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.

Product Review

If price is top of mind, Samsung’s Galaxy S10e is the flagship phone to buy

Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus are joined with a new entry into the Galaxy S family -- the Galaxy S10e. It costs a little more than the original price of the Galaxy S9, but it’s meant to be the more affordable phone compared to the…

With no plans for merging operating systems, Apple opts to combine apps instead

Apple is working on combining all of the the apps it offers to iPhone, iPad, and Mac users by 2021. App developers will soon be able to build and submit one version of their apps to be used by Apple product users.

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for February 2019

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.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? You totally can with these top-of-the-line drones

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.

Having enough RAM is important, but stick to these guidelines to save some money

Although not quite as exciting as processors and graphics cards, RAM is one of the most important parts of your PC. Not having enough can hurt performance. So, how much RAM do you need?

Samsung goes big with the next-gen Galaxy S10 5G smartphone

Samsung has announced a whopping four new Galaxy S10 devices, from the low-cost S10e to the triple-camera S10 and S10 Plus. But it's the Galaxy S10 5G that steals the show as it's among the first 5G-ready smartphones to hit the market.
Product Review

Samsung's Galaxy S10 phones are its most refined yet. Be prepared to pay up

Samsung has unveiled its lineup for its most popular smartphones, and it includes the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus. The two flagship phones boast hole-punch cameras, fingerprint sensors embedded in the display, and beefier batteries.

Folding smartphones hinge on the success of the Samsung Galaxy Fold

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs. S10 Plus vs. S10e vs. S10 5G: Which should you buy?

With four stunning Galaxy S10 phones to choose from, Samsung is bombarding us with choice, but which one should you buy? We compare the S10, S10 Plus, S10e, and S10 5G in various categories to find out exactly how they differ.

Samsung's new Galaxy Watch Active can track your blood pressure

Looking for a new fitness buddy? Samsung just launched the Galaxy Watch Active and the Galaxy Fit, two new wearables with a raft of fitness-focused features that'll keep you moving and get you down the gym.

Adobe Premiere Rush CC is coming to the Samsung Galaxy S10 this year

The Samsung Galaxy S10 boasts a number of hardware improvements over previous Samsung phones, but it also offers a few software improvements too. Adobe Premiere Rush CC, for example, is coming to the Samsung Galaxy S10 later this year.

From folding phones to 5G -- here's everything we saw at Galaxy Unpacked

Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event treated us to a real parade of technological excellence, from folding phones to new fitness wearables. Here's everything we saw at Galaxy Unpacked on February 20.

Google’s radical Gmail redesign is finally rolling out on Android

Google is slowly but surely giving its apps a refresh, modernizing them and ensuring that they're easy to use. The latest app to get a redesign is the Gmail app for Android, which has been redesigned with a few tweaks.

The best Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus cases to protect your $1,000 phone

Can't get enough of big phones? The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is absolutely up your alley. But it's still fragile, and damage is easily gathered through normal life. Protect it with the best Galaxy S10 Plus cases.