Apple has upped its ante in the ‘post’ Surface Pro world with a new higher capacity 128 GB iPad. To be available from February 5, the new iPad version has everything to share with its earlier versions, except for the bumped up memory capacity. Also of course, an enhanced internal flash memory is not the only thing new with the latest iPad. The price too has been provided with a similar lofty treatment. The new iPad will cost $799 for the Wi-Fi only model while the 3G capable version will cost a cool $929. Compare these to the $899 and $999 that Microsoft is charging for the 64 GB and 128 GB Surface pro variants and both seems clearly related. Apple too seems quite keen to target the laptop/ultrabook segment where the latter is increasingly adopting the hybrid tablet concept.
However, apart from the tablet form factor, the biggest difference with the 128 GB iPad and Surface Pro is of course the software they run. With the full blown Windows 8 Pro on-board, the Surface Pro does seem to be better suited to address the needs of business customers than the iPad 4 running iOS 6.1. Some experts are also seeing a sense of urgency in Apple’s move to launch a 128 GB variant of its 4th gen iPad just days before Surface Pro is slated to go on sale. With sales of iPhone 5 lacking the zing that it has always been known for, the new top of the line iPad did manage to soothe investor concerns a bit. After all, Surface Pro or any other device running Windows 8 won’t be the only competitor in the $700-$1100 price bracket. Android hasn’t proved competitive enough in the more than $500 price bracket and thrives best in the low cost segment. On the other hand, the highest priced iPad till now is the one that sells for $799. Beyond that, it’s only the MacBook Air that consumers can opt for with prices starting at $999. The new 128 GB iPad 4 will ensure Apple has a presence in the intervening slot.
What remains to be seen now is whether the higher capacity and higher priced iPad 4 finds favor with the business community.