Apple Maintains Dominance with New iPad

by Jeff Wiener on March 8, 2012

While Apple has long stood atop the tablet market, the success of its iPad brand holding its competitors at bay, recently it looked like times were changing, with Apple’s closest competitors making rapid advances in tablet technology. So with competitors encroaching on Apple’s territory the big question at yesterday’s press conference was, will the company’s “New iPad”(literally as it was called in yesterday’s press conference. I will refer to it as the iPad 3) be enough to maintain its longstanding dominance?

To the point, while Apple’s previous iteration of its tablet brand, the iPad 2, absolutely dominated the tablet market, selling more units in the fourth quarter in 2011 than the rest of the tablet market sold in the entire year, the fact of that matter was that by the end of the year competitor’s tablets boasted better specs and features than Apple’s tablet, an issue that had some questioning whether the new iPad 3 will be enough to fend off the tablet onslaught going forward.

But who are we kidding? Of course it’ll be enough; it’s a new Apple product. Even if the new iPad 3 didn’t sport many of the features it currently has—heck, even amidst the ongoing scandal over working conditions along Apple’s supply line—Apple knows how to sell a product and when to sell a product and the new iPad once again dominate the tablet market.

As expected, “The New iPad” (not sure if a real name is forthcoming or if this will be it) comes with the standard dot.dot incremental upgrades we’ve seen on new iterations of every Apple product. The speedy quad core ASX processor, the addition of 4G LTE capability, the upgraded camera, all of it was expected and necessary, and while they will truly make the iPad 3 a tablet force to be reckoned with (as if it wouldn’t have been anyways) these features would really only be big news if they hadn’t made their way onto the iPad 3 specs list.

What blew me away at today’s announcement is not simply that Apple will once again dominate the tablet market with its new iPad, but that it may very well dominate the laptop market as well, as the iPad 3 screen surprisingly boasts a 2048×1536 resolution, double that of the previous iPad 2 and more than any current tablet or laptop.

Beyond that, the new tablet was not named the iPad HD (or even the iPad 3), as many anticipated, but nonetheless sports a brilliant HD screen. As one CNET writer explains, “Remember the first time you saw an HD television? You were probably excited about the future but also a little sad that your current TV’s days were numbered. For tablet fans, a glance at the iPad’s new screen may offer this same emotional cocktail of envy and loss.”

As a brief aside, Apple maintained the same iPad form factor we’ve seen all along, meaning the New iPad will look very much like the iPad 2.

So what’s missing on the iPad 3? My only disappointment with “The New iPad” (aside from the name I guess) is that Apple really didn’t incorporate many next gen features. Sure the new screen will be enough for Apple to maintain its control over the tablet market and perhaps even conquer the laptop market as well, but everything else I see is really the tablet market standard: LTE, HD, quad core, 5 megapixel camera; its all stuff that can be found on every floundering tablet competitor.

In fact, successive Apple product releases have shown a penchant for barely pushing the current status quo (and why would they if their products still sell better than anyone else’s?), with the features and specifications of  the iPhone 4S and now the new iPad only bring Apple’s respective device lineups to par with the market, with neither product doing much to push the technological boundaries of their respective genres.

In the end, however, it doesn’t really matter. The New iPad will once again capture the imagination (and money) of millions, making it another huge success for Apple. Briefly, the LTE version of the new iPad is available in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB versions for $629, $729, and $829, respectively. Available on March 16th.

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