So, the iPad 2 was announced yesterday, and the internet was (still is, really) abuzz with specs and opinions and galleries of the latest product coming out from Cupertino. If you’re not an Apple fan, then there’s really nothing I or anyone else can say that’ll change your mind about the device. Same goes for the fanboys, too. But if you’re on the fence about the product, allow me to throw my two cents into the ring.
Many reviews out there are calling the iPad an “evolutionary” update rather than a “revolutionary” one, referring to the fact that, while the device got a spec upgrade (new processor, better graphics, cameras, thinner design), nothing major about the device is new. And a lot of those evolutionary reviewers are disappointed at that fact, as they were expecting major changes. Here’s the thing though: Apple didn’t have to overhaul the device because it’s the industry leader. The original iPad is still the niche-defining device, with over 90% of the market share. Competitors are coming out with their first wave of tablets (e.g. Motorola’s Xoom, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab) and they’re supposed to be pretty good. But none has yet matched the usability, form, and design of the first iPad…and now the second generation iPad is hitting shelves in about a week. What Apple has done has improved the already class-leading product, so the gap between the iPad and the other tablets out there just got even wider. As Cult of Mac has pointed out here, “The iPad 2 is pure Apple: it proves that Apple is its own most ruthless competitor…Apple’s competitors are dead in the water.” The iPad itself was a revolution, and according to the sales numbers and customer stories I hear at work, the revolution is just getting started. iPad 2, which physically an “evolution,” will continue to revolutionize how we stay connected and share information and get things done.
I’ll admit it: I was skeptical when the original iPad debuted last year. I wasn’t sure how it would fit into my life. It is, by no means, an essential device. That is, it’s a gap-fill product, meant to bridge the gulf between perhaps the two most important electronic devices in most people’s lives: their smartphone and their computer. That being said, with more exposure to it at work, and with one at home, I can see that it’s an awesome device. I want one for myself (the one we have at home is Xan’s). There, I said it.
For those who are on the fence about the iPad, go to an Apple store and check one out for yourself. Seeing it online and reading reviews is one thing, but the way I see it, actually holding one and using one is an entirely different thing altogether. It’s a device that really needs to be experienced in person. For the “haters” out there, despite my scoffing at Xoom and Galaxy Tab commercials on TV, I really do hope your devices are great ones, if only because that’ll make future generations of the iPad that much better. But I’m not holding my breath for you: you’ve got a lot of catching up to do.