New iPad: It's good, but it's not 'magical'

Apple has unveiled its latest tablet. Not the iPad 3, just a 'new iPad'. And the anticlimax extends to the product too.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
It has a few more bells and whistles: a high definition screen, a better graphics card. But unless you’re an out-and-out Apple fanatic, or a hi-tech iPad user, it just looks like the iPad 2 (only thicker and heavier).  Not quite the ‘magical iPad’ that Steve Jobs used to talk about…

No doubt, sales of this new iteration will be strong, but few iPad 2 owners will be looking to junk in their tablet for the latest model. The 10-hour battery life, doubled graphics performance, 5 megapixel iSight camera, and 1080p HD video are all decent modifications, but perhaps the most impressive tweak is to the screen itself: a new Retina display packs four times the pixel punch of the iPad 2. This is handheld super-HD.

For businesses, an interesting update is the dictation feature: talk rather than type to make notes and your dulcet tones will be converted into text. We haven’t played with the new model, so we can’t vouch for its accuracy. It is also 4G enabled, which means super-fast download speeds.  Better still, for those of you yet to take the iPad plunge, Apple has slashed the price of its old model, down to $399 (£329) for the 16GB Wi-Fi model, ($100 off)…

For Apple, this launch is another move forward in its so-called ‘Post-PC’ strategy. Desktop Apple computers are still posting decent sales, but 76% of revenue comes from the pocket and handheld models – Post-PC technology.  Apple has sold 315 million of these devices to date, 172 million of them in the past year alone. The market is scaling fast.

The iPad itself is at the heart of Apple’s Post-PC world. It sold 15.4 million units last quarter (to put this into context: HP sold 15.1 million PCs. Lenovo sold 13 million PCs. Dell sold 11.9 million PCs.) The iPad has overtaken the computer, despite being (for many) more of a toy than an essential.

Nevertheless, there’s a sense of ‘the marketing man doth protect too much’ about this latest launch. Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior VP of Worldwide Marketing, released this gushing statement: ‘The new iPad redefines the category Apple created less than two years ago,’ he says, ‘delivering the most amazing experience people have ever had with technology.’ But, so far, the market is with him. Apple's shares closed 0.08% higher at $530.69 after the announcement last night.

The new iPad goes on sale in the UK on March 16. Will Apple fanboys and girls dig deep (£659 for the top-of-the-range model) and cement Apple’s future as the king of tech? Answers on an iPad please…

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