New iPad starts at C$519 for 16GB Wifi. Pre-orders are being taken now, it ships March 16.
New Apple TV is $109. Pre-orders are being taken now, it ships March 16.
When you go sky diving and you soar through the clouds in free fall, you don't continuously accelerate into the earth. There is a terminal velocity of 195km/h, a maximum attainable speed from gravity pulling you back down. Due to wind resistance, you can't go any faster. Even Spinal Tap couldn't dial the speed to 196.
With the past 2 announcements from Cupertino, you have to wonder if we're hitting terminal velocity in the features one can cram into a tiny hand held device. Short of radical redesigns, or incremental processing upgrades, what more can be done?
We've already seen it in the line of iPods. The device is slowly drifting into obsolence as the iPhone takes hold of our media. Apple has shrunk the iPod Nano down to the size of an iPod Shuffle and added a touchscreen, but was that really necessary? It moved more units, it was an evolution in the device, but it wasn't a game changer.
The big news with iPhone 4S was an upgraded camera, processor, and the addition of voice via the still in beta Siri. The announcement of iPhone 4S was greeted with a resounding "meh" from the fanbois - they wanted more. But what more is there to give?
The switch to the "Post PC Era" was an acknowledgement by Apple that the desktop computer had run it's course. It's horsepower and functionality tapped, there was no big "wow" left to exploit in the line to keep consumers coming back for an upgrade. Yes, Moore's Law would dictate that processing power would continue to increase, but where was the hardware innovation to make the desktop relevant? Instead, an entirely new product line was created to re-invent the marketplace - iPad.
Today's announcement in Cupertino of "New iPad" and "New Apple TV" (Tim Cook neglected to give them numerological names, instead going with "New"), has shown that apart from the rumoured iTV (a flat panel screen directly running apps), the plateau may have been reached.
New iPad is faster. It has more pixels. It has better cameras. It perhaps heralds an evolutionary step in the Post-PC Era where content creation is now a bigger part of the equation.
While the first iPad was more of a content consumption device, the New iPad has the tools to help create it. Faster processors and clearer screens will let you edit photos, movies and create audio. The New iPad makes sharing the files into iCloud easier as well. But is that enough to make you turn your iPad 2 into a placemat?
New Apple TV is the same as the previous edition with an upgraded user interface and the ability to push full HD through the pipe. I've pre-ordered the New Apple TV because I love my current Apple TV. I have more than one TV in my house and would love the ability to push content to my home theatre. But if I was a 1 tv household, this upgrade would not be enough for me to ditch my current Apple TV. It's an update, and that's about it.
These upgrades, however, are still crucial to keep pace with the rest of the industry. While the hard core fanbois mocked by Samsung will upgrade in a heartbeat, and the continued pace of sexy will convince others to ditch operating systems and switch to Apple products, you have to wonder how many of us in the middle will toss ourselves into the upgrade cycle.
Apart from full voice and gesture integration that works perfectly, or an app enabled panel, what else is there for Apple to innovate?
The speedometer already reads 190km/h, there's not much runway left.
Mike Yawney was in the audience in Cupertino and offers this summary of the press event.
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