In a surprise move, Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage and deliver a message: I’m still in charge of the company and the iPad kicks the competition to the curve.
And this was before the unveiling of the second generation of the iPad.
In an unusual move that is more becoming recent in Apple keynotes, Jobs took a number of swipes at companies for trying to compete with Apple: at Amazon for hinting that Apple has more accounts in iTunes than the online book retailer; at Google for its’ minuscule app store; at Microsoft for “crashing and burning” at the Tablet PC market, even selling more iPads than all Tablet PCs ever sold.
Jobs even went after Samsung by using a quote that the company’s Vice President of mobile marketing, Young-hee Lee, said about Galaxy Tab selling against the iPad.
“As you heard, our sell-in [of the Galaxy Tab] was quite aggressive…around two million. In terms of sell-out, we believe it was quite small,” Lee said.
Only problem is that the quote was taken out of context and the company has disputed the quote by a “language issue”.
Besides the pettiness that Jobs has about the tablet competition, Apple really could have done nothing this year and still dominate the tablet market, but since other tablets are getting better than the iPad, Apple refreshed the iPad with a dual-core processor, front-and-back cameras and a thinner design.
With the iPad 2, Apple becomes the best tablet in the market and competing tablets are forced back to the drawing board.
The closest tablet to compete with the first and second generation iPad is the Motorola XOOM tablet as it has something that Apple will takes years to add to the iPad: Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network (with a painful mail-in-your-tablet-to-Motorola-so-we-can-manually-upgrade-the-tablet-to-4G). The XOOM is currently the only tablet using Google Android 3.0 operating system and has a better display than the iPad (1280 by 800 display to 1024 by 768).
Even with a $3 million Super Bowl ad, Motorola’s XOOM tablet was released to little fanfare; mainly because of the steep price ($799) and signing a we-own-your-soul two-year contract to Verizon Wireless.
HP and RIM have tablets in production and will be released this year but lack huge points: no price, no release date and the most important feature: how long is the battery life.
While HP, Motorola and RIM have tablets in product, Microsoft does not and is so deep in last place that it’s unbelievably mind-blowing that the company does not have a tablet roadmap. The latest piece that showcase how far back Microsoft is in the tablet race, Microsoft plans to “demo” a Windows tablet in June.
Not mass-produce, not market the device.
Microsoft will “demonstrate” a pro-type device that may or may not be sold on the market by the end of 2011! This is the same Microsoft that started the tablet and smartphone revolution in the 1990s.
Keep this in mind: when Microsoft demonstrates a first-gen windows tablet, Apple will have already sell more than 1 million second-gen iPads and maybe working on a third generation.
How Steve Ballmer is still the CEO of Microsoft belongs in the same category as why Charlie Sheen appeared on every TV network and why James Franco was allowed to host the Oscars.
It maybe safe to assume that Microsoft has lost the tablet market.
Even with the competition, Apple is years ahead of Motorola, RIM and HP. The current iPad is still on top and the latest refresh brings the iPad to the same level as XOOM and the HP TouchPad. And with the app store and its’ marketing power, the iPad will still be the king of the tablets.