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.


Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Product Review

The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever. But don't sell your laptop just yet

Apple has unveiled a big redesign for the iPad Pro, slimming down the bezels, adding Face ID, and the ability to attach and charge the Apple Pencil. All of this comes at a high cost however, as the iPad Pro starts at $799.

The best iPad deals for December 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 December 2018.

The best smartphone stocking stuffers for a very techy Christmas

If you've got a tech-loving smartphone enthusiast to buy for, we can help you out. Here's a selection of top phone accessories that would make amazing stocking stuffers so you can have a very Merry Christmas.

OnePlus's 5G phone should arrive in May 2019, may cost up to $850

OnePlus will be among the first companies to put the new Snapdragon 855 processor into a phone, and will also release a separate and more expensive 5G phone in 2019 with the help of U.K. network EE.
Product Review

The Black Shark gaming phone takes a big bite out of your free time, but the software sinks it

The world is being treated to an ever-increasing number of high-powered gaming phones. With so many great options already out, is there room for another? The Black Shark thinks so. But is it any good? We find out.

Santa Claus is coming to town. Get ready with these Christmas apps

Like it or not, Christmas comes but once a year. Thankfully, we've got a list of the best Christmas apps to help get you into the holiday spirit, just in case you want to call Santa or become a Christmas elf.

Xiaomi’s Gamepad 2.0 turns the Black Shark into a mini Switch

Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi has introduced the Gamepad 2.0 for its Black Shark gaming phone that launched earlier this year. The new gamepad is similar to the Switch Joy-Con, with one piece attaching to each side of the phone.

Google makes it easy to donate to charity straight through the Play Store

As we head into the holiday season, Google announced a new feature on Google Play that makes it a little easier to donate to charity. Through the new page, you'll be able to choose from a range of charities to donate to.

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.

The LG V40 ThinQ, G7 ThinQ, and Watch W7 are discounted for the holidays

LG announced a series of deals for the holiday season where you can buy the company's two flagship phones, the V40 ThinQ and G7 ThinQ, as well as its latest smartwatch, for between $150 and $200 off, depending on the device.

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.