/ 8 March 2012

After Steve Jobs: Apple’s faster, better iPad

Apple unveiled a new iPad on Wednesday with a higher resolution display and faster 4G LTE connectivity as it seeks to tighten its grip on the booming tablet computer market.

The California-based gadget-maker also released an updated version of the Apple TV box used to stream movies, TV shows and other content from the internet to high-definition TV sets.

The new iPad screen features 264 pixels per inch, providing the best display ever on a mobile device, Apple executives said during a product presentation in San Francisco broadcast live to reporters in London.

“Images on it look stunning,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said of the sharper resolution known as retina display.

Wednesday’s press event was the first major product release by Apple since the death of legendary founder and beloved pitchman Steve Jobs.

The Apple co-founder and mind behind the wildly popular iPod, iPad and iPhone devices died in October after battling pancreatic cancer.

Higher, faster, better
The new iPad — the third version of the touchscreen tablet computer introduced in April 2010 — also features a five-megapixel camera, a faster processor and high-definition video recording.

It will go on sale on March 16 in Canada, France, Germany and the United States at the same price as the previous models, which start at $499 for the most basic iPad featuring wireless connectivity only.

An iPad with 16GB of memory and with both Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity will cost $629 while a 32GB Wi-Fi/4G model will cost $729 and a 64GB version with Wi-Fi and 4G will cost $829.

“Apple has its feet firmly planted in the post-PC world,” Cook said, adding that “the iPad is reinventing personal computing” and spearheading the “post-PC revolution”.

Apple sold 15.4-million iPads last quarter.

The new Apple TV box, which Apple said features a streamlined new user interface, will sell for the same $99 price as the previous model.

Apple released the first version of Apple TV in 2007 but it has never really caught on with the public.

Tablet domination
Apple has dominated the tablet market since launching the iPad two years ago and few expect that to change anytime soon.

IMS Research said on Wednesday that Apple is expected to increase its tablet market share to 70% in 2012 from 62% in 2011 and it will ship 70-million iPads this year, up 71% over the previous year.

“There is a large customer base loyal to Apple products that have been waiting for the latest tablet,” IMS Research PC market analyst Gerry Xu said. “Many owners of the iPad 1 are also expected to upgrade to the latest release.

“To date there is no significant threat to the iPad’s continued dominance in the tablet market,” Xu said. “In fact, the share of Android tablets is forecast to fall from 35% in 2011 to 26% in 2012.”

“There are great Android tablets on the market from a hardware perspective but they don’t sell worth a damn because they don’t have the ecosystem that Apple has,” Gartner analyst Van Baker said, referring to the cornucopia of applications, services and content such as music and films available for Apple gadgets.

“Apple is in such good shape already in the tablet space that they don’t need to do anything earth-shattering to maintain momentum,” Baker said. — AFP