Apple just changed the tablet game again. And I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will, I’m not Apple fanboy. I have yet to own an iPad. But Apple just took the stage and beat every other manufacturer to the highest-resolution display on the market combined with 4G LTE support and quad-core graphics. The applause is earned.
Sure, we’ve heard plenty of news about quad-core processors, such as NVIDIA’s Tegra 3, but Apple’s product is going to hit the market on March 16th. That’s 9 days from now. Sure the Transformer Prime is already on the market, but it doesn’t offer a resolution comparable to “new iPad.” Plus there’s a lack of apps that actually use the four cores.
And so what, right? The display isn’t everything. But it’s a lot. When it comes to gaming Apple’s going to remain at the top because its product offers four-cores of graphics-processing prowess and those pixels mean HD gaming. In your hands, mind you, not on your HDTV. NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 offers 16 graphics cores, yes, but where are the killer games? Apple said today that it now has more than 200,000 applications for the iPad. 200,000. You can bet developers – we already saw a few on stage today — are already creating apps for the new A5x processor.
Apple also said that iPad users spend most of their time using the iPad for gaming, browsing the web and reading. And we all know iOS offers the best games available on a mobile platform today — in fact, most games are either released first on iOS or at the same time with Android. And with Android you have to make sure that your phone has a device capable of running them. I can, for example, run Gameloft’s Order & Chaos MMORPG on my iPhone but not on a single Android device in my apartment.
I love what Samsung’s doing on its Galaxy Note line of products. The Galaxy Note 10.1 promises to deliver an experience centered around creating content. But so does Apple’s new iPad. With updates to Garage Band that allows up to four users to jam out together, and the release of iPhoto for editing photos on-the-fly, it’s arguable that Apple’s iPad is more than ever about content creation. And that’s just to name two apps that were added today. There’s also iWork for the workforce out there, too.
Then there’s the price. The third-generation iPad starts at $499. It’s a bit steep for my wallet, but the company also just announced that the iPad 2 is now available for $399. That’s entering the Android tablet price-level. No, it’s not as cheap as the $200 Kindle Fire, but it’s definitely going to give some pause when considering more expensive tablets such as the Galaxy Tab 10.1. If Samsung and others want to succeed, they’ll need to follow suit with price drops. There’s no doubt about it.
Add to that the 4G LTE support and Apple is finally competing on a stage that Android tablet makers beat it to. Anyone who wanted 4G LTE speeds on Verizon Wireless or AT&T had the option of buying an Android tablet for that kind of support. Now Apple offers not only that, but global roaming on HSPA+ and HSDPA networks with solid speeds to boot. That makes it a tool that the everyday users to the enterprise business traveler can take advantage of.
Apple, admittedly, is just catching up on the camera front. It’s offering a 5-megapixel camera capable of 1080p HD video recording, which is a feature we’ve seen on Android tablets for a long time.
Will I buy an iPad 3? I’m not so sure yet. I want to see how developers handle the gaming experience and how they begin to take advantage of the added speed and Retina Display. No, I won’t be in line on March 16th to drop $500 on the device, I don’t think, but I will be sitting on the sidelines to see how it stacks up against a few Android tablets that I’ve been using as my daily drivers on the couch.
There’s no doubt, however, that Apple’s going to be the first to the market with a device that offers a higher-resolution than any other tablet available today. It’s also going to have the apps to back up its quad-core graphics processor. And more than just a few. Samsung, HTC, Asus, Acer, the ball’s in your court. I know you can, and will, have an answer to the brand new iPad. Let’s see where this takes us. 2012 will certainly prove to be an exciting year on the tablet front.