Thursday, March 8, 2012

In Praise of “The New iPad 4G HD 3”

Yesterday was a banner day in the tech biz as Apple unveiled their third generation tablet device to an eager audience and overall market. Apple’s much admired/discussed ability to keep mum on new products and features notwithstanding, the actual device they’ve released is largely a reflection of what the market and consumers hoped for and expected and includes the following key features:
  •        High-rez retina display (2048x1536 with 3.1 million pixels)
  •        Faster A5X processor & quad core graphics support
  •        Standard Wi-Fi and optional 4G/LTE high-speed modem
  •        Improved cameras (front & back) with image stabilization
  •        Content capture at true 1080p HD
  •        Bluetooth 4.0
  •        Voice recognition supporting dictation (but not “Siri”)
  •        High capacity battery

This list of core features and the many other minor additions – all at the same price as the previous iPad 2 – make “The New iPad” the most capable and well-equipped mobile device ever marketed albeit bearing a cumbersome name. My colleague RJ Jacquez (@rjacquez) quipped on Twitter it should be called the “iPad 4G HD 3” which actually seems as good or likely as Apple’s “The New iPad” but I’m sure we’ll all settle in to just referring to it as our iPad.

Whatever they call it, I – like millions of others – probably spent a frustrating few hours hitting the refresh button on the Apple Store web site until I was able to then access then painfully move through the process of ordering up several units for our team of developers. When it was all over, I’d spent the better part of an afternoon monitoring the launch event, chatting with colleagues about what we thought/liked/disappointed us, and committing my cash to having the latest and greatest.  And it remains astounding these products can go from “doesn’t actually exist” to being built and packaged and shipped across the planet and into our hands in less than nine days.

The New iPad - What It Is and What It Isn’t

Where consensus of opinion proved correct on things like the awesome display, the faster network access, the cameras and even the price points, the fringes of the rumor mill got it wrong on several of their prognostications including enhanced haptic/tactile response and a smaller, 7-inch iPad model amongst others. Having Siri would have been a nice too although time will tell how and if we’re able to leverage the voice recognition technologies through available iOS APIs in order to add a new dimension to enterprise mobile learning.

Will this latest iteration of the iPad prove to be as revolutionary as the original iPad or the iPad2 on the learning industry?  Or does it really matter?

Frankly, I’m not sure the technical specs are the real story here. The true and tangible benefit to the market is Apple has again raised the ante for all tech OEMs to create better, faster and more innovative mobile devices that can continue to capture the hearts and minds of not only the faithful fan boys like me but also enlist the masses to get into the adoption curve as well. This morning I was happy and surprised to learn that several non-tech geeks I know – friends, family, neighbors – were also hitting Apple’s web store and call centers ordering their own iPad “3”s so they could start taking advantage of the many new features manifest in these “post PC era” computing wonders.

I also know my iPad2 will quickly find a home with others around our offices – probably replacing the iPad1s that had previously trickled down to others when the iPad2s shipped last spring.  And unlike most mobile handsets we’ve bought and used over the years, it seems no iPad around here – of any generation – ever lies dormant on a shelf in favor of the latest “shiny object” we might acquire. 

Overall, this means the base of devices is growing wide and deep, and that fact alone will accelerate demand and adoption for enterprise mobile learning for organizations of all sizes.  Despite the Apple bias of this post, this is actually good news for ALL tablet devices given the things we can do with them as a general class – be they iOS or Android or PlayBook QNX or Windows 8-based – is changing the way we work, relax and learn. 

And so yesterday was a very good day for enterprise mobile learning.  And March 16th – the day the UPS or Fedex guy starts delivering all “The New iPad 4G HD” devices to the homes, offices and retail stores out there – will be yet another.