On First Glance Not Much Different from iPad 2
You are not supposed to call it the iPad 3, rather the Resolutionary new iPad. The new iPad specs show that it has the same dimensions, weight, battery life of the previous iPads. The winning feature is the fabled retina screen, 2048 x 1526 pixels on 9.7 inch diagonal equal 265pixels/inch – very close to the point where the human eye can no longer distiguish pixels. And the new A5X processor is dual core for regular processing but quad-core for its graphic operations. RAM increases to 1GB by way of the A5X chip And the iS ight 5Mpixel camera is not quite equal to the new 41MPixel Nokia 808 PureView but it certainly moves the iPad up from its humble camera specs in iPad 1 and 2. Storage tops in at 64GB plus 2GB of iCloud space with fast 4GLTE network operation as better data mover. And the price, despite the reputed 25% increase in wages at Apple’s Foxconn manufacturing sources – the price is the same $499 for the 3G 16B unit.
The New iPad Catches Competition with Pants Down
As Tim Cook noted in his presentation there is no other tablet currently being delivered that can match the new iPad specs especially for screen resolution and speed and price for comparable specs. All the Androids currently top out at 1280 x 800 pixels and most are back at the old iPad 1024 x 800 or less. Only the upcoming Samsung Galaxy 11.6 tablet due out sometime in the Summer will have screen resolution a notch above the new iPad at 2560 x 1600 pixels and a 2GHz processor instead of the slower A5X. But we are talking futures in the case of Samsung.
And as for the Android OS powering the tablets, Jelly Bean,version 5 is expcted in June-July but no definitive word on features. In fact Google’s Andie Rubin, at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, was reduced to promising a major push for Android and its tablets “during the summer”. The speculation on the next version of Android, Jelly Bean, posits a Siri like Assistant, a File Manager, an ability to switch between Android and a loaded version of Windows – no idea if 7 or 8 with instant response, special malaware protection and the only real guarantee – a better version of Chrome the browser. Problem – vendors have yet to move to Honeycomb much less Ice Cream Sandwich versions of Android. Will Jelly Bean be compelling, stable and delivered on time enough to persuade tablet vendors to adopt Jelly Bean in prompt fashion??
On the Ultrabook front, Wintel is stuck at high prices between $900 and $1500 for ultra-slim laptops that cannot match the specs of the iPad 3 for battery life [9-10 hours] nor for screen resolution [2056x ]. Worse, the Intel Ivy Bridge processors are being delayed a speculated amount of time – IvY Bridge bring same speed at but double battery life for lower prices. And of course, the biggest mover, Windows 8, is now being posited as not available until the end of the year … and may not make Christmas sales. Windows 8 itself had its Consumer Preview reveal and is getting highly positive or deeply distressed reviews. Positive for Metro and touch interfaces, negative for its integration of Metro with the old Win 7 UI. So Win8 is still a dubious player until this time next year
And Nokia and Rim are preoccupied with getting their smartphone houses in order. Net result – expect at least two quarters of continuing dominance in tablet sales by Apple with iPad and the new lower priced iPad 2 and iPad 1 versions. And it could be a full year or more depending on how badly Apple competitors goofle. So count on Apple absolutely dominating the tablet market with its end consumer orientation. But it is in the Business market that Apple hopes to make its breakthrough and there are some ingredients for that in the iPad 3 … err, new iPad.
Apple and Business
I can remember working on a contract at Nortel Networks back in the late 1990’s and all the machines were Apple PCs and servers. But Nortel is gone and so is Apple in most business settings. And if many major shops like Fedex and Corrections Canada are just starting to move to Windows 7 this year – you can judge how daring business IT shops are. Ostensibly, the new iPad is designed to change that.
For example, hospitals and doctors will now have a screen equal to the task of showing all the Xray, ultrasounds, and other scans of their patients. And the camera will be equal to the task of recording with fidelity patient progress. Ditto for insurance agents documenting and servicing claims. likewise Apple has a vision of where iPad can be used in Business – but there are serious flies in the ointment as seen immediately below.
However, in both of the above cases the associated supporting medical or insurance IT infrastructures present problems. That IT business procesing requires multitasking and efficient data processing tools – not great iOS strengths. Multitasking is a privileged state for which Apple is loath to give developers unrestricted access because of malaware vector, reliability and battery life problems/costs. Data processing tasks and servers run into the Apple ecosystem pricing and access barriers. It is not a pretty picture trying to do Business with Apple.
Yes, Apple can point to HTML5, various XML and other document exchange systems, and the OnLive Windows in iPad story. But there are serious problem here too. HML5 moved along fast until about 2009-10. Since that time a number of serious and unresolved problems have continued to hamper HTML5’s progress. First, no major vendor is using HTML5’s Canvas and SVG and CSS3 in a major way – there a lot of start-ups but no compelling app. More seriously, key recommendaions like Forms, touchscreen UI, Web Databases, Web Offline operations and many others are in the state of limbo. Bottom line – HTML5 is not a robust Business solution space in contrast to consumer apps where games, videos, and blog reading are livable in the smartphone andtablet space.
But there are more serious Business IT problems. iBookAuthor has shown what the toll that going without Flash takes in multimedia settings. Even moderate sized iBookAuthor texts eat up 2-4GB of the precious storage available on iPad. True one can send and receive the book on demand from the iCloud or DropBox , but this defeats the handy reference idea. As well, Java has been banned on iOS – and so much of the local lient supporting infrastructure for XML and other document exchange mechnisms used by Business even on the Mac which is heavily Java coded have to be changed for the iPad’s Objective C.
But Objective C presents another problem again for developers. Although Objective C is C programming language inspired, it is more than C and definitely not C++. And the iOS version of Objective C is different from the Mac version although the programming libraries are starting to converge. But the bottom line is that Apple imposes on software and business developers another language with little cross platform capabilities. In addition, just as Java and Flash have been banned there is scarcity of other client programming tools such as Ruby or Python or Groovy except in iOS native dialects .
Finally there has been talk of the OnLive desktop solution of bringing Business to the iPad. The OnLive desktop service that brings Windows 7 and Microsoft Office screens to customers on iPads with very fast response time. But OnLive has run into 3 hurdles. First, the Windows 7 sessions are delivered from a server not from the users local PC. Second, the response time is dependent to an extent on the screen size for the iPad and that has increased withthe new iPad by a factor of 4. Third, Microsoft and onLive are having a disagreement on what can be done with customers using Windows 7 and Office – see here for details.
Pundits have failed to give proper credit to the new iPad. it is loaded with screen, battery, camera, and CPU features. It gives Apple another 3 to 6 quarters of likely dominance of the consumer side of the tablet market. But the tide may be turning decisively in Apple’s favor if consumer sales explode without a Android por Windows response to iPad 3 specs. This may help carry the way in the Business market as end users demand iPad support at work.
However, as we have seen, a)Business IT is very conservative and b)even the new iPad, its ecosystem and closed programming present real problems for Busines IT as well as business software vendors. These are not simple issues – so expect a stormy rollout of iPads in Business.