1. “I have more and/or better apps.”
The single best thing about the iPad is the amazing quantity and quality of the third-party applications available for it–software that was designed with it in mind and which often isn’t available for other tablets at all. Any manufacturer that had a tablet with more nifty apps than the iPad would have no trouble making the case for it as a viable alternative.
Any examples of other tablets that offer this? No. Not hardly. Nowhere near. And how long would it take for any competitive platform to get there? The real question isn’t when someone will surpass Apple; it’s when someone will have a selection of well-done tablet-optimized software that deserves any description other than “skimpy.”
2. “I have noticeably better hardware.”
There are people who will buy a tablet because it has the fastest-possible dual-core processor, or the largest amount of RAM, or the camera with the highest megapixel count. If that makes them happy, fine. It’s clear, however, that with tablets–even more than PCs–impressive numbers don’t translate directly into the most impressive user experience. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no opportunity for an Apple rival to build a tablet with hardware that’s unquestionably better in ways that matter–something that’s much faster, for instance, or far lighter, or way better in terms of battery life.
Any examples? Not decisively so. Some will argue that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 is there, but Seth Weintraub’s cogent explanation of that tablet’s virtues uses words like “marginally” and “silly” when discussing the Tab’s edge on the iPad 2. I’m still looking for a tablet that blows the iPad away hardwarewise.