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Apple brandishes new iPad to fend off rivals

Apple brandishes new iPad to fend off rivals
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Keep taking the tablets – that was the message from suitably-enthused Apple executives who have unveiled their new iPad to an eagerly awaiting hi-tech world.

The makers say the new device is faster, features a higher-definition display and has a better camera.
It will be able to run on high speed 4G LTE networks where they are available.

They hope the latest developments can help fend off an increasingly aggressive challenge in the tablet market from leading rivals.

Smartphones and tablets are starting to eat into PC sales as mobile technology gets more advanced, and competition among the main manufacturers is heating up.

New features for the iPad, but are they enough?

  • Welcome to 4G : the latest Apple tablet connects to the internet through the new mobile network named 4G LTE
  • Image quality: there are big improvements with the “retina display” screen that is already available on the latest versions of the iPhone. The camera quality has also been enhanced
  • No Siri: the fans of the famous voice that gives you the latest weather forecast will be disappointed, as the voice-activated assistant is not available on the new iPad.
  • An enhanced processor: the latest version comes with an Apple A5X processor so the iPad can cope with the higher quality images. That makes it heavier (635 grams, up from 589 grams previously )
  • Lower price – for the iPad 2 that is! The older version of the tablet will be sold for $100 less (That is 399 euros for the wifi only version). It will be more expensive than rival products such as the new Amazon Kindle Fire which costs $199 dollars in the United States. The new iPad will be available from March 16 in nine countries priced from $499, and from $629 to $829 for the devices connected to the 4G mobile network.

The reviews of the new iPad have been mostly postive, but some experts say Apple will have to do more to stay ahead of the pack.

Price may be a factor. When it was launched iPad 2 retailed at the equivalent of 300 euros. The latest version will hit the shops at almost 480 euros.

What do the experts think?

  • “The screen is a notable feature for non-techie customers, as is the faster connectivity. That’s something that mainstream consumers can identify with,” said Morningstar analyst Michael Holt.
  • “There’s pent-up demand because a new device was widely anticipated. I they’ve made enough incremental improvements to do well.”
  • Other analysts say the faster processing may begin to draw heavy gamers, encroaching on turf now dominated by gaming-hardware makers such as Microsoft or Sony.
  • “While the hardware is notably enhanced, with an impressive retina display, better camera and faster processor, there are still some areas of improvement that Apple needs to work on, in order to stay ahead of its encroaching competitors,” said Fred Huet, managing partner at Greenwich Consulting. “As tablets are increasingly being used for personal media consumption, it is promising to see a better screen resolution. But will this be enough to ensure Apple’s competitive lead in the marketplace? No.”