My beloved Apple iPad just heard the news: Apple’s holding a special event on March 2. The invite doesn’t say “New iPad”, but the imagery is clear: a calendar page is peeling back to reveal an iPad. What else could it be but the second generation iPad? It’ll be different than the iPad I own, ostensibly better. This is what worries my iPad. It assumes, and I’m not sure I can argue with it, that I’ll race to replace yesterday’s model with the latest, and possibly greatest, tablet on the market.
Don’t get me wrong, my iPad has been plenty good to me. I travel with it and use it for e-mail, web browsing, movie watching, music and audio-book playing, directions, astronomy, Angry Bird throwing, race car driving, newspaper reading, controlling my DVR, and drawing. In fact, I probably spend more time drawing on the iPad than I do anything else. No question about it, the Apple iPad is currently my favorite device. So why would I give it up?
No, I wouldn’t give it up for one of the competitive tablets from Toshiba, Motorola, Samsung, HP, or even RIM. I like what I see in these Tabs, Xooms, TouchPads and Playbooks, but these are relatively new and untested (in some cases unreleased) products. Plus, there’s no guarantee that they’ll feature my favorite apps. With enough time and success, I’m sure they will, but if I can make the transition from iPad V1 to iPad V2 without losing my apps, photos, music, movies, contacts, and drawings, then I see little reason to switch. Still, this doesn’t answer why I’d consider the iPad 2.
First let’s consider what Apple might introduce in the second-generation iPad. Before I begin, allow me to turn off my current iPad. I don’t want it watching and getting any more distressed than it already is.
It’s a lock that Apple will take the 1024×768 resolution up a few notches and possibly add the Retina Display to its tablet device. First introduced on the iPhone 4 last year, this high-resolution technology takes the display where no display has gone before, beyond the limits of human visual perceptionat least that’s what Apple tells us. The reality is that it makes even the densest Web site a breeze to read on the iPhone 4 screen. Imagine what it will do to the iPad’s more generous screen real estate.
When I met with HP earlier this month to get up-close and personal with the new TouchPad (it took all night to convince my iPad that me and the TouchPad are, for now, just friends), HP said they only put one front-facing camera on the device because they could not imagine anyone holding up their 9.7-inch device and filming with it. I cannot tell you how many times I wished my iPad had cameras on the front and back. Of course I’d be happy to hold it up and film with it. I fully expect Apple to put cameras on both sides of the iPad 2.
Apple doesn’t talk very much about the raw power behind its home-grown A4 chip, but I’m sure Apple wants to crank it up a bit. In fact, with a much higher-screen resolutions, I don’t think Apple has any choice. All the subsystem specs should go up. In fact, I would not be surprised if Apple drops the lower storage option (16 GB) on the iPad 2 and adds a new higher-end one: 128 GB.
If you haven’t spent any time with the 4th generation iPod touch, then you’re missing out. It is impossibly thin and powerful, plus it has a Retina Display and two cameras, which simply proves that Apple can squeeze a whole lot into a very tiny package. The iPad 2’s screen should be no smaller than the first generation one, but I do expect it to get a lot thinneryet still be super sturdy.
More Stable OS:
Here’s a dirty little secret about the iPad: It does crash. Okay, no so much the iPad, but the apps that run on it. I think Apple will introduce an updated OS to better navigate app faults and more gracefully handle crash-prone apps. The latest OS will also support 20(!) fingers of touch and add more nuance to the multitasking support so you can see what’s going on under each of those app icons.
The iPad is already a great gaming device, but I predict that Apple will show some interesting Apple TV related technology where the iPad becomes a control pad for an HDTV-based game.
Each and every one of these changes makes the iPad 2 hard to resist. Higher resolution means my drawings will become more detailed and the output will be that much better, even at printout sizes larges than 8×10 inches. Two cameras means I can take photos to share or use with my art and start using FaceTime and Skype immediately. A faster processor means an end to some of the lag I see in drawing and gaming. A thinner iPad will encourage me to carry it around all the time. Right now, I still have to choose between my laptop and the iPad (sorry, but I still can’t get all my work done on the iPad).
I admit it, I’m guessing here. Apple could introduce a minor iPad upgrade, but I really don’t expect that. It’s not the Apple waylately they tend to go big or go home. If some or all of these things happen, and Apple doesn’t raise the price of the iPad 2, then it’ll be hard for me to resist upgrading, but to upgrade, I’d have to sell or trade in (will Apple offer this?) my current iPad. This will not sit well with the device that’s my nightly couch companion. I worry about what the aluminum and glass device might do. Tell you what, let’s keep this little conversation between us and if my iPad asks, tell it we were talking about the Mets chances in 2011.