No iPad 2

I love my iPad. It goes everywhere with me. It comes to work with me, wherever I go during a day it’s glued to my side. In the evening and at weekends it follows me around the house like a faithful pet, it even sits patiently beside my bed at night while I sleep (I like to think it keeps watch over me)… but I’m not going to be getting an iPad 2!

While you recover from the shock of that revelation let me tell you straight up it’s not because of any problem or shortcoming of my iPad 1, nor is it because I think the iPad 1 is perfect, it’s not.

The main reason is simple. There is no reason to. The iPad 2 will not offer me anything which will make it worth my while to upgrade.

My rationale is this:

For the purpose of what follows, let’s take as a given that the iPad 2 will have more RAM, a camera (or two), a better processor, possibly better battery life (as if that’s a problem as it stands), maybe be lighter, maybe have a slightly better screen (or even a vastly better one) all wrapped up in a neat little upgrade package which is appealing to the tech geeks but really, for the rest of us, represents little more than a slight evolution to the platform rather than a revolution.

If there’s one thing Apple does really really well with it’s established products is to raise the bar “just enough” on each iteration to edge themselves above their competition. It’s like a pole-vault event where they only need to add an inch to the height to claim the gold. They only pull out the stops and go for it when their crown in a marketplace is genuinely under pressure, i.e. when someone vaults a foot above them.

And that’s the problem with the nascent Tablet market. There is nothing out there right now, or apparently on the 2011 radar (from all the tablet reveals we’ve seen so far) which is coming anywhere close to the iPad in terms of the capabilities, experience and most importantly, price.

Sure, there’s lots of hot-air and tech blog comment inches written about this or that Android device, the RIM Playbook (are people really going to want a tablet running some bastardised Blackberry OS? As if it wasn’t bad enough on their phones…) and that HP Tablet (which I actually had high hopes for since webOS looks to me like the only contender for the iOS crown – but it’s going to be too little too late) and even Windows 7 (ugh) based units.

The technical focus is always on this processor or that camera or the ability to plug in a USB stick. In reality most of us don’t give a hoot for the technical specification, we just want a device which works and is easy (indeed I may say: pleasurable) to use.  Nothing I’ve seen to date ticks those boxes anywhere near the iPad (1) in 2011 and they all come with a pretty hefty price premium besides.

And that’s ultimately the main problem with all these 2011 units: They are designed to (and most fail to) challenge the iPad 1. They can’t match it on price and they have not significantly raised the tablet-experience bar therefore all Apple have to do with the iPad 2 is exceed the iPad 1 by a small percentage to maintain their market dominance. They only need to raise the pole vault height by an inch.

For me, a lover of the iPad (so much that it’s kinda wrong) that means the upgrade from iPad 1 to 2 is unlikely to offer me any compelling reason to upgrade (unless all of my friends and family suddenly get iPhone 4s and Facetime becomes an important part of my life – unlikely).

My hope is that 2011 emphatically hammers this message home to the would-be competition so that they actually raise their game enough to force Apple to go for a new world record and leap the game forward.

Joe Vaughan

Stardust dancin on the night...


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