iPad 2 Predictions

With the recent upgrade of Apple’s line of iPods, the Mac rumor mills have been buzzing about the likelihood that we’ll see a new iPad soon.

What will the new iPad be like? What will the killer new features be? When will it be announced? At this point the answers are anyone’s guess but below I’ll give my own predictions.

It’s All About The Cameras

No matter when it finally does happen, you can bet that the iPad 2 will be all about cameras. Between FaceTime, iMovie mobile, and the new HDR photo features found in iOS4, there’s simply too much new technology there that the iPad isn’t taking advantage of as a high-end product.

Apple hardware fans will go berserk if the newest iPad doesn’t have at least a front-facing camera. In all likelihood, you can probably expect the same dual camera setup found on the iPhone and recently mimicked on the iPod Touch (though I wouldn’t be surprised to only see a front-facing camera).

screenshot

Will We See an iPad Camera?

It’s interesting to note that Steve Jobs slipped up at the recent iPod conference and said that the new HDR abilities will be hitting the iPad sometime soon. Did he just misspeak or was it an accidental hint of things to come?

The primary reason to expect at least a front-facing camera is of course FaceTime. Despite the fact that video-conferencing has now been quite common for years, casual video calling hasn’t really reached the ubiquity that the expert futurists who wrote for The Jetson’s foresaw. Apple wants to change this in a big way with FaceTime.

Apple has promised to (one day) release FaceTime as an open standard. Considering Apple’s closed model for music, apps, operating systems and everything else, this is a surprising move. This means that FaceTime will hopefully one day be on most major smartphones, eliminating its current iPhone-geeks-only status.

All of this evidence points to Apple wanting FaceTime to be available on as many devices as possible to be used by as many people as possible. Obviously, they’re starting with their own hardware and the only iOS device left without a camera is the iPad.

You’ll also no doubt see FaceTime integration on your Mac some time in the near future. Currently iChat does videoconferencing via the AIM network and is a logical place for FaceTime to appear as well.

Retina Display

Now that Apple has slapped that beautiful retina display on both the iPhone and the iPod Touch, the next logical jump is the iPad right? Though we’d all love to see such a large 326ppi screen, it may not be practical or feasible in the near future.

Just because the technology works on a 3.5″ display doesn’t mean it will scale well. Even if the technology could be made affordable, much of today’s media might actually end up looking like crap on such a large high-resolution display. This would of course defeat the purpose!

Check out Mark Trapp’s insightful article on the potential problems with an iPad retina display. To be honest though, if you would’ve told me last year that Apple was working on cramming 326 pixels per inch into an iPhone display, i would’ve said you were nuts. Anything is possible with those wizards at 1 Infinite Loop.

What You Won’t See

I put out a call on Twitter for predictions about the new iPad and a large portion of the guesses had to do with hardware that I frankly never see coming to the iPad.

The first is a physical keyboard. Forget it, Apple will no sooner stick a physical keyboard on a iOS device than they will replace Steve Jobs with Steve Ballmer. These devices are all about pushing the future of touch-screen interaction and an on-board physical keyboard would only undermine this goal. As far as Apple is concerned, anyone who wants a keyboard can use the Bluetooth keyboard dock or one of those nifty cases that manufacturers are churning out left and right.

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As close as you'll get to a physical iPad keyboard

Next up on the list of favorites is a USB port. Again, not going to happen. USB ports add bulk while iOS devices keep getting thinner and thinner (I have it on good authority that the next iPod will be completely invisible). Apple is now implementing wireless printing via iOS devices and you can expect to see nothing but wireless interaction in the future for all peripheral devices.

The final popular suggestion that you won’t see is a larger screen area. You have to consider all the infrastructure in place for the first generation iPad screen size. Changing this in only the second generation would infuriate developers who would then have to create versions of their apps that function on three different screen sizes (iPhone/iPod, iPad 1 and iPad 2). Apple no doubt did tons of research and had countless meetings to nail down the iPad screen size and I see absolutely no reason for them to change it in the near future.

Good Guesses

The good folks who follow us on Twitter also had some solid ideas that are likely to be seen in addition to the cameras. These include a possible chip upgrade (from the A4 to?), more RAM, and a gyroscope.

The latter of these is quite likely given the recent addition of a gyroscope to the iPod Touch and the reported blank slot inside the iPad all ready for the gyro addition.

As per the aforementioned trend you might also see the device slim down a bit (is that even possible at this point?) and as one tweeter said it, no matter what Apple does with the next iPad, they are likely to describe it as “magical/revolutionary.”

Timing

This one is the toughest to call. Many are guessing a revamp before the holiday season. Apple loves Christmas and it definitely wouldn’t be the worst idea to push the new iPad out before the mothers of spoiled children everywhere start breaking out the giftwrap.

However, critics of this idea point out that Apple is rolling out the iPad slowly across other countries and will not be ready for a new version to hit until early next year. Further, if Apple were going to release the new version so soon, why not take advantage of the big audience at the recent iPod conference to announce it?

On this one, your guess is as good as mine. I would be surprised to see a new iPad before next year but I also intentionally refrained from buying the first generation model in favor of the inevitable FaceTime version so I’m selfishly hoping for Apple to release the next version as soon as possible!

What Do You Think?

Now we throw the conversation back to you. What do you think the next iPad will be like? Are the predictions above spot on or the ill-informed banter of a madman?

Leave a comment below and tell us what you think we will and won’t see in the next version and when you expect Apple to drop the bomb on the release date.


  • Connor Crosby

    Very nice predictions. I will consider buying one if they implement a camera for facetime.

  • Philip

    I hope if a new iPad comes out they make a dock connected camera, so I can use the new hdr and facetime features

  • Alan Monroig

    I don`t think an iPad is a great option to buy, I rather buy an iPhone, it is way more practical. But having one would be nice :)

  • http://www.scottwills.co.uk Scott

    Great article, Josh. :-)

    Forget the retina display upgrade, just try to improve outdoor readibility which is the biggest shortcoming with the iPad presently. I honestly don’t see the new iPad being released until 2011, the same time iLife and iWork will be upgraded too. Finally, instead of larger screens, there have been some rumors about smaller iPads. I’m a fan of the current size but one can foresee the size and weight being reduced at some point in the future (just like the evolution of iPods) and if this holds true then we can expect a drop in price also which will facilitate further market saturation.

    • http://www.coroflot.com/joshuajohnson Joshua Johnson

      I’ve heard a lot of speculation about this too. A smaller iPad just doesn’t make sense to me. We have one… it’s called the iPod Touch. Within the first month of the iPhone being released there were rumors of a smaller version which has yet to materialize by the fourth generation.

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  • http://tehloft.com Geoff Liang

    I expect a January announcement, February release in the US and arrival to international shores in April. They can’t release it too late. It’ll be funny to preview iOS 5 and announce the iPad at the same time—the iPad will look obsolete.

  • http://villavizar.com Gustavo Villavizar

    Actually I have neglected to buy one until they release a camera version. I am planning on using it entirely for work purposes, so a camera is needed for video conferences.

    What I think it is needed aswell is a way for me to have a keynote presentation on my ipad and facetime activated and someone on the other side will see my presentation as I go through it explaining it on my ipad, at my office. THAT would be revolutionary.

    I hope they release the second version soon so I can get mine finally.

  • http://rayspettersson.com Ray Pettersson

    Great article! I wonder how long Apple products are going to be portrayed as magical and revolutionary.

  • http://inventorian.com Bruce

    More RAM/CPU Speed :)

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  • http://www.dursoworld.com Michael

    Very nice predictions. Yes, I believe they are going to be doubling the RAM & CPU speed as well from 2xx to 5xx RAM.

    I’d really love to see an “Upcoming iPad 2 vs. HP Slate” hypothetical comparison.

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  • ladda

    wow so cool ever! love apple stuff!!!!

  • http://--- sean

    yo solo espero que siga siendo MAGICO Y REVOLUCIONARIO, si normalmente el dinero se va a la basura con objetos que no tienen una super calidad, por que no tirarlo con estilo jejejjeje compremos un ipad. ademas realmente no es malo el ipad es algo caro pero que le hacemos no podemos consentir a todo el mundo que lo compre quien quiera y quien pueda, y respecto a sus prestaciones; me gustaria que tuviera 2 camaras y me agradaria mas ram y un procesador mejor del que ya tiene, y los puertos usb no son necesarios realmente no importa si lo tiene o no al final la entrada dock que tiene funciona como un usb y esta mas que comprovado que con algo de experiencia y un poco de imaginacion todos podemos tener acceso a su interior ademas de que ya se legalizo la modificacion del software ya se puede hacer jailbreake LEGAL asi que antes era gratis seguro en un futuro costara…. jejejejejejje saludos bueno onda a todos.

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  • gary

    Yes i ‘m thinking it will most definately have some sort of camera but for it to blow away the competition it would have to include something like the new light-peak connection or it will be lost in amoungst hundreds of competition….

  • carissa

    i am buying one for sure

  • Vang

    Apple may be forced to put in USB by EU.

  • michael

    has anyone ever thought of having a PHONE with the new iPad 2 ……..

  • upoujh

    wowowo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    sooo kool rite.?.?.?

  • Jennifer

    I hope they dont bring out an ipad 2 because ive got the ipad (im on it thisnow) but it would be GREAT if they brought out a cammera to plug into the first ipad !!!

  • james braselton

    hi there i also too have a ipad a 32 gb version wi-fi only if they bring out a 128 gb flash drive ipad 2 i just might upgrade becuase me have 2 avatar movies 165 songs and yes i blog and internet useing my ipad or iphone 4 do not want my imac too have hard drive failuer in the past computers with drives would crash and fail soo i have giving up on hard drive technoly and useing flash drive or solid state drives or ssd

  • xianixony

    i am soo getting it :)

  • zerg

    :( boo <3

  • jose

    good cameras finally facetime

  • tarek

    wow !!
    apple products are classic
    the ipad 2 will look better if it had a camera and a finger scan as a password and if it had 2 places for earphones
    :)

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