On March 2, the iPad 2 was launched at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. iPad 2 will hit the US on March 11 and will be available globally on March 26. 6
The iPad 2 has a much lighter and thinner exterior than the iPad. Despite, the reduction in size, it does not feel flimsy and retains the feeling of rigidity and substance. The iPad 2 utilizes the “latest generation of mobile baseband and Application Processor chips with twice the RAM and up to eight times the computing power “2 which results in its major jump in speed. Multitasking is smoother and apps load faster with the A5 chip. The battery is the same as the iPad. The newest features of the iPad 2 include the Verizon 3G support, dual (front and back) cameras, a new gyroscope (similar to the iPhone 4) and new Smart Cover options. However, one of the highlights of the iPad 2 is the “ability to output both HDMI video from apps as well as a video mirroring mode, which projects anything you have on the screen to an HDTV, in either landscape or portrait orientations.” 2
Furthermore, there is the new iPad Smart Cover. Built-in magnets in the iPad 2 are used to align the Smart Cover. By placing the Smart Cover over the iPad 2, the iPad 2 goes to sleep. Flipping the Smart Cover back wakes up the iPad 2. It serves as a video and keyboard stand. There is also a microfiber lining on the Smart Cover that “buffs off any smudges or fingerprints as you move.” 4
For a new product, the iPad 2 has been remarked that it is a “very aggressive leap for a brand new product,” 2 as even in a “fast moving world of consumer electronics where chips regularly gain large leaps in performance and storage capacity every year” 2 the iPad 2’s is a remarkable piece of
technology. Apple certainly knows how to stay on top of the market.
There has been speculation that Apple may experience component shortages for its products as a direct consequence of the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. 5 Unfortunately, due to the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, there has been much damage to “Japan’s infrastructure [which means] that companies such as the Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co., and Toshiba have had to suspend manufacturing operations while they assess the damage to their businesses.” 5 For Apple, this means that the resins and memory components that Apples receives from Japan may have to be sourced from somewhere else in the short term. However, this short term shortages may result in a raise in the price. This also means reduced production runs or even limited stock of its own products. The shortage may impact Apple’s supply of iPad 2s and iPhones well into June. Due to this shortage, some analysts have “downgraded Apple’s stock.” 5
In response to the crisis in Japan, Apple has been “busy making sure its staff and customers in Tokyo are OK, providing free WiFi, water and technical assistance in its stores for anyone immediately after the crisis.” 5 Furthermore, Apple has set up Red Cross donations for Japan via iTunes.
The Motorola Xoom, Samsung and Honeycomb Android tablets, Research in Motion and Hewlett-Packard will have tough competition in the tablet market. It is speculated by Larry Dignan that although the Motorola Xoom has the 4G (which may be enough to attract business users), it will have to bring its price down to contend with the iPad 2. The Samsung and Honeycomb Android tablets will also have to compete on price with the iPad 2. For RIM, the battery life, thermal management, software, email tethering and price are still unknown. HP “showed off its WebOS tablet,” 6 however the price and date for the HP tablet are still unclear. Apple’s new aggressive pricing strategy is going to make it tough for its competitors.
After the unrevealing of the iPad 2, there have been shifts in the tech stock market due to the impact of the iPad 2. However, there has been a consensus that although “Apple didn’t do that much with the launch of the iPad 2,”1 it had enough impact to rise above everyone else. Before the iPad 2 launch, Nvidia rose to a three year high from the hype surrounding the Honeycomb tablets. 1 Since the iPad 2 launch however, there has been drop in Nvidia’s share price. The tech market is feeling “less bullish about Android tablets after the launch of iPad 2.” 1 The iPad 2 launch raised Apple’s share price. It seems that the shareholders believe that “Apple owns the tablet market and can raise its game just as much as is necessary to swat the competition.” 1
Originally submitted by Melissa Chan