Sunday, February 27, 2011

What will Apple name the forthcoming iPad?

What will apple name the next iPad? That might seem like a moot question, but it's worth asking. Let me explain.

Take a look at the recent MacBook Pro refresh. The new models weren't renamed "MacBook Pro 16," rather keeping the "MacBook" label and sticking "new" in the front. And as for the different iPod lines, renaming occurs here and there, but Apple had never used numbers to any of those updates: iPod, iPod Mini, iPod Shuffle, iPod nano, iPod Touch, and remained so through each product's life-cycle. Also, the current and completely redesigned Apple TV is still called the "Apple TV."

The iPhone, however, proves a deviation to that rule. The first iteration was called "iPhone," then "iPhone 3G," then "iPhone 3GS." Only now have they resorted to numbers with the naming of the iPhone 4.

So, is Apple already in the position of numbering of iPad refreshes? Or will they stick to appending the word "new" in front of the next update?

One hint that Apple might choose "iPad 2" lies in the invitations they sent out this past week, which show an iOS calendar app icon with the date March 2. From the corner, the page is peeled back to show an iPad, foreshadowing the now-obvious next-gen iPad announcement.

At a quick glance, the graphic even looks like it says "iPad 2."

It might be worth looking at whether or not Apple chooses to adopt the names the public already dubs their unreleased products. Though in no way a science, it might make sense from a marketing standpoint to keep the name people have already chosen for the next iPad—not to mention to differentiate the new product from the older one, especially if it's redesigned in any way.

All I know is that I've been waiting too long to buy one; I was late to the game in deciding if I had use for one. But after I had enough time to play with a few and realized that carrying around my 17" MacBook Pro was more of a hassle than I anticipated, the lust for that 64GB 3G iPad crept up not too long ago—when it would make no sense to buy one in the face of a forthcoming new iPad. Or iPad 2. Or whatever.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New tablets play "Me Too!" to the iPad

A recent look at the TouchPad, HP's new long-needed foray into the tablet market and HP Slate replacement, had me marveling at how similar every new tablet is, copying and switching each other's ideas to the point of indistinguishability.

Obviously, Apple hit it big with the iPad. And regardless of how "underwhelming" and "just-a-big-iPod-touchy" it seemed, it's now what every other company strives to be in this new, very competitive market. Sure, the TouchPad is different, and it still keeps its Palm underpinnings and UI cues that make it beautiful, polished and compelling, but a closer look at it reminds me so much of Android reminds me so much of Win7 tablets reminds me so much of everything else in the market since CES 2011. In essence, Apple is playing a big "I told you so" game as the rest of the world tries to keep up. Oh, the beauties of competition bring us the fruits of technological innovation, which are more or less nothing more than expensive grown-up toys, but I digress...

You always wonder what they will come up with next. Remember when you looked at the Motorola Razr and wondered just how cell phones could possibly get any smaller or better? Well, that's what tech companies do too. except that they make money and pay engineers to do it. Sooner or later someone will totally rethink something that will and should redefine the market, but as of late, that company is Apple. And it's not because they simply have better teams behind them and better marketing, it's just that have taken much bigger risks and put a hell of a lot of effort into market-altering products. Don't think that just because HP bought Palm and are now using their webOS platform that some brilliant engineers had not designed some amazing concept products that would, however, never see the light of day. Just look at the Courier concept that supposedly came from the Microsoft labs. In those situations, companies just didn't take the massive risk to put their resources into something that their market research told them nobody would buy.

Which brings us back to the iPad. It was a product announced to a world that knew of it's existence for nearly a decade. However, the loudest voices in the media said it wasn't good enough. There were no iPad focus groups. Apple developed the product blindly for years, as they so with nearly everything they make. That's a risk only few are willing to take.

Then what does everyone else still do? Well, just sit back, wait and watch a burgeoning new market explode and Apple again dominate a new arena. What and then after the wait-and-see approach to product development, it takes a year for anyone to come up with anything remotely compelling. Well, it's about damn time.

The HP TouchPad. The Motorola Xoom. The BlackBerry PlayBook. And, God-willing, a Microsoft product that doesn't use Windows 7 (Windows Tab 7, maybe?). These are the devices that may finally help us breathe in an Apple-drowned world. I don't care what it is, I just want it to be good and innovative.

Just have the balls, tech companies, to do something great and quit following in Apple's shoes.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Last year's small talk about the iPad looks silly now

Recently, Apple again hit an all-time high stock value price per share, proving and maintaining its dominance in consumer tech and impact overall.

The iPhone -- needing not an explanation on it's impact throughout our lives and a the main factor an product catalyzing Apple's wild success -- was a hit and triumphant milestone from the start. But the iPad, if you remember, was criticized and spoke of as a irrelevant product in anyone's life. The favorite word among pundits was to describe it as "underwhelming." And it was "only a big iPod Touch." Well, it turns out that being a big iPod Touch was freaking awesome.

Yep, all those people are surely eating their words now, as the iPad in the meantime has become one of the most popular and best selling devices of the decade.