Apple launched its next-gen tablet, the new iPad, yesterday at a San Francisco event. Among the standout features includes a Retina display with 2048×1536 resolution, meaning that the new iPad has 1 million more pixels than a 1080p HDTV. Further, the device packs a dual-core CPU, a quad-core A5X graphics processor, LTE support, worldwide 3G support, and 10-hour battery life (nine hours on 4G). I expect that these upgrades will undoubtedly be enough to attract consumers and enterprises alike and further consolidate Apple’s resounding tablet market leadership globally.
So what will be the impact of the new iPad on the rapidly evolving telecom industry? I believe it will disrupt the market due to the following:
The As will rule the tablet market. The tablet market is moving towards a likely duopoly between Apple and Amazon due to their aggressive pricing strategies. Through Kindle Fire, Amazon has wiped out the competition in the sub-$199 price range while with the new iPad, Apple will knock out competitors starting from $499 upwards. Moreover, as iPad 2 will coexist alongside the latest incarnation and Apple will slash iPad 2 prices to $399, it reduces the market play of other OEMs such as Samsung even further.
As my colleague Sarah Rotman Epps so aptly observes: the third generation of iPad is a gut renovation masquerading as incremental innovation. The new iPad looks basically the same but now carries a snappy 4G radio and a much more powerful graphics processor than its predecessor. The big hardware advance lies in the components, particularly in the graphics processor to handle the high-fidelity Retina display and rapid-response touchscreen control. How will an iPad with much better graphics and a faster network connection affect the enterprise?
Some Forrester data from our workforce surveys and forecasts to set the stage:
We’ve gotten greedy. We — the media, the industry watchers, the tech enthusiasts — have an insatiable hunger for novelty. The original iPad wowed us because it introduced an entirely new form factor. iPad 2 slimmed down and got a snappy cover. The new iPad shares nearly nothing with the iPad 2 hardware, according to Apple executives I spoke with. Its retina display has 1 million more pixels than a large-screen HDTV. The new A5X chip has, according to Apple, four times the processing power of Nvidia’s Tegra 3 chip. Compared with iPad 2, it has a nicer camera, a video camera, dictation input, and 4G, while still squeezing out 10 hours of (Wi-Fi) battery life. It’s a wee bit thicker and an ounce heavier. And yet, in my conversations with numerous reporters over the past few days, the theme they kept bringing up was “incremental innovation”: Will the next iPad be innovative enough to maintain Apple’s momentum?
If the iPhone 4S is a case study, the answer for consumers is a resounding “yes.” The 4S, though not as dramatic an update as the technorati hoped for, has been the best-selling iPhone ever. The new iPad will fly off the shelves too: We expect tablets, led by the iPad, to reach 60.7 million US adults by the end of the year, or 19% of the US population. The engineering feats accomplished in the new iPad would have been inconceivable in the early days of personal computing, when colored pixels were in themselves a revelation. We the tech watchers may be jaded, but Apple’s consumers still appreciate the mesmerizing beauty of an ever-nicer screen.