Apple and the iPad 3 Hullabaloo

With speculation over the what, when, and how of the next iPad launch reaching frenzied proportions, in this article, Dr. Ramesh Grandhi takes a close look at the hype, his wishlist, and what the future looks like for this innovative giant post Steve Jobs. Dr. Ramesh Grandhi is a "sane" Apple fan who is also well known to reader's of this blog and The Curious Hat for his incisive takes on society, entertainment and technology. Over to Dr. Ramesh and the (impending) iPad-3.

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Media, be it print or electronic, is inundated with articles about the much anticipated iPad 3, which if rumors hold true will be released tomorrow. It needs to be noted however that Apple does have a track record of upsetting the ‘applecart’ as it were. I personally believe that this time round we will indeed see the launch of the third iteration of the highly successful iPad series. In this article I will try and see if the hoopla and hysteria surrounding the iPad 3 and indeed all Apple products is justified, and also explore the wish list of features that may or may not turn out to be a reality in the iPad 3 or iPad-HD as some are referring it to. I might also take a slight detour into Apple Inc.’s market capitalization and whether it will be sustainable.

I recently read an article where an Android aficionado was declaiming Apple’s products as shiny gizmos that are outrageously overpriced. I guess to a certain extent all sane techies (emphasis on ‘sane’, as I am sure all Apple fanatics are totally bonkers—and they will be the first to admit to their lack of sanity!!) will admit that Apple products compared to Android devices of similar configuration are overpriced and in some cases the price difference will be as much as 50% or even more. The costliest Samsung Android smart phone will set you back by 30K, but a similarly featured Apple device might cost 45K to 50K, and that, folks, is significant moolah.


The form factor, Apple products are beautiful and pleasing to the eye. I am not saying android devices are eyesores, but looks wise there is no real comparison—the simple minimalist design, the ease of use and the path breaking retina display of the iPhone are not matched by any Android device. Comparisons they say are odious, and yeah it would be like comparing the one movie wonders we have these days to the Madhubalas and HemaMalinis—no comparison right? It needs to be understood that I am not decrying Android devices, specially the Samsung made ones—they are real value for money, but they do lag behind in the looks department.

Getting back to the iPad 3, what are some of the features that Apple fans, both like me and unlike me, are looking forward to?


  • Speed. A much faster processor, and I guess this is pretty much a given. News that Apple will bring the A6 Quad-core ARM processor has been making the rounds. Ironically, news is that Samsung, Apple’s arch rival in the smart phone and tablet wars, will be the likely supplier of these processors. iPad 3 users will be well satisfied with this processor as it is amongst the fastest going around.
  • Display. Retina display, a term coined by the Cupertino giant has become the standard to be matched and improved upon. To date, only the iPhone has this display, but it is rumored that the iPad 3 will soon have this 2048 x 1536, 9.7 inch display, which would make viewing it an even bigger pleasure. I have had occasion to view the displays of both the iPad and the iPad 2, and they are simply visual delights, and if the iPad 3 is an improvement on them, then I guess all the more reason to buy it. Just an aside, the iPad 2’s display resolution is 1024 x 768, so what we are wishing for is a quantum jump here. Competition on this front is hotting up with Samsung rumored to be getting ready to demo a 2560 x 1600 display in a month or two, this might have significant implications for Apple as Retina display is one of its strongest selling points, its calling card as it were.
  • Camera. Front facing camera. I am a great fan of video calls on carriers like Skype, Tango and ooVoo, etc. As such, I have always felt that Apple has shortchanged its admirers by just providing a VGA front facing camera in the iPad 2. I know it has a 5 MP rear camera, I might be in a minority here, but I am not sure how many iPad enthusiasts use the rear camera. I would hope that this time around we get an at least 3 MP front facing camera.
  • Marketplace. One major complaint against Apple devices is their ‘closed’ nature. This has seemingly worked for Apple, but down the road this might prove to be counterproductive as is perhaps being seen by the market share being grabbed by Android devices. Apple’s lead is being cut both in market share as well as in technology—the specs are about the same, in some cases the Android devices might have better specs. This begs the question, how long can the Cupertino maverick sustain its ‘closed’ architecture. Having to go through the ITunes route to activate your devices is cumbersome and should be unnecessary. So, my wish would be for Apple to completely do away with this and perhaps ‘unseal’ its devices too, changing your SIM card (iPad 3GS) is an exasperating experience, having to use pins to bring it out is really frustrating.
  • Price. There is no gainsaying the fact that Apple products are exorbitantly expensive - cell phones costing 50K plus, tablets in the 40K range. Apple has been able to laugh all its way to the bank riding on these products as it was the innovator. The iPod, iPhone, and iPad have revolutionized the digital workspace to such a massive extent that Apple is the most valuable company in the world now. The bad news for the Apple nerds is that the rumors suggest that the entry level iPad 3 might cost $ 579, which is much more than the $ 499 the iPad 2 set you back by. I wouldn’t be too disappointed if this rumor turns out to be false! With the dollar trading around 50, this is serious money people. Carriers in the US and UK subsidize the cell phones and tablets with their data plans, unfortunately we in India don’t have this luxury.
  • Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface. Siri, the interactive intelligent personal assistant, was the USP for the iPhone 4S. It would be a wish come true if the iPad 3 has Siri.
  • Sundries. A bigger battery, iOS 5.1, 128 GB storage, and a Thunderbolt port would kind of round off the wish list and there is quite the chance that these wishes will fructify.

The Bottomline
Having said all this, would I stand in a queue for 2-3 days before an Apple outlet—NO, I wouldn’t. Would I blame a teenager for doing so—NO, I wouldn’t. I agree there is a lot of hysteria and hoopla surrounding Apple product launches, but I feel these incomparable masterpieces of minimalist design deserve them. The iPad 3 I am certain will be another feather in Apple’s cap, and all power to them.

Coming to the detour regarding Apple’s market cap and whether it will be sustainable or will we have to hear “how the mighty are fallen” or ‘the bigger they are the harder they fall’—there have been only a handful of companies that have achieved a market cap of $ 500 billions. To my arithmetically challenged friends, in rupee terms, this is 2,50,000 crores. Microsoft, Intel, GE, Exxon, and Cisco have touched this cap, but barring Exxon which still has a cap of $ 400 billion, the others are nowhere in the picture with Microsoft lagging far behind at 265 billions. The others are nowhere in the picture.

Will Apple suffer the same fate? It has a cash pile of almost 100 billions, perhaps more than what the US government has readily on hand, but will it be able to sustain such a colossal market cap? The jury is out on this. The scorching growth trajectory it has set over the last 4-5 years will be an incredibly difficult act to follow. Boom and bust is nothing new to Apple, but as a true admirer of this standalone company, I hope the landing this time round will be softer.

12 comments:

  1. I dont have it and never used it so cant say anything

    Bikram's

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  2. ipads are very good, but well, mmicrosoft has got something spot on this time, and it is big time spot on. with the right marketing, people like me who thought of Ipad as the tablet to beat in the next 10 years, will be astonished by windows 8 metro.

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  3. Apple has created a niche market for itself all around the world which includes fanatics at their products as well, unless they move out from their followed line of rich user experience and keep inventing better experiences, they won't come down soon like others.

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  4. i have used Ipod touch, it will give a good feel to have something that others dont possess but problem is HOW MUCH PRICE we should we pay to experience it ?
    Nice read Subh !

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  5. Anonymous11:24 PM

    The wait is over, and whether Apple has managed to deliver is for the jury to decide. There is a sense of anticlimax and a lingering disappointment, but I guess some of my expectations might have been unrealistic. Apple has indeed brought in the retina display and a faster processor, not A6 but A5x or something. However, no SIRI, no improved battery life, weight and dimensions have gone up, no thunderbolt, architecture remains same, so in a nutshell not much has changed. The one consolation is they have maintained the price at $499 for the base model, which means you will get a better specs iPad for the same price. The rear camera is a good one now at 5MP, but the front one thought they have named it facetime camera, I don't think they have changed it at all--it is still a VGA camera. All in all, a great job but as it is Apple-could have been better.

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  6. Loved the sheer depth and detail of your analysis. A very well written and informative article. I have been a fan of Apple and its products and also have extensively followed the company and have analyzed it twice during my MBA. Its market cap and growth story always present a fascinating challenge for the analyst. And I agree with your view that it will be a tough ask but they will continue to be a force to reckon with.

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  7. Anonymous11:14 PM

    Hi Raj,

    Glad you liked the article. Jobs' untimely death has not yet paused the scorching growth of this tech behemoth. Apple is riding high on the success of primarily three products--iPod, iPhone and iPad. Their macs and apple tv aren't going great guns. Perhaps they should widen this product profile and open up. Their strategies have helped them reach the numero position, so they must be doing something right, and it is not up to armchair critics like me to offer them unsolicited advice! And yes, I join you in hoping that they continue to do well, their products have brought a lot of joy and happiness to innumerable households-only thing is they should make them more affordable.

    Dr. Ramesh

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  8. Anonymous11:20 PM

    Rohan, your comments are really apt. I have not personally tried the windows 8 metro, but I have read extensively about it and most of what I have read is really exciting. I do hope that the '8' will tackle iOS and Android icecream sandwich head on and gain an acceptable market share. As of now MSFT's market share in the smartphone and tablet arena is pitiable. Lumia from Nokia is supposed to be good, but their sales compared to Samsung and Apple are nothing to write home about. It is time MSFT pulled it socks up and paid real attention to these spheres, as growth in the computing devices market is happening only here. PC sales are stagnating, Bill if you want to remain the second richest man in the world--better get cracking.

    Dr. Ramesh

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  9. There is one very important feature that I would add in my wishlist for Ipad or any other tablet of that size and weight.

    Apple seriously needs to think about something to make holding the ipad in hand for a longer time easier.

    Especially if they claim it to be the best ebook reader available, then this needs to be fixed. Try holding an ipad and read something while lying on the bed for an hour and you'll know what I am talking about.

    It is very good product nevertheless, but apple being apple, should think about this.

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  10. very detail analysis indeed !

    but there was always this speculation that apple exists as long as jobs is there...once steve's gone...apple's doom is not too far !

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  11. Dr. Ramesh3:44 AM

    Asif, Rahul

    Asif, you have hit the nail on its head. Yes, these readers do help you store thousands of books in such a small, almost negligible, amount of space, but yes they are not all that comfortable to use. They have still some way to go before they can simulate the experience of actually holding a book and reading it.

    Rahul, let us hope for the sake of all the geeks and nerds of this world Apple survives beyond Jobs. He was a genius, no doubt about it, and hopefully his legacy will last at least our lifetimes!

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  12. Sheldon Coelho7:43 AM

    Excellent article. Very informative. My friend picked up the iPad 3 recently and he's very satisfied with the product. Plus he works for Apple (indirectly) He designs apps for them so he knows how to "twink it" and "work it" ;)

    ReplyDelete

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