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New iPad expected to have modest upgrades

NEW YORK (AP) _ Apple is expected to reveal a new iPad model on Wednesday, with a sharper screen and perhaps an option for faster wireless broadband. The upgrades are relatively minor, but the iPad is secure in its position as the king of tablets.

As usual, Apple has kept the features of the new device secret. No matter what they are, analysts expect the new iPad to be a success, riding on the popularity of the previous models, as well as pent-up demand from consumers who have been waiting for the new model.

The iPad 2 was a big step up from the original iPad, since Apple included a camera and reduced both the thickness and the weight of the device. But there isn't that much Apple can do to jazz up the iPad 3. Company watchers expect the new device to have the same basic size and weight as last year's model.

Nearly a year ago, the iPad 2 went on sale nine days after it was revealed. Apple watchers expect similar timing this year.

Some of the rumored new features include:

_ A sharper screen, similar to the ``Retina Display'' on the iPhone 4 and 4s. The rumored resolution is 2048 by 1536 pixels, which would make text look smoother and some high-resolution pictures look better. It won't make much of a difference for images on the Web, or video.

Some speculate that Apple will call the model the ``iPad HD,'' for ``high definition,'' rather than ``iPad 3.''

_ The new iPad could include Siri, the voice-activated ``assistant'' found on the iPhone 4S. Siri has gotten mixed reviews, but Apple has been touting the feature heavily in its advertising, and it would make sense to expand the availability of this high-profile feature.

_ Faster wireless capabilities. IPads are available with built-in modems for AT&T's and Verizon's third-generation, or ``3G'' cellular networks in the U.S. The iPad 3 could come in a version that offers faster ``4G'' or ``LTE'' networks. However, most iPads are used only on Wi-Fi, so an ``LTE'' chip wouldn't matter to most buyers.

In this respect, Apple is playing catch-up. Some competitors, such as Samsung and Motorola, already sell LTE-compatible tablets.

Since last fall, Sprint Nextel Corp. has sold the iPhone. But it doesn't sell the iPad. It's possible it could join AT&T and Verizon Wireless in selling the iPad 3.

_ A faster processor. This is pretty much a given, since every new iPhone or iPad has improved on the computing power of its predecessor. But few users complain about their iPads being slow, so this should not be a major selling point.

Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst for Forrester Research, said hardware features aren't that important to tablet buyers.

``It's about the services _ what you can do with the device,'' she said in a blog post.

Apple's competitors have slowly come to realize this, but only after bringing out dozens of tablets with whiz-bang features like 3-D cameras. The competitor that's done the best is Amazon.com Inc. Its Kindle Fire tablet is cheaper than the iPad, but what really sets it apart is that it's tied into Amazon's book, movie and music stores, making it an easy route to entertainment, just like the iPad.

Still, the Kindle Fire has a long way to go. Epps estimates that Amazon sold 5.5 million Kindle Fires in the fourth quarter of last year. Meanwhile, Apple sold 15.4 million iPads, and has sold 55.3 million in total.

According to Canaccord Genuity, 63 percent of the tablets shipped last year were iPads. The only competitors with more than 5 percent market share were Amazon and Samsung Electronics Co.

The iPad launch comes as Apple has reached a rare milestone: last week, it was worth more than $500 billion. Only six other U.S. companies have been worth that much, and none have held that valuation for long. On Tuesday, Apple's stock had fallen, bringing its market value down to $493 billion, but analysts believe the company is worth closer to $550 billion.

One big unknown is whether Apple will keep the iPad 2 in production at a lower price, like it kept the iPhone 3GS after the launch of the iPhone 4. If so, the iPad 2 could carry a price tag that would make consumers think twice about buying a Kindle Fire.

Another big unknown is whether Apple will reveal its rumored foray into making TV sets. Some have speculated that the invite to the Apple event, which said ``We have something you really have to see,'' points in that direction.

Apple already sells and ``Apple TV,'' but that's a small box that attaches to a TV set to display movies and play music from iTunes.

 

<한글 기사>

"아이패드3, 가격 변동 없을 것"

WP "게임기와 PC 중간"…AP "새 제품, 아이패드3 아닌 아이패드HD 평가"

아이패드의 인기와 수익성은 제품의 혁신성뿐 아니라 절묘한 가격정책에 기인한다고 워싱턴포스트가 6일(현지시간) 분석했다.

신문은 7일 공개되는 아이패드 새 제품 역시 기존 제품과 같이 최저가 499달러를 유지할 것으로 전망했다.

아이폰4S가 공개될 때 가격변동이 없었다는 게 예상의 근거다.

아이패드는 최저가 499달러로 처음 출시됐다.

마케팅 전문가들은 아이패드가 게임기보다는 비싸고 데스크톱 PC보다는 저렴한 가격대로 랩톱과 데스크톱 소비자를 흡수, 인기와 수익성이라는 두 마리 토끼를 모두 잡을 수 있었다고 분석했다.

아이패드의 폭발적 인기로 인해 경쟁업체들이 애플에 견주는 수익을 내려면 아예 고가 제품을 내놓거나 저가 경쟁을 해야 할 처지다.

펜실베이니아대 와튼비즈니스스쿨의 자그모한 라주 교수(경영학)는 "아이패드는 오락기기와 업무기기 사이에서 전략적으로 가격이 책정됐다"고 말했다.

아이패드 가격결정은 제품 자체로만 이뤄진 것이 아니라 2001년 탄생한 아이팟으로부터 이어지는 회사의 장기적인 마케팅 정책의 연장 선상에서 봐야 한다고 전문 가들은 설명했다.

저가 제품 아이팟과 마켓플레이스 아이튠스스토어로 소비자들을 애플의 고객으로 '낚은' 후에 이를 아이폰의 성공으로 연결했고, 좀 더 비싼 아이패드로까지 확장 했다는 것이다.

소비자들이 아이폰, 아이팟, 아이패드를 패키지로 사용할 수 있도록 한 것은 애 플의 큰 자산이 됐다.

전문가들은 애플의 다음 단계가 기존 제품과 완벽하게 호환되면서 가격은 조금 더 높은 장치, 즉 텔레비전이 될 것으로 본다.

라주 교수는 "애플 냉장고가 안 된단 법이 있는가?"라고 반문했다.

한편 7일 공개되는 아이패드 새 제품은 아이패드2를 소폭 업그레이드한 형태로 예상된다고 AP통신이 이날 전했다.

업계에 따르면 새 제품은 두께가 더 얇아지고 무선인터넷 접속과 구동 속도가 더 빨라졌다는 점에서 디자인•기능이 향상됐으나 혁신적 변화는 없는 것으로 알려 졌다.

이 밖에도 2048×1056픽셀 해상도에 '시리(Siri)' 음성인식 기능도 갖춘 것으로 점쳐진다.

외신은 새 제품이 '아이패드3'가 아니라 '아이패드 HD'라는 별명이 붙었다고 보도했다.

 

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