The tablet market has changed a lot since the original iPad entered the stage, but at the same time, in some respects, nothing much has changed either. Apple’s wonder tablet is still an undeniable dominant force in the market and despite the onslaught of Android slates bringing much variety and choice to the scene, nothing in the market comes close to offering the perfect mix of hardware, software and ecosystem in the tablet form-factor than the iPad. The iPad is indeed an iconic device.
But it would seem with each new version, Apple is finding it hard to create the next killer feature for the iPad. The iPad 2 drew a lot of criticism precisely because of this. Even if the new iPad is going to look very much like the iPad 2 with very little difference in terms of hardware – save for a higher resolution screen and a faster CPU/GPU combo, all of which are already present in the latest range of Android tablets – the new iPad sales figures will still be phenomenal, possibly topping the massive sales of the iPad 2. This is because there is, simply, no real competitor to what Apple can offer, not from the Android camp at least.
Yes, Android tablets are superior in terms of hardware but in terms of delivering the whole tablet experience, Honeycomb has failed to live up to its potential. Android’s latest Ice Cream Sandwich that promises a more integrated user experience on smartphones and tablets, have not made much on an impact either. Interestingly, for those who are looking for an alternative, hope comes from an unlikely source – Microsoft.
We won’t even try to attempt to mask our excitement about this refreshed innovative movement from Microsoft. The Redmond giant has – for the most part – made all the right moves especially with Windows 8. The new OS offers a glimpse of Microsoft’s new future and it looks enticingly good. With Windows 8 comes the promise of a truly seamless user experience across devices be it smartphone, tablet of computer – this is the future of computing.
Apple is heading towards a similar direction trying to create a bridge to cover the gap between its Mac OS and iOS platforms but in our opinion, no other operating system paints a more cohesive picture than Microsoft with Windows 8. And this will be the biggest threat to Apple’s dominance in the tablet market. Of course whether Microsoft can deliver on this promise remains to be seen and the recently released Windows 8 Consumer Preview for the PC has drawn a mixed bag of reactions from experts and regular users alike.
But despite the mixed reaction, the positive vibe is unavoidable. Microsoft has proven itself to be a company that can change and surprise users with wonderment. What’s left for Microsoft to do now is to show that it can follow through and continue to innovate. Apple will tell you, that that is not going to be easy.
So while the world gets itself ready to go into a mass iPad buying frenzy, we’d wait till the dust settles and till the hype dies down to see what Microsoft has up its sleeve before making a decision.