Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Apple iPad 3 Preview

[I'm going to try something new in this blog post. Instead of the usual commenting on reports from other technology-oriented blogs, I will try something more original...]

Nope, I do not have special insider information about Apple's imminent iPad 3. Nor do I have one on hand to tinker around -- and afterward write about my experiences with it. This post is simply to make calculated suggestions about the iPad 3.

Are you disappointed? Well, I frankly do not see a reason to be. Rumor mills on the iPad 3 have been running rampant lately, with all sorts of reports floating around about the expected arrival time or supply predictions. One point I am proving to you (as in, right now!) is that rumors are just that: rumors. The culture Steve Jobs has so carefully constructed at Apple means that no Apple employee is going to leak anything involving the device -- I doubt not even if you put a gun to their head. Unless a third-party outs something, or Apple itself releases information, the best information we have is just a series of calculated predictions.

And there should be nothing wrong about making calculated predictions, especially if they are made with an honest intent. This is precisely what I am about to do. Although I previously may have expressed interest in alternatives to Apple's now iconic product, there are still no viable alternatives. The Asus Transformer was arguably the strongest contender to the iPad 2, but it has gotten a negative rap about build quality and the immaturity of Google's Android Honeycomb OS. I am very curious to see what Amazon has in store nonetheless.

Here's the list of my calculated suggestions (most of which are no-brainers) for the iPad 3:
  1. Yes to "Retina" display -- Apple would be stupid not to do this. They need to implement the same display resolution used in the iPhone 4 into the iPad 3, if the goal remains to generate substantial revenue. Competitors are enhancing the resolution of their respective screens, and Apple can ill-afford to not follow suit in this increasingly competitive market.
  2. No to quad-core processor -- this one will not happen, because the technology is not there yet. Not enough time has passed to be able to integrate a quad-core processor successfully into the next iPad (they could but the cost would be too high). iPad 3 will retain the same A5 processor used in the iPad 2.
  3. Yes to 1GB+ of RAM -- one of the flaws of the iPad 2 was the pairing of a powerful processor with insufficient system memory. The result was the touting of amazing performance that could not be replicated in real life. Again, competitors are also pairing their devices with 1GB of memory.
  4. No to an "iPad Mini" -- Steve Jobs himself has declared the lack of a market for tablets with screen sizes below 10 inches. What else needs to be said? This one is pretty obvious, unless Apple plans to phase out the iPod Touch completely in favor of the iPad.
  5. No to lighter or smaller device -- there really isn't any point to doing this, in addition to the dangers of constraining the available space for circuitry boards. I believe we will see the iPad 3 have very similar dimensions and weight to the iPad 2.
  6. Yes to the same pricing scheme -- unless a quad-core A6 processor is integrated into the iPad 3, I see the prices for devices to remain the same. This means $499 for the smallest capacity iPad 3 (probably the same 16GB hard drive) and $599 for the next tier up.
  7. Yes to a late October arrival date -- Steve Jobs is too smart not to realize that if the release date is December or November, then there will be shortages and frustrated customers. If the release date is before late October, there is a great risk of cannibalizing the sales of the current iPad 2. In addition, this date allows Apple to compete directly with Amazon's alleged tablet.
So there you have it, a list of expected changes for Apple iPad 3. The keyword now is....patience.

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