I don’t pay any great attention to the endless rumours that precede most Apple announcements and product launches, but the most prevalent ones can give a good indication of what is planned. Combine that with a bit of common-sense and this is my take on what we’ll see tomorrow:
- An updated iPad. (I know, I’m a genius)
- Possibly named iPad HD.
- It will have a Retina display, which in Apple-speak means during normal use you cannot see the pixels. (It is not a definition of a specific resolution.)
- It will support “4G” networks in America (I don’t know enough about European 4G technology compatibility to comment on whether Europe would also be supported).
- Improved FaceTime camera.
- Improved rear camera (why wouldn’t they?).
- Similar size (there is a prominent rumour saying it will be slightly thicker but that doesn’t quite sit right with me. It’s not like Apple to publicly downgrade a product, but with the 4G capability it is possible). It won’t be thinner.
- Siri! The jury is still out on whether Siri is ready for the iPad, but it is of course an inevitability. I will be disappointed if they don’t include it, despite the beta tag.
- The same price as the current iPad 2.
- It will still have a Home button. Despite rumours to the contrary, and a hint in the invite picture itself (see above), I still don’t see any benefit in Apple removing it. It is an iconic part of the design. Perhaps they’ll make it touch-sensitive, but not in replacement of the physical action.
- A refreshed Apple TV is likely, to support the higher resolutions the iPad is now capable of (1080p). There may be more fundamental improvements to the Apple TV experience (software) but I find that less likely at this point in time.
A few other possibilities that I’ve heard, that make sense to me, are refreshed Smart Covers and new iPhoto for iPad software (the iPad is still reliant on iTunes for photos when it should sync directly with iCloud), and possibly a Microsoft Office for iPad announcement.
I think we’ll see a similar reaction in the mainstream media as we saw with the iPhone 4S – that Apple has not made enough radical changes (in their opinion of course), but that no doubt they’ll sell like hot cakes due to the Apple “faithful“. Obviously it will be a success, but perhaps that will be more due to the fact that a) there are still lots of people who don’t own iPads yet and b) it is the only tablet on the market worth buying.
While I’m on the subject, I do find the concept of mindless expectations of annual upgrading really annoying. Sure, if you’ve got the cash to burn then buy whatever you want, but don’t criticise Apple for not making the new version appealing enough to you if you already own the previous year’s model. You aren’t meant to upgrade every year just for the sake of having the newest thing. That defeats the purpose of owning such a device in the first place, and places you in the ‘stupid consumer” category. Buy something because it serves a purpose, and replace it when that stops being the case.