Tomorrow, Apple is expected to announce a next-generation iPad, an iterative upgrade of the breakthrough product whose radical original Steve Jobs described as “magical.”
Jobs may be excused his poetic license, but in the 11 short months since the first iPad was sold it’s pretty clear Apple’s tablet has changed our relationship with computing in big, noticeable ways. Once-hot netbooks suddenly aren’t selling, PC sales are flatlining and even hard drives are having a hard time.
The causal link is debatable, the observable facts are not. Apple sold nearly 15 million iPads through Christmas Day last year, nearly half of that in the final quarter alone. That’s more than 45,000 iPads a day for a device that had been tried before but never captivated buyers, doesn’t exactly do anything different and which everyone knew would be updated within the year.
Dozens of tablets were hyped at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show versus zero last year and a few have hit the market. Wired’s take on the 7-inch Galaxy Tab was “that it takes direct aim at iPad’s shortcomings and does a credible job at addressing nearly all of them.” But we called the JooJoo “a piece of DooDoo,” the Archos “a kid’s toy” and said the Dell Streak “strikes out.”
And then there is the Motorola Xoom, which runs a version of Google’s Android operating system designed specifically for tablets, not smaller-screen smartphones. Not only did Motorola choose to start selling the Xoom a few days before Apple’s headline-grabbing event, but they have the audacity to charge more than an entry-level iPad.