 2012.

    iPad/iphone will finally run out of steam in 2012, and will start its slow but inevitable decline, Win 8 will start a slow but steady long march to the tablet thrown... Mark my words... :-)
    owllnet
    • Hey, owlie...

      Let's meet back here in a year and see how that prediction's working out for you, OK?
      P.S. It's "tablet throne", not "thrown". But maybe you mean that's what people will do with them after using Metro for a while.
      Userama
    • How much money you got?

      n/t
      Robert Hahn
  • Here's the problem...

    Don't release a new one every year... Crud, only release a new one when you have a significant upgrade that is revolutionary.

    Of course, Apple has told us how revolutionary and wonderful their products were! Now people are starting to wake up and they're realizing the products are good but not revolutionary.
    slickjim
    • You're right.

      That's why Apple's having so much trouble selling their products.

      Of course, I expect that you'll be heading to your nearest Best Buy to tell us how many iPads they have in stock, as you always do.
      msalzberg
  • Let me get this straight:

    New CPU, new GPU, more RAM, new display, new battery, new radios, same price.

    What does it take to be a major update?

    Edit: Forgot to mention the new camera.
    msalzberg
    • I don't know what it will take for some persons

      If it was so "non revolutionary", then I wish someone would point out a comparable product. If the new iPad was so mediocre an update than there should be many tablets with the same capabilities at the same iPad price point.
      kenosha77a