The word on Amazon's event this morning at the Santa Monica Airport (held an eerie blue-lit hanger) was that the company wouldn't introduce a bigger Kindle Fire, the highly successful tablet that represents the only real challenge to the Apple iPad in the tablet market. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos flouted that expectation, unveiling a new Kindle Fire HD, a high-definition version of the device, with an 8.9-inch display.
It will cost $299, in a 16GB configuration with 3G wireless. And it will benefit from integration with all of Amazon's cloud-based data services. Really, that's the main difference between what Amazon is selling with the Kindle Fire and what Apple has in the market with the iPad — and Bezos relentlessly if not overtly kept the focus there, an unusual yet predictable tactic at en event intended to create excitement about new hardware.
Laverne Mirley of Monrovia was one of the first to get her hands on a new iPad in Pasadena. Her grandson held her a spot in line all night outside the Apple Store on Colorado Blvd.
Just in case you've spent the last 24 hours sleeping under an old iBook G4, the NEW Apple iPad hit Apple Stores today. One man reportedly waited in line for week, presumably to pick up the 4G-enabled 64GB tablet with the awesome retina display screen (price: $829).
Classic Apple, in the Greatest Company on Earth Era. The entry level iPad 2 (WiFi only) even went on sale for $399. But unless you're a completely blinkered Apple devotee, you have to ask yourself why Apple waited until now to launch what we're not supposed to call the iPad 2S or the iPad 3, because Apple wants us to henceforth refer to the iPad only as an iPad, better to avoid the generation-creep that plagues the iPhone, version 5 of which is expected to arrive this summer.
The iPad, old and wizened as the device is since its appearance in 2010, traditionally sees a new model in March. This provides Apple with a nine-month period in which to sell the device, capping what has up to this point been a veritable frenzy with the holiday season. It then holds on for a year and squeezes every last sale is can out of the current generation of the device before pulling the trigger on the upgrade following holiday season number two.