Being a harsh critic of what I once coined as “iSuccumb, iSnob, iSupplicate” syndrome, of mindless parroting of iPhone’s hardware and user experience, I never thought I would find something in a Apple product that goes beyond hype and provide real ‘value for money’.
iPads – particularly starting from iPad 2, seemed to me, as devices providing better value for money, even against myriad Android Tablets, till the launch of Galaxy Tab 10.1. Even after that, in terms of overall value (including availability of Apps made for 9.7″ screen size or bigger) iPad 2 was still ahead of the curve. Perhaps those who sought a near replacement to laptop (including the ability to see Flash videos) would have gone for Samsung’s tablets or Motorola Xoom.
When it comes to Tablets, excluding the ‘in-betweeners’ like DELL
Sh*te (oops.. Streak), the reasonably well done HTC Flyer, and eye candy Samsung Note etc, most of them fall under either 7″ or 9.7″-10.1″ size factors. There’s enough literature that has clearly documented that a 7″ tablet represents about 45-50% of screen size that a 9.7″ iPad delivers. In simple terms, for those who have no particular interest to keep the form factor as 7″, and are happy to go with larger screen, all other parameters being nearly equal – in terms of processor speed, Graphics card performance, pixels per square inch, connectivity options (WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS….) – a 7″ tablet retailing at $ 200 is NOT cheaper than $ 400 Tablet at 9.7″ 🙂
Legend has it that, Amazon sells Kindle Fire at a loss of $ 2-3 on every piece it sells and obviously can sustain that in view of higher volume of content sales. And, mind you, the Kindle Fire comes with a measly 8 GB space, and is as much a walled garden as Apple products are (well, at least in principle) and does not have Bluetooth connectivity. The Nook eReader is better specd but one obviously pays a little more – $ 249.
iPad 2, despite a stone-age spec front camera (0.3 MP – VGA) and a miserly 1 MP rear camera, and a not so great screen resolution, would still represent $ 99 worth more than Kindle Fire at $ 400 if Amazon were to increase the screen size (hypothetically).
iPad 3 – or whatever it’s eventually going to be called – with a razor sharp screen resolution, better rear camera (no news still on front camera specs), faster processor, ability to run over 100k Apps that are made for such screen size, would seem lot better value for money for those who can buy it in the US, at $ 499 !
The usual limitations of not being able to run Flash – unfortunately, there’s still lot of Video streaming on Flash till everything moves over to HTML5, very limited formats supported for playing Videos, in terms of native codecs, absence of widgets support, namesake multi tasking (for those who have used Android, the swiftness of swapping Apps , Apple’s double quick press on home button to browse last few Apps would seem very retarding!) etc.
But, for those looking forward to use their tablets primarily for consuming information, as I end up doing, in terms of watching BBC iPlayer, reading PDFs for long hours, viewing Guardian’s spectacular Photo Gallery app, National Geographic snippets, Flipboard, general browsing of Newspapers etc. a 9.7″ screen is indeed a nice size to hold and enjoy viewing. Dependable Bluetooth, Battery life, good Graphics chip etc. are further bonus.
Apple aficionados have to admit at least for once, that people who flock to iPads, at least since iPad 2, make that choice due to meaty real-estate and hardware specs representing a great value for money and not essentially as fans of iOS, iTunes or even Apps beyond a particular range.
Of course, whether Apple may have been compelled to squeeze so much value for money in $ 499 but for the huge competition posed by Android tablets is a moot point.
For now, three cheers to the techies who were behind iPad 3’s sumptuous specs !