Did the earth move for you?

Love them or hate them Apple are certainly good at stirring up the entire tech world. Although this time around the world didn’t change quite as much. But what Apple did introduce will still shake things up for many many months to come.

Whenever Apple are due to announce a new product I worry. That worry is not in a crazy fanboi kind of way either. It’s more of a “AAAARRRRGGGGHHH my high end devices are going to look a bit rubbish soon” kind of way. This time was no exception and this time round it was my Asus Transformer Prime that caught the brunt of my jealousy. Compared to the Asus Transformer Prime the iPad isn’t going to be miles ahead spec wise, but I was still envious of several things. First of all, the screen on the iPad will be amazing, the resolution will lend itself to some truly amazing apps and games. Secondly the worldwide mainstream developer support will just continue to churn out great apps with only an afterthought as to whether or not they should port their app to another OS. Lastly the thing that made more envious than anything was the prices of the new iPads.

The base level iPad will be 16gb wifi only and cost £399 yet for that money in the Android world you would have to look at a discounted older device. The move to carry on selling the iPad 2 from £329 as well just totally screws most current high end Android tablets. Especially as the iPad 2 was benchmarked higher than the Tegra 3 toting Transformer Prime last year. Never mind the new A5X chips. Quite what Nvidia are arguing about the last few days I’m not sure. This isn’t the place to argue which chipset is best, because I’m firmly on the Android side of the fence. But what the prices represent is a gauntlet. A gauntlet laid down by Apple to ALL of the different Android manufacturers. It’s their move.

The main one to watch in the next few months will be Asus. At MWC the other week Asus announced the PadFone. The new and improved PadFone that had a big screen and a keyboard dock which you could attach to the initial handset. They didn’t at the time mention any prices. They still haven’t mentioned any prices. I guessed it was going to be around about the £600 mark as it had more to offer than the £499 Transformer Prime. I’m guessing that after the announcement on Thursday Asus are now struggling to price this. The spec of the PadFone is good but it isn’t iPad good. The only thing going for it comparatively is the extra docks. So if they release it at too high a rate it could be a disaster for them. Even if they release it the same sort of price as the iPad they will still have problems. All other tablet manufacturers now have a price to work to. £329 or make sure your device is better than the iPad2

Apple at least know that they will make some money back in aftersales of apps, accessories and extra services. Which Android manufacturer can say that? Is this where companies like Amazon or Google come in with their own brand subsidised tablets? Like the US Amazon Kindle Fire. Amazon know that people who buy their device will buy books, music, films, apps and maybe even real life things.

Google are also rumoured to be releasing  a Nexus tablet made by Asus. This could also offer some competition. I think Android tablet manufacturers REALLY need to think about what they are doing and what they plan to release. As a lot of people are going to be headed in Apple’s direction.

So if your a potential tablet purchaser let us know what your going to go for in the next few months. Or maybe your going to be in a queue somewhere on the 16th.

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  • The new iPad is a great bit of kit, no argument here, there are two issues for me though:1) Great though it is, it’s not £70 greater than the iPad 2, so if you’re looking at it from a value for money point of view, the new iPad is not good value;
    2) iOS just doesn’t do what I need it to.  I know this is a subjective topic, but it’s an opinion that is shared by a lot of people.
    I had the same fears as the OP about Apple rendering my technology obsolete.  I own a Transformer TF101, and now it has ICS on it I really can’t fault it. I certainly don’t feel the need to rush out and get a Transformer Prime or Infinity, let alone an iPad.
    Price pointing is going to be very difficult for Android manufacturers now, but as a consumer, that can only be a good thing!

  • Martin

    I am in a right quandry. I will be buying a tablet this weekend.
    I bought the missus a Ipad2 for crimble and got a £50 voucher to spend because of it, it is only valid for 2 weeks and that ends next wednesday.
    I am not a fan of Apple purely because I have an intense hatred of itunes. I hate the fact you have to pre-convert all video files into MP4 before itunes will synch.
    I hate that you can’t just drag and drop straight to the device.
    I hate the lack of memory slot.
    Because of those reasons I wanted to get a Prime, nowhere round here (south east kent) has any to look at, I called around and the nearest shop is in Bluewater, which is an hours drive for me (going tomorrow). I can’t order online as the voucher is in stor only :(
    The problem is, the 32gig iPad 2 is now down to £399, the Prime is £499, OK you get the keyboard, but I won’t use it that much.
    Can I justify spending the extra £100 on the prime?
    I like that the prime is widescreen, I don’t like that when you make a movie fullscreen on the ipad you lose so much from the sides.
    I don’t like the ipad for when you keep it widescreen the letterboxing is annoying.
    But…. Are they £100 annoying?
    I could buy a £50 itunes voucher and still be £50 in pocket, but I’ll be tied to Apple :(
    At least with Android, you can move manufacturers and keep your apps. You spend ££££££s on Apple apps and you are stuck with Apple. :(
    As for the ‘New iPad’, well it’s like the 4 vs 4S, a bit underwhelmed, it looks like the CPU is the same (maybe a speed hike?), they have upgraded the GPU to a quad core, that is purely to accomodate the huge resolution of the screen.
    Apart from that, it’s bigger and heavier to cope with the GPU and screen updates the battery now has a nearly 60% hike in capacity, yet runs for the same amount of time.
    The Prime is slimmer and lighter and runs the same time.

  • Anonymous

    “the resolution will lend itself to some truly amazing apps and games”
    First of all: NO

    Have you ever even used an amazing app either on iOS or Android that made use of 720p?
    There are a few games on Android that are marked as THD (Tegra HD) and there is Splashtop HD and that is it. Nobody is doing 720p only games and I bet most devs will not rewrite their software to acommodate fullhd. Allthough the Sony PS3 is capable of fullhd most games are still 720p (and lower, but upscalled in software to 720p) and that is a dedicated current generation gaming console.

    Android still has a huge advantage over apple’s airplay. HDMI port. If you ever had to setup fullhd wireless video you know that: Ipad HD 17 cannot stream uncompressed fullhd streams with 6 channel audio without cables EVER. Unless of course, the stream is heavily compressed and of bad quality (likely matching the horrible output of the Motorola Xoom. (Can you guess? Not a fan of m3u8 streams at all)

    The pricedrop is dangerous and may force others to lower assembly standarts which will translate to more fragile user products (one can say bad things about the Xoom but it’s build like a tank and can take some hefty abuse).

    Currently the Transformer remains far from being detroned and along with the Iconia Tab can be considered one of the stronghorses of Android tablets stable.