Apple is running faster to keep ahead of the tablet competition, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Releasing one big product a year gave past iPads panache. The new model was more eagerly anticipated. It could leverage a broader set of maturing technologies to make it different from last year’s model.
When you are rolling these babies out every six months they are no longer an iPad2 or 3, just the new iPad. Even now, the view is getting a bit blurry I suspect for Apple fans given Apple generically called the last two models the new iPad.
“Did you get the new iPad? No, I mean the new, new iPad?”
[Get a 10% discount on ARM TechCon 2012 conference passes by using promo code EDIT. Click here to learn about the show and register.]
Now what was new about it again? The current model is mainly distinguished by a faster processor with better graphics, but that’s starting to sound like the old PC market.
In mobile systems, we know the speed that counts is the network. Here Apple is pretty much on par with everyone else adopting 802.11n Wi-Fi and LTE cellular. The company has even been a bit behind the curve adopting the latest wireless nets compared to Samsung, LG and others.
With its iPad Mini, Apple is following competitors from Amazon to Samsung into the new-for-it small form factor. True, they did so with an outsized 7.9-inch display and an ultra thin and light package.
The added inch of display created a 30 percent larger display area. When you compare actual useable space for Web pages—given Android’s use of tool bars—the iPad Mini offers 49 to 67 percent more room, said Apple’s veteran marketer, Phil Schiller who went to pains to show how much better a range of apps look on the new, new iPad than on Android tablets.
“They have phone apps stretched up, not tablet apps,” he said.
Samsung knows how to play the game of quickly rolling out broad portfolios of products. It releases 50 smartphones a year compared to Apple’s still once-a-year iPhone.
Perhaps the new new iPad is a temporary experiment. Apple steps on the gas a bit to see what happens to its markets and supply chains.
“It’s amazing the pace the team is at--the pedal to the metal engineering attitude is amazing,” said Schiller.
In the end, I doubt it is sustainable or helpful. I think the competition will just get tighter and differentiation will become—like the devices themselves—so thin you can barely see it.
I think the six-month tablet cycle could be a short term experiment, and one that doesn’t spread to the iPhone franchise.
I agree this is an execution problem. The A6X and maybe some other things were not ready in time to release 6 months ago so they hobbled together the new ipad. The new new ipad is what they really wanted to release. Either way this is old news. They need something very new. Maybe the google glasses will be something revolutionary (i don't know) but the smart phone tablet thing has run it's course and all products are just incremental updates.
iOS6 is the better platform with more apps and a better ecosystem. Android is a ripoff of Linux which is a ripoff of BSD Unix. OEMs using Andriod are reliant on Google (a competitor). Apple has many ways to innovate.
But...they have to stop relying on Asian manufacturing and suppliers. Samsung is ripping off their designs because they have access to the internals of the processors. The Chinese are cloning the phones because of access to the manufacturing plans.
If it wasn't for this IP theft, Apples revenues would be double what they are. Time to reconsider outsourcing, Tim Cook.
The A6X uses Samsung 32 nm HKMG process ( not 28 nm which Samsung does not have and a node that TSMC is still struggling to get up to HVM ) that became available only around 2Q12. But Doug S's comments on iPad3 ( with a A5X built by Samsung's older leaky i,e. non HKMG & larger 45 nm CMOS ) are well taken.
I don't think Apple is changing their iPad release pace. This is just a one-off to fix the issues they had with 3rd generation iPad requiring a much larger battery and therefore being thicker and heavier. The one just released is the one they wanted to release last spring but the 28nm process wasn't ready yet.
@Sylvie, greedy perhaps, distracted for sure. Over the years, when Apple is at its best it's focused. Too many models, means distraction and chasing low-end business. That seems to be a death spiral for sure.
You have sub-$90 Kindles and tablets selling for $30 in India. If the primary purpose of a mini is as a single-handed reader, the industry's been there done that. I'd focus more on evolving Apple TV, frankly. That's an evolving space and one that has a natural synergy with Mac laptops and iPads.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.