THE IPAD 2 COMETH to the UK starting at 5pm Friday but is this refresh of the most popular tablet computer of all time just a little too late?
Since the first Ipad launch last year there have been many imitators but none have had the runaway success of the Apple tablet. According to a report by ABI Research the Ipad has 93 per cent of the tablet market, having sold millions.
That sort of brand awareness for the tablet market guaranteed the Ipad 2 good sales and when the refreshed drinks tray was launched in the US the opening weekend had seven figure sales. Though some might argue that the drawback to having such a gargantuan market share is that it can only go down.
However everything so far points to the Ipad 2 ruling in the UK after its launch, with it being available on Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and the Three network. Yet it is a product not much changed from its predecessor.
The Ipad 2 specifications only really differ from its predecessor's thanks to its dual core 1GHz A5 processor, a gyroscope, HDMI out and dual cameras. The front-facing camera is VGA while the rear-facing camera is a mystery because no megapixel number is given. But Apple says it can capture HD 720p video.
In the meantime the competition has been organising itself to grab some of this juicy new market that the experts expect to cannibalise the netbook and possibly even notebook sectors. Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Motorola's Xoom have been touted as the anti-Ipads to watch and both run the Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system.
The Xoom has a 1GHz dual-core processor, supports Adobe Flash and Air and it has a better display because it is larger at 10.1-inches and its resolution is better at 1280x800. The Ipad 2 display is 1024x768. The Xoom also has a 10-hour battery life, a 5MP rear-facing camera for HD 720p video capture and a 2MP front-facing camera for video calls, a barometer, an e-compass and an accelerometer.
Samsung launched its 7-inch Galaxy Tab last year but announced this year the 10.1-inch and 8.9-inch versions. The company has denied poor sales of its 7-inch product but the suggestion that it has not fared well must be heartening for Steve Jobs because he had claimed that all 7-inch tablets would be dead-on-arrival.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 has a 1GHz dual core processor, its 10.1-inch display has 1280x800 resolution and it comes with 16GB, 32GB and 64GB storage options. It will also have WiFi, 3G, Bluetooth, USB 2.0, a rear facing 3MP camera with flash and a 2MP front facing camera. The 8.9-inch version's specifications are exactly the same as the 10.1-inch. But just to confuse things there are two 10.1-inch models. The only difference is that one has a thickness of 10.9mm and the other 8.6mm. At 8.6mm the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is 0.2mm thinner than the Ipad 2.
Steve Jobs made great play of the Ipad 2's 8.8mm thickness so the Galaxy Tab's thinner profile is bound to be played up in the marketing material. As will the fact that the 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab is lighter, by all of 6g, than the Ipad 2. Weight reduction was another important selling point for Jobs.