Even though competitors have had over a year to play catch-up with Apple, the iPad 2 is reportedly forcing tablet manufacturers to tack on new features in an effort to remain competitive. Asus, for example, is planning to give its planned 10.1-inch Eee Pad tablet a USB keyboard.
There have also been indications that the upcoming iPad 2 coupled with the now $100 cheaper iPad 1 is leaving competitors very little wiggle room to maneuver price-wise and has subsequently forced some manufacturers to postpone their tablet plans altogether as to adjust their specs and seek out cheaper component parts to deliver a more affordable product.
With the original iPad now priced at $399, Apple certainly isn’t giving competitors a price umbrella under which to operate. As a result, more expensive tablets like the Motorola Xoom will have a hard time competing in a market where 5 out of 6 iPad configurations are more affordable. Factoring in the differences between the iOS App Store and the Android Marketplace and it’ll be interesting to see if tablets like the Xoom can gain any traction at all.
And finally, the latest iPad is also affecting HP who will reportedly move tablet development over from the WebOS team to its notebook division. Reasons for the transition, if accurate, aren’t entirely clear but may signify that the talent acquired by HP will remain focused on OS design while industrial design will transition over to HP’s tried and tested notebook team.