I think I have finally figured out the competition to the iPad 2. It’s the MacBook Air! No, seriously, the Air.
I have been able to use a 13 inch Apple MacBook Air at work for the last couple of weeks and I find I rarely pick up my Samsung Galaxy Tab at work now. The Galaxy Tab is still great while I am sitting waiting on for my daughter or for surfing while watching TV (normally the iPad2 is being used by someone too, I rarely get to touch it). But I haven’t use the Galaxy Tab for data capture or creation since I started using the Air. The Galaxy Tab, much like the Apple iPad 2, is great for consuming content, but honestly still has some serious flaws in creating content. The Air doesn’t have those limitations. I have a full screen and a full size keyboard. It’s fast and powerful with a huge hard drive and 4GB of memory. All the applications that run on my MacBook Pro seem to run just fine on the Air. So I gave up a DVD/CD slot, which, honestly, I rare use anymore anyway. It’s like when we lost the 3.5 inch floppy drive, who misses that anymore? Even the price points aren’t that too far off between the two devices. And I still have iTunes, Kindle, Evernote and most of the apps I use on my Galaxy Tab or iPad2. I didn’t loose anything. The killer device against the iPad 2 is the MacBook Air!
Work has settled on the 13 inch Air as the best compromise of power vs. form. And I have to say the screen is great (1440 x 900) and I love how long the battery lasts. And it’s fast, wake from sleep is instant and boot time is less than 15 seconds. It is so thin (0.11 to 0.68 inch thick, it tapers – thin in front, thicker in the back) and weights in at only 2.9 pounds. But, I think, if I were to buy an Air for my own personal use, I’d go for the smaller 11 inch. I know the battery doesn’t last as long and the screen would be smaller, but the 11 inch form factor would make it a direct competitor to the iPad2 for me. And a much more capable competitor!
I am still interested in seeing what “iPad killers” finally roll out this year. Samsung always does a good job with their consumer devices and LG should come out strong. The RIM Playbook will be a non-starter, I think everyone knows it’s dead on arrival. Dell is boring, even for business users. The HTC Flyer seems to be over priced and very similar to the old (Oct 2010) Samsung Galaxy Tab. The Xoom could be competitive, if they had flash and 4G already and lowered the price $100 to $200. A few other players (Hello HP / Palm!) are talking about cool stuff, but I haven’t seen anything real that I can touch yet. So, right now, the only competition Apple has is… Apple! Check out the MacBook Air, if you produce content, or are a creator (Developer), then it could turn out to be a better solution for you than the iPad 2.