Examining Apple’s iPad Announcement Marketing: What’s Believable and What’s Fluff.
With the iPad announcement, Apple made some interesting marketing changes and some important announcements that will help to shape the tablet in the eyes of consumers and how Apple will be pushing its product.
Apple’s ‘the new iPad’ dropped numbers from its name. The third-generation iPad did away with the numerical suffixes attached to the name of the tablet and ushers Apple back to the iPod days where iPods were simple named iPod and the generation numbers were implicit, rather than part of the proper branding. What this does is to help keep the name simple and opens up space for Apple to add in different sizes and create sub-brands without much consumer confusion.
As rumors are swirling that Apple may add a second iPad model in the future with a smaller screen, Apple can very call it iPad 7, for instance, if it had a seven-inch display, versus an iPad 7 2 for a second-generation display, much like what Samsung has going on. Add in too many numbers and you have a chaotic branding mess. More than likely, like with the iPod line, perhaps Apple wants to do away entirely with numbers and call it an iPad Mini and an iPad, versus iPad 3 and iPad Mini 1. This creates a more unified product line and consumers who buy the iPad Mini 1 won’t be confused as to why they have a smaller model number than the iPad 3.
Also, Apple may be looking ahead. With more generations of iPad added, it will start looking silly to call it iPad 12 or iPad 13 when that day comes. Take a look at Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2 10.1.
Unlike the rest of Apple’s marketing, this area is a little more sketchy and deserves a second look. At Mobile World Congress just last week, the world is beginning to usher in the world of quad-core graphics thanks to NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 and even Huawei’s entry into the applications processor market. At the iPad launch event, on the other hand, Apple introduced an A5x CPU, which we presume is the same or similar dual-core architecture that was seen on the iPad 2, but with an enhanced quad-core graphics engine.
Apple’s presentation was especially light on details with the A5x chipset, only noting that its quad-core graphics performance out-classed NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 processor. Unlike what NVIDIA had done, by detailing that its processor is a 4+1 architecture and its graphics utilized a 12-core GeForce engine, Apple only focused on graphics, saying that its graphics performance is 4 times better than Tegra 3.
Curiously, Apple did not provide the benchmark tools or numbers used for comparison, which has NVIDIA commenting on the matter with ZDNET:
“We have to understand what the application was that was used. Was it one or a variety of applications? What drivers were used? There are so many issues to get into with benchmark.”
Apple’s utilization of quad-core here is with graphics and not the CPU, which may be confusing to the average consumer. That said, the company always said in the past that it did not compete in the specs department and that it’s the whole package and how hardware and software that work well together is ultimately what counts.
Pushing Into Creative Environments:
If the first two iPad models pushed Apple into the enterprise and business space with the wealth and depth of third-party applications available, Apple is really pushing into the creative professional’s space with ‘the new iPad.’ This third-generation model is heavily promoted with enhanced graphics performance and Apple’s introduction of iPhoto for iOS really helps to highlight what a mobile photographer can do. With AutoDesk presenting Sketchbook on stage, Apple is also taking a silent stab at Samsung and HTC with those company’s resurrection of the stylus, showing what is possible without requiring a pen on the capacitive Retina Display touchscreen.
Photo editing, drawing, and a wealth of app will help creative professionals and photographers lean on the iPad as their mobile companion and perhaps be less reliant on a notebook or laptop in the process. Apple is not afraid, it seems, to cannibalize the Mac and its push with the iPad is beginning to show that the tablet is ready to take on bigger competitors. iPhoto and new creative apps on the iPad will hopefully do for Apple’s tablet in the creative space what iWork and other business apps did for the enterprise space.
The creative push is there, but will users begin to ditch their notebooks in mass? The iPad is not only competing in the tablet space, but at the high-end of the spectrum, it will also compete against more powerful ultrabooks that can potentially do more.
Another term you’ll be hearing a lot from Apple in its push with the all new iPad is the Retina Display. Like the iPhone 4 before it, the Retina Display will be a compelling feature to have, along with fast 4G LTE network capabilities. However, the use of 4G LTE with a Retina Display together may be impressive, users may find themselves counting megabytes even more closely. Want to stream that HD Netflix video? Well, you might want to find a WiFi hotspot as 4G LTE streaming is based on a tiered data plan. So while Retina quality is amazing, users may not be able to reap the full rewards and potential of the all the new iPad.