We are a pretty sad lot really, if we are honest with ourselves. The iPad 2 is an awesome product (by all accounts) and its the market leader, despite the best efforts of the likes of Sony, RIM and Samsung. Yet, it seems everyone is drooling over the iPad 3, even though, as always, there is no official announcement of whether there will even be an iPad 3, never mind when it’s coming and what exactly it will offer over and above the current model.
Now I have to say here that I don’t own an iPad, not even the first generation model. However, I encouraged a friend of mine to buy one recently. he is a totally non-techie guy and he has a young son. He was thinking of getting a laptop for the family (he already has desktop PC – a HP server I persuaded him to buy for his home office) and his budget didn’t quite run to a MacBook Air. So, I suggested that the iPad would make an ideal choice as its light, very portable and has an intuitive interface, something he and his family would get along with easily. Also, the vast library of apps would be perfect for his young son as educational software was high on his list of priorities. Also, they wanted something their son could use on long journeys in the car. So, he went ahead and purchased the iPad and is, needless to say, very pleased with his purchase, as are his son and wife.
So, there is no doubt in my mind that the iPad 2 is the best tablet device around and its understandable that the geeks amongst us are interested to see what Apple can pull out of the hat next. I am sure too that there is an element of “how can Apple perform without Steve Jobs at the helm?”. In view of this and as its coming up to New Year, a time when we traditionally look to the year ahead, I thought I would do a round-up of the iPd 3 rumours doing the rounds at the moment.
Firstly, there are the contradictory rumours about whether there will be one or two new iPads in 2012. Some pundits are saying that Apple will introduce 2 models – a so-called iPad mini included. Taipei-based DigiTimes has said that an iPad with a 7.85-inch display (iPad Mini) might be released by Apple in late 2012. Others are saying that there will only be one new iPad and that its slated for release as early as February 2012. Personally, I think that’s too early as it would cut into sales of the iPad 2 when its still riding high. The iPad 2 was only released in March this year (14 months after the original iPad was introduced in late Jan 2010). If Apple sticks to that cycle then we are looking at May or June as more likely.
In terms of specification, leaving aside the iPad mini issue, what can we expect of the iPad 3? Well, some folk seem to have been taking something (illicit substance wise) as they talk of a transparent iPad with holographic display! My guess is that such a device, if it were ever to appear would be sometime around 2020, not 2012. More realistically, a Retina-class display offering true HD with 2048×1536 pixels resolution is almost a certainty.
As for network connectivity, 4G LTE is also high on the feature list of most pundits. This would offer the possibility of super-fast mobile broadband, perhaps as fast as 100 Mb/s downloads! However, a LTE service is unavailable in most countries (including the UK) so even if Apple does introduce 4G LTE it may only be available in some countries. My personal view is that Apple prefers to have as few models of its devices as possible and would rather wait for network providers in countries like the UK to catch-up with the likes of Japan, the US and even Poland!
Other features high on the list for many pundits are:
1. Siri – this would be a welcome step and make the iPad even more user-friendly
2. Camera – a higher resolution camera with true HD would be a minimum if Apple is to keep it’s fans and critics happy
3. Battery – improved battery performance is always welcome
4. SD Card slot – great for adding photos and expanding memory
These are the main features that most pundits seem to be expecting. Personally, I think we will see most if not all of these in the new iPad 3, whenever it eventually comes to market.