Apple Launches iPad 2 Air

ipad air 2Apple took the wraps off their upgraded iPad 2 Air on Thursday that featured several upgrades and improvements as Apple consumers are beginning to shift to larger phablet style iPhones and growth in tablets is gradually cooling.

From small businesses to global 500 enterprises, organizations and tech enthusiasts across the world have widely embraced Apple’s popular iPad, first released in April 2010.

Since April 2010 several other companies including Samsung, Lenovo, and Amazon have all released their own Android tablet versions to better compete with Apple’s popular iPad and Microsoft is seeking to gain more market share with its Surface tablet.

According to IDC,  the worldwide tablet grew 11.0 percent year over year in the second quarter of 2014.

IDC believes the tablet market will experience positive but slower growth in 2014 compared to 2013 as the market adjusts to the rise of larger smartphones that are becoming ubiquitous across the world.

“As we indicated last quarter, the market is still being impacted by the rise of large-screen smartphones and longer than anticipated ownership cycles,” said Jean Philippe Bouchard, IDC Research Director for Tablets.

“We can also attribute the market deceleration to slow commercial adoption of tablets. Despite this trend, we believe that stronger commercial demand for tablets in the second half of 2014 will help the market grow and that we will see more enterprise-specific offerings, as illustrated by the Apple and IBM partnership, come to market.” Bouchard added.

IDC research shows that Apple continues to hold its lead in the worldwide tablet market versus its competitors, shipping 13.3 million units in the second quarter of 2014 and holding a 26.9 percent market share versus 17.2 percent with Samsung and 4.9 percent with Lenovo.

On September 9th Apple unveiled its larger lineup of new iPhone 6 phones, featuring the larger iPhone 6 at 4.7 inches and iPhone 6 Plus at 5 inches as more users are accessing the internet from their phones and prefer the larger screen size.

Tech analysts are mostly positive about Apple’s newest upgrades with the iPad Air 2 that features a thinner and lighter version with a fingerprint sensor and redesigned retina display, fusing what had been three layers into one.

The iPad Air 2 is 18 percent thinner at 6.1 mm, weighing only 0.96 a pound, making it the thinnest tablet in the world.

The older iPad weighed 1.5 pounds and was 13.4 mm thin.

At 9.7 inches the iPad Air 2 has a custom-designed antireflective coating that reduces glare by 56 percent, making it the least reflective tablet in the world.

The iPad Air 2 has an anodized aluminum body and is offered in three elegant metallic finishes: silver, space gray, and gold.

It comes with iOS 8, engineered to take full advantage of the powerful A8X chip.

Pre-orders begin today for the iPad Air 2, priced at $499 and moving higher, with shipping beginning next week.

Apple announced on Thursday that Apple Pay, a mobile service aimed at turning your iPhone into a mobile wallet, will go live next week.

Piper Jafray tech analyst Gene Munster remains positive about the recent upgrades with iPad Air 2 in addition to the other upgrades that were done with Apple’s Mac and OSX.

“Apple introduced a number of incremental updates to iPad, Mac, and OSX today including iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3, iMac with Retina 5K Display, and Yosemite. We believe these updates are important because they impact about 30 percent of Apple’s total business and, although the updates weren’t as exciting as those from the iPhone 6 launch, were necessary to keep the iPad and Mac lines fresh,” Munster wrote in a statement.

” We continue to believe the focus on AAPL will be iPhone unit sales and ASPs heading into the Dec-14 quarter, momentum of Apple Pay, and the launch of the Watch next year. We remain buyers ahead of the company’s 10/20 earnings report based on our belief that the company will offer strong Dec-14 guidance” Munster added.

William Power, an analyst from Baird also voiced mostly positive sentiment about the iPad Air 2, saying that the upgrades met his expectations.

“Apple held an event in Cupertino to announce its latest iPads and iMacs, which were largely in line with expectations. Perhaps more significantly, Apple Pay is scheduled to go live on Monday, opening a new chapter for the Apple ecosystem… The company announced that it now has 220,000 U.S. retail locations and 500 banks on board to support it at launch. That said, it’s still missing many big-name retailers, which could limit adoption out of the gate.”

-Johnathan Schweitzer

Johnathan1Johnathan Schweitzer is a Seattle based writer covering finance, politics, and tech. He can be reached at schweitz31@gmail.com

 

 

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