Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Apple updates and diversifies the iPad range

Unless you've been sitting under a rock with a blindfold and ear muffs on, you will be aware that Apple today announced various updates to its hardware and software. Updates to the iPad were on the whole fairly predictable and represent more of a gradual improvement than a revolution as such: the iPad Mini now sports a retina display, and the 64-bit processor recently incorporated into the latest models of iPhone is now incorporated into the iPad. In what is becoming an ever so slightly obsessive preoccupation with this dimension, 20% is shaved off the iPad's thickness.

Interestingly, Apple have clearly made a conscious decision to diversify the iPad range in the mind of consumers. The latest crop has, for no obvious technical reason, had the spurious label "Air" attached to it. Despite Apple's mantra that the technological breakthroughs of the new generation are so colossally huge as to warrant this new branding, it's not clear that perceptually at least, the new iPad is anything more than a slight incremental upgrade. Even the CPU change has essentially been "bedded down" with the prior iPhone release. But in introducing this new label, Apple are effectively making a perceptual split between "Mini", (um....) "Normal" iPad 2 and "Air". This, combined with a price reduction in the existing iPad Mini to $299 (that's actually quite a lot of hardware for your buck!), may be an attempt to encourage new adopters with less deep pockets without making them feel they are opting for an 'inferior' version as such.

I'm not sure if, as rumoured, Apple are indeed intending to add a fingerprint sensor to the device at some stage. But I have to say that I find the case for needing to shave a couple of seconds off the login time less compelling than with a a phone, where several times a day, one typically needs to get the device out of one's pocket and quickly check something for a moment.

Anyway, now with this new, diversified range of iPads available, it will be interesting to see how adoption rates go of the various devices.

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