The past couple of days have been a bit of a whirlwind with new revelations and speculation about the inevitable Apple iPad 2 release.
First, the Wall Street Journal reported that manufacturing was already underway for the iPad 2. No surprise, given the widely believed release date of April 2011 for the device.
The WSJ also shed a light on a couple of details for the device:
The new iPad will be thinner and lighter than the first model, these people said. It will have at least one camera on the front of the device for features like video-conferencing, but the resolution of the display will be similar to the first iPad, these people said. It will also have more memory and a more powerful graphics processor, they said.
Shocker, huh? It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out that the latest iteration of the iPad would be faster, thinner, lighter, and have a camera. Looks like all you haters who held off on buying the first iPad because the second one would be that much better were right!
But wait, is it that big of a difference? Sure, it’s a superior product, but by waiting you’ve missed out on a year of utility from the device. I think a better litmus test is to see whether the features of the new device make an early adopter go “Ahhhh, crap, why didn’t I wait for the next one!”
As a current iPad owner, I can’t say I would really be first in line to get an iPad 2 if that was all it had. (I’m an admitted gadget freak with no problems splurging on new devices, so I’m not just saying this as a jaded first-gen owner.) More memory would be nice for web browsing and the more demanding Apps, and a camera might be cool if I’m ever using the device out and about, but honestly it’s not all that compelling to plunk down another $500-$600 for.
The biggest detail from the WSJ report is that “the resolution of the display will be similar to the first iPad.” There’s only so much benefit having a faster processor will have if it’s powering the same size display as before.
Which leads us to the second piece of information released this week about the iPad 2 by John Gruber, noted Apple “insider.”
From his article “The Next Six Months:”
So, here’s my guess at Apple’s iPad plans for 2011:
- An iPad 2, fairly soon. Say, a March announcement, shipping in the first week of April. Faster, more RAM, maybe more storage, thinner and lighter, a front-facing camera.1 Running iOS 4.3.
- iOS 5, announced at a developer event in March, shipping in June.
- iPad 3, shipping in September, announced at the annual iPod event. Running iOS 5.1, same as the next-generation iPod Touch.
Whaaaaaat? Two iPad releases in one calendar year? Say it ain’t so, Gruber!
Gruber then goes on to speculate on what this potential “iPad 3″ would be like:
I am nearly dead certain the iPad 2 is going to have the same display resolution and size as the current iPad. I am not so sure at all, though, that there won’t be a double-resolution 2048 × 1536 iPad in 2011.
Bingo! A Retina Display iPad would certainly make any first-generation adopter jealous and feel the itch to upgrade. It would also put that extra computing horsepower inside the new iPad to good use.
Of course, we’ll have to put the caveat out there that until something is confirmed by Apple, it’s still all just speculation at the end of the day. But with their track records and access to inside sources, we’d be more comfortable betting on Gruber and the WSJ than any other source of predictions for Apple products.