The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Double the fun for new iPad2

Casey O'Brien, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, uses his iPad. Photo by Emily Waller / [email protected]

When Apple Inc.’s much-anticipated iPad 2 is released Friday, it will give consumers twice the processing power of its predecessor.

Twice the hype may not be possible.

The initial iPad, released last April, was initially scoffed at by many consumers and tech experts who viewed the tablet as just an enlarged version of Apple’s successful iPod Touch.

Apple, however, sold nearly 15 million iPads in 2010 alone, creating a billion-dollar industry out of thin air.

The iPad 2, unveiled Wednesday by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, features a thinner, lighter design; a dual-core processor and both front- and rear-facing cameras.

It also maintains the same pricing as the original iPad, with the Wi-Fi-only model starting at $499 and the Wi-Fi-and-3G model starting at $629.

The iPad naysayers were quickly drowned out as people learned how to use the new device, said Erik Ugland, an associate professor of broadcast and electronic communication.

Ugland said many users struggled with the fact that the iPad did not replace any of their other devices.

“When I first got my iPad it mostly sat on a shelf,” Ugland said in an e-mail.

But he said he came to realize the iPad was very useful and worth the investment. The high rate at which developers have rolled out new apps has made the tablet the most exciting platform for both developers and consumers, Ugland said.

Apple has plenty of competitors in the tablet industry. Motorola’s Xoom tablet, which runs Google’s popular Android operating system, was released Feb. 24. On April 10, Research In Motion is slated to release its BlackBerry PlayBook. Both the Xoom and the PlayBook feature a dual-core processor and two cameras.

But whether or not the tablet will become that dominant platform is still up in the air, said Dennis Garrett, an associate professor of marketing. Garrett said the next great tech platform must be flexible, powerful and portable.

He said the tablet may fall short because of its lack of portability, and the smart phone may also fail to meet all three standards due to its limited processing power.

Garrett also pointed out that the iPad might not even remain the dominant tablet in the industry.

“Everybody thinks Apple is invincible – and Apple is having a great run right now,” Garrett said. “But if Apple doesn’t have the leadership structure lined up when Steve Jobs leaves, they’re going to be in trouble.”

Jobs, 56, is currently on medical leave from Apple. He took time off from the company previously in 2004 to have a cancerous tumor removed from his pancreas, and in 2009 for a liver transplant.

The tablet’s ability to replace the laptop as the principal computing platform could depend on whether it is able to bridge the gap between social and professional use, said Monica Adya, an associate professor of management.

But Ugland said regardless of where it goes in the future, companies from a broad spectrum of industries need to pay attention to the tablet now.

“It is clear that the tablets are no longer a rarified space reserved for tech geeks,” he said. “The iPad is mainstream, it is incredibly popular, and it’s just not sensible for companies to ignore that reality anymore.”

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