Published February 28, 2011
Sequels very seldom win public acclaim, unless you’re talking about "The Godfather II" or "The Empire Strikes Back." And the Apple iPad, of course.
On Wednesday Apple will release "iPad: Part II" -- the follow-up to the risky, untested, Silicon-Valley thriller "iPad: Begins." It was a hit the world over and a darling of the Academy that sold a whopping 15 million units. No one predicted that.
When movie sequels come out, they have a hard time impressing. Just consider "The Matrix Reloaded" or "Caddyshack 2." Or even "Weekend at Bernie's II" -- all major disappointments. But I have high hopes for iPad II.
In a world where all Internet video runs on Adobe Flash ... In a world where most mobile gadgets have front-facing cameras ... In a world where super-high-definition screens are the norm ...
In that world, the Apple iPad still rules the roost -- even though it lacks all of the above. We’ve seen dozens of tablets hit the market this year, all of them furiously trying to compete with it. The problem is that they are only just catching up with where the iPad started. None of them, in my opinion, surpass the iPad in functionality or finesse, and certainly not in apps. So when the iPad II hits the market, it could very easily put this year’s tablets yet another year behind.
Even the Motorola Xoom, unveiled in early January and finally released just a few days ago, doesn't have the stats to be an iPad killer. Sure, it impresses with speed and specs. And sure, it has a front-facing camera. but when the iPad II comes out with its widely anticipated front-facing camera, this will be a meaningless point.
The Xoom also holds the record for speed, too -- but perhaps not for long. My sources at Apple assure me that the next iteration of iPad will be not only fast but "wicked fast."
Will it be 4G? I doubt it. But the guts in the new iPad will be speedy, with Apple's rumored next-generation A5 processor. The Motorola Xoom runs on a dual-core, 1-GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor; it stands to reason that Apple will at least see this bet, and perhaps raise the stakes?
With all of this speed, you’d think battery life might be compromised. Guess again. My sources at Apple assure me that this is not the case. The iPad is notorious for under-promising and over-delivering on battery life. I get upwards of 12 hours per charge. With increased performance, it will be an impressive feat for the battery life to remain constant.
Then there's the price. I don’t think Apple will significantly drop the cost of this gadget the way the company did with the original iPhone. Apple has proven that the price is already right, after all. It sells. A lot. And since the iPad is $100 cheaper than the Motorola Xoom, it will continue to sell. Other tablet manufactures simply can’t compete with Apple’s supply chain, from glass to silicon.
So I guess you could say that I’m excited about this week’s iPad launch. I'm definitely more excited than I was last week when the wraps came off of the Motorola Xoom. Again, the Xoom is a good tablet, but it isn’t a great tablet.
Apple did it first and did it right and I’m excited to see the company do it again. My tickets to the sequel have been purchased (and by tickets I mean plane tickets), and my expectations are high. Lets just hope "iPad: Part II" is nothing like "Transformers 2."