The New IPAD - a generation Gap







Back in the day, tablets meant something a doctor would prescribe one to take when sick. In tech-world, it meant super-expensive laptops that had a swiveling display on which users could scribble using a stylus. I know of at least one C-level executive who had bought one such machine costing upwards of Rs 100,000 only to sign documents! Then came the iPad in the beginning of Summer 2010 and turned the tablet space on its head. With almost 60 million iPads already sold globally, the iPad has not only defined a brand-new gadget category but has also dominated it like no one’s business. In fact, many executives of rival companies have admitted to me in private that it is really an iPad market and not a tablet market even in India, where we have numerous usable tablets selling for under Rs 20,000. So much for India being a price sensitive country.
Now in its third generation, the iPad hasn’t changed drastically in its looks and feel. Unlike the iPhone, which has now settled into a design refresh every two years, the iPad refreshes have all been about adding more hardware capabilities. I own all the three generations and I feel almost at home irrespective whether I’m using the first-gen iPad or the latest third generation. That’s not saying that the new iPad is only an incremental update over the older ones but instead how iPads age graciously unlike Android tabs that suffocate to death within a year, lacking timely updates. Mind you, most of the first-gen Android tabs of 2010-2011 were much more powerful machines if one were to strictly talk about hardware.
Without getting into discussing the merits of Apple’s new naming scheme for the iPad, now just called the iPad or the new iPad rather than the iPad 3, the third-gen iPad is probably the most controversial of all. Many think it is just an incremental update with no ground-breaking hardware shift from Apple. Their usual gripe is the absence of a truly new processor (the Apple A6 with four cores – the new iPad has the A5X, the same dual-core processor as the iPad 2 but with a quad-core GPU) and probably the same design as the iPad 2. However, the question still remains – is the new iPad still THE must-have tablet or the iPad 2 continues to rule the roost. 

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