Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Technology, News & Opinion: The New iPad & iPad with Retina Display, aka, iPad 3 & iPad 4

Only White & Silver is left, Black & Slate are unavailable
Image from Apple Store
English Players from other countries may not know, but Hong Kong is a real indicator of how well the iProducts will sell in China, one of the biggest potential markets in the world.

From the days of the iPhone 3G to iPhone 3GS, human traffic flooded the streets in all retail shops any time of the day. Fans, traders, subcontracted professional queuers would line up outside the one and only Apple Store in Central for days to get their hands on the latest gadget. As a result, Apple did very well in those days, turning the company into one of the priciest corporations in the world.

The chaos caused by the iPhones did not hinder much when iPhone 4S switched the game to tight window online reservation mode. Professional hackers somehow got hold of the bandwidth and used automated programs to register for the phones, barring the Apple Store website from innocent "4 Steve" wish-makers as well as programming-challenged beings from owning the last of Steve Jobs' creation.

Currently Apple changed the game once more and made getting an iPhone 5 a daily lottery, minimising the frustrations of many and making not-getting-iPhone-5 not a blame for the lack of effort, but a blame for the lack of luck. If you don't succeed today, try again tomorrow.

This does not always work for the iPads. As I recall, the iPad 2 and the new iPad (iPad 3rd-gen) barely made the headlines for about a week, and then it was a serious of news on traders' financial loss. The main reason for their failure was commonly believed to be the lack of difference in the exterior design for the new version as compared to the predecessor.

For the mainland Chinese, as the top-tier traders describe, an obvious difference in the design allows them to distinguish themselves from those who own an older version. Since Apple is a symbol of status, power and prestige, getting it new and getting it first makes a huge difference for them.

With that said, we should understand why the iPad 2 did alright when compared to iPad 1, but not for the new iPad, which constituted for the a recent drop in Apple's stock price. Jonny Evans has got it right when he captioned the iPad 2 ad,

"That's the iPad 2 video. Insert 'iPad 3' where they say 'iPad 2' and add a few superlatives and that's probably what's coming..."

What about the iPad mini and the iPad with Retina display (iPad 4th-gen)? Following the same logic, as long as the appearance is difference, popularity is expected. Putting the specification of the iPads aside, I expect the iPad mini will do much better than the iPad with Retina display, which explains why the iPad mini Black is already out of stock while White is still available (The difference of the black version is more obvious on the back of the iPad mini), whereas the iPad with Retina display...

Is this the iPad 3 or iPad 4? There are still a lot for people to order
Image from Apple Store

... possibly due to the puzzling and unspectacular naming system which had confused me until I checked with Wikipedia, are not having any out-of-stock issues, supplies seem to be abundant even after its launch 4 days ago. People just don't seem to know iPad with Retina display is iPad 4! Even if you do know they are different, iPad 3 and iPad 4 have almost zero physical difference.

Finally, the fact that Apple announced and started selling the iPad 4 only just half a year before the new iPad went on sale makes me question its motives. Once I thought Olympus enjoys the fame of releasing new Micro Four Thirds cameras faster than ladies buying new shoes, now that Apple completely phased out iPad 3 makes me think that there might be some dangerous issue with it, either hacks or cracks.

Let's see if I am right or wrong in the end.

subcontract -- (vb) [T] to pay someone else to do part of a job that you have agreed to do
professional queuer -- (n)[C] people whose major job duty is to queue up to earn profit
hinder -- (vb) [T] to limit the ability of someone to do something, or to limit the development of something
bar -- (vb) [T] to prevent something or someone from doing something or going somewhere, or to forbid (= refuse to allow) something
constitute -- (vb) [L only + noun not continuous] formal to be or be considered as something
phase sth out --

phrasal verb 

to remove or stop using something gradually or in stages

hacks or cracks -- loopholes in software allowing access to internal system, or hidden defects in the hardware.


Hong Kong Apple Store avoids scalper antics with lottery system for new iPad @ Apple Insider

Apple fights scalpers with iPhone 4S lottery system in Hong Kong - Tech Talk @ CBS News

Apple iPad sales disappoint, Street eyes holiday quarter @ Reuters

Living: A Day That I Sold An iPhone 4 @ Locky's English Playground

Apple iPad 2012: Faster, brighter, cheaper @ ComputerWorld

iPad 3 vs iPad 4: the key differences iPad 3 vs iPad 4: the key differences @ techradar.

Apple iPad Mini and iPad 4 Price – Will Hit Shelves on November 2 @ PC Tablet

iPad with Retina display - Buy iPad with Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + Cellular @ Apple Store (HongKong)