Update: iPad 2 – Tablet Knockout Blow?

Stock market gurus at The Street have a careful analysis of why the iPad 2 missed some key concerns of the IT and Business community and thus an opportunity for Apple to make big inroads into the office. Keep in mind The Street still sees the consumer side of iPad 2 as HUGE.

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Steve Jobs  today  tried to apply a knockout blow to tablet competitors while taking a big roundhouse swing at the PC.
And there were lots of good things that Steve could say about the new iPad 2:

faster – with dual core 1GHz A5 processor with GPU ops upto 9 times faster
thinner – fully 1/3 thinner,  a remarkable given the new cameras, etc
lighter –  stellar 20% lighter despite all the new hardware
battery life – the same as before, a tablet leading 10 hours
cameras – front and rear facing with auto-focus, digital zoom
new software – new version of iOS and  a goody bag of   new apps
March 11 release –  on AT&T and Verizon in US, March 25 elsewhere
prices – hold the line, same as original iPad
Now from ye Editors perspective the hardest jab at the competition is the availability of the iPad 2 in  9 days time and with a suite of impressive, consumer desirable new software such as GarageBand and PhotoBooth.  This nearly immediate delivery pressures rivals like  HP,  RIM, Samsung, Cisco, LG, HTC and others to ship or get off the pot. Only Mototrola with its Atrix 4G and Xoom appears to be able to compete head on with Apple. This may allow Apple to get another decisive lead as in the case of smartphones.

However, if you consult the comparison table below, Apple has left some big gaps for its competitors to fend off and even gain some traction in a fast evolving tablet marketplace. Look first at the green highlighted best in tablets features in the table[dirty orange highlight indicates worst spec]. iPad 2 leads in four features – lightest weight for 10″ display tablets, thinnest, most storage at 64GB, and most apps available. But the Motorola Xoom leads in 4 key categories including screen size at 1280 x 800, camera specs at 2MP front and 5MP rear, 1GB of RAM, plus hotspot delivery. And RIM’s Playbook  had a number of tablet leading specs – 170DPI screen resolution, best camera specs at 3MP front and 5MP rear cameras with 1080p record as well as display capabilities  plus 1GB of RAM and lightest weight [albeit on 7″ screen versus 10″ for the other tablets].

But the  surprising  fact is that the iPad 2 has a number of worst of the tablets specs. Most notable are the both the front and rear cameras  where Apple appears to have given away a lot to competitors. VGA 640×480 for the front camera and perhaps 2MP for the rear facing one[no figure is offered at the Apple spec sheet, same for iPad 2 RAM provision – check for yourself]. These camera specs find iPad 2 severly under-powered relative to their competition. Ditto for connectivity, as iPad 2 goes proprietary on HDMI and USB connectors, has no Hotspot capabilities and limited 4G support. Finally, iPad 2 continues to give away both Flash and Java support on the software side. This is important because a ton of design software uses Flash while Java is king in messaging, conferencing and communication fields. Also Java and flash support cross platform development which gives Android, RIM, an HP a significant lead.

So the question become do these shortcomings mean another iPad refresh in the Fall like iPhone’s 3G and then quick 3GS refresh instead of the usual annual cycle.? Or does it mean a reversal as in the case of Android smartphones going from minimal to market leading share over Apple’s iPhone in less than 3 years time. Ye Editor suspects that Apple will do very well in the next two quarters of   the year; but then will … hey does this mean that Apple’s iPad 2 was not a knockout blow?

FeatureApple iPadHP TouchPadMoto XoomApple  iPad 2RIM  Playbook
Price [32GB+3G+WiFi]$729$600$800$729$600
Screen Size9.7″ –
1024 x7 68
9.7″ –
1024 x7 68
10.1″ –
1280 x 800
9.7″ –
1024 x768
7″ –
1024 x 600
Screen Resolution132 DPI150 DPI132DPI170 DPI
Camera Front/BackNA/NA1.3MP/NA2MP/5MP0.3MP/2MP3MP/5MP
Video Records/PlaysNA/720p720P/1080p720p/1080p1080p/1080p
1Core A4
1.2GHz – 2 core
2Core Tegra 2
2Core A5
2Core Tegra 2
Max Store internal/external64GB/NA32GB/NA32GB/32GB64GB/NA64GB/NA
Size13 x 190 x 24314 x 190 x 24213 x 168 x 2499 x 190 x 24310 x 130 x 193
Battery Life10 hrs??10hrs10hrs10hrs
Dock  Keyboard/RechargeYes/Yes $70??Many/ManyYes/Yes $70Yes/Yes ??
OS – Operating System and Apps
OSiOS4.2webOS 3.0Android 3.0iOS4.3QNX OS
OS Apps/Tablet Apps300k/65k10k/10k200k/1k300k/65k4k/??
Flash/Java SupportNo/NoYes/YesYes/YesNo/NoYes/Yes
Full multitaskingNot yetYesYesNot YetYes
Turn by Turn NavigationNAYesYesYesNA
Video ChatNAYesYesYesYes
Sensory Devices
Proximity SensorNo??YesNoYes
Still+Video Camera Features
Camera Front/BackNA/NA1.3MP/NA2MP/5MP0.3MP/2MP3MP/5MP
Video Records/PlaysNA/720p??/??720P/1080p720P/720p1080p/1080p
LED FlashNA??YesYes??
Image StabilizationNA??YesYesYes
Communication, networking, and connectivity
3G/4GYes/NoYes/??Yes/Yes updateYes/NoYes/Yes
HotSpotNo??Yes, 5 devicesNoNo
USB/SD PortsProprietary/NoYes/NoYes/NoProprietary/NoYes/??
FeaturesApple iPadHP  TouchPadMoto XoomApple iPad 2RIM Playbook
Color rating system: lowest rating uncertain rating highest rating

Sources of Information
AppleApple iPad specs, iPad2 specs, iPad speculation,  myCellphoneMyTerms
HP TouchPadEngadget PreviewPhoneArena, Know Your Mobile
Motorola XoomDroid-life on Xoom,   Phonearena on XoomSkatterTech on Tablets
RIM PlaybookComputerworld on Playbook, Skattertech on Tablets, Digital Trends

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