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Apple released the iPad 2 last March to the delight of millions of tablet users who wanted an even better Apple product. Well, Apple takes another stride to perfect the formula with the iPad 3 which, rumor has it, will be released this fall1. This update to the iPad line might include that HD screen consumers have been begging for since the release of the original iPad, and a larger hard drive, too. A list of rumored specs can be found here.
The question: Is this a move to give consumers an even better device, one that will prolong even further its seat on the tablet throne, or is Apple trying to outsmart its strongest competitor yet? It might prove to be the latter as a worthy opponent finally enters the tablet arena.
MG Siegler of TechCrunch reports, “HP held a big event in San Francisco to unveil their latest products. One of these devices is a tablet, called TouchPad. The device looks like an iPad, but it has better specs. As such, some are already wondering if it’s a possible ‘iPad-killer.’ Of course, the main problem is that the planned availability of the TouchPad isn’t until this summer.”
What exactly does this “iPad-killer” bring to the table?
Troy Wolverton of Merced Sun–“The TouchPad runs on webOS, the innovative operating system software developed by Palm, which HP acquired last year. WebOS includes a feature dubbed Synergy that automatically combines things like address book contacts and calendars that may be stored on multiple accounts. Synergy is woven deeply into webOS. The preinstalled messaging application, for example, allows you to log in to multiple chat applications at once, including Google Talk, Skype and Yahoo Messenger. And the photo gallery pulls in pictures from Facebook and Photobucket. It also has a feature called Exhibition that’s intended to be used when you’re not actively playing with the TouchPad. Instead of showing an app or the home screen, Exhibition will display a clock, recent Facebook posts from your friends, your upcoming appointments or your pictures like a digital picture frame. You can turn Exhibition on manually or it will launch automatically when you set the TouchPad into an optional charging dock2.”
HP is also recruiting celebrities to promote the tablet through the TouchPad’s quirky and funny ad campaigns. I don’t see Russel Brand or Manny Pacquiao working for Apple:
How might these devices affect the ePublishing world? The big difference between the iPad and the HP TouchPad is in the app market.
Wolverton–“You’ll find just 300 tablet-customized applications in Palm’s App Catalog. With Android tablets, you at least have the comfort of choosing from tens of thousands of applications, even if they haven’t yet been customized for tablet devices. But webOS users don’t have that luxury. There are only about 8,000 total apps for webOS, and HP says about 700 of those won’t work on the TouchPad. While you can find some of the most popular apps for webOS, such as ‘Angry Birds’ and Facebook, there are many holes.”
With the emergence of book apps in the ePublishing market, it is important for devices to have the very best apps available for consumers. Book apps such as Comixology are missing from the TouchPad app store. Without acquiring a larger catalog of apps, the TouchPad will fall short like many other tablets before it.