The iPad 2 rumors finally came to an end at Apple's event earlier today and we all learned that the iPad 2 is thinner, lighter and faster when compared to the original iPad−but is that going to be enough for Apple to maintain its lead that it has established with the original iPad? Only time will tell. The stats Steve Jobs presented are definitely noteworthy as selling 15 million devices in ~9 months and having nearly 65,000 native apps would be every competitor's dream.
Another improvement to the polished and revamped device includes a front and a back camera enabling FaceTime−and surprisingly, the device will be hitting the market sooner than many expected (March 11th). Hence, what does it mean for the enterprise market? Based on the keynote speech, it is clear that moving forward, Apple’s tablet strategy features a sharper focus on B2B markets. The video that was shown at today's launch event provided powerful examples of real business scenarios for the device. The HDMI mirrored video-out capability brings a lot to the table for industries like healthcare and education. Other application areas that appear to be the primary targets include retail and hospitality, professional services (i.e. financial services, construction, etc) and field sales. We have already seen traction in various enterprise market segments with the original iPad (such as the SFA applications from SAP, and field service application from ServiceMax). We believe that this trend will continue, and we anticipate that ISVs and developers will continue to develop tablet-specific business apps.
So has Apple met expectations with iPad 2? Probably not in this rapidly evolving mobile ecosystem. One glaring feature omission from today’s launch event was the screen. There was a lot of speculation that Apple would match its display superiority (iPhone 4’s retina display) with an updated similar screen for the iPad 2–it is now certain that this update won’t occur until the next refresh. We fully anticipate that application innovation, and continued technology advancements will help to push tablets further into enterprise environments–this will require enhancements around areas such as device and security management and currently is a market that we see as a greenfield opportunity for Apple and other hardware manufacturers with tablet offerings. However; the improvements appear to bring the device to par with the current competition in the market. Apple’s timing of it’s iPad 2 launch is right on time, considering that Motorola’s Xoom was recently released (February 24th), and that RIM’s PlayBook, Samung’s Galaxy Tab, and HP’s TouchPad will all become available for sale in mid-to-late Q2. Likewise, it will be interesting to see how the competition responds to Steve Jobs’ last remarks on his keynote where he differentiated Apple by underlining that the company views these devices in the post-PC market while the competitors perceive it as the next PC market.
"This is worth repeating. It's in Apple's DNA that technology is not enough. It's tech married with the liberal arts and the humanities. Nowhere is that more true than in the post-PC products. Our competitors are looking at this like it's the next PC market. That is not the right approach to this. These are pos-PC devices that need to be easier to use than a PC, more intuitive."
As was widely circulated today, with the iPad 2 launch event behind us, it’s time to bring on the iPad 3 rumor mill! Will iOS 5 be Apple’s first OS designed for the iPad?
So, is 2011 really the year of the iPad−possibly, its certainly the year of the tablet.