Apple keeps reinventing the iPad

I have always been amazed how fast Apple brings new products to market, often before the shine has worn off the previous model.

The iPad is a great example of this. (I just bought my wife an iPad 2 for Christmas.)

Apple released the first iPad in April 2010. (Yes, only two years ago) and went on to sell three million of them in 80 days. The iPad holds the record as the fastest accepted consumer electronic device in history.

It sold 14.8 million iPads worldwide by the end of 2010. This really took everyone by surprise and Apple commanded a 75 per cent market share in the tablet space. That’s pretty amazing for basically a bigger sized version of the iPhone.

Thirteen months later, Apple introduced the iPad 2 – a slimmer version with a camera – and sold 500,000 on the day they became available.

The launch of the device caused lineups at Apple stores and other retailers around the globe. By the end of last year, Apple had sold a staggering 40 million units.

If you do the math, that’s over 4,500 iPad 2s sold every hour for the entire year.

It’s amazing that they can build that many in a 12 month period.

And here we go again! Twelve months after the iPad 2 hit the shelves comes the much anticipated iPad 3 or HD. My wife hasn’t even used all the features on her iPad 2 yet, and now it’s already obsolete as the new version hogs all the headlines.

One of the new signature features is the addition of “HD” to the name. This is referring to the new high definition 9.7-inch 2048 x 1536 resolution retina display that will be standard on the device. That’s over 3.1 million pixels on this display, the most ever on a mobile device. This is a big jump over the iPad 2’s 1024×768 (QXGA) display. The result is an improved realism for games, videos, photos, and e-books.

The iPad HD will have an updated processor – Apple’s A5x – which is a quad-core ARM-based processor which it will need to drive HD videos full screen. The iPad 2 only has a dual core processor which will seem to crawl when compared to the HD. Adding the A6 will undoubtedly affect battery life, but Apple she new iPad delivers 10 hours of battery life. That’s the same as the iPad 2. On 4G, that’s nine hours of battery life. The HD comes with Wi-Fi of course but Apple has now added a 4G LTE option to the lineup.

The cameras have been updated as well, with the front-facing camera bumped up to HD quality and the rear camera coming closer to iPhone quality.

Still, these are great cameras as Apple considers image quality as extremely important. Poor quality pictures will really look bad on the new screen. Video recorded on the new device is, of course, 1080p.

So, in summary, the new iPad has retina display, A5x processor, iSight camera, 1080p HD video, voice dictation and 4G LTE.

It will be available in 16, 32 and 64 GB models – up to $829 for 54 GB on Wi-Fi and 4G.

That’s the same pricing as iPad 2. I keep mentioning the screen because it will stun you when you see it and combined with the more powerful quad-core processor.

The iPad HD puts Apple solidly ahead of the competition, again. If anyone wants to buy a slightly used iPad 2, please let me know!