The latest iPad was revealed yesterday. After months of speculation, countless rumors and high hopes for the iPad 3, what we in fact got was a marginally-updated device with an improved Retina display and solid battery life. And that 4G support? Way to catch up, Apple: Android tablets have sported 4G LTE support for quite some time, and even come in true HD. The “new iPad,” lacking a definitive surname, has been updated so marginally that it’s actually given a break to the rest of the mobile industry. Now it’s Android’s opportunity to leap ahead.
Some could argue that the iPad is still so far ahead in the tablet game, that they didn’t need to do much with this latest release. But it’s not like Apple to rest on its laurels, especially in the innovation department. Perhaps the biggest disappointment with the new iPad is the absence of Siri, the popular AI that should have been made available for the gamut of Apple products months ago. This misfortune highlights one of the biggest areas still in need of improvement in the mobile department – software and content.
Enough devices – focus on content marketplace
With the release of the new iPad, it’s even more clear that the mobile market has reached a certain point of saturation. There’s only so much you can do with devices in today’s market, and the focus is shifting considerably towards software integration and content-driven marketplaces that drive more revenue behind any mobile device. Apple may recognize the limitations of its in-house product line, facing growing competition from the likes of Samsung and Amazon. Ahead of the iPad reveal, rumors surfaced that Apple is in talks with Android OEMs to license their patents, which could generate supplemental revenue for Apple, instead of the costly lawsuits they’re currently pursuing across the world.
While Apple pushes through minor tweaks on the hardware side, Google is busy getting its software up to par. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, released months ago, has yet to make an impact on the mobile market. Where Android can manage its fragmentation is with a centralized software distribution model, which we’re seeing with launches like Google Play. As I mentioned earlier this week, the mobile wars are all about the extended marketplace at this point, developing an ecosystem around content like apps, music and e-books. Making the most cohesive loop on content will further diminish the focus on the device itself, and emphasize user access across devices for a unified experience.