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Meet the new iPad, same as the old iPad

When the Wall Street Journal says something is true, we all seem to assume that it’s right, so the rumors that we all published last week that Apple h

By PETER WHITE

Published: 10 February, 2011

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When the Wall Street Journal says something is true, we all seem to assume that it’s right, so the rumors that we all published last week that Apple has another iPad up its sleeve have now been underscored by a reputable business daily.

Yes it has at least one camera and it’s thinner and lighter than the last device, and the Wall Street Journal says that it has a faster processor. Well does it? Actually what the article went on to say is that the screen is exactly the same, and actually the faster processor is not a new A4, but some extra memory and a faster graphics chip. Many of the new tablet devices coming out now feature processing power of double and treble the iPad, and in most cases two or three times the graphics power. Even if this is somewhat squandered with less efficient UI design, it will still mean that Apple’s second generation iPad has no technical advantage. Many new tablets, for instance the WebOs device from Hewlett Packard announced yesterday, will have two cameras and a 3G or in some cases 4G connection. One or two have screens every bit as good.

When the iPad was announced Faultline said in an article entitled Message to tablet makers – Eat fast, there’s a T-Rex coming, that it was a market scavenger which would gobble up other people’s lunch rather like a T-Rex. We said “Like a T-Rex it is too heavy, too big and technically there is plenty of room to undermine it.”

We also said there will be future generations of iPads, and suggested the middle of 2011 for their delivery, so we’re about right, but we also said that it would need a faster, more power efficient chip, leading to a smaller and lighter battery. That appears not to have happened, and that is potentially a big problem for Apple.

We thought that by the middle of 2011, just as everyone else issues a sigh of relief that they have a product every bit as good as the iPad (better), Apple would rejuvenate the line. Rivals will rely on chips from Qualcomm, Freescale, Samsung and Nvidia, and at some stage Intel will join them. But without a new A4, we cannot see that Apple is going to be able to offer the same features.

This is not the same as the iPhone, where Apple feasted for three years before the first rival caught up. This is a far more deadly serious business. The T-Rex was originally thought to be a predator, but later studies showed that although its terrible teeth were powerful, that was for eating the bones that it had chased all the predators away from. But with vestigial arms built purely for lifting food to its mouth, it was never a fighter. And we worry that without Steve Jobs at the helm, neither is the iPad. Let’s not judge it too harshly before the new device is announced, but we’d expect Android to become dominant in Tablets very quickly once all the majors have their Tablets out in the open.

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