Today’s iPad 2 announcement came earlier than expected and arguably did not have all the bells and whistles that most of us where expecting. A Retina Display, which is a fancy marketing term for what Apple is calling their display technology on the iPhone 4 is still a ways away for iPad. It’s still too costly and would mean iPad developers would have to do some serious tweaking to their apps.
Thunderbolt, the new I/O standard launched by Intel and Apple last week with the new Apple MacBook Pro rollout is also too new, too costly, and not ready for prime time on iPad, iPhone, or iPod. The connectors are around $80 and need to drop to $20 by the end of the year even if we expect external hard drive brands to offer them. And at $20 its still too costly for iPad’s bill of materials (BOM). And drive vendors will have Thunderbird adapters for existing USB 2,o and Firewire drives just like they have USB 3.o adapters for $20 today for existing USB 2.o drives.
But iPad2 doesn’t even have a USB adapter on it. You have to get iMovie content off of it via iTunes, and not a straight drive connection. That puts yet another interface in front of burning a DVD (yes we still burn DVDs these days). Iyt does have nice integration with sharing sites though. But will you hold up an iPad to capture content for a CNN iReport? At a conference on a stand is one thing, in the field is another.
The original iPad had a bump in its chassis for a camera, and camera capabilities were in the original SDK. But it didn’t have a bump for a rear camera. So this is a brand new shell, thinner, lighter, feels better in the hand, but the display resolution is the same as is the storage.
iPad2 has HDMI, which it is doing through it’s 30-pin connector. It’s time for that 30-pin connector to go, or at least get standardized between all iPhones, iPods, and iPads. Maybe Thunderbolt can do it. Again when they tackle the cost issues.1080p support out via HDMI will change things. The VGA-compatible front camera just brings it into the FaceTime fold, but nothing more. The Android tablets have higher resolution front and back cameras already.
Steve Jobs made his pitch for iPad and the arts and humanities. It has Garage Band now so anyone can try to play an onscreen instrument. It has 8-tracking mixing. It has Photo Booth and iMovie along with Garage Band are only $4.99.
Am much anticipated sturdier frame didn’t happen, again probably due to cost. he select button is still there after rumors that controls would be all on display. I thin a bigger refresh of hardware and bigger release of iOS would require this, along with 4G support to cram another antenna in there. After all, today you would need Wi-Fi only, Wi-Fi + 3G, both available, and WiFi plus 3G and 4G. With Verizon about to deep six its unlimited data plan for iPhone, access is going to get more expensive. iPads may be inexpensive compared to Android tablets but load them up with data plans and they are not.
ipad has turned out to be not only a consumer device. Corporations are testing and deploying it along with verticals. It’s getting bigger in education too. Monte Vista High School in Danville, California hopes to build a new library this next year and have iPads as part of the loan and education program. Just one of many schools going down that path and shying away from the notebook PC, which takes to much effort to manage.
iPhone2 really feels like iPhone1.5 and I’m hoping we don’t have to wait another year for true multitasking, a higher resolution display, Thunderbolt, an SD slot, more storage, and 4G. That would be a killer combination given that 4G was readily availability and didn’t break the bank.
It will probably take the combination of Android tablets this year to mount a market share challenge to iPad, but no one brand will stand out from a market share perspective. Nothing ships until April and May, so we’re missing out on a third of the year already. Advantage again- iPad.
If you’ve heard about any other facts about the iPad2 and why certain things didn’t make it into the platform this time around, drop me a line or comment.
– Randy Giusto