The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
NEW YORK (
(AAPL - Get Report) launched its iPad 2, mostly with improvements that were expected: a dual core processor 1 GHz with better graphics, front and rear cameras, thinner and lighter case, a gyroscope, an upgraded browser and java engine.
What was still missing (and I expected it to be missing) was Flash support. This is a key differentiator for the Android (and PlayBook) camps that provide Flash support. Despite Apple's claims, Flash is and will be important on the Internet for many years to come.
Of course, the battle between Apple and
(ADBE - Get Report) continues over this issue and won't be resolved anytime soon.
Apple also released iOS 4.3, which has a nice new feature for iPhone 4 users (not for iPad users) -- a personal WiFi hotspot capability. This has been a competitive advantage for Android which has had this feature for a while, so Apple fixed that competitive disadvantage.
iPad2 also added video conferencing, but it only works with other Apple products (Apple didn't talk about any Windows or other phone versions of the FaceTime app). That's an issue for people who want to reach out to others that are not Apple device specific. Will Apple allow Skype or similar apps on the iPad to make up for that?
And Apple leveled the playing field for 3G-connected devices (as I expected, it did not announce 4G). Apple will make both
(T - Get Report)
(VZ - Get Report)
(CDMA) models available so the carrier choice doesn't get in the way (and it increases Apple's channel).
The announcement went mostly as expected. The iPad 2 price stayed the same, which is typical of Apple when new HW comes out. And availability date is very quick (next week).
Overall, I think Apple fans who want the latest tablet will buy this (or upgrade from an existing iPad). But I don't see any overwhelmingly compelling capabilities that would make people sitting on the tablet fence go out and have to buy one, despite some attractive apps that Apple introduced.