Apple launches “new iPad”

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The company that was once called Apple Computers, which gave the world the personal computer, this week unveiled “the poster-child of the post-PC world”.

Launching the “new iPad” as it’s being called, although we’ll think of it as the iPad 3, this week new CEO Tim Cook was full of hyperbole and statistics.

He poured scorn on Apple’s many competitors, starting with other tablet makers – who made 100 last year alone, he said – while triumphing the iPad in San Francisco. He made an eloquent case for this “post-PC era” first mentioned by the late Steve Jobs. With PC sales declining – smartphones last year outsold them – and portable, touchscreen devices gaining traction as the preferred gadget.

Apple has sold 172-million of what Cook steadfastly called “post-PC devices” – the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. “Any company would be thrilled to have just one of these devices,” he said. Then happily added that Apple has all three and they bring in 76% of Apple’s revenue.

“Apple,” he declared, “has its feet firmly planted in the post-PC future”.

The new iPad – yes, Apple really expects us to call it that – has pretty much all of the speculated features that appeared in rumours in the preceding weeks.

It has a new quad-core A5X processor (4x faster), the same Retina Display that the iPhone has (double that of the iPad 2’s at 2048 x 1536 resolution, or more than a million more pixels than an high-defintion televisions), that it uses high-speed 4G data networks (called LTE), and has a 5 megapixel camera (called iSight) capable of shooting 1080p HD video.

What’s more, the price and battery life for the device will remain unchanged barring a slight dip to longevity when using LTE (down one hour to nine). What will change is the weight and thickness from 590g to 635g and 8.8mm to 9.4mm respectively.

Unfortunately this contradicts the newly minted Shapshak’s First Law of New Apple Products: it’s always thinner, faster and has a better camera. Always. Apart from this rare hiccup.

The iconic computer company sold 15.4 million iPads in the last quarter alone, giving it an estimated 58% of the total tablet market. Cook put up a slide to show this was more than the computers sold by big manufacturers HP (15.1m), Lenovo (13m), Dell (11.9m) and Acer (9.8m) in the same three months. Take that PC makers. Apple also took a swipe at graphics chipmaker Nvidia.

“The iPad is about post-portable computing,” said Cook. “And it’s outstripping the wildest of predictions. We think the iPad is the poster child of the post-PC world.”

He may have a point. In the same Christmas quarter last year, Apple’s revenue from iPad sales alone was $9.15-billion, or more than double that of Microsoft’s Windows software business. It’s also not far off from Google’s whole revenue in the same period.

Apple has sold 55-million iPads since the marketing-dominating device was launched two years ago, effectively creating the tablet category. It remains the most popular tablet sold, despite the surge from Amazon with its colour-screen Kindle Fire that sold for just $199, significantly less than the then cheapest $499 iPad.

Last year Apple sold 315-million iOS devices, 62 million in the last quarter – those running the mobile version of its operating system: the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

The new iPad – really Tim Cook, really? – goes on sale in the United States on March 16 for the same price (starting from $499 for the entry-level 16GB WiFi model). Judging by previous product launches and last year’s availability, the iPad is likely go on sale in South Africa six weeks afterwards.

The iPad 2 will get a $100 price reduction. This will put further pressure on the makers of Android tablets – who have been unable to match Apple’s price points, even as the Californian company makes an estimated 40% profit on its tablet.

Apple knows how to get people talking. If the rampant hype before a launch event isn’t enough, nor the carefully stage-managed unveiling of a product, then there’s always the names it gives the products. The “new iPad” is no exception.

 

You can see all the tech specs of the “new iPad” here.

And you can compare the difference between iPad 2 and 3 here.

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