The iPad is still the tablet industry's daddy

New features up the bar for everyone else

In case you haven't heard, Apple released a new version of a little device it's got known as the "iPad" today.  It's pretty popular with the kids, I hear.

In all seriousness, the new iPad -- which is ingeniously called "New iPad" -- is just mind-blowing in its specifications.  Apple has once again upped the bar for every other tablet vendor on the planet and has shown that it is still on top of its game after Steve Jobs' passing.  Let's go through the specs, shall we?

  • A Retina Display screen that has a resolution of 2048x1536 pixels.  Yes, you read that correctly. That translates to a whopping 264 pixels per inch.  For comparison, consider that Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 has a screen resolution of 1280x800 pixels, or 149 pixels per inch.
  • LTE connectivity.  Yes, Apple has finally decided to let one of its precious mobile devices hook onto LTE networks, meaning that this iPad will deliver much, much faster mobile web services compared with earlier editions.  What's more, Apple is claiming that it can deliver nine hours of 4G battery life, just one hour less than its battery life over Wi-Fi.  That is darned impressive.
  • Apple's new A5X chip is a dual-core CPU processor that also features a quad-core GPU processor.  Think about that for a second -- you are getting quad-core graphics on a 9.7-inch screen that has a resolution of 2048x1536 pixels.  This display is going to be gorgeous.
  • And finally, it's priced at $499, $599, $600 for 16/32/64GB Wi-Fi models, $629, $729, $829 for 16/32/64GB LTE models.  That's still much more expensive than rival tablets like the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Barnes & Noble Nook, but at the same time, the new iPad delivers a lot, lot more than those devices.

So where does this leave Android tablet vendors?  Uh, well, it leaves them slapping their foreheads because Apple has just one-upped them again.  And don't get me wrong, I think there are a lot of very good, competitively-priced Android tablets on the market right now that are terrific alternatives to the iPad 2.  But no tablet on the market will look top-notch once the new iPad hits the shelves.  It'll be interesting to see how Google responds to this and if they're planning any game changers with Android 5.0 ("Jellybean") that will make Android on tablets just as good as it is for smartphones.  In the meantime, though, the iPad is still the tablet industry's daddy.

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