But right now — in the tablet space at least — the problem for Motorola, Samsung, HP, RIM, and anyone else who is challenging Apple becomes infinitely more difficult. Almost any company could put together a more powerful or spec-heavy tablet, but all the horsepower in the world can’t help you if you don’t find a way to delight the average consumer. As of right now, those other tablet makers may have superior hardware (and in the case of the Xoom, some superior software as well), but without that key component of sheer delight, the road for them is long and hard. HP is getting close by touting features like Touch-to-Share, but against experiences like the new GarageBand for iOS and the 65,000 apps (and counting) that currently exist, it’s hard to see a clear path to sizable competition. That goes for Google and RIM as well.
Delight the average consumer. That sounds week. What happened yesterday when Steve Jobs stepped onto the stage was not mere delighting consumers. The entire performance was electrifying. The end result? Consumers didn’t want the iPad 2, they needed it.
Superior hardware? Superior software? Says who? Hardware and software enhancements matter very little if they don’t translate into better experiences for the user. I haven’t used Google’s new Honeycomb Android OS, which is specifically tailored to tablets, but the UI lacks coherence. And without coherence, user experience will suffer. On the other end of the spectrum is iOS, on the iPod touch, the iPhone, and the iPad. They all look the same, behave the same, and therefore the user experience is fantastic. Not everything is hunky-dory, but as far as user expectations go Apple’s got it down.
So does Post-PC mean Apple hardware will fall behind? No. Actually, I expect Apple to accelerate its hardware advancements. Why? From Apple’s perspective the user experience for the iPad needs more improvements. And that’s why I’m expecting an iPad 3 in September.