At last year’s iPad 2 launch, I compared the specs of the newly announced iPad with those of a laptop and desktop from five years earlier. This year I am comparing the new iPad with Apple’s computers from four years earlier:
The new iPad now exceeds the total display resolution, has similar speed and storage capacity while having twice the battery life of the thinnest laptop of four years ago. It also has very high quality cameras and GPS and cellular network connectivity which have yet to appear on mainstream PCs. It’s still a lot smaller and half the price and has a larger selection of available software titles at prices a fraction of its elder cousin.
The only value that a desktop of 2008 has over a new iPad is the size of the screen and a larger hard drive.
The point is not so much that the usurper is a “better” computer but that it has come from non-existence to being a contender in two years. It is also narrowing the gap to its comparable ancestors by one year, every year. Arguably that gap now stands at four years.