Cheaper iPad 2 a Death Blow to Apple Tablet Rivals

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It's easy to see why the new iPad will be a big hit. It has four times the resolution of its predecessor, four times the graphics power and 4G LTE. (For those scoring at home, that's a lot of fours.) But there's another four that should scare Apple's competition even more: $400. That's the newly reduced price of the iPad 2, a tablet that's still significantly more expensive than the Kindle Fire but in the sweet spot of dozens of tablets about to get obliterated.

Here's a quick sampling of the slates the iPad 2 outright embarrasses as of today:

Acer Iconia Tab A200: $349
Yes, it's nice that the Iconia Tab runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich, and we like how the ring interface makes the OS more approachable. But the A200 is heavier and thicker than the iPad 2, lacks a back camera, and suffers from narrow viewing angles. For $50 more, the iPad 2 is a no-brainer.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: $399
It seems like a fair fight on the surface. The Tab 10.1 has a sleek design and good audio quality for the money. But it's running the older Android Honeycomb OS. More importantly, while the app selection in the Android Market (now renamed Google Play) has improved, it's still way behind the App Store.

Toshiba Excite 10 LE: $529
This one is a real head-scratcher. While the Excite 10 LE is thinner than the iPad 2 and sports a durable display, that's not enough to justify a price that's $30 more than the new iPad, never mind a $130 delta between the Excite and discounted iPad 2.

Given that Samsung has already admitted that it's "not doing very well in the tablet market," the cheaper iPad 2 could very well push some or all of these slates into an early grave.

According to a report just issued by IHS iSuppli, Apple is projected to capture 61 percent of the media tablet market in 2012, up from 57 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011. And the firm expects Apple to maintain majority share into 2014. But it's not just the new iPad and its eye-popping Retina display that will keep the company in its leadership position. It's the unbeatable one-two punch of a value-priced slate and a premium product that will make shoppers think twice about most (if not all) alternatives.

Unlike Barnes & Noble or Amazon, Apple hasn't left any features on the cutting room floor to reach a wallet-friendly price. The Nook Tablet had to shed 512MB of RAM to get down to $199, while the Kindle Fire ditched cameras. Consumers have been willing to live with these concessions, but Apple doesn't do watered down. For now Tim Cook & Co. seem willing to cede the sub-$200 market.

Everyone else--including those companies releasing Windows 8 tablets--needs to think real hard about what consumers will pay to look away from the iPad.

Editor-in-chief Mark Spoonauer directs LAPTOP's online and print editorial content and has been covering mobile and wireless technology for over a decade. Each week Mark's SpoonFed column provides his insights and analysis of the biggest mobile trends and news. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Author Bio
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief on
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  • Philip Paine Says:

    I bought my wife an iPad2 for her birthday and she positively loves it. If I commuted to work by train I would probably buy one so I could work/browse/read. I own an iphone and its a great bit of kit, but that is as far as my allegences go. I have had Microsoft based computers from the 80's and have never owned a Mac. But when you visit an Apple store you can't help but be impressed by the design, quality and usability of the products. But they are expensive. My wife would like an a slim, light Macbook, but when I look at the prices and specs, I find it hard to part with the cash.

    The other factor that often gets forgotten is the Apple Store itself. What a absolutely first class consumer experience. It knocks spots off the other bigh computer stores. They understand about customer service. Nothing seems too much trouble. You enter the store a sceptic and come out a convert.

    I think my barrier is that I am comfortable with the MS operating system and after almost 30yrs don't feel like making the change. Howeever, if they continue to produce such first class porducts and if they were to make them that bit more competitive in terms of price, I suspect I would make the leap!

  • Bill Says:

    The Ipad is nice but it is tethered to one computer. Try adding files from a flash rom or other computer or move between ipad apps. Can not do it. (cloud services or email do not always work) Android allows open file transfers and can be conformed to the user. Apple stuff is smooth working as long as you work the Apple way. Not always a option. As far as cameras, nice but not always a positive factor. I can't have one on a work machine.

    Choose wisely They are USEFUL toys.

  • George Chase Says:

    Holy Applesauce Batman - It appears some people just can't appreciate what most Apple users have known since 1984. I'll bet you're still crying over DOS being gone. Apple has left its mark on the world, thank you.

  • Mike Says:

    Solom your an idiot. They don't enslave anyone. It's called capitalism and brilliant tribal marketing. Most people love apple products. I could go on and on, but I assume you just call me an apple fanboy this showing your lack of intelligence.

  • Solom01 Says:

    How about the fact that some people just don't like Apple products, companies that enslave people to enrich a few parasites like Tim Cook (and Jobs before him), and can't stand iTUnes? Quite frankly, you should be thrilled that there are people like that because if everything sold was an Apple they wouldn't need independent computer magazines or your "skills", everyone could just go buy an Apple.

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