Why Hasn’t Apple Stopped Making the iPad 2?

Why Hasn't Apple Stopped Making the iPad 2?Apple has defined the art of smartphone and tablet computer technology to a point that others can only hope to acquire. The company began its ascent to success with the introduction of its iPod and iPhone models, and went on to introduce the first successful tablet, the iPad, into the computer arena. Though some in the computer industry believed that Apple’s claim to have garnered some 15 million sales from its tablet in the first year was a fluke or an aberration of sorts, this innovative new product resulted in the beginning of the tablet revolution. In turn, this forced other competitors in the computer industry, like Microsoft, to look at the new onslaught of tablet computers as a threat.

How Shocked Was Microsoft at the Original iPad when It Was Released?

To fully understand the rivalry between Microsoft and Apple, we must first study their history when it comes to the tablet market. According to a recent article over at DailyTech, Microsoft, in conjunction with HP, was the first to release a tablet computer of sorts. However, its Slate tablet computer, which included a touch-sensitive version of Windows 7 (which HP stated was not ready for prime time on a tablet), was a total failure. Needless to say, this first venture into the tablet world was a total failure. In fact, an unidentified executive from Microsoft stated that, when Apple released its original iPad, Microsoft’s executives were shocked at how remarkable the craftsmanship, materials, and design worked together to create a truly unique and one-of-a-kind device.

Is Apple Losing Money on Every Apple iPad 2 It Sells?

So, with that being said, we now know that Apple still had bigger plans for its iPad, thus resulting in an upgrade first to the iPad 2 and, most recently, the release of its latest iPad (the new iPad). The question would then be that, with these new upgrades, wouldn’t it seem as if the company would want to discontinue earlier versions of the product? I guess not, since Apple continues to offer its popular Apple iPad. But, in doing this, is it losing money on each sale of this older version?

Yes and No.

First the Yes:

The cost difference between the Apple iPad 2 and the new iPad is $100, making it easy to conclude that Apple is losing $100 on the sale of each unit. This equates to a loss in pure profit of thousands of dollars for investors.

Now the No:

However, many in the marketplace would not consider spending $500 for a tablet, so the lower price of the Apple iPad 2 is allowing them to add their discretionary funds to Apple’s coffers. That could lead one to conclude that, if the price weren’t set at $399, these people would be migrating toward lesser-priced units like the Amazon Kindle Fire or the Barnes & Noble Nook rather than the Apple iPad.

The Real Money is in Applications and Services

Another important factor that Apple has to weigh in, as does every company that is currently selling tablet computers, is the ongoing influx of money that will be generated through the sale of applications and services that these companies offer. When Amazon first released its Kindle Fire, it was reported that Amazon would be losing about $10 per unit sold, but that research told the company that this loss would be more than compensated through the online games, books, and services that the Amazon planned to develop for its units. I believe that this same thought process is behind Google’s strategy in the release of its new Nexus 7 tablet computer. So, although I haven’t seen the specific figures for Google and its Nexus 7 tablet computer, I would venture a guess that the profit margins for these units will most likely be slim to none.

With that as a basis, one must remember that every company that is selling a particular tablet device is also selling us into an ecosystem from which the consumer is expected to buy applications and services, with Apple controlling one of the most closed and controlled ecosystems currently established. From its iTunes ecosystem alone, Apple has generated billions of dollars for itself and the developers who have written applications for it. However, one must also acknowledge that Google and its Android ecosystem, as well as Amazon, have done the same thing. However, in an attempt to prove itself as still a leader in the computer industry, Microsoft is now venturing into the tablet market bandwagon with the release of its Windows 8 operating system that will allow for the download of applications from its own hoard of cloud-based software applications.

For Apple, that means that selling the iPad 2 for a lesser amount could help maintain its strong consumer base by increasing its market share and preventing existing loyal users from migrating to other markets. Besides, the consumers who buy the Apple iPad 2 are buying into Apple’s closed environment where they will be forced into purchasing all of their “stuff” from Apple, including games, music, movies, and other toys.

How Long Will Apple Continue to Sell the iPad 2?

I believe that the answer to this question may come in two parts. The first part will depend on how much profit Apple can prove to its investors on its fiscal balance sheet through the sale of this product, and/or how long investors will willingly subsidize the continued sales of the iPad 2. The second may lie in if and when Apple introduces a 7″ tablet, which some rumors indicate could be in October 2012. If Apple does come out with a 7″ tablet and consumers buy them up, then Apple could potentially give both Google and Amazon a run for their money and find itself a dominant force in the mini-tablet market.

So, for now, the Apple iPad 2 remains a good deal and an excellent buy. I believe that Apple will continue to build the iPad 2 until it becomes a drain on its bottom line or when the company releases a successful mini-tablet into the marketplace. Just my two cents.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by blogeee.net

How to Enable Secret Multitasking Gestures On Your iPad 1 or 2

Got a new iPad 2 or upgraded your original iPad to iOS 4.3? While 4.3 doesn’t bring that many new features, there is a hidden one that will completely change your iPad experience. With a new set of multitouch gestures enabled, you’ll be able to forget about the home button entirely and move around your iPad with only your fingers.

“Multitasking Gestures” is a setting that you can enable only if your iPad is in development mode, which simply requires a Mac app to activate. Nothing changes about your iPad in this developer mode aside from the ability to turn on these gestures, which work like this: Use four or five fingers to swipe left and right between your open apps (similar to the new behavior in Mac OS 10.7 Lion), swipe up for the multitasking bar ,and make a 4-finger pinching motion to return to the homescreen from an app. While it seems simple enough, it totally changes the iPad experience for the better.

Unlike on the iPhone, where the homescreen button is always in a place where you can press it easily, the iPad’s home button can sometimes be annoying to press if you’re using the iPad on a dock or holding it in portrait mode. These multitasking gestures remove all need for the home button, giving touch gestures for -everything- that you’d use the home button for. Could this be the first step in eliminating that button entirely on the iPad?

If you want to try out these gestures, here’s how.

  1. Register your Apple ID as a developer. You can do this on Apple’s developer site, and this membership is free. This will give you access to the tools you need to put your iPad in development mode.
  2. Download and install XCode 3 or 4 and the iOS SDK. You can download XCode 3 from Apple’s site or download XCode 4 from the Mac App Store for $5. The iOS SDK comes with both of these releases.
  3. Plug in your iPad to your mac with USB, and Lauch the XCode app, which should be in the “/Developer/Applications” folder on the root of your Mac OS X install volume.
  4. In the “Organizer” window of XCode, you should see your iPad in the list of devices. Click on your iPad, and then click the “Use for Development” button on the “Summary” tab of the device pane.
  5. A popup will appear asking you to login as a developer. Simply hit “Cancel,” and your iPad will still be put into developer mode.

  1. Now, enable the setting on your iPad in the “General” settings page. You should see a switch for “Multitasking Gestures” right underneath the options to control the Side Switch behavior.
  2. Enjoy your new feature! As far as I can tell, development mode does not affect anything else on your iPad–your apps, games, and customization should all stay the same, aside from this awesome new feature!

What do you all think of these new gestures? Can you see them replacing the home button for you in most cases?

College Student Sells Spot in iPad 2 Line for $900

One college student in New York found a very creative way to raise the money for her favorite gadgets; she simply held the first spot in line. Mashable reports that Amanda Foote waited in line for 41 hours through a rainy day on a hope that someone would respond to her Craigslist ad selling the first spot in line at the most well-known Apple Store in the U.S.

“It’s kind of an easy way to make money, and it’s kind of fun,” she said.

She wasn’t the only one to have this idea. In fact, spots in line for the iPhone 4 went for over $1,000 back in June. During high-profile product launches, Craigslist is often hit with ads for line squatting services allowing people with a bit more disposable income to benefit from a virtual cut in line.

First iPad 2 Games Roll Out: Dead Space Takes Graphics To New Level

With the iPad 2’s new processor and increased graphics power, expect the games to get even more in-depth and graphically intense. Dead Space for iPad was already one of the best-looking games out there for tablets, and EA announced today that they have given the game an iPad 2 upgrade to bring even more detailed graphics as well as a smoother experience overall.

The new version of Dead Space for iOS is available today in the app store, and is specifically designed to maximize the new capabilities of the iPad 2.

“Dead Space showcases the power of the iPad 2 bringing the psychological thrill of this award-winning game to players in new ways,” said Travis Boatman, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Studios for EA Mobile.  “The faster core and graphics capabilities of the iPad 2 open up possibilities to reach new levels of quality in EA’s games never before seen in a portable device like this.”

According to EA, improvements to Dead Space on the iPad 2 include updates to the graphics that bring a “heightened sense of realism,” increased look sensitivity and Y-axis inversion that improve the controls in the game, as well as the same excellent audio and voice acting from the original version of the game. In my experience with the original Dead Space, it was not lacking in any of these departments, so this new version should make a good game even better, especially if you have an iPad 2.

As the lucky first iPad 2 owners return from stores with their new toys in hand, it’s great that they’ll be able to pick up such a great game so quickly. Dead Space for iPad 2 is going to be a great way to show off how cool your their toy is, and maybe rub the awesome graphics in the face of some iPad 1 owners. Head over to the app store and download Dead Space now for $6.99. If you already bought it, the upgrade is free.

GarageBand for iPad Review

Apple released its two new “flagship” iPad apps today, and much to the surprise of original iPad owners, GarageBand is available for both the iPad 2 and the original iPad. While last year’s model doesn’t make the cut for iMovie, GarageBand goes for a measly $5 in the app store starting today. While it might not be as snappy and fluid on the original model as it is on the iPad 2, it’s still an incredible app for the money and a giant step forward for tablet app interfaces.

GarageBand for iPad offers eight tracks of recording and mixing, as well as built-in loops, standard software instruments including guitar, drums, bass, keyboard, and a sampler, and Apple’s new “smart instruments,” which makes creating great-sounding tracks and loops almost effortless. The “Smart Guitar,” for instance, puts the actual strings of a guitar on the screen that you can strum and pick, and it’s quite surprising how real it feels. You can switch the guitar to “chords” mode if you aren’t exactly musically inclined, and simply tap buttons to play chords and change the style of the guitar around. Whether you’re a guitar virtuoso or just learning, you can use the smart guitar to record a guitar track for your song in no time.

There are also several different modes for creating drum loops — one which puts a full drum kit on your screen that you can tap to play, and one which gives you a grid that you can drag instruments on to to create the loops. The grid allows you to control how loud and how “complex” each instrument sound is, but beyond that the results seem to be pretty random. There’s not a standard drum machine layout here that allows you to customize your own loops on the grid; you’re either playing the virtual drum set with your fingers or surrendering to the limited control of the grid mode.

Other instruments in GarageBand include a standard keyboard, an “amplifier” mode where you can actually plug in a real guitar and use the iPad as a virtual effects pedal, and a sampler mode that allows you to record sounds and manipulate them with the on-screen keyboard. If you’re not interested in the fancy virtual instruments, a line-in mode exists as well that lets you lay down a track from the iPad’s audio input.

Once you’re done recording your tracks, the song layout view allows you to control the mix and positioning of the recorded tracks as well as add loops from Apple’s loop library and preview your track before its done. Any GarageBand for Mac user will be familiar with this screen, and the iPad makes it even more intuitive. You can swipe the track controls off and on the screen, drag tracks around with your fingers, and tap to look through the instrument loops. GarageBand for iPad allows for a surprising amount of control over your tracks, and the app could easily be used by a band to do quick demos on the go.

Overall, GarageBand for iPad is a huge leap forward for tablet applications. It’s pretty incredible that a device which so many had dismissed as “never going to be useful for work” has evolved to the point that there is an app this powerful in only a year. On the original iPad GarageBand does have its limitations, however, meaning that loading times were very noticeable and some of the dragging effects and transitions in between different areas lagged somewhat. It’s obvious that this app was designed with the iPad 2 in mind, but it’s really nice that Apple decided to not leave out its 15 million original iPad owners. If you’re a music junkie, band member, or even just like to tinker with the newest apps, at $5 GarageBand is a must get.

Why It’s Not Worth Upgrading To An iPad 2

Amidst much fanfare, Apple surprised absolutely nobody when they announced the iPad 2 today. As we all expected, it’s thinner, lighter, has dual cameras and FaceTime, and has a dual-core processor. Unlike the rumors that were swirling prior to the event, there is no higher-res display, no radial changes to the OS (iOS5), and no USB or Thunderbolt ports, SD slots, or any kind of removable storage. Did people really think that the iPad 2 would have an SD slot?

The pricing is the same as before: $500 / $600 / $700 for 16/32/64 GB sizes on the Wi-Fi model, and an additional $130 to add a 3G radio. Since Apple has already sold $15 million original iPads, the question for a lot of people is: should I sell my iPad 1 and buy a shiny new iPad 2?

My answer is a NO, and here’s why. The iPad 2 just doesn’t bring enough changes to warrant the $200 to $300 difference between what I could sell the iPad 1 for and what the iPad 2 would cost. Yes, a faster, thinner iPad would be nice, but there just isn’t enough newness to warrant upgrading.

First and foremost, I’ve never considered the speed of the iPad 1 to be a problem. The device is mostly used for couch Web surfing, watching movies in bed, tweeting, and playing Angry Birds or other casual games — nothing that the iPad 1 has any trouble with. If I wanted to use my iPad to render large amounts of video or play Crysis, than these additional specs would be awesome, but for the tasks that the iPad is generally used for, it just doesn’t seem like its really necessary.

Secondly, a good number of the features announced today for the iPad 2 will also be available on the iPad 1. iOS 4.3 will be fully supported on the original iPad, and features like improved Safari speed, iTunes Home Sharing and AirPlay improvements will make the iPad 1 even better. In addition, the fancy HDMI dongle announced today will also work on the iPad 1, and even the iPhone and iPod touch, too. Every device is getting in on the HDMI party, not just the iPad 2.

The changes in the iPad 2 come down to its faster speed, cameras and a few cool new apps that are iPad 2-only, including iMovie and GarageBand. As cool as it looked to edit movies on an iPad, I can’t see it replacing a full desktop environment for any serious movie editing any time soon. iMovie for Mac does a great job of making it quick and easy to edit movies — do we really need to spend the time transferring the footage to an iPad to edit on?

It’s very obvious that Apple has made another great device, and I don’t doubt that it will sell extremely well. People who don’t have iPads yet should be all over the iPad 2 if they are interested, but my advice to iPad 1 owners is to wait until the next edition to upgrade–likely that revision will be more revolutionary than evolutionary, and could include things like that retina display everyone wanted. Who knows, maybe it will be out sooner than you think.

Apple iPad 2 Launch Recap

Apple CEO Steve Jobs was on stage today introducing a completely new design of the iPad — the iPad 2. As he said in his statement this morning, this is not a tweaked or slightly improved device: this is something new.

The event was booming with Steve Jobs boasting about the 2010 iPad success, selling nearly 15 million iPads in the first year of sales.

Finally, something us iPad owners have asked for since iOS4 came out, users can now set the iPad 2 to use the button on the side to lock the rotation or mute the device.

One surprising turn of events is the number of colors available. Along with a black version, it will also come in white, with the 3G version available on Verizon and AT&T from day one. Launch day is March 11 in the US, March 25 everywhere else.

The iPad will run on iOS 4.3 and features improved AirPlay settings, which let you share media between the iPad and other devices. As always, iTunes sharing is built-in when you are on the same network as your computer.

More highlights from Steve Jobs:

  • 33% thinner than the first iPad, 8.8mm thick, down from 13.4 mm.
  • Comes in both black and white.
  • Dual-core processor — that’s twice as fast as the first.
  • Graphics are nine times faster.
  • Both front and rear-facing cameras.
  • Six different versions: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB that come with and without 3G support.
  • Same battery life as the original iPad.
  • HDMI compatible

[Thanks to Macworld for image]

iPad 2 Rumor Mill Roundup

Most obvious spoiler ever alert: The iPad 2 is coming out in 2011. There’s little doubt in anyone’s mind that Apple has a new iPad in the pipeline, and all signs point to the obvious release month of April 2011, exactly one year after the original iPad was released. I know, not very much of a surprise. But while fact that the iPad 2 is coming out is easily figured, the exact features the iPad 2 will have are subject to rampant speculation. Will the device have a camera? A “retina display” a la iPhone 4? Nobody really knows, but here’s where the buzz has been.

Camera(s)

Let’s put the likelihood of the iPad 2 getting a camera at 99.99%. There’s almost no doubt that there will be a camera in the iPad 2, whether it be front-facing, back-facing, or both. A front-facing camera is the most likely, as it will be perfect for FaceTime, Apple’s new feature darling. It always seemed silly that the iPad 1 didn’t have this feature, but it was probably simply left out so Apple could sell more iPad 2’s.

Retina Display

Speculation is also rampant that the iPad 2 will have a “Retina Display,” Apple’s super high-res display that debuted in the iPhone 4. The only issue that arises is that for a 10″ screen to have the same pixel density as said iPhone 4, the display would have to have as many pixels as the current 27″ iMac crammed into the 10 inch space–this is surely cost prohibitive, if not impossible.

What’s more likely is that Apple will greatly improve the current iPad’s screen with a significant resolution increase (but not to the iPhone 4 level), and some color, brightness, and clarity improvements. It might still be called the “retina display,” but anyone who was hoping for a 3000×2400 10″ screen might have gotten their hopes up too much.

“iPad Mini” 7-Inch Size

Most Android Tablets on the market right now are of the 7-inch variety, a little smaller than the iPad’s 10-inch size. When rumors started to fly that there would be both a 7 and 10-inch version of the iPad 2, Steve Jobs put them to rest pretty quickly. Jobs called 7-inch tablets “useless” and “dead on arrival,” in what was obviously a jab at competing Android tablets.

While one could increase the resolution of the display to make up for some of the difference, it is meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of their present size.

As we all know, what Steve says, goes at Apple, Inc. If you had hopes for a 7-inch iPad, that quote from Steve should pretty much have to put them to rest.

USB Port

The Chinese newspaper Economic Daily News published a story saying that the iPad 2 would have a USB port for loading and offloading files to external hard drives or from digital cameras. I’m going to file this rumor as the least unlikely of the bunch. The iOS operating system does not contain any kind of support for a file browser, and it seems like Apple doesn’t want to provide that kind of access to your iPad. Without a file browser or something of the sort, it seems unlikely that Apple would find a good enough reason to stick a USB port on the iPad–the built-in dock connector does everything Apple needs to do right now.

Keep your eyes on Lockergnome for updates on the iPad 2 as we get closer to April!

Three iPad 2 Variants To Be Released In 2011

By now we are all aware of the two current iPad variants, the lower priced Wi-Fi iPad and the UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) iPad. We have been well aware of both of these iPads for a long time. Now, according to the popular rumor mill site DigiTimes, there will be another iPad variant coming into game with the iPad 2 release in 2011.

In the DigiTimes article, they report that the iPad 2 will include a Wi-Fi, UMTS, and a CDMA variant. With the added integration of a CDMA chip, Verizon-like carriers will be able to provide the iPad on their wireless network. Apple has orders to ship about 500,000 units in January with shipment ratio of Wi-Fi, UMTS and CDMA models at 3:4:3.

In addition to the new wireless functions, Apple is also working on an improved anti-smudge and anti-reflective system for the upcoming iPad 2. Currently 60-65% of current iPad shipments are 3G models, indicating that most of the iPad consumers prefer the 3G model of the iPad.

Will iPad 2 Make iPad 1 Extinct?

Generally speaking, the newest generation of Apple product tends to cancel out the previous. So will the iPad 2 make iPad 1 extinct? Not necessarily. It will largely depend on how pricing is handled with each type of iPad as to how that turns out.

Now Apple if looking to clear out old inventory of the iPad 1 after the 2’s release, selling the iPad 1 for much less makes a lot of sense. Why not, it’s just more opportunity to get iPads into the hands of people who will appreciate them. And goodness knows any generation of the iPad is going to sell just fine.

I don’t think there is any question that killing off the iPad 1 after the iPad 2 is foolish. Look at how the iPhone 3GS was being sold well despite the iPhone 4 being available! Clearly people are hip for a discount and Apple would be wise to remember this.