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On the surface, there's nothing 'revolutionary' about Apple's new iPad. Yes, the Retina display is impressive, and there are a number of changes that Apple believes make it the best tablet yet. None of this means, however, that the new iPad is moving the tablet market forward by leaps and bounds.
But that might not matter when it comes to how successful the new iPad becomes.
According to a survey conducted by ChangeWave, 82% of new iPad owners are "very satisfied" with their device. When counting those who are just "satisfied," the number jumps to 98%.
That may not be entirely surprising given the popularity of just about anything Apple puts out, but it does represent a significant improvement over the figures from a similar survey conducted after the iPad 2 was released. Following Apple's launch of the second iteration of the iPad, just 74% of iPad 2 owners told ChangeWave they were "very satisfied."
So why are the owners of the new iPad so much more satisfied? According to ChangeWave, 75% of those surveyed cited the new Retina display as their favorite thing about the new device. For comparison, longer battery life and 4G LTE capabilities were favorite features for just 22% and 21% of new iPad owners surveyed, respectively.
The new iPad's Retina display is winning accolades from even the reviewers which have displayed a willingness to be critical of Apple's products. For instance, Consumer Reports, which recently made news for looking at overheating issues with the new iPad, says the tablet "establishes a new benchmark in excellence." The reason? That Retina display:
The iPad's display...is the best we've seen. It has remarkable fidelity, achieving the highest score we've ever recorded for color accuracy in a tablet. Colors are more saturated than on the iPad 2, making deeper shades more vibrant. And the new iPad's screen lacks the slight bluish hue of the iPad 2's screen, and has a warmer and more natural "color temperature" that becomes apparent when comparing white backgrounds displayed on the new and old iPads.
With new iPad owners singing the device's praises and reviewers like Consumer Reports extolling the virtues of the Retina display, it appears that Apple may have the most successful iPad ever on its hands with incremental improvement only.
That, for obvious reasons, is good news for the company, which will increasingly have to prove that it can maintain its momentum in a number of markets without coming up with a new 'next big thing' ever year or two.
But that doesn't mean that Apple can expect to impress all of the people all of the time. CNET News.com's Brooke Crothers questions whether certain characteristics of the new iPad (namely its larger size) show that Apple is moving away from Steve Jobs' design philosophy, while his colleague Rick Broida prefers the Kindle Fire's 7-inch form factor, price and interface to the new iPad's display, which he calls "nice" but overhyped.
Those who are less impressed may have sensible, logical reasons to be, but anyone waiting for weakness in the iPad's market position may have to wait an iteration, or two or three, for it to become evident.