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What the iPad 2 means for the competition

You have to hand it to Apple.  I really dislike them but I respect them.  Why?  Because they have what I refer to as a purposed focus.  Apple is not trying to be everything to everyone they are just focused on the vision that Jobs has laid out for the company.  Senior Vice President of Design, John Ive, does a great job of what that purposed focus is at the 2m 15sec mark.

“Constantly working to refine and improve” is the gist.  In contrast Apple competitors seem to be stumbling over themselves to tech away at the iPad.  A year later its clear that Apple “gets it” and their competitors aren’t quite there yet.

Android competitors:

  • Motorola XOOM-While nice its the overpriced, premium misplaced bastard stepbrother of the iPad.  It looks nice and it does come complete with the USB slot plus HDMI the lack of optimized and current app market makes it hard to justify spending the type of cash seeing the new iPad 2.
  • Galaxy Tab-Its essentially an elongated Galaxy S and it’ll be available shortly for dirt cheap.  How cheap?  Clearance cheap!
  • RIM Playbook-It is essentially DOA in the consumer market and with the anticipation ratcheting up for Windows based tablets they corporate play is short to say the least.  RIM is a year too late to the market and with declining dev support the situation doesn’t look good in the face of increased competition.
  • HP’s WebOS powered Touchpad-Great, elegant OS.  So good in fact you see competitors (cough, Playbook) borrowing heavily from its UI design.  The multiple form factor and ecosystem tie-in that the Touchpad has with HP PCs and printers keeps it a viable alternative.  Plus the UI is pretty sweet.
  • Windows 7 based tablets-Good for what they are but no consumer is going to want them for real life.  Its time to give up because you’re embarrassing yourselves.  Learn from the Windows Phone team and bite the bullet and prepare your next gen platform today!

All in all I see all the upgrades Apple has put into the iPad 2 as very appreciated and they are upgrades that enhance the user experience not the tech stats.  The mirroring feature means people can use the iPad 2 as a huge presentation/display remote in meetings.  Apple also made the very bold and very calculating move to state clearly that the iPad is not a computer.  It is defining its own category and cuts the leg out from underneath any “pc functionality” argument its competitors were thinking of spouting.

The biggest damage today’s iPad 2 announcement does is it makes it very likely there will be almost zero interest in the competitor products  by the time they hit the market.  Most people’s money will have been spent on the iPad 2 and nobody is going to be inclined to splurge on a non-superior competitor with a less than comparable ecosystem to support it.  March 11th is Apple’s big head shot to their competition and I am now glad Microsoft didn’t open its mouth and announce a Windows Phone 7 based tablet for this year.  Take your time and do it right or you’re DOA is what the competition should end the day fully acknowledging.