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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Some next day thoughts about the iPad 2

3

March

Yesterday I gave you all the facts and specs on the new iPad 2 and it was a ton of information. Now that the initial dust has settled I step1-tech-ipad-product-img-front.jpgwant to share some of the points made at the beginning of the announcement because they paint an extraordinary picture of how the iOS devices and the App Store have become juggernauts in the world of mobile devices.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage and immediately launched into a barrage of information about the popularity of the iOS devices and apps.

  • 100-million iBooks downloaded
  • 200-million iTunes accounts
  • 100-million iPhones sold
  • More than 350,000 available apps with 65,000 photography-related apps alone
  • 15-million original iPads sold in just nine months

The tablet market has exploded and there are now so many tablets coming to market that they're canceling each other out. They are announced with great fanfare but most, except the iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, the new Motorola Xoom and a few others, are quickly reviewed and discarded as not worthy. When you look at the numbers above, is there any wonder why? It just doesn't seem there will be a David strong enough to take down this Goliath.

During the announcement I was running a Twitter search (iPad 2) using TweetDeck, an application that allows you to view Twitter feeds with different parameters in a multi-column format. All day the column was constantly cascading in a blur of tweets, like the screens of green binary code in the Matrix. I mean it was bigger than Charlie Sheen! Take a look:

And now many of the 15-million original iPad owners are looking at their cool gadget, the one that once was the envy of many, and they're wondering what to do. Keep in mind that many of those iPads, by some estimates as many as 7-million of them, were sold during the recent holiday season. And now the new, slimmer and trimmer model with all the new features is available for the same money? What gives?

To make matters worse for the original iPad owners, Apple immediately dropped prices on the original iPad by $100, making the 16GB WiFi-only model now available for $399 with refurbished ones for $349. Shoot, if I had a Nook Color right now I might be ditching that for a 16GB iPad.

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And of course, eBay is now lit up with auctions for the original iPad, put there by people who now are scratching their heads and wondering why the prices have plummeted and why no one is bidding. Some ebay sellers already are taking iPad 2 "pre-orders" for as much as $1150 (buyer beware!). And electronics recycler Gazelle is buying iPads at greatly-reduced prices. Using their rating system, their curent offer for a perfect 32GB 3G and WiFi iPad with all cables is just $350, less than half of the original $729 purchase price. Ouch!

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Of course this situation is not new and Apple is not the only company to lure customers to a product when they know a better one is just months away from release. They are masters at it though, and can you blame them? It's a business, after all, and they know the people who enjoy their products are willing to pay for them. At least the new iPads are heavily upgraded without a price increase. That was a relief.

How can you avoid buying a piece of technology that won't be obsolete in a few months? Well, if I knew the answer to that I probably would be retired and driving fast cars on twisty roads. The technology landscape is constantly moving and with personal and mobile electronics it's even more accelerated. Sure, you can take the "I'll wait until the iPad 6 before I buy one" approach, but then you would spend a bunch of time waiting and missing out on the fun and productive things you could have done during that time. You have to pay to play.

So what does all this mean? To me it means the iPad and the iOS concept are a phenomenon that cannot be topped. The tablet sensation has really just begun and Apple is so far ahead (because they started it) that's it's like one of those Kentucky Derby races where the lead horse gets seven lengths in front and never looks back. No contest, end of race, win, place and show.

And really, I hope I'm wrong. Even Apple, with all their resources and talented people, needs to be challenged. Competition is good for them and good for consumers. They will continue to innovate even if no one comes close, but imagine what they might do if they though they were going to lose?

Anyone want to buy an iPad? I'll give you a good deal!

[Last modified: Thursday, March 3, 2011 2:52pm]

    

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