Apple’s new iPads dismay some, but success is assured

DPA San Francisco | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on October 23, 2013

iPad Air will go on sale from November 1 and start at $499. (Image Courtesy: Apple's Official Website)

Apple will no doubt sell millions of iPads when new models go on sale next month, just in time for the crucial holiday shopping season.

But that didn’t stop critics and commentators from expressing their disappointment on Tuesday at the lack of breathtaking new innovations in the tablet computers unveiled at a much-hyped launch event in San Francisco.

The underwhelming reaction has become a tradition following such events, whenever Apple falls short of the modern equivalent of re-inventing the wheel.

A victim of its own success in pioneering the smartphone market with the launch of the iPhone in 2007, and the tablet computer market with the iPad launch in 2010, the company is now expected to reveal something spectacular every time it updates its product line.

So when chief executive Tim Cook and marketing chief Phil Schiller took the wraps off the iPad Air and the iPad Mini with Retina display, the reaction among those watching was far from ecstatic.

Disappointed Apple lovers

“Underwhelmed?” the Yahoo News team covering the highly anticipated event asked on a live stream. “Underwhelmed.” The Wall Street Journal’s live coverage team was similarly dismayed, proclaiming the announcement of the new name of iPad Air as the biggest surprise of the day.

On Twitter there was a glut of snarky comments about the new devices. “Apple announces new strategy: Take old products and smash them together!” said one commenter, presumably referring to the adoption of the iPhone 5S’ chip by the iPad Air.

Even on the website Apple Insider, normally a haven for the most devoted Apple fans, the insults flew fast and furious.

“Big Apple fan here,” commented hydr. “Slightly disappointed today. Clearly these devices are meant to improve margins, not advance much technically. The Apple I knew would have surprised us tonight. I feel slightly bored instead.” That might be unfair to Apple: The iPad Air is 40-per-cent thinner and 28-per-cent lighter than its predecessor, as well as boasting faster speeds and longer battery life.

Schiller tried to tamp unrealistic expectations by explaining that Apple has been “on a relentless path” updating its iPads each year.

“IPad is delivering a new vision for mobile computing,” he said.

Competing with Android tablets

Cook tried to lift spirits by noting that Apple had sold more than 170 million iPads: “I can’t think of another product that’s come so far, so fast.” But with tablets powered by Google’s Android operating system now outselling Apple’s devices, the pressure has been on Apple for a few months to carve out a new niche that would once again allow it to rule a lucrative market unchallenged.

Barring a revolutionary new device category, Apple’s strategy is to leave the hyper-competitive market for low-cost, low-profit tablets to its rivals and boost its premium offerings, according to Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at research firm Ovum.

Raising prices for its new iPad Mini “is the clearest statement Apple could have made that it is only interested in competing in the premium tablet space,” he said.

“This reinforces our view that Apple’s share in tablets will continue to fall as Android’s share rises over the coming years.”

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Published on October 23, 2013
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