I heard that there’s a new iPad!
I’m REALLY excited.
I watched this a couple days ago, and thought to myself, this is exactly why Apple is popular. If you watch the video, it’s an April Fools joke played on a Fox News corespondent where her co-anchor convinces her that there’s a new technology now available that lets a person smell and taste things through the screen of an iPhone or iPad. Not to ruin the joke or anything, but everybody cracks up when she licks the screen.
The sad part of this joke is, this is exactly what Apple has been doing to it’s customers for years. Their customers have been told so many times that their device is magical, or revolutionary, or intuitive that they’ve started believing it. They’re believing it despite evidence to the contrary. Apple isn’t laughing through, they’re just raking in the cash with a smile and a nod.
Morgenstern quotes Edward Baig of USA Today:
As Apple unleashes the latest object of desire, a slimmed-down iPad 2, it makes what was already a splendid slab even better, even if the overall upgrade is relatively modest. Apple didn’t boost the screen resolution or bump up the storage. There’s no iPad that can take advantage of nascent high-speed 4G cellular networks. The external speaker is mono. No SD card slot or USB, either.
He also notes that Joshua Topolsky of Engadget referred to the iPad 2 as “iterative”.
The problem that Mr. Morgenstern has with these two reviews is neither of them bow down and worship at the altar of Apple. What he wants is for everybody to “just start out with the fact that the iPad 2 rocks and go from there.”
The problem with that is, the iPad 2 does not rock. Mr. Topolsky was right in his statement that the iPad 2 is an iterative release. There were hardly any changes from the original model other than a speed bump and the addition of a couple cameras. For this thing to “rock”, the original iPad would have had to “rock” first, which it didn’t. The original iPad was a cop out. A hack. A glorified iPod.
Don’t get me wrong, it sells really well. Apple’s best product has always been their marketing. They always manage to fluff up their products to the point where it’s just assumed that they’re going to be the best thing on the market, and so it doesn’t really matter if they are or not.
So, I guess in answer to Mr. Morgenstern’s question, why can’t they just say it’s great?
Because it’s not.
Today a good friend of mine asked me what apps can be loaded on the Xoom. That’s actually an interesting question at this point, since the Xoom is still new. I did a little bit of research (when I said a little I mean less than 5 minutes), and I found some interesting numbers.
According to one source, Honeycomb had 16 applications on the 25th of February. I’ll be pretty frank on this. 16 applications is L-A-M-E. No one is going to buy any device that only has 16 applications. The trick about that particular number is that the Xoom, which is effectively the first Honeycomb based tablet, was released on the 24th. So, at that time the Xoom and Honeycomb were a day old. Puts that in perspective.
Then, in comes Apple. On March 2nd, Apple announced the iPad 2. Now Apple is really working hard to dismiss their competitors, and they didn’t pull any punches with Android. According to the Apple presentation, Honeycomb had 100 applications. 100 applications is pretty lame too, but again, we’re talking about an Operating System that had been released for a grand total of 7 days.
It’s impossible to argue that Honeycomb has a large number of applications at this point. What makes things really interesting is that on the 3rd of March (one day after Jobs’s pompous presentation), Google expanded its Fragments API to applications running older versions of Android. What this means is apps that are compatible with Android 1.6 and higher can tap into Fragments to create apps that work on larger-screened devices like tablets. This makes it trivial to move your app for a handheld to an app for a tablet. The Android market is growing by leaps and bounds, and it has been shown to be growing faster than the App Store.
What this means is this: Gloat now while you have the chance Steve. It won’t be long before you hear that familiar whooooshing sound of your competition passing you by. It should be interesting to hear you try to explain why the number of applications available for a device doesn’t matter after the numbers for the iPad fall behind.
Today I had the opportunity to get my hands on a Motorola Xoom. My time with it was fairly limited, and the device wasn’t connected to a network of any kind, so keep that in mind.
At first blush, the device is fast and intuitive. Applications fire open as fast as you need them. There are some complexities you don’t see with the iPad, but I write those off to the fact that the Xoom has functionality that the iPad lacks.
All things aside, I think the thing that sells the Xoom more than anything else is the desktop widgets. There’s nothing like them on the iPad, and the functionality that they add is second to nothing. The fact that I can scroll through my emails without ever opening the email application saves so much time. Having a picture of my son in a frame on my desktop where I can always see it. Priceless. And really, should have I have to open up the weather application every time I want to check the weather? Seriously? With the desktop widgets, I can just put the weather on my desktop, and it’s there all the time. The iPad has nothing like it.
The other functionality that I really liked was in the web browser. I didn’t get the opportunity to play around with it on the web, but I love the fact that the Xoom displays web sites like they appear on a desktop. We’re not dealing with a phone here people. I also love the fact that the browser has tabs at the top. I haven’t spent a lot of time with the browser on the iPad, but I know on the iPhone the browser is limited to 8 pages. For me, that’s almost a deal breaker. There’s no such limit on the Xoom.
All in all, I loved the Xoom. I’m waiting until the 4G model is standard because I just don’t want to have to ship the device back to the company. As soon a the 4G model is out, it will be mine.
OK, so the announcement has been made. Details are had by all. After a review of those details all I can say is, *yawn*. The iPad 2 is nothing interesting. They’ve finally added the cameras, and they’re upgrading the OS (incrementally). Nothing to write home to Mom about.
Here’s a chart that compares the specs for the iPad 2 to it’s competitors in the market.
To me it looks like pretty much everything on the market already still beats out the iPad 2. I’ve heard rumors that the iPad 3 will be coming out this year as well, and it’s really the one to watch. I have a lot of doubts about that. I expect Apple to maintain it’s schedule and not put out the iPad 3 until next year. By then, even the dust the iPad 2 is eating right now should be settling down leaving the iPad family of devices definitively behind everything else on the market.