Apple’s hosting its iPad 3 event tomorrow morning at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. Yesterday we told you what announcements to expect from the event, and now we’re going to give you our last minute predictions.
What will the iPad 3’s list of features look like? Will Apple announce new iPad 2 pricing? A new Apple TV? We answer these questions and more, inside…
iPad 3 features
Up to this point, all of the evidence we’ve seen suggests that the iPad 3 will look extremely similar to its predecessor. Its features, on the other hand, are somewhat of a mystery. Will it have a Retina display? Will its processor be dual-core or quad-core? Will it have LTE?
I believe the Retina display is a no brainer at this point. Ever since I got my iPhone 4 and its crisp display, I have dreamed about having the same on my iPad. It seems the time has come.
Because the resolution of the screen will be larger, apps graphics will have to be larger too. That’s why I think if Apple introduces an iPad 3 with Retina display, it will have to come with a quad-core processor in order to power the new graphic heavy apps that will be developed or optimized for it.
Now the LTE question. I’m really on the fence about that one. While LTE would be the normal evolution to follow, we know Apple doesn’t care about what’s normal or not. LTE is such a new technology that has yet to be adopted or deployed everywhere in the world, that my head tells me no, the iPad 3 won’t be LTE capable. However my heart says the opposite. I don’t feel strong about it either way, but I’d rather trust my head on that one.
Regarding Siri, I believe it will be one of the key features of the iPad 3. Siri is the one feature Apple has been advertising for the iPhone 4S. It is what makes it different from any other phone right now. I believe the same will apply to the iPad 3. I understand there are a few limitations about bringing Siri to the iPad (UI, missing apps to give the fully integrated Siri experience, etc…) but I’m sure Apple has already figured that out. At the very least, if Siri is not part of the iPad 3, dictation will be.
What about the name? Forget iPad HD. This sounds like a cheap name quickly put together by some Korean electronics giant. Apple has spend the last two years educating us about the Retina display, what it is, and how it works. This is their thing! Good marketing sense wouldn’t want them to dilute the branding of the “Retina display” term to go to something more generic like “HD”. I think the next iPad will be called iPad 3.
Finally, I believe the iPad 3 will come with the usual improved cameras and battery performance.
I think it’s fair to assume that the rumor we’ve heard that the pricing and configuration of the iPad 3 will remain the same as the iPad 2 is indeed true. A price increase wouldn’t be a smart bet in an increasingly competitive tablet market.
What will happen to the iPad 2, you might ask. I think it’s safe to assume that a Wi-Fi only version of the iPad 2 will be offered at $299, most likely with less storage, in order to compete with the other affordable options like the Kindle Fire.
At this point, the only two features I would bet money on to show up in the new iPad are the Retina display and upgraded cameras. Even if you don’t believe the dozens of rumors or the leaked components we’ve seen, you can’t ignore the Retina graphic in the banners Apple is hanging around the Yerba Buena center — it’s coming. And Apple certainly wouldn’t keep the iPad 2’s terrible cameras around with such a gorgeous screen, so expect them both to receive a significant bump.
The processor could go either way. While I would love for Apple to come out swinging with a quad-core processor, the dual-core A5X seems more sensible. And in case you haven’t noticed, Apple tends to lean towards sensibility in most cases.
I’m also on the fence about Siri. Apple has paraded the digital assistant around for months in its iPhone 4S commercials, so why not bring the popular feature to its new iPad? Well, there are a couple of reasons. For one, tablets aren’t always connected to the internet. And Siri needs the internet to work. There’s also the argument of why Apple would want to integrate the hands-free assistant into a tablet that it obviously wants you to have your hands on.
And finally LTE. Yes. I’ll put my foot down on this one and say yes, I think we’ll see LTE in the new iPad. Both Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal have reported this as “confirmed.” And I’m not quite sure how it’ll go about the implementation, but I think we’ll see it.
All of this will make it into a tablet starting at $499 (obviously LTE and other wireless models will be more expensive). And yes, Apple will keep the iPad 2 around (more than likely a low-storage, Wi-Fi-only model), and price it under $400.
The iPad 3 will obviously have the Retina display. And for me and virtually everyone else, that’s enough to warrant an upgrade from any previous iPad.
Apple knows that people will be blown away with the crispness of its new display, so it doesn’t really need to pack any more treats in with the iPad 3.
However, I do think the rumors of an upgraded processor are obviously true, as it will need the extra boost to power the extra pixels. Other than that, I think Siri support is a no-brainer, along with a 2 megapixel front facing camera, and at least a camera that’s on par with the iPhone 4S on the rear. The bottom line is that everything will be visually scrutinized courtesy of the Retina Display, so cameras and other visual features will have to be bumped up in spec in order to look decent. Because of this, I also think we’ll see a big push for 1080p content in the iTunes store.
I’m not bullish on LTE being a feature just yet due to battery concerns, though an improved Wi-Fi chip, and faster 3G connectivity a la iPhone 4S is a possibility. Plus, Apple wants to save its LTE support for its flagship iPhone 5.
The iPad 3 will sell at the same price point as iPad 2 currently, and iPad 2 will be offered as a Wi-Fi only option in black at 16GB for $299. This would be a killer price, and would also eat nicely into Amazon’s offerings.
We seem to have been talking about the iPad 3 for months, and we’ll soon be predicting what will be included in the iPad 4! Until then, it appears that the third generation tablet will feature LTE 4G according to reports, despite my protestations to the contrary.
A quad-core CPU and a Retina display are almost guaranteed at this point, though I am not convinced Siri will be included. That said, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was.
Price-wise, I can’t see Apple deviating too far from the $500 starting point it has protected thus far. It all depends how much that display costs to produce. Apple may turn the iPad 2 into its budget tablet, especially if the iPad 3 price has to be higher than previous models due to that Retina Display. A cheaper iPad would also compete nicely with Amazon’s Kindle Fire.
I don’t think Apple will change its current game plan in terms of iPad launches. That being said, the iPad 3 will be priced starting at $499 and so on, while the iPad 2 gets marked down cheaper. Spec wise I’m very excited about the iPad 3. I think most of the rumors are spot on: dual-core processor, LTE, upgraded cameras, Siri support, and a larger battery.
For starters, I think the iPad 3 won’t have LTE capability because it isn’t available in many places like 3G currently is. I also think it will have a new and improved dual-core processor called the “A5X.” A quad-core processor would probably shorten the iPad’s battery life. It will for sure have a Retina display. This was a requested feature since day one, and people really want it now more than ever.
Apple’s main selling point for this will probably just be the Retina screen alone. Siri doesn’t look like it’s coming anytime soon. Many features would have to be removed that many people use like setting an alarm and creating a timer, due to the iPad not having a native Clock app. Without a doubt, the starting prices will remain the same. We’re in a recession right now, and it wouldn’t be a good idea for Apple to raise their prices at this time. We’ll probably even see a budget iPad, which would run between $250 and $300, and have little to no storage.
One more thing
Rumors of a revamped Apple TV showing up at tomorrow’s event have really picked up over the past week. It’s been more than a year since Apple updated its popular set top box, and several retailers are reporting that the current ATV model is out of stock. Could we see a new Apple TV tomorrow?
Despite still being considered a hobby, I believe Apple will unveil the next generation of Apple TV tomorrow. I expect it to be very similar to the current one, maybe with the rumored A5X processor, and of course with full 1080p support. I secretly hope Apple will also announce special agreements or partnerships with major cable companies, but I believe it is still too soon to see anything in that regard. If anything, the Apple TV 3 will be a beefed up version of its predecessor, but I don’t expect it to be a groundbreaking product. It certainly won’t be the Apple TV set that we’re all waiting for. I really don’t expect Apple to knock my socks off with an Apple TV refresh. To me, Siri and App Store support are out of the equation.
I definitely think that a new Apple TV is on the way, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t make an appearance at tomorrow’s iPad event. Either way, I think Apple upgrades the set top box with a faster processor, possibly the A5X, Bluetooth 4.0 and the ability to stream 1080p content. Bluetooth 4.0 is the big thing here. It opens up the door for Wi-Fi-free, lossless AirPlay and AirPlay Mirroring, and a world of a Bluetooth-enabled accessories like keyboards and game controllers. Does this mean that Apple will finally bring its App Store to the Apple TV? It’s certainly possible.
The Apple TV, despite being a hobby device, is still a “must have” in Tim Cook’s book, and I think we’ll see a refresh. It will be able to playback 1080p content and employ a faster processor. I think Siri is a stretch, because that will be a key component of the Apple Television set, but I think we could possibly see App Store support of some sort, and/or a more enhanced AirPlay experience. Look for additional content partners like ESPN and Disney as well.
Don’t expect Apple to announce a television during the event – they’d want that to have an event of its own – but I wouldn’t be surprised to see an updated Apple TV come along this time around. The device will have to be capable of streaming 1080p content, so it will need the help of a faster processor. Otherwise I’m not sure what other features Apple could pack in its aTV, maybe we’ll see something content-wise like App Store support, or more media partners.
I’m already a huge fan of the Apple TV, and besides my MacBook Air and iPhone 4S, it is my go-to gadget. Being priced at $99 it’s perfect for any home entertainment system. So will Apple unveil the third-generation Apple TV tomorrow? I’m pretty confident. It’s ready for a refresh, and all rumors are pointing to it. I think the Apple TV 3 will feature the dual-core A5X processor, 1080p support, Bluetooth 4.0, and hey, maybe even apps. The latter is a long-shot, but can’t one be hopeful? I’d be thrilled for a new Apple TV.
I believe we are going to see a new Apple TV tomorrow. It will probably have the new A5X processor, and full 1080p HD support to handle AirPlay Mirroring from the new iPad. Since Apple calls the Apple TV a “hobby,” we shouldn’t expect a design change. However, the streaming functionality on the Apple TV should be updated with more options to choose from. If Apple can get a deal with a major TV provider, they could deliver tons of content to a user’s living room. Imagine being able to watch ESPN and many other networks on the Apple TV for a small monthly fee. It’s also possible that Apple could be finally bringing third-party apps to the aTV.
So those are our predictions for Apple’s media event tomorrow. Obviously the company is known for its secrecy, so it very well could surprise us on some fronts. But for the most part we think we’ve got things figured out.
Make sure to tune into iDB tomorrow to see if we got it right. As usual, we’ll be providing full coverage of the event as well as our first opinions and impressions of the new hardware.
Now that you know what our predictions are, what are yours?