Well. Today is officially iPad 3/HD day. Here are my bets in decreasing likelihood:
- Retina display – it would be a crime if this didn’t happen
- Quad core with A5X chip inside
- 1GB of RAM
- New 128GB model
- Better cameras
- No home button
- Cheaper iPad 2S ‘Small’
As well as the iPad, iTunes will probably be updated along with the Apple TV to support 1080p content, especially because of a Retina Display.
The time of year has once again come that Apple reveal a new iPad and this time round we are set to see the iPad 3. Here’s what we know and what is likely:
- Its going to have a Retina Display – when you compare the above image with an iPad 2 this one clearly has much higher definition
- It’ll be thinner
- It will run iOS5 until iOS6 comes out
- It will be faster, use the A5X chip and possibly be quad-core (if not very fast dual core)
- It might lose the home button – Gizmodo points out that the above image has to be in portrait because of the distance between tiles and the Calendar icon is below the right set of bubbles that should be above the home button
I can see that the iPad (and eventually iPhone and iPod Touch) will work quite well without a home button and app switching (along with reaching the home screen) will probably be achieved be some sort of flicking action. That or there is no physical home button but that the black border can detect touch.
MacRumors and Gizmodo are currently reporting that Apple are going to be doing an education based event at the Guggenheim Museum in New York next Thursday. The main current rumors suggest that it will be closely related to the iPad however there may also be links with Mac. Most people seem to reckon that there will either be a whole load of new education based content available (perhaps textbooks or courses) or that there is going to be a student based iPad.
I don’t think Apple would launch a student based iPad (I may, of course, be eating my hat on that by next week) or an eReader. It wouldn’t be the ‘Apple way’ to launch a product that would go against their own principals. The iPad is better than Android tablets at the moment because everything just works and the user knows it will work regardless of things like screen size and ratio. We already know that Apple don’t think smaller tablets are a good idea, so I can’t see that happening either. A reasonable explanation may be that they are launching a new iPad because they generally do that in the early part of the year.
Assuming that the event is launching a product/service directly linked with education a reasonable assumption may be that they are planning something (evil) to get Macs into schools because that is currently something almost exclusively dominated by Windows. The advantage of doing that would be to get dedicated users when they are young.
In my opinion the most likely idea is new content. iTunes U already exists and I would guess that it is going to be some sort of extension of that. I don’t think that anything can really be read into the fact that it is in New York or specifically at the Guggenheim either – an art museum does seem to be an unlikely setting for an Apple keynote. We’ll know by next Thursday…
The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is going to start this week and the technology world is basically going to go and live there for the next couple of weeks. I get the feeling that this year probably won’t be as big as previous years and that is most because the bigger brands are gradually pulling out. Microsoft have already announced that this is going to be their last year at CES.
Apple are never present at CES however there is a massive iLounge for other companies to demo Apple related products in. There should be an update to Gorilla Glass (the glass used in the screens of most smart phones and tablets) to make it thinner and stronger. It is rumored that this will lead to significantly thinner tablets.
The main phone rumor, however, isn’t to do with Android or iOS. Its Windows Phone 7 with Nokia. Since Microsoft and Nokia announced their partnership Nokia have launched one Windows Phone 7 device in Europe however the successor to the Lumia 800, the Lumia 900, is expected to be released around the world soon with the official announcement at CES.
Going back to Microsoft, I doubt that there is going to be anything major. We might get the beta of Windows 8 (which would make sense because submissions to the Windows Store are beginning at the end of January) but I don’t think that anything spectacular will be revealed.
Loads of people have been talking on the web about new technology, gadgets and Apple products due for release next year however nobody has really considered what software will happen next year and so far it looks like one thing will be ruling above all others: Windows 8.
Aside from Windows 8 Microsoft will no doubt release the developer tools for it, Visual Studio 11, which will allow developers to create cool (?) Metro applications that do stuff that Windows couldn’t do before although it is most important that it will be on tablets. As far as we are aware nothing else is planned by Microsoft (I don’t expect to see a new version of Office before 2013) however it is reasonable to assume that they well be developing many applications that use Kinect as a way of controlling the UI.
Google will probably begin developing new versions of Android and I should imagine that they will develop some new product that takes advantage of Chrome 20 or something ridiculous like that. I don’t anticipate Google developing any more desktop software because they are gradually moving towards web apps so it is possible that applications like Google Earth and Google Sketchup become full Chrome Web Apps.
Apple don’t seem to have anything planned and there certainly won’t be another version of OS X next year however they may be an update either to iOS 5.5 or version 6 depending on what Apple have planned for the ultimate merger of the two OSes. I should imagine iTunes will move to version 12 and Safari to version 6, however.
Sadly next year isn’t going to be a big year for many software companies, and it will mostly be Microsoft taking the stage.
There is a new rumor that Apple are planning retina display level screens for MacBooks next year, or at least MacRumors reckon they might be because there are hints of it in the beta of the next update for Lion. The retina display is currently just used on the iPhone and iPod Touch and puts the screen resolution so high that it is impossible to tell the difference between individual pixels at a certain viewing distance. The new displays have been a huge success and helped to maintain Apple’s competitive advantage.
When rumors for the iPad 2 started circulating around this time last year one of the first things to crop up was the possibility of the iPad also having a retina display. Some people thought that the screen would change shape from its standard 4:3 ratio to a full HD screen at 16:9. Needless to say, it didn’t. Similar rumors have also been appearing regarding the iPad 3 however the common decision is now that the iPad works at 4:3 and there is no need to change it to 3:2 or 16:9 so any change would likely be to double the resolution.
The emerging rumor suggests that MacBooks could have their display resolutions doubled from 1440 by 900 on the 15″ model to 2880 by 1800. It seems perfectly reasonable that Apple might do this and the hardware could probably just about handle but the problem is that there isn’t much point. It would put the resolution on the 15″ screen (it is worth me pointing out now that I am using a 17″ screen at 1440 by 900 at the moment and there are absolutely no problems) higher than Apple’s 27″ Thunderbolt display which is only 2560 by 1440 pixels and it operates very well at that resolution.
Despite being quite cool there isn’t actually any useful purpose in producing a 15″ laptop with a higher resolution screen than a $999 27″ high-end monitor. The first major problem would be that it would hinder graphics performance unless AMD or Intel have some secret that they are launching in the New Year. The second is that there isn’t really any content designed for such high resolutions. I’ve never seen video higher than Full HD on the internet (I know that YouTube does go up to 4K though). Graphics intensive games generally don’t go beyond full HD. Designers don’t really need high resolutions either because a useful feature called zooming exists.
Perhaps I’m being pessimistic, but there really doesn’t seem to be anything useful in a 15″ laptop with a really, really high resolution screen.
Apparently today’s big Apple news is that the Mac App Store has hit 100 million downloads although I don’t really know if I should be impressed by this statistic. It isn’t anywhere near as many as the incredible 10 billion that Google recently announced on the Android Market place, but is 100 million really that many downloads? Considering that there are a few thousand apps it brings the average per app down to around 10,000 – 50,000 per app. This statistic is a little more impressive considering the average price for an app is around $30.
100 million downloads isn’t actually that many. It is estimated that there are around 160,000,000 Chrome users globally which seems to make Apple’s statistic seem a little small but 100 million certainly isn’t bad. Microsoft now have a benchmark for 340 days with the launch of the Windows Store expected next February in the beta of Windows 8. Microsoft do have a major disadvantage that their store will only be available on Windows 8 and not Windows 7 which means that it will grow a lot more slowly. Despite this I would expect that there will be more free apps (mostly rubbish casual games) on the Windows Store so they will probably experience a greater number of downloads although not sales.
Apple has proved something with this though: app stores do work on desktop and they are potentially a great way for the platform provider (Microsoft or Apple) to make a load of money and for developers to begin to earn more money. God knows if it’ll work though.
I am generally a bit of a scrooge in the run up to Christmas however this year I have actually managed to be relatively happy about the whole thing. Not sure why. The main reason that I am beginning to feel like it is actually Christmas is because I have finally written up my Christmas Card list (I’am going to write them out like a production line – write the Tos, then the Merry Christmases, then the sign offs and then people’s names) and I have been Christmas shopping – although I’ve just ended up in the Apple Store so it doesn’t really count.
Every store nearby has got Christmas decorations up (some of them have gone a bit OTT) but Apple have been more subtle and switched the staff into Red shirts and set up the Express Shopping lane already; there’s a massive stack of iPads off to my right.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but it is actually relatively easy to find the draw string bags in the Apple Store because at the back facing end of each table of goodies there are slots that the staff pull them out from. In this Apple Store there are definitely larger bags further back and the small ones are at the front with the iPhones and iPods.
Its beginning to become a bit depressing blogging about Apple all the time. I am fairly certain that aside from programming it is the most used tag on this blog. But there is always something to talk about with Apple and today’s new fun fact is that there are rumors of a new larger MacBook Air running AMD. Yes, AMD.
I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some sort of cross-breed MacBook Pro/Air coming soon because it is probably needed to fill the gap once taken by the white MacBook. There are rumors of the new MacBook Air shipping at some point early next year though it seems unlikely as it would be the fourth generation of the Air and the third in the last year and a half so I would suggest it would be coming later on next year.
As for the AMD rumor – that seems preposterous. Intel and Apple have a very friendly relationship and I would suggest that it is definitely to Intel’s advantage due to the growing Mac market however I move to AMD seems unlikely because it would open up so many new Hackintosh opportunities and it would mean Apple would have a smaller excuse for over-pricing their computers.
Nobody can deny that Apple is a little over priced (ignore the iPhone in the above picture – it is on contract). Their cheapest computer is $600 and you cam build a similar spec PC for almost half that price. It is rumored that Apple make about $400 profit on every single iPad that they sell. Despite this Apple somehow get away with selling products for far more than the average market price. It defies the laws of economics.
The first reason is almost certainly exclusivity. Apple market OS X as the world’s best desktop OS and iOS as the best mobile OS (which it is). By only selling the operating systems on their devices and optimizing those devices for their operating systems they are essentially charging extra for the operating system. The design probably also comes in as well – Apple products are a fashion item and therefore people should be charged extra for them.
Arguably the next reason makes sense: Apple products are very good at being the best product in their market. Nobody buys regular MP3 players these days because the iPod is the MP3 player and nobody buys anything else because they have no reason to. The iPad is the best tablet. The iPhone is the best smart phone. The Mac is best at some stuff.
But the third reason is even more important and its that Apple got there first. Apple pretty much invented the style of GUI operating systems. They invented the MP3 player. They invented the smart phone (or at least they invented the touch smart phone). They invented the tablet. Because Apple invented the product, and therefore pretty much invented the market, they were able to invent the price. Apple fans are willing to pay the Apple price because it is the price.
The fan community also helps move things along because as my developer-user circle theory states, where the nerds go first the crowd follows (and sometimes the opposite way round).