There were two pleasant surprises after last night’s iPad 2 introduction. Firstly, the new model, with its dramatically faster A5 dual-core processor, (no word on the RAM yet), thinner, lighter industrial design and FaceTime cameras represented enough of a change to warrant such a launch and secondly, my 1st generation iPad can still hold its own against its new sibling.
They’ll be much written over the next few days about the new hardware, but for now, some general thoughts on the announcement and some of the figures quoted.
There was a lot of (very deliberate) talk about the “post-PC” era, backed up by a stunning video of 2010 being ‘The Year of the iPad’. This is the first time that Apple have so deliberately used this language and it’s very telling. With the success of the original iPad (which was initially pitched as a ’third’ device between a laptop and smartphone) Apple are confidently changing its ethos for the iPad as a replacement PC - the post-PC PC. This much was obvious from the introduction of the first iPad last year, but Apple wisely let people figure this out for themselves, rather than pitching it as such when it launched.
The iPad has a 90% market share. Think about that for a second - NINETY PERCENT. It’s staggering. There isn’t anything out there at the moment that even comes close to the ORIGINAL iPad. There were 3 years between the launch of the iPhone and the introduction of the iPad. Surely Apple’s competitors must have realised they were planning a tablet PC using the iPhone’s technology? The Apple Tablet was one of the oldest Apple rumours around. And yet, they seem to have done nothing. However, the really interesting thing is the price. Nobody can match it. Look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab - a terrible, terrible product. I’ve used one and it made me want to kill myself within 20 seconds. The Galaxy Tab is currently selling for £449 at Tescos - it’s more expensive than the iPad (and the price has come down since it launched). How has Apple done this? Are they taking a massive hit, using up some of their much-publicised cash reserves? No. It’s been able to strike huge deals with component suppliers, years up front, to secure superb cost savings on things like FLASH RAM. It’s also been able to harness all the R&D costs and expertise from the iPhone. As Steve Jobs said in his presentation, the competition can’t even catch up with the original iPad (“they were flummoxed”) let alone an improved model only a year later. Stocks of the original iPad is also being sold for $100 less at the moment, too.
100 million iBooks have been downloaded from iBooks since it launched. This represents a stunning opportunity for publishers. Some of these will have been out-of-copyright (free) titles (there was no figures for the split of paid/free books) but it is a figure few people in publishing could have dreamed of a year ago. Arguments over the agency model continue, but there’s no denying the potential sales with 200 million customer accounts with credit cards and 1-click.