BREAKING NEWS & VIEWS
New iPad: A Post-PC Evolution
Friday, March 9, 2012
The bad news for Amazon and Barnes & Noble is that Apple is trying to shore up the lower end, where its high priced tablet had left an opportunity for others. While the new iPad will start at the same price point as previous generations ($499), Apple is leaving the iPad 2 in market at a discount starting level of $399. While still twice the price of Amazon and B&N’s color Android tablets, the iPad 2 surely will give consumers a harder choice between going cheap and small or getting a considerable upgrade to a more robust content eco-system and full-sized display in buying the iPad 2. This was an artful move on Apple’s part, in that it presses both Fire and Nook Tablet into more of a color e-reader model. By keeping the iOS content and productivity app economy stocked with rich, name brand products, Apple is underscoring how much more that $200 buys.
While the first two generations of iPads positioned themselves as media consumption devices, the pitch from Apple now seems more geared to interactivity, creativity and productivity. Much of the software on display (fully half the presentation yesterday) was demonstrating how the higher res camera and recording capabilities, new sophisticated editing tools, and advanced processor empowered people to create and modify content in a very PC-like way. Apple seems to be signaling that it believes deeply in the post-PC world where personal tablet devices can stand in for full-features PCs in more instances. The addition of voice dictation on the keyboard allows for alternative modes of longer form input. Apple is thinking in terms of productivity.
Ultimately, the evolution of the iPad into a truly multi-purpose, productivity and consumption tool presses content providers to make their experiences stand out or to make their content even more service and productivity oriented. Publishers are competing for mindshare on the tablet against a multitude of other modes: shopping, gaming, TV watching, music listening. Which is to say that they will be competing for attention on a platform that is increasingly PC-like. And we all know what happened to attention spans and time spent with media brands on the desktop.
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