Apple, you win: I want an iPad

When Apple introduced the iPad, it came out of left field, much like the iPhone and the iPod before it. Almost nobody believed it would be as successful as it has been and I doubt anyone predicted it would shake up and transform the PC industry in less than two years. But here we are. We’re two years and three iPad’s deep, but where is the competition? BlackBerry, Android, and WebOS have all tried and failed to capture some of the iPad’s momentum. Looking ahead, Microsoft is about to step up to bat with Windows 8, but given its lack of success with Windows Phone, it may have a hard time as well. Why is Apple retaining so much dominance? You can look no further than today’s newly announced iPad.

I don’t currently use iOS for any of my personal devices, but Apple’s perfectly tuned presentations can get almost anybody excited about a new product. Steve Jobs himself fine tuned them for 15 years and Apple doesn’t show any signs of abandoning the winning template, which is full of black shirts, big buzz words, astounding charts, huge numbers, amazing videos, and exciting new features. Watching an Apple press conference (even from home), can be more exciting than a trip to the theater. I can only wonder why they aren’t broadcast live, but after a few pictures and some live blogs, I’m as excited as any Apple fanboy for the new iPad.

apple you win i want an ipad 3 tim cook

Theatrics aside though, the reason these presentations are so successful is because most of the features shown are usually about as awesome as Apple claims they will be. Today, we heard that the new iPad will have a resolution twice as good as the last iPad and with more pixels than any 1080p HDTV (2048x1536px). That’s amazing, but on top of that it will have a competitive new quad-core graphics processor (dual-core main processor) for gaming and visuals, a brand new camera that matches the quality of the iPhone 4S called iSight, and 4G LTE connectivity, if that’s your bag. On top of that, it will get some notable software enhancements with iOS 5.1 and iPhoto, among others. Combine those features with other big projects recently announced, like e-textbooks, and you have a very compelling product to a wide range of people.

Few of these enhancements are surprising. If you know anything about Apple, you could have predicted almost all of the new features in the new iPad; many people did. Yet somehow, no other tablet maker seems close to offering anything close to these apps and hardware features. There are a few quad-core devices, and some high-resolution devices, but no one else is delivering a full product. Even sadder, most manufacturers still can’t seem to match Apple’s $500 price yet unless they skimp on something.

asus-transformer-infinityAsus is probably the closest company to offering a truly competitive product with its Transformer Infinity, but it will likely cost somewhere between $700 and $900 if you want to get it with its shining feature, a keyboard (actual pricing not yet announced, but it will be more expensive than the $650 Transformer Prime). The Transformer series offers something that the iPad doesn’t. No other competitor seems able to come up with a valid reason not to choose the iPad. Except, maybe, if you don’t like Apple? Unfortunately, the number of people who dislike Apple is not what it used to be.

Perhaps the problem is with itself. Google’s tablet versions of Android – named Honeycomb and now Ice Cream Sandwich – just aren’t as intuitive or fun to use as other tablets. Given the choice, I’d almost choose a BlackBerry PlayBook or WebOS tablet (assuming there was a good one) over many Android devices. It’s not that Android is bad, it’s just not incredibly compelling either, especially from a software standpoint. The iPad has 200,000 custom apps built for it, but the Android Market (ahem, I mean Google Play) has far far fewer apps designed specifically for tablets.

Later this year, Microsoft will use Windows 8 to mount an invasion into the tablet space, a market it invented, but failed to hold onto a decade ago, much like smartphones. It’s hard to say if Microsoft will see much success, but at least it seems to have some vision and original ideas. Where Android mostly tries to merge a bunch of ideas from iOS, OS X, and older Windows operating systems, Windows 8 is something a bit fresher and more intuitive. It’s Live Tile interface could really take off, if it’s presented correctly. But for any tablet to really challenge the iPad, it first has to get people excited. There has to be something enticing about it and it can’t have any drawbacks, be it on features or price. Amazon got people excited about the Kindle Fire because it presented a complete, unique vision and coupled that vision with an equally exciting price.

The new iPad may not be surprising, but it’s still exciting. Apple is coming close to perfecting the vision it laid out with the first iPad — to delivering on its promise. It may finally look as good and run complex apps and games as quickly as we wished it would. Much like the iPod and iPhone, it has taken a few years, but Apple is somehow already delivering the goods while its competitors struggle to lay out a foundation.

Still, nothing is forever. With the iPad maturing into a solid product, the question is, what’s next? Whichever company answers that question first (or best), will win the next round.

(Tim Cook image via)

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.


Google Pixel Slate vs. Apple iPad Pro

The iPad Pro and the Google Pixel Slate are similar looking on the surface, but with the fresh release of the Google Pixel Slate considered, we're diving a bit deeper to compare the two devices.

Put your iPad Pro to the test with these great games

Did you recently purchase a 10.5-inch iPad Pro, or are you enjoying the 12.9-inch version? If so, we've rounded up a few of the best iPad Pro games currently available on Apple's mobile platform.

The best iPad deals for October 2018

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for September 2018.

The sequel to the Pixelbook is coming. Here's what we know about it

What will the Pixelbook 2 be like? Google hasn't even announced it but thanks to rumors and leaks, we think we have a pretty good idea of what the potential new flagship Chromebook will be like.

Pocket transforms articles into podcasts with an assist from Amazon

Read-it-later app Pocket is adding an option to turn articles into easily navigable podcasts with its new app redesign for iOS and Android. The feature relies on Amazon's voice-to-text service Polly.

Here’s our guide on how to get ‘Fortnite’ on your Android device

'Fortnite: Battle Royale' is one of the biggest games in the world right now, and it's finally on Android, even if getting set up is a bit long-winded. Here's how to play 'Fortnite: Battle Royale' on an Android device.
Product Review

Hotter than a Dot? Google's Home Mini outsmarts, doesn't outperform Amazon rival

With voice match and improved artificial intelligence capabilities, the $49 Google Home Mini is a voice assistant that seamlessly puts the Google platform on the tip of your tongue.

How to recover Google contacts

If you accidentally deleted an important person from your Google Contacts, they might not be lost forever. Recovering them is a fairly easy process -- as long as you do it quickly. Here's how.

Save up to $1,000 with the best smartphone deals for October 2018

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $1,000.

Got gadgets galore? Keep them charged up with the 10 best USB-C cables

If you weren't already aware, USB-C is quickly becoming mainstream. That's why we've rounded up some of the better USB-C cables on the market, whether you're looking to charge or sync your smartphone.

Tired of choosing between Windows and Mac? Check out these Chromebooks instead

We've compiled a list of the best Chromebooks -- laptops that combine great battery life, comfortable keyboards, and the performance it takes to run Google's lightweight Chrome OS. From Samsung to Acer, these are the Chromebooks that really…

OnePlus charges into U.K. carrier stores, leaving online-only start in the past

OnePlus's next phone, the OnePlus 6T, will be more widely available than any OnePlus phone before it, as the company has announced major deals with retailers in the U.K. The device launches on October 30.

The Palm has been revived, and it wants to help you limit your smartphone usage

A reboot of the classic Palm is finally here and it's tiny. It syncs to your phone and acts as a secondary device -- with a feature to help you disconnect from technology. At $350, the Palm will be available exclusively through Verizon.
Product Review

The all-new Palm wants to be many things, but it’s really just a tiny smartphone

The all-new Palm is here, and it’s tinier than ever. Exclusive to Verizon, it syncs to your primary smartphone and acts as a secondary device -- with features to help you disconnect from technology. But at $350, is it worth the high price…