iPad 2.0 late to the UK? I blame Gordon Brown

By Jonny Evans

I'm an Apple [AAPL] user and I live in the UK. I've become used to the greatest Apple product introductions arriving later than they debut in the US, and as we wait for the wait for the iPad 2.0, I've this morning found out that former UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, didn't help matters when he snubbed Apple CEO, Steve Jobs.

Because the knight

What happened? Citing a former Labour Party minister who proposed the idea, The Telegraph tells us that Jobs was up for a knighthood here in the UK for services to technology.

The proposals were advanced. Apple was aware of them -- yet Brown let Jobs down at the eleventh hour. Why? Because Jobs was unable to speak at the annual Labour Party conference -- possibly because he was quietly taking cancer treatment in 2009, when these events took place. While also inventing the future of the PC with the iPad, might I add.

So, when the iPad 2.0 arrives tomorrow, or the iPhone 5 later this year, don't complain if you're a UK resident and your Apple product doesn't ship in the first tranche, don't blame Apple....Blame Gordon Brown.

[This story is from Computerworld's Apple Holic blog. Follow on Twitter or subscribe via RSS to make sure you don't miss a beat.]

What are we expecting from iPad 2.0? I keep reading that we should be ready for an evolution of the line, rather than something with as much impact as the original iteration.

Slight upgrade?

However, given that it seems likely to be faster, lighter, thinner with better graphics support and those much-requested cameras, I don't actually understand what the self-referential media circus already preparing to dismiss the release as a slight upgrade are waiting for. A jet pack? World peace? An end to hunger and poverty? A 'Retina Display'? Revolutionary?

The iPad has only been through one iteration and has already sold millions of units, transformed the PC industry and given the Mac the most shiniest of glows, translating into gargantuan improvements in market share.

The second-generation will do more of the same, but better. It will in future offer the most amazing integration with Apple's Macs. I expect you'll even be able to work remotely on content held on your home Mac using Lion's amazing-sounding MobileMe log-in and much improved Remote Sharing features.

These will even let you access a Home folder on a Mac that is already being used by someone inside another account, at least that's what the developer preview suggests. I anticipate you'll see the same level of access using any Apple device. Apple makes experiences, creates platforms and finds solutions.

Reach out and touch

I recall when the iPad was first revealed last year. I remember the confusion in the muttering mantra of modern media, "it is just a giant iPod touch," the chattering classes said. They didn't understand. The iPad was too different and they couldn't characterize it in time for their deadline.

They missed the point -- the iPad isn't just about the device, it is about what that device can do. Like the iPhone, the iPad is a chalkboard for the imagination. Like the Mac, it is all about the Apps. That's why 91 percent of iPad owners have downloaded at least one App and 63 percent have downloaded a paid App. And why Apple has sold over 14 million of them so far.

It is sophisticated and powerful. The FAA has approved an iPad for use as Pilot's Charts in US airspace.

See me, feel me

The demand is pinching competitors. DisplaySearch expects panel prices to climb throughout the year as key manufacturers work to fill Apple's pre-order book. Apple has allegedly secured 60 percent of global touch panel supply and aims to sell 40 million iPads this year. Component supply Ninja action.

Retina Display? Not yet, maybe. But don't ignore earlier speculation Apple may have handed over $8 billion to buy the entire production of Samsung's next generation Super Plane to Line (PLS) Switching Displays. This isn't a Retina Display, but is a much better display than the In-Plane Switching (IPS) display tech used in the current iPad.

Funny how friendly Apple and Samsung are. All across the Galaxy.

Bright spark

PLS is a new technology Samsung says will be 10 percent brighter and 15 percent cheaper and with better viewing angles than you find on IPS screens. The new screens are apparently super-thin, which has generated some problems on the already busy iPad 2.0 production lines.

"iPad 2's ultra-thin glass screen is generating yield issues. This appears to be more of a process problem as opposed to a technology problem, and we wouldn't be surprised to see volumes ramp fairly quickly as the process improves," Goldman Sachs reports. The analysts expect it to ship in March.

But given that these production SNAFU's suggest initial iPad 2.0 supplies will be constrained, and Gordon Brown's 2009 denial of Steve Jobs' much-deserved knighthood, I don't expect we'll see new model iPads hit the UK from day one.

They might, I just don't expect it...

OK, perhaps it is unfair to blame Brown, but what are your thoughts on international iPad availability, and will you be buying yourself one of the new Apple tablets? Let me know in comments below. I'd also very much like to invite you to follow me on Twitter so I can let you know when I post new reports here first on Computerworld.    

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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