Instant view: Apple unveils more powerful, high-def iPad

Wed Mar 7, 2012 3:25pm EST

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(Reuters) - Apple Inc unveiled an upgraded version of its popular iPad tablet on Wednesday, featuring a more powerful chip, high-definition screen, sharper camera and access to new high-speed wireless networks.

The upgrades were broadly expected. Apple's shares fell after the announcement, trading down 0.6 percent on Nasdaq.

The following are instant reactions from investors and analysts.

MICHAEL HOLT, ANALYST, MORNINGSTAR

"They want you to think of it as the iPad, not which model. it's an interesting choice. People who are into bragging rights would have liked to say this is the iPad 3."

"The screen is a notable feature for a non-techie customers as is the faster connectivity. That's something that mainstream consumers can identify with."

"There's pent-up demand because a new device was widely anticipated. They've made enough incremental improvements to do well."

"If you look at people who've opened their mind to tablet ownership in the last three to six months, they were probably hesitant to buy one knowing this was around the corner. This releases that pent-up demand."

"People already have a broadband plan in their house and then they have a smartphone. How many data plans do individuals want to have?"

SHAW WU, ANALYST, STERNE AGEE

"We view the new iPad's features as quite compelling for both existing users and new users, particularly the much faster 4G LTE wireless capability."

(On stock dip) "It is likely some profit taking as the stock has climbed a bit into the event. There are short-term traders who sell on the news."

MICHAEL YOSHIKAMI, CEO, DESTINATION WEALTH MANAGEMENT

"The first thing that jumps out is the pricing, which is typical of Apple. They are keeping the same pricing and adding more memory. I expect the iPad 2 will be discounted down after all this."

"The resolution of the camera is quite important because this will allow for streaming and video at higher quality."

"The processor is so much speedier. That's going to allow game makers to develop a much richer experience. That's a negative for game console makers, like Nintendo, (Sony's) PlayStation and (Microsoft's) Xbox. iPad games are cheaper and developers have to share a higher margin with Apple. There will be margin compression among game console makers because of this."

"I think the stock advances from here. This is more good news and there are more products coming out later this year."

"I see little evidence yet from today's event about an integrated TV offering. But Apple will move towards TV in the same way they conquered music -- by getting people connected to devices and then supplying content through these devices."

HENDI SUSANTO, ANALYST, GABELLI & CO

"The iPad 3 is definitely the strong tablet offering in the market. I would expect strong growth of iPad sales to continue."

"Now that Apple has adapted 4G on its iPad I think a 4G iPhone is next."

"Now that the iPad 3 has a high-resolution retina display, that could cost more so the iPad 3 may have a lower margin compared to the iPad 3. But considering the iPad will continue to have strong growth, based on the whole picture, while it may carry a lower margin it will still generate more dollars."

FRED HUET, MANAGING DIRECTOR, GREENWICH CONSULTING

"Nobody was expecting a drastic upgrade, although there were the usual rumors of the 'iPad mini.' However this is a solid device that will no doubt sell well, for anybody hoping to upgrade or others who have seen the tablet market mature, and are looking to dip their toes in."

"Yet, while the hardware is notably enhanced, with an impressive retina display, better camera and faster processor, there are still some areas of improvement that Apple needs to work on, in order to stay ahead of its encroaching competitors."

"As tablets are increasingly being used for personal media consumption, it is promising to see a better screen resolution, but will this be enough to ensure Apple's competitive lead in the marketplace? No."

"According to recent Forrester research, one third of US adults will own a tablet by 2016. Though a direct competitor for the iPad hasn't yet emerged, price point will doubtless have a part to play, and the various Android tablets now on sale have excellent capabilities, as we saw at MWC (Mobile World Congress) last week."

COLIN GILLIS, ANALYST, BGC FINANCIAL

"No surprises, no fireworks. Quad core, retina display, 4G, and the pricing strategy is the same. What we really want to see is what happens with the iPad 2, what price point do they drop that to? The stock is flat to slightly down and we're starting to see selling on the news."

JOHN JACKSON, ANALYST, CCS INSIGHT

"The iPhone 4S showed us that Apple doesn't need to out-do itself with new product designs to continue extending its domination of a category."

"The new iPad adds about a millimeter of thickness and a little weight over the iPad 2. This is likely attributable to the new screen and/or a bigger battery needed to power it."

"There is some risk that that consumers will perceive the difference in thickness and weight and opt for the older version instead of the new, especially if the older one is cheaper."

"Apple is banking on a screen that will clearly 'pop' at retail."

(Reporting By Noel Randewich, Tarmo Virki, Nicola Leske, Alistair Barr, Sinead Carew)

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