On March 8, 2012, Apple introduced its “new iPad” with great expectation and fanfare. It was generally greeted with a loud “meh.” And those people are missing an important insight.
For example, CNN reported “REVIEW: NEW IPAD NEITHER DUD NOR ‘REVOLUTION.’ On first glance, the new, never-to-be-actually-named iPad is exactly the same as its predecessor: Same size, same price, same colors.”
Polishing a Great Product
This highlights the dilemma of incremental technology releases. The first iPad was so revolutionary that it grabbed massive market share. It was so well designed, there wasn’t much to improve with the next generation other than to add cameras.
Now with the new iPad, there isn’t much more to bring to a great design other than a noticeable increase in display resolution and initially invisible increased compute power and G4 cellular network speed. And you get all of this for the same price as the last generation.
This trend was initially observed by Moore’s law in 1965 – technology doubles in capability every year (plus or minus) for the same price. (For a great overview, check out Wikipedia).
Most Users Miss the Value
If a tablet just replaces books, magazines, and TV screens, then advances in network speed and compute power get overlooked or ignored.
Most iPads get used as an entertainment device. These users won’t think that the new iPad has much value because they don’t believe that there is any advantage to them.
And that’s where most people ignore and miss out on what’s really happening. The reality is that higher quality video and a better resolution display demands more compute power and network bandwidth. And this offers much more capability that only a few will recognize and capitalize.
The iPad 2 is twice as powerful as its predecessor in terms of compute power and networking speed. And the new iPad is twice as powerful again. This makes the new iPad four times more powerful then the original.
There is no reason to think that the next generation iPad won’t be twice as powerful again. So in five years, the “iPad 8” will be 128 times more powerful than the original.
This potential power is beyond the ability of most users to comprehend. Even more importantly, most can’t figure out how to exploit and create value with the increase in power.
The Power User’s Advantage
Power users will find ways to use that to their advantage. For example, if a Google search occurs in half the time, you can accomplish more. If voice commands — three times faster than typing — improves productivity, you become freed to do other things. If you can see more on the higher-resolution screen, then you can take in more information in a single page, speeding your tasks.
If you really want to benefit from the exponential technology curve, figure out how to use the rapidly advancing compute and network power of devices like the iPad. Get ahead of the curve with your ideas and products. In the next 24 months, you’ll be able to bring to market products that 99.9% of people can’t even imagine right now.
And that’s the real impact of the new iPad.