iPad 3: Is Apple Playing it safe?

March 9, 2012 10:29 am

iPad 3On the 7th March 2012 Apple announced the iPad 3, or as they like to call it: “the new iPad”. Including features such as a new Retina display, an improved camera and 4G networking abilities, this does not seem like the innovative Apple that we have seen in the past!

While all these improvements are necessary to keep ahead of the market, there are no great innovations to really push this new iPad forwards to become a truly great piece of hardware. So why do they bother to release a new product if it hardly improves on previous iterations? Because they can. Look at the iPhone 4S. While it did have an improved processor, a better camera and siri, these are all features that your average consumer does not need. In fact, the 4S had serious problems with its battery life due to the extra power it required to sustain its processor (and due to an early software fault), yet it still manages to sell nearly 4 million units in the first 3 days. So with only minor improvements between iterations, Apple are still able to maximise revenue because they create such well designed and easy to use products that continue to sell excellently.

So what are all these new features? The Retina display is a super high resolution LCD screen that will produce better than HD quality images. It was originally released with the iPhone 4, but it has never featured on an iPad to date. One of the potential benefits of this new screen will be to increase the readability of text on the iPad. Apple is hoping to take a large chunk of the eBook market, and to do that they need to compete with Amazon’s Kindle, as well as other tablets. Previous research has shown that, in general, people tend to read 10-30% slower from screens than from paper. With such a high resolution screen, hopefully this difference will be reduced.

However, there are some drawbacks to increasing the resolution: Every app previously released will have to be updated with new graphics in order to look acceptable on this new iPad. For anyone who bought an iPhone 4 when they were first released, you will remember how ugly the vast majority of apps looked until the developers updated the graphics. This is not a problem that concerns Apple though. The app store is such a profitable market place for developers that they will all be hurrying to update the graphics of their apps as soon as possible in order to keep on top of the market.

While a new camera on the iPad 3 is a nice feature to have, it definitely is not necessary. I may be wrong here, but an iPad is not what I would personally choose to use as a camera. Maybe every once in a while I’ll take a snap with it, but I would not want to carry it around with me on holiday. Personally, I believe that Apple should have spent more time including a new feature such as Near Field Communication (NFC), rather than just boosting less important aspects of the iPad. NFC is a technology that allows two gadgets to connect when they are moved within touching distance. Many phone manufacturers are starting to produce handsets with NFC included which will potentially allow people to replace their bank cards with an app that lets them pay for items simply by touching their phones against a NFC pad. While this technology is already available, I believe that it will not get mass market appeal until Apple decide to back it. It seems likely that they are going to wait for the iPhone 5 before they include this technology in their products.

And what about 4G LTE? Well this will allow consumers to receive incredibly fast data transfer speeds whenever they have decent signal. This is meant to be the equivalent to the speeds most obtain at home on their own Wi-Fi networks. While this is a useful feature, it will not be particularly useful to the vast majority of consumers as general network coverage, thus far, is simply just not widespread enough. However, it does future proof the iPad 3 to some extent, and will keep the tech savvy at bay.

So are these additional features of the iPad 3 good choices for Apple to include? Simply: Yes. They boost the core features of the iPad 3, without increasing the price compared to the iPad 2 at launch. In my opinion, it is a very safe and sensible decision for Apple to make. They only really need to innovate when they have some real competition, which they do not, at the moment. They can continue to rely on innovation in the software department for the next year, after which point, it is likely that they will have to provide a new killer feature to the iPad to keep it at the top of the market.




  • i believe you!

  • Concetta Delamarter

    When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

  • Hmm, that seems very strange, we will certainly have a look into it for you and see what we can do. Sorry for the inconvenience!

  • CowperTrooper

    Just want to check how this works

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