Update: New iPad Predictions

Well, Apple introduced the “new iPad” today. Let’s see how I did on my predictions…

Apple will unveil the next iPad on March 7th. I have no certain knowledge of what they will announce, but based on what I’ve read on the various news sites here’s what I think we can expect.

Retina Display

With almost certainty I can say the next iPad will have a 9.7″ 2048×1536 display. Samples of such displays been shown on the web (proving they exist) and web logs are showing iPads with this resolution are surfing the web. This will make the new iPad a wonderful reading device.

Correct! iPad does indeed have a retina display.

Updated processor

There will certainly be a faster processor and GPU to support the retina display. The device will need to push around four times as many pixels and that requires more horsepower. The question is whether the CPU will be a quad core A6 or dual core A5X is uncertain. I’m hoping for the former even though there has been evidence of the latter. I’m hoping the A5X is going into a new revision of Apple TV and the A6 will go into the iPad.

Wrong: iPad got the dual core A5X. I guess I can live with that.

LTE

It is very likely the iPad will be available with a 4G LTE radio to work with AT&T or Verizon. LTE offers blazing fast speeds but often at the price of battery life. Since an iPad is much larger than a phone it will have a larger battery to compensate. I hope there will be one SKU to support AT&T and Verizon, like the iPhone 4S. That could be tricky as the chipset would have to support LTE and the two 3G technologies; HSPA+, and EVDO. I expect that the same data plans for 3G will be offered for 4G. The ability to get cellular data without a contract is a huge feature of iPad. Neither carrier is charging more for 4G service on phones and I don’t think they will here.

Correct: LTE is supported for Verizon and AT&T, although with different SKUs. The data plans are the same as before.

Smartcover compatible

The new iPad is rumored to be a bit thicker than iPad 2 in which case many third party cases may not fit the new tablet. However, I think that Apple will make sure the smartcovers for iPad 2 will fit with the new iPad. There is no direct evidence of this, but it makes sense. SmartCovers sell very well and if Apple could avoid making a new product that would be best for them.

Correct: No mention was made of smart covers but the display units did sport the standard ones used with the iPad 2.

New Cameras

The cameras in the iPad 2 are pretty weak, so a bump in camera specs is probable. iPad doesn’t need a great camera like the iPhone 4S does because tablets are not used the same way as phones are for taking pictures. It is actually pretty awkward to take a picture with a 10″ tablet. A better forward facing camera would make HD FaceTime video conferencing possible so I wouldn’t be surprised to see that.

Partial: The rear camera was upgraded substantially to a 5MP that can shoot 1080p video. It seems to have the same optics as the iPhone 4S. The front camera is unchanged. This is somewhat baffling to me as I don’t know who would use an iPad to shoot high quality pictures or video.

The Name

Everyone has been calling it “iPad 3”, for the lack of a better name. The name “iPad HD” has recently started showing up in the inventory of iPad accessory makers and I believe that will be the name. This may be a change from the norm, but the norm has only been two models, so there isn’t that much of pattern to break.

Wrong: The name is just iPad. To be fair, everyone got this wrong! I presume it will be referred to in the future as the third generation iPad. I am predicting iPhone will see a similar naming convention.

New Apps

To show off the new device, new apps will need to be displayed. There has been talk of Microsoft Office for iPad being presented on stage, and while that would be great Office would not show off the new hardware. John Gruber suggested that a photo editor, like iPhoto for iPad, would be a better way to show off the display and that makes sense to me. The high res display should make the iPad a wonderful tool for photographers to show off their work.

Correct: iPhoto for iPad (and iPhone) were released today rounding out the iOS iLife family. All other Apple apps were upgraded for the new hardware too.

Pricing

Even though there are rumors of an $80 price bump for the new iPad, I think Apple will keep the price the same as for iPad 2. $499 for 16GB/wifi and $529 for 16GB/4G. Add $100 for 32 and $200 for 64GB models. With more competition showing up at the low end, I don’t think going high would make sense.

Correct: Price for the new iPad is same as iPad 2.

Entry-level iPad 2

And speaking of competition from low cost tablets like the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet, I believe Apple will offer as an entry model an 8GB wifi iPad 2 for $399. I’m hoping it will be $349 but even with Apple’s amazing component deals that could be difficult.

Partial: The iPad 2 is still available at $399 but it is 16GB, not 8GB. The iPad 2 3G is also available at $529 (also a $100 price reduction).

So that’s it. I’ll update this post after the March 7 event to see how well I did.

Not too bad. Some things I did not expect:

  • Voice dictation. It looks like they included part of Siri technology but not the assistant functionality. Not sure why but I would guess to keep the volume down until Apple can scale it up for the extra volume.
  • No flash. No, not Adobe Flash. The camera has no LED flash. With the upgraded camera I would think they would put in the LED flash that iPhone 4/4S have.
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About Lee J.

Mobile Guy!
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