Special: Last-Minute iPad Event Predictions

by on March 7, 2012

As we are on the eve of Apple’s iPad event, which will undoubtedly involve some sort of new iPad, maybe an updated Apple TV, and a few unexpected surprises, I thought I would take a moment to throw out my list of predictions for your reading pleasure. Most of these are a compliation of rumors I’ve heard over the last few months from other sites, but I’m not looking at evidence of a screen found at a factory or a shell found somewhere else. This is pure speculation in its most fun form.

Update: After the event, each item has been noted as being correct or not.

Retina Display

This may be the headlining feature of the new iPad with the actual number of pixels doubled in each direction compared to our 1024×768 friends out there now. Besides it being the natural progression of things (backwards compatibility), it seems this would be a feature that would drive a number of original iPad users to upgrade.
– Correct

More Processing/Graphics Horsepower

With a higher-resolution display, the iPad would need some extra power to push so many pixels. I suspect we’ll see a dual-core processor, and probably a derivitive of the A5 (A5X?), simply because a completely new generation of chip would further spread out the variations across Apple’s lineup (A4 in iPhone 4, iPod touch, and Apple TV; A5 in iPhone 4S; A5X in next iPad). Let’s not even get the iPhone 3GS’s chip in the discussion. As for graphics, I suspect we’ll see some sort of advertised multiple of power compared to its predecessor, much like the iPad 2 had the magic “9x” advertised.
– Mostly Correct

More RAM

Although 512MB of RAM seems more than adequate these days (again the original iPad, iPod touch, and iPhone 3GS all are running with 256MB), the additional resolution and future capabilities may lead to Apple doubling the RAM to 1GB. This may be more wishful thinking, and I suspect that if Apple were trying to keep costs down, this would be the area to skimp.
– We’ll See

Unified 3G

The next iPad will have at least a setup similar to the iPhone 4S—one chipset, a micro-SIM slot, and the ability to run on your carrier of choice. Some are hoping for 4G/LTE, but unless Apple can get the battery life to hold up, I am guessing they’ll wait until the networks are built up (the 4G maps out there look a lot like the 3G maps when the original iPhone was launched).
– Incorrect—It has 4G LTE

Home Button

As much as I could live without it, sometimes a hardware button trumps software gestures, especially for novices and software bugs.
– Correct

Pricing & Capacities

I’m guessing Apple will keep the $499/$599/$699 for Wi-Fi-only and $629/$729/$829 for Wi-Fi+3G, but I could see the capacities being increased to 32GB/64GB/128GB. The iPhone 4S got the bump and the iPod touch has been topping out at 64GB for awhile, so why won’t the iPad have even more?
– Pricing Correct, Capacities Incorrect

Name

I’ve heard “iPad HD” thrown around, but this is just bad—the “HD” moniker is already used in the App Store for a lot of iPad apps, and this could potentially get confusing for what apps are designed only for the new iPad or not. I could see “2S”, but a Retina Display is enough to to warrant a new designation, thus “iPad 3” is getting my vote.
– Incorrect—it’s just “the new iPad”

Surprises

What else? Well, I think we’ll see some sort of software demo from either Apple or a high-profile third-party (Microsoft?), the iPad 2 kept around in a Wi-Fi-only 16GB capacity for $399, a mild update to the Apple TV (1080p, same enclosure, same price), and maybe a few new accessories—like the HDMI adapter and Smart Covers last year.
– iPad 2 Pricing & Apple TV Correct

Grumpy Pundits

No matter what, I suspect some tech pundits out there will say that Apple is doomed and this iPad is a disappointment, just like the prior iPads and the iPhone 4S. Regardless of the hype or complaints, Apple will probably sell an astronomical amount of them…on the first weekend.
– Correct

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