Steve Jobs Is Back!

The truth about yesterday's iPad 2 launch is that it didn't matter. Seeing Steve Jobs on stage looking like a CEO, on the other hand, was huge.

But don't take my word for it. In the minutes after Jobs appeared on stage to introduce Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) newest iOS device, the stock jumped more than 1%, ultimately closing up 0.8%. Jobs, not the iPad, was the catalyst investors cared about.

That's understandable. Jobs has long been the visionary underlying Apple's groundbreaking products. His uncompromising standards have led to multibagger returns for longtime shareholders.

But give Apple and the iPad 2 their due. A new dual-core A5 chip design adds a lot of speed, if you believe the reviews flying around the web as I write this.

"This thing is insanely fast. We're not joking -- it's blazingly fast. Everything the iPad 2 does feels like it's on turbo," wrote the good geeks over at Engadget, who also liveblogged the event.

And while Jobs wouldn't specify how, Apple also said it figured out how to reduce the thickness of the device by 33% while preserving the battery life of the earlier version.

Apple also gave the iPad a facial and a software makeover. Users will be able to choose between black and white models when the device hits stores in the U.S. on March 11. A new cover, meanwhile, mimics the Mac's power cabling by using magnets to attach to the device. Pull it open, and the iPad 2 automatically awakens. Close it, and the device goes to sleep. A new iOS (version 4.3) and upgraded editions of iMovie and GarageBand, to be sold for $4.99 apiece, complete the package.

Jobs pitched it as a compelling alternative to a new crop of fast tabs based on Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Honeycomb version of Android. But his finest moment came when taking a jab at Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI  ) .

"Now some folks are out there saying they're only a little bit more expensive than us. When you look at this matrix, five of these six are less than $799," Jobs said, a clear reference to the $799 Moto wants for its Xoom tablet. Ouch.

In short, it was Jobs taking a break from medical leave to do what he does best and the clearest example of why investors were thrilled to see Mr. Showmanship back on stage where he belongs. Welcome back, Steve. We missed you.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think about the new iPad and the return of Steve Jobs to Apple's stage using the comments box below. You can also rate Apple in Motley Fool CAPS.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He owned shares of Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Google and has written Apple puts. The Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. Its disclosure policy has its eye on you.


Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 03, 2011, at 3:39 PM, makelvin wrote:

    If Motorola is serious in getting into the tablet market space, they REALLY need to reduce their entry level price of XOOM buy a substantial amount. Right now, their $800 price point is nothing but punchline for a lot of jokes. It is hard for me to see them as a serious competitor to Apple. I am sure they will still get some die hard Apple haters to purchase XOOM at that ridiculous price, but I do not see that as a large market opportunity.

  • Report this Comment On March 03, 2011, at 4:44 PM, gdf55 wrote:

    @curlyhead46,

    I don't think I'd agree that MMI and AAPL have the cell market wrapped up. I'm glad Motorola got on the Android bandwagon and that Verizon gave them such a boost. But LG makes some really slick Android phones and are competing very well with MMI. And if you compare the total number of iOS phones and Android phones, Apple doesn't look like quite the giant it once was.

  • Report this Comment On March 03, 2011, at 4:52 PM, melegross wrote:

    Well, Curly, I can't agree with that assessment. MMI is a company with a limited future. They've announced that their phone sales began to dip just as the rumors of an iPhone on Verizon seemed more than just a guess, and their tablet costs too much with little reason to buy it. They're just another Android device maker among many.

    I would stay away from them.

  • Report this Comment On March 04, 2011, at 12:46 AM, NewSiriFan wrote:

    I won't be surprised if the first quarter number is a little soft. If I was going to buy a new phone or tablet, I'd be waiting for the iPad2 or iPhone5. Come to think of it, maybe the quarter won't be too bad. I bet March 11th sales will be very good. But, I'd personally wait for 4G connectivity. So, 4th quarter may be off the chart. I'm glad I'm not another tablet maker. iPad2 will be cleaning their clocks. And, with 100% write offs this year, businesses will be buying these things by the tons. Apple will be the choice because, it a proven product that been improved. Everybody else is first generation. I think Apple has another iPod. What's an MP3 player?

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