The new iPad: what we got right and what we got wrong

Summary:Over the last three weeks, we've made enough predictions that we've probably caused Nostradamus to roll over in his grave.

Tech pundits are an interesting breed. We blithely make predictions based on minimal data, and fully expect you to accept those predictions as gospel, at least until we get some real facts.

Such has certainly been the case with the iPad 3...er, iPad HD...uh, iPad 2S...oh, yeah, well, just the new iPad. Over the last three weeks, we've made enough predictions that we've probably caused Nostradamus to roll over in his grave.

See also: iPad 3 rumors come to life: We rate them here

Surprisingly, we got a few right. I got a few right. We also got a few wrong. I also got a few wrong. Eh, you win some, you lose some.

Right after the Apple event (actually, during part of it), CBS Interactive Managing Editor Josh Gingold held a live-video post-game show, talking about the announcements and what they mean for everyone. It's no longer live, but you can still watch it.

Video: What you need to know about the new Apple iPad

In any case, let's travel back in time to Monday, and see how we did.

No physical Home button

This was one of the more prevalent rumors, and it takes two forms. The first was that the new iPads won't have any Home button at all, taking after the Kindle Fire. The second was that the iPads wouldn't have a physical Home button, but there would still be a touch-sensitive "special place" on the bevel you touch to go home.

We rated this a "Don't count on it", and we were right. There is still a Home button on the new iPad.

Right: 1, Wrong: 0

It'll be called "iPad 3"

We thought the device might be called iPad 3, iPad 2S, and later, as we got closer to announcement time, iPad HD. We were completely wrong (which, for the record, makes the entire punditocracy two-for-two on the wrong side of Apple iOS product naming).

Right: 1, Wrong: 1

4G/LTE

Well, I got this one wrong big time, and I have to say it was the single biggest surprise for me of the event. I fully expected Apple to wait until the next iPhone rev for a 4G/LTE iOS device. See? I am human.

Right: 1, Wrong: 2

Hi-res retina display

Interestingly, the rumor mills were as sure of this as they were about the naming. But this one was completely correct, the new iPad will have a retina display.

Right: 2, Wrong: 2

Slightly thicker case

Somehow, the rumor mills were right on this one, which probably means some poor Chinese worker is going to get fired.

As it turns out, the new iPad is 9.4mm thick, where the iPad 2 was 8.6mm thick. For those of you who keep track of such things, the new iPad is still thinner than the 13mm of the original iPad.

Right: 3, Wrong: 2

The iPad 3 will have a 16x9 screen

The current generation of iPads and iPhones have 4x3 screens, which are, quite frankly, an anachronism. Monitors and TVs of old used to have 4x3 screens, but most current TVs and monitors are now 16x9 widescreen.

There's no doubt Apple will have to transition to 16x9 at some point, but that will break many iPad and iPhone applications. We weren't sure whether there'd be a new screen size, but since we didn't make a prediction, our right and wrong scores remain the same, but we now add an Undecided column.

Right: 3, Wrong: 2, Undecided: 1

Hi-res retina display could screw up apps

There were two variations to this rumor as well. The first was that the big files required to take full advantage of the retina display could overwhelm 3G application download limits.

The second rumor was that scaling current iPad app graphics up to display on the new, much higher resolution retina display could make current apps seem blurry.

We certainly got the 3G part of the prediction wrong, but declared that most apps will work, some will break. Since it really is too early to tell, undecided picks up another point.

Right: 3, Wrong: 2, Undecided: 2

Smaller iPads

The rumor mills were all over the map on this, predicting a 7-inch iPad, an 8-inch iPad, and then going for the uber-specific with the 7.85-inch iPad due in Q3 rumor.

I predicted no, so I get to hang another "right" on the scoreboard.

Right: 4, Wrong: 2, Undecided: 2

Next: More predictions »

« Previous: More predictions

More expensive models

This rumor mills had it that there will be pricier models, $579 for 16GB, $699 16GB with 3G, and $779 with 64GB, $899 with 64GB and 3G. I declared this as a "no chance," so I get to mark in another "right" on the prediction matrix.

Right: 5, Wrong: 2, Undecided: 2

8GB low cost model

The rumor mills were just dying to see a cheap iPad to compete at the lower end. Given that bottom-end 16GB iPad 2's were going for $429 from many resellers, and you can buy refurbished iPads straight from Apple for as low as $299, I thought it possible we'd see a lower-priced iPad 2 model (especially since the current iPad display is a known commodity, when it comes to supply chain issues).

That said, I said whether there's a storage reduction or not is anyone's guess. There was no storage reduction, but Apple is dropping the iPad 2's base price to $399. I read the tea leaves right on this one, as well.

Right: 6, Wrong: 2, Undecided: 2

128GB high-end model

The other side of the storage equation is the 128GB variation. After all, if you can now store and display full 1080i or 1080p movies, and you can display photos at super-high resolution, shouldn't you require more storage?

For those of you worried that I'm on too much of a winning streak, I voted this as a "yes". No.

Right: 6, Wrong: 3, Undecided: 2

Smaller docking port

We also heard rumors that Apple might be changing up the docking port, to something smaller and less compatible. The premise was that this would clear up some internal space, but it also meant customers would have to buy all new accessories.

I voted "Concentrate and ask again", which means our scoreboard remains unchanged, with undecided picking up another mark.

Right: 6, Wrong: 3, Undecided: 3

Better camera

The iPad 2 camera is terrible. This needs to be upgraded. The inside skinny was that there will be an 8 megapixel camera or even 1080p video.

I guessed "Signs point to yes". The front-facing camera is still VGA suckage, but the rear camera is now 5 megapixels and 1080p. It's not quite up to the standard of the iPhone 4S (whyever not?), but it'll do. Mark off another "right" for the Big D.

Right: 7, Wrong: 3, Undecided: 3

Siri on iPad

If you read the Web with care, you'd have noticed that a few of the punditocracy are claiming the new iPad will have Siri. This depends on two key factors: the processor power in the device and how robust Apple's network is. I was reasonably sure the processor in the new device would be able to handle the load, but their network might not. I voted "Signs point to yes".

As it turns out, there's "voice dictation" on the iPad, but absolutely, positively, no mention of Siri. Since this was listed as "Siri on the Mac" and not just "voice recognition," I'll man up and mark this as a wrong prediction.

Right: 7, Wrong: 4, Undecided: 3

Multi-core processor

If the new iPad is to properly support Siri and some of the advanced camera functions, it needs more processing power.

Now, I predicted a multi-core processor but I was wrong when I said "probably not quad-core". The A5X actually has a dual-core CPU, with a quad-core GPU. I was close, but still wro...I was wrrrr...I was...wrong.

Right: 7, Wrong: 5, Undecided: 3

New iOS version

This is an easy pickup point in the "right" column. We knew Apple was working on a new iOS version, and, in fact, it's out now. Hey, I'm not too proud to take a gimmee.

Right: 8, Wrong: 5, Undecided: 3

Better battery life

This could have gone hand-in-hand with the thicker case. A slightly thicker case, combined with some better battery technology, could yield a longer run-time.

I was wrong here. Apple is still claiming 10 hours of battery life, although with a retina display and 4G, there's certainly more work being done to keep up with the 10 hours. From a technical point of view, it's probably a better battery.

But I didn't predict a better battery technology, I predicted better battery life. I was wrong. Bummer (not just for my score, but for all of iPad users).

Right: 8, Wrong: 6, Undecided: 3

NFC communications chip

Just because there are never enough ways to spend money, we had some rumors that the new iPad would contain a near field communications chip. I predicted that as a "Very doubtful" and I was right.

Right: 9, Wrong: 6, Undecided: 3

Bonus rumor: new Apple TV

We'd been hearing reports about the Apple TV vanishing from store shelves. Given that the little black hockey puck has been quite popular at $99, the rumorazzi were starting to make noises that Apple would be bringing out a new Apple TV, maybe even a TV with an Apple logo on it.

I predicted "Concentrate and ask again", which meant I had absolutely no idea. Other than the reduction in stock, there'd been no other real news. As it turns out, there is a new Apple TV, and it makes sense in the context of the iPad's 1080p capability.

Since I didn't hazard a prediction here, we'll give this last scoreboard entry to Mr. Undecided.

Right: 9, Wrong: 6, Undecided: 4

Conclusion

And there you go. 19 predictions, nine of which were right, six wrong, and four undecided. As predictions go, I consider that a pretty good score, especially since I'm often willing to go out and make a prediction based on a mix of facts and experience, seasoned with instinct.

So, are you buying one of these little beasts? TalkBack below.

Topics: iPad, Apple, Hardware, Mobile OS, Mobility, Processors

About

In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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