Everyone (including us) is buzzing about the “new iPad” that Apple has just unveiled, but Android tablet vendors would be worrying about last year’s iPad 2 than the new one that is set to hit some countries next week. Apple has successfully been able to manage a two-year shelf life for the iPad (three years for the iPhone), something that Android vendors have been unable to do with usual shelf life of their products not exceeding nine months, barring exceptions like the Samsung Galaxy S II. Google’s frequent software updates don’t help either and this will start hurting Android vendors dearly, especially in the high-end high-margin product portfolio. Today Apple virtually killed Android tablets as they currently exist. Read on to find out how. Also Read - iPadOS 15 release date: Check if your Apple iPad will get iPadOS 15 and whenAlso Read - iPadOS 15 announced at WWDC 2021: Check supported devices, new features for iPad
The current lot of Android tablets from reputed vendors were made to compete with the iPad 2. Most of them, especially the Samsung Galaxy Tabs, were priced almost at par with the iPad 2 too. Guess what, along with the introduction of the new iPad, Apple has also slashed $100 off the iPad 2, something it had done with the original iPad when the iPad 2 was launched last year. In the coming days, the iPad 2 will be available for about Rs 24,000 in India for the 16GB Wi-Fi edition. (Apple has slashed the prices of the iPad 2 in India and it will be available for Rs 24,500.) In order to compete, Samsung will have to cut the price of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 too by a similar (or even larger) margin. Just like it did with the 7-inch Galaxy Tab. Also Read - Apple to host Spatial Audio event right after WWDC 2021: Check details here
Vendors are usually willing to take a hit in their margins, especially if they have a newer generation product in the market. And that’s where the problem lies. Samsung does not have any new tablets in the market right now though it did announce a couple at MWC but when they will hit markets? Your guess is as good as mine. For the record, Samsung had announced the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in India in August and was eventually released in September.
Though I like what I have read about the new iPad so far, it does not really make the iPad 2 feel obsolete. It is an evolutionary change and that could be Apple’s strategy to ensure its products remain shelf worthy for at least two years. I would have still preferred buying an iPad 2 over those quad-core processor toting Android tablets even at its current price given the entire ecosystem of apps and games that are available for it. And Apple has just sweetened the deal by knocking Rs 5,000. In my books, an iPad 2 for Rs 24,500 would be a far better deal than buying the latest Android tablet with quad-core processors and 8.0 MP cameras priced upwards of Rs 35,000.
I’m not sure for how long vendors will keep cranking out Android tablets, especially when they are not moving huge numbers in the market and the margins erode within six months of their introduction. Unlike smartphones, tablets running on Android don’t really have a purpose at the moment and exist just because Apple has the iPad. Conditions are likely to become worse once tablets running Windows 8 (Windows on ARM) hit later this year and are likely to become true PC replacements for most average users. What will Android tablets have to offer then?