Fortunately for Apple this is the way it always seems to go down. First they release something innovative and new with all of the features that consumers have been asking for and then for the next year or so we watch as competitors do their best to catch up, releasing products that they think will be able to compete. And then Apple releases the next update and we start again.
Such is the way it seems to be going here, with Amazon planning a 10″ version of their successful Kindle Fire tablet.
This one might actually be of concern to Apple given the success of the 7″ version in the last holiday season (with 3.9 units sold by Amazon in the final quarter of 2011), particularly with the hype of their 10″ release expected to hit shelves about the same time this year. Apple may be laughing however, because it doesn’t seem that Amazon can sustain the hype with only 1.5 million Kindle Fire devices sold in the first quarter of 2012.
News reports are also circulating that Amazon has a 6″ version of their eReader featuring a color touch-screen ready for shipment as early as March. This could be good news for those who enjoy the eReaders but want a more advanced device, though it seems unlikely that these simple-featured tablets would draw any business away from the iPad.
There is no word yet on what either tablet will cost, which is really what it boils down to. If the 10″ version of the Kindle Fire isn’t still quite a bit less than the iPad it may not be much competition at all –much like the Android tablets that haven’t really succeeded in beating out Apple when they’ve had the same or similar price-points.
Amazon may not be the only one with something up their sleeves, Barnes and Noble look to be readying a 10″ version of their Nook tablet as well.
What I would like to know is when one of these companies will start being the innovator instead of the follower; coming out with something that Apple doesn’t already have available in their stores. It could be that this is by design, letting Apple foot the R&D bills and then doing their best to imitate (which is the sincerest form of flattery, or so we are told).