Tuesday, 6 March 2012

My hopes & expectations for the iPad launch event

Ahead of Apple’s announcement of the next generation iPad, I thought I’d jot down what I expect (and don’t expect) from the new tablet. I’ll be keeping score :).

Retina display
What it means:
a much sharper picture than the current iPad, great for HD movies and games and even sharper magazine and web browsing experiences.
Likelihood: 100% - a safe bet as without this feature it isn’t worth refreshing the iPad 2, which is already the industry leader in the category by a colossal margin

A 5+ MegaPixel camera on the back
What it means:
sharper pictures to go with your new Retina display
Likelihood: 100% - it costs Apple nothing and enables a slightly better user experience

What it means:
voice search comes to the iPad
Likelihood: 100% - I expect this to be a major “buzz” feature at the launch

A 5+ MegaPixel camera on the front
What it means:
a really sharp camera to enable high definition video conferencing using either Facetime or 3rd party apps. With iPad increasingly penetrating the enterprise, this could be a really exciting feature and terrifying for the Ciscos of the world
Likelihood: 50% - I’m not feeling lucky, so I’ll go 50:50 – this would be a great feature, provided the technology could be made reliable enough for an Apple product

Quad-core “A6” processor
What it means:
each core is effectively a single processor and the engine that powers all of the tablet’s features. A quad core processor has four of them, working together. With a higher resolution screen comes more need for processing power to run all those HD games and decode HD movies, which is what the new processor would provide... but a high speed dual core setup might just be enough grunt and probably offers better battery life.
Likelihood: 50% - I think dual core is equally likely – iOS is perfectly matched to the hardware it runs on, so perhaps Apple will err on the side of battery life increase and heat reduction

A 128GB memory version
What it means:
more storage for that memory hogging HD video
Likelihood: 20% - Apple will emphasise even better iCloud integration in lieu of an expensive move to 128GB solid state storage

Enhanced Siri
What it means:
I think Apple may seek to integrate more visual search capability into Siri, perhaps via Google Goggles alike functionality. Watching words to images to search would be very neat and give people the choice of verbal, image or semantic. Other enhancements may be possible (and improve my chances of being right J)
Likelihood: 20% - enhanced Siri is likely to be the standout feature of iPhone 5 – iPad HD already has Retina so why go crazy?

A button-less visage
What it means:
the nerds are going crazy at the possibility of an iPad without a physical button on the front. Gestures or an active (touch sensitive) bezel would instead be used in lieu of that clicky circle of joy
Likelihood: 20% - I think the button helps the mass market consumer feel comfortable with the iPad – it’s a safe haven in storm of touch and gestures that are often not that intuitive to older (richer) users

What it means:
LTE is an improvement on the 3G mobile network that offers (theoretically) much faster download speeds – great if you’re streaming in high definition
Likelihood: 5% - Apple has never led the way in radio before, preferring to offer great Wi-Fi performance with cellular infill. LTE chipsets are currently battery hogs – draining a phone battery in 8 hours just on standby – and download limits mean that the benefits of LTE over 3G are minimal. I think Apple will stick with 3G for the main models for now.

Something completely unexpected
What it means:
NFC, Wi-Fi direct, wireless display, Apple TV, who knows what surprise Tim Cook will choose to spring on us
Likelihood: 100% - this is Apple we’re talking about! The best PR and product team in the industry. I’m sure there’ll be something new to show us. I’m hooked!

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