“To-Be-Shipped” still seems to be the staus on any iPad rivals. This means that the iPad is still the only device in its class, which is good news for Apple, and for the folks who own the device too. For the consumers, it means that there will still be developers focusing on making amazing apps for them to make their iPad even more useful!
There are wild predictions that iPad sales will be near 10 million this year, with some analysts going as high as the 15 million marker. Some are claiming it may even be the beginning of killing off the lower end PC market. I think it’s just a shift in our understanding / definition of what a “PC” is. If we take it at its default value of personal computer, then it doesn’t get any more personal than the iPad.
The current nearest rival seems to be a product from Dell. With its clamshell design, it doesn’t look all that simple to use (is that thing going to fall off?) or much like a tablet that will be in bed with me. Having seen photos of it, it looks like a laptop, with a screen that can flip in on itself. Then you can cover the keyboard to use it as a tablet. I don’t see how this is much different from those early style Toshiba devices that are laptops with a revolving screen. Not a contender against an iPad in any way whatsoever. Dell has said it will be announced “later this year,” so again, it’s not actually for sale just yet.
There was a Lenovo tablet announced, and some prototypes floating around at this year’s CES show, but those have been delayed, and the rumor is that they will be scrapped as the interface can not compete with what the iPad is offering. Additionally, with one strength of the iPad being the numerous applications available, customers are now expecting this to be the minimum bar set. They want apps, as these apps are what make the device useful and interesting.
There is an offering from 4tiitoo that is advertised for a September launch. I have checked their website and there isn’t any information on pricing yet, or details, or anything. Maybe they meant next September. Could Apple’s lead be so great now that other manufacturers will forever be playing catch-up, or has someone got a surprise hidden? Why has Apple completely smashed the market? Did other manufacturers believe the iPad would be a flop, like video phones, or the Sinclair C5 and so they chose not to invest in development?
Personally, from seeing the offerings from other manufacturers, I don’t think they “get it.”
I think the manufacturers need to understand what the iPad isn’t, and then they can be competitive. The iPad isn’t a fully fledged computer. It isn’t a massive slow loading machine. It isn’t a net book, and it isn’t going to meet every computer user’s demands. It isn’t heavy. It isn’t over-engineered and it isn’t difficult to learn how to use one.
It is ahead of the game, set and match.