Steve Jobs: iPad with iOS 4.2 is a target few other tablets will hit

When announcing the iOS 4.2 update yesterday Steve Jobs once again took the opportunity to lay into the tablet competition, saying:

“Once again, the iPad with iOS 4.2 will define the target that other tablets will aspire to, but very few, if any, will ever be able to hit.”

Unlike iPhone, which got iOS 4 back in June, iOS 4.2 is a generational improvement for iPad, which has been stuck on iOS 3.2 since it debuted back in April. Multitasking, folders, AirPrint, AirPlay, threaded email, unified inbox, and more (see our complete iOS 4.2 for iPad walkthrough for all the details).

While RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook, HP's webOS PalmPad, and no doubt a legion of future Android 2.3 and 3.0 tablets are waiting in the wings, only the Galaxy Tab has shipped to date (not counting Windows Tablet PC or Archos, which are different in kind).

I had a chance to try out the Bell version of the Galaxy Tab over the weekend and came away thinking it doesn't really compete with the iPad at all. That's not to say no one will buy a Galaxy Tab -- 600,000 have reportedly been sold in the last month --but at 7-inches and running a thinly skinned version of Android 2.2 Froyo, it felt more like a big Galaxy S phone than a distinct tablet device.

That's poetic given the early, laughable statements about iPad being a "big iPhone". The difference between a 3.5-inch and 9.7-inch screen is tremendous, far more than that between a 4-inch or 4.3-inch and a 7-inch screen, and it shows when you look at the differences between iPhone and iPad app UI (Twitter for iPhone vs. Twitter for iPad, for example).

Sure, Angry Birds for 4-inches can upscale 7-inches without too many problems, but when we talk about non-game apps, especially from really conscientious developers, what you get at 10-inches really is a different class of software.

I would probably get a Droid X or Galaxy S rather than a Galaxy Tab because the overlap between the Android phone and current Android tablet is just tremendous and at $600+ unsubsidized (and carrier locked!) the Galaxy Tab doesn't seem to offer as much value over a top-tier Android phone. I certainly wouldn't buy both (though I'm sure some Android aficionados have and will).

However, I have an iPhone 4 and I still got an iPad (and I suspect hundreds of thousands if not millions of other people did as well) because the difference in iPad apps significant.

Of course, the difference on other platforms may become more significant in 6 month when the aforementioned RIM, HP, and Android tablets really get going. HP webOS especially looks to be doing something really interesting with Enyo frameworks and scalable UI. Of course, that's about the same time iPad 2 will be hitting the market, and iOS 5 will be previewed...

If you've tried both iPad with iOS 4.2 and the Galaxy Tab, let me know your thoughts.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Steve Jobs: iPad with iOS 4.2 is a target few other tablets will hit


Steve jobs is probably right - mist companies are simply copying the iPad and playing catch up even if most competing tablets will have cameras and beefier hardware albeit on a smaller screen. I'd like to see a competitor define the marketplace the way Apple has. Apart from Android devices being more open (i.e. fragmented lol) and the camera, can anyone explain what's innovative about the competiton's products? (I know BB Playbook has a camera, too, just don't know software-wise how open their tablet will be.)

LMBO..And people will believe..They will only REAL multitasking OS is WEBOS ...LOL Jobs can sell salt to a worm!!

I guess the Ipad 2 will come with at least a camara and maybe a hdmi connection and those two new features alone will be "revolutionary" and a "game changer"

Good point about the difference between just scaling apps and the fuller UIs we're getting on the iPad. Content creation and productiviy apps are where the iPad is far ahead. A bigger screen (more pixels) is good enough for web surfing, games, and movies, but you need to redesign the interface for more sophisticated apps.

@Matthew...what did the iPad innovate? i mean, trust me, I'm not knocking it. But what did it truly INNOVATE? They put a revised phone OS onto a tablet. Developers came with apps pertaining to that revised OS. Stop giving Apple the entirety of credit and give it to where it's due, the devs. W/O the devs...the iPad would actually be nothing but a big iPod.
@Rene...I almost questioned the "hate" of the Galaxy Tab, but you are right. It's nothing but an oversized phone. That is what genuinely pisses me off about these "tablets" using Android. Google has stated over and over. Current versions of Android are NOT made for tablets. So they will not even provide an SDK for tablet specific apps. Yet these manufacturers want to release tablets anyways. Then have people leave with bad tastes in their mouth like you. This is why I respect Motorola's and Acer's decision to hold out on their Android tablets until "Google's Tablet OS" is ready. Samsung is in it just to make a buck, not truly being a worthy device...even though they said it will be upgraded to Honeycomb. That just doesn't cut it.
All in all, these tablet wars are far from won. iPad is setting the bar for consumer tablet devices. But as always, people want a choice. People seem to LOVE much as Stevie will try and disagree, lol. I'm actually kind of liking the connectivity that Playbook is having with their antiquated BB's (just had to take a shot, lol). WebOS have ALWAYS caught my eye. They just need hardware to showcase it better. Android needs to at LEAST give us a taste of what they are planning for their tablet OS just so we can get a feel on what to hold out on.
My Mac, Zune HD (currently retired), and Android phone needs another company's OS in the mix to keep it diverse. :)

@IDavey, if it didn't innovate and they only put a modified phone OS on it why are others following suit and doing the same thing?

@iDavey Apple's major innovation with iPad is the same as it is with almost all their modern products -- maintreaming. They know what to put in and leave out and how to package extent technology in a way that makes it accessible and enjoyable to the general public.
Unibodies, retina displays, battery chemistry, multitouch sensors, etc. are innovative in their own right but are seldom done for their own sake but rather are done to make the overall product better.
And it's working for Apple so far...

I like my iPad, but, honestly, claiming it's anything other than a big iPhone/iPod touch is pretty laughable.
Jobs is worried, and he has every reason to be. Samsung has jumped the gun and come out with an overpriced device with no wi-fi only version (yet), no real market support in place, and they're still going to take a hefty chunk of the market. The iPad was already lagging behind projections and the Tab is going to ensure it lags further. Worse, there are a lot more players entering the market Q1 & Q2.
Steve can repeat the "It's magical and no one can match it!" mantra all he wants, but the fact is that Samsung has already proven that there are a whole lot of people who'd be just as happy (or happier) with a big Galaxy S as with a big iPhone/iPod Touch.
The rank-and-file Church of Apple members may not recognize the threat that Android and, if they can ever get their acts together, WebOS (especially) and RiM represent to the iEmpire, but Steve sure the hell does. Thus the endless, and increasingly desperate sounding, assurances that he owns a market that has barely even begun to be fought over.

If this person keeps posting on tipb soon ppl will stop coming here.. It's just so biased. Richie acts like P A for Steve Jobs.

What truly distinguishes the iPad is iPad optimised apps... some are brilliant. I current don't own one and always thought, what would use that for, but I will definitely be getting iPad 2. They are truly great web/media devices. With a iPad optimised Spotify and iPlayer app and Netflix, I'll meet me needs.

@Myria....I have to disagree with you. I own an iPad and would not purchase an iPhone. Not a chance. I
Love my ZuneHD for music, my Evo 4g for smartphone and my iPad for a multimedia tablet device. The iPad is so much more then an iPhone. The form factor ensures this. I'm not gonna hate on any other os, or device. I am looking forward to a windows phone tablet, with ZunePass. Also interested in webos and an htc tablet of sorts.

Q: what did the iPad inovate?
A: The Tablet or more precisely the successfull formula behind one. Tablets were selling at 2 million a year. With a first generation device iPad Apple Apple increased that 10 fold. You give me another example where a company enters a market 10 years later thant the competition and shows the how to sell 10 time as many as all it competitors put togather
Seriously, you have an iPad? Why don't you get Instead the iPod Touch. It's just a small iPad at less than half the price. Let see if you can do the same things on it.
There is a reason people cary large notepads to college and not pocket ones
jeezz. Are your IQs double digit only?

People seem to forget the iPhone is actually a small iPad, as the iPad was developed first within Apple HQ.

For those who may not know, the IPad came before the iPhone in Apples labs. iPhones OS was developed from the IPad OS. It's probably more accurate to say the iPhone is a small IPad. For anyone to say the iPad is a large phone probably does not own one. The iPad is SOOO much more.
I will agree with an earlier comment, the apps that have been created for the iPad is the major differentiator, apart from the phone piece and screen size.
I would challenge anyone to try bloomberg on their iPhone and then try it on the iPad the experience it's completely different. Play rage on an iPhone then play it on an iPad. Use twitter on your iPhone then use it on an iPad. Use the NYT App, WSJ App and a number of magazine apps. Hell, use iBook. I could go on and on.
So again those who say it's a big phone have no clue what they are talking about, simply because they have not spent significant time with an iPad.
I can't compare it with a Galaxy tab because I have yet to use one or even see one (other than Internet videos), so I will table my opinion on the device.

And yes I own an IPad, iPhone, ATV2, and a MBP. I do think it's rather arrogant to say the tech companies may not or will never catch up to the iPad, maybe he is right, maybe he's not, time will tell.

I would definately buy an iPad if it ran office, that would be a big selling point. Until then I will stick to my iPhone 4.

4.2 is buggy. native apps crashed and closed 10-15 times since this version. Some other apps wont run and Mobile Me has gone berzerk. Crazy. Problem is we have no choice. If we don't update, other apps etc wont run on the OS.

Sure the iPad has done well but it will never be able to be a stand alone device as long as it requires a computer to update. They need to make the iPhone and iPad able to have OTA updates.
I still need a computer to update my tablet, why?

I must say that iPad is a good choice but iphone latest models are enhanced with all latest features. iPhones are excellent to give you a unique and impressive look in the crowd of mobile users.

I still waiting for a wifi or bluetooth webcam to use with skype or whatever video chat.

Well I must say having played around with the galaxy tab at best buy. It was cool but I would not take it over my iPad. It's smaller then the iPad. The android os is worse on the tab then it is on the phones. It lags, slap choppy. You have to press something 2-3 times before you get any kind of response. Why would they put android os on these things when google themselves said it was not ready???? I think the only real competition apple is gonna have is when hp puts webos on a tablet. Besides ios there's a os worthy of being on a tablet. IMO

I think you're misunderstanding the word "innovation". Palm and Google always had intentions of placing their OS onto a larger form. As for others (RIM and MS) they're sticking to non-phone OSes for their tablets. So not "everyone" is doing it. Android was always made to be used for things other than phones. WebOS had all the dreams of going past the phone...but we saw what happened with them. Late execution slowed their plans. Rene said it right. Which leads to...
I agree with that. But the iPad isn't the one that bought that innovation. All the innovative technologies in the iPad were in previous products. As you said, mainstreaming is what Apple is good at (which I have to respect as a business major). They bring certain products to the average consumer. Opening their eyes to a sector that they may have never looked at. They made average consumers look at smartphones and now tablets. They know how to market a product, and very well. Battery efficiency, multi-touch in mobile devices, resolution, etc. All created prior to iPad. If the iPad came before the iPhone, then I'd agree that it was truly the innovative device. But iPhone really has that place.

@Nikolay Andreev
Once again, people not understanding "innovation".
That falls under marketing.
Apple is a marketing GENIUS.
They know how to market (most) products to where people can look at it and go "Dang, I never knew this type of thing would be nice to own".
MS and partners never marketed tablets. Not to mention the fact they were just horrid. Alsot touchscreen tech wasn't at the point it needed to be to have a complete touch device.
With the advent of smartphones it was only a matter of time.
So yes, iPad got it going...but thru marketing. They bought nothing NEW and INNOVATIVE to the table. As I said above, that gets handed to the iPhone. The innovation of iPad goes to the developers. Without them making iPad specific truly would've just been iPhone apps on a larger screen.

I agree with iDavey.
Besides how does it matter that the idea of the iPad was developed before the iPhone? The answer is it doesn't matter. The iPad opened up the door for a market of tablets but thats it. Thhe iPad is essentially a big iPod Touch (note I did not say phone)and besides from the form factor whats really differentiates it from an iPod Touch?

Right. I will keep saying it. The allure of the iPad is NOT the iPad itself...
But instead the marketing and apps. Without specific apps to take advantage of the real estate afforded to these apps, people would find it hard to buy an iPad.
So the innovation comes from developers. The marketing puts their innovations out there.
Symbiotic relationship. One would not thrive without the other.

A big last generation ipod touch is just what people want. People keep saying this as if its a bad thing. But that extra screen real estate comes in handy.
The only problem is I'd rather have a bigger iphone 4. Cameras, retina screen, ram, etc.
And hopefully we'll get there eventually.

The apps are the differentiator (see comment 22). I agree with Idavey, the developers have and are doing an amazing job with the iPad. What you can do with an iPad app is substantially better than the iPod equivalent app. Which makes it a different and better device than an iPod touch. It's more than just a big iPad touch (thanks to the developers).

All I can say is ... With all the "table wars"..... To solve the issue with which is better .... Which is this which is that .... Etc ... Man y'all it's just like Fords and Chevy ... On is better than the other but it don't mean that the other sucks ... It just mean that I can buy both ... Just ask yourselves .... Which one is gonna fit my needs the best ....

I don't know how he's claiming others need to "catch up" to the iPad. The Tab could certainly use a little default UI polishing but even with that issue and especially on a per-spec basis the Tab surpasses the iPad. Right now they have sold 600k of the 3G model and I'm sure those numbers will grow more quickly when the WiFi only version comes to market. I tried it out when it showed up in the AT&T store the other day and it really is nicer than the iPad and much less awkward for what you would actually want to use a mobile tablet for, what I've essentially been using my iTouch 3 for already rather then wasting money on the iPad.
As for the giant phone comparison, some of us don't carry around giant phones and prefer more compact options such as the Droid Pro or Palm Pre.

My wife and I have iPads. I have a T-Mobile G2 Android phone and my wife is still using a Blackberry. I have no particular brand loyalty. I like using the devices though they all involve compromises. for most things, my G2 does fine. The iPad is easier for larger documents and web pages. The addition of multi-tasking is helpful. Also, I really need spell checking and Android dropped the ball on that.
The biggest draw the iPad has is the large number of choices of applications and other goodies. The learning curve is easy and there are no shocking shortfalls such as Android's lack of spell checking.
I rarely carry the iPad anywhere since it is a bit large; I carry my G2. So far, I have not be bothered by the iPad's lack of flash support since I have seen how badly it runs on my G2.

Hahah, Steve Jobs will sell you people dirt, put it in a Ziplock bag, and stick an Apple logo on it and you'll buy it. The iPad is garbage. It's only revolutionay to people who don't know what else is out there. Steve Jobs has been scared in his last few press releases. He sounds very scared.