As we recently talked in our previous episode of Pocketnow Live, the iPad rules the world because of one simple fact in its favor – Timing. When Apple decided to bring it to the market, Tablet PCs were expensive, bulky, slow and simply not better than your typical laptop. Those who debate that pen-input made them better most likely just assumes it, and has clearly never used one. Steve Jobs was right when he said that competitors were flummoxed by the iPad because they were simply not ready to compete. The question left on the table if the conditions remain the same for Apple’s future iPad 5?
Honeycomb came, the iPad ruled and it really only served to nail Android’s coffin because of how much credibility they lost with products like the Motorola Xoom. Then came Ice Cream Sandwich and the iPad still ruled. Now we have Jelly Bean, and we also have Windows 8 and Windows RT and the iPad keeps ruling. Apple hasn’t sat in their laurels by releasing three generations of the iPad, and a mini version of it, but that hasn’t won them more market share necessarily, has it?
Climbing the ladder to lead a market is one thing, but keeping that leadership is a whole different ball game. Historically, technology companies have always struggled in retaining dominance no matter what product they’ve produced. Unless a market leader is willing to continue investing in the innovation that people want, the leadership days of any product are counted.
On the other hand, many agree that the wheel was only invented once, and we see that mentality today in smartphones. Ever since Apple defined that a clean slate was the smartest way to do a phone, it’s become the standard that everybody else has followed up to the point of getting sued because they didn’t patent the idea before Apple did, even if they weren’t the first company to come-up with a clean slate. Surely certain designs don’t need to be fixed, but tablets are different.
See, for the first time in four years, Android tablets have caught up with the iPad in certain ways. We do know that the tablet market is not stagnant, meaning that even if Apple is getting a smaller portion of the pie visually, the pie keeps growing, so this doesn’t mean that Apple’s numbers are dropping. The problem with losing dominance is that for developers, it’s proven that things are always a zero-sum game.
Why has Android and other tablet’s caught up to the iPad? Here are the main reasons why we believe it has happened:
The iPad is no longer cheap
People may not remember this, but when the iPad launched it was dirt-cheap. At times when the average Tablet PC cost no less than $1,200, the iPad was a true steal at just $500. Many said that wouldn’t be enough for it to sell since you simply can’t compare a Tablet PC with an iPad even today, but hey, for the average user that only needs a netbook, the iPad suited them fine.
Google really nailed it with the Nexus 7 though. They designed a very decent tablet along with Asus and sold it for the insane price of just $200, which is 60% cheaper than an iPad 4 or 35% cheaper than the iPad mini. Apple isn’t famous for being a company that sells cheap anything, but they might need to consider going a little cheaper on the iPad or adding more entry-level storage to justify the premium that other companies are offering right now.
The iPad is getting old
The design of the current-generation iPad is three generations old, and even though we’ve seen leaks of the iPad 5 looking like a larger iPad mini, some of us wonder if that will be enough. Design-wise, there’s only so far that Apple can go with the way they build their next tablet, but it’s biggest problem lies in how stale iOS 6 has proven to be.
Some say iOS 7 will be the answer, and then again, the fact that apparently it’ll just be an icon revamp doesn’t guarantee that this will be true. Regardless of what Apple does, the next iPad needs to be a fresh reboot and looks aren’t the only thing that needs to be changed. Whether it’s multi-window support or pen-input, the iPad 5 needs to really catch-up with some productivity features that Samsung tablets have today.
Windows 8 has a point
I’ve said it over-and-over again; I would never buy a Surface RT. It’s slow, clunky and stale when it comes to what I can do with it. Now that said, that doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to Microsoft’s next move. See, my biggest problem with the iPad is that I can’t use it for work. None of the things that I do work well with the mobile browser for example, so in my case and I know in the case of many of you, the iPad is a third device, but not really a computer substitute.
Microsoft is betting that you shouldn’t buy a third device. Your tablet should be your laptop as well, and I find the approach genius. Surely the combo of Windows RT and Windows 8 didn’t prove to be smart, but it’s a first step in the right direction. Apple really needs to consider porting OS X to the iPad. Chip architectures have gotten much better in the past two years, and as much as I’d wish that I’d use the iPad more than I do, I can’t because it’s still not something that completely satisfies my needs.
The bottom line
Times change quick in the world of mobile technology. Apple’s mentality of one iPhone and a 5-year-old OS have shown then some hard times with the iPhone because of their reluctance to change it. The iPad is just a year away from that same fait if they don’t do something about it. Regardless if Apple cares about leading the market or not, as they’ve shown us with their approach to the Mac, that doesn’t mean that it won’t prove to be devastating for the company in the near future. For the iPad to reign one more time, the iPad 5 needs to really be another revolution, and not the usual evolution.
What about you? Are you waiting on an iPad 5 or have you decided to move-on with Android or Windows? Leave us a comment down bellow.