The two major classes of tablets seeking to grab a share of the iPad's market have in many ways been driven by operating system advances. Windows 8 will bring the new Metro user interface and ARM support to allow what has historically been the more powerful PC class to scale down. Android 4.0 unifies the platform's tablet and smartphone operating systems, encouraging it to take better advantage of the larger screen capabilities and scale up.
Indeed, the full potential of the new iPad won't be known until the release of iOS 6 to fuel Apple's historically tight pairing of hardware and software; that other shoe will likely drop at its developer conference in June. Despite the lack of a new operating system or form factor, the third-generation iPad and its now price-reduced predecessor have set the stage for how Apple plans to defending against Android and Windows tablets.