Could Apple 'do an iPhone 4S' with the next-generation iPad?

Could Apple 'do an iPhone 4S' with the next-generation iPad?

Summary: Like Apple did with the iPhone 4S, while some hardware improvements were made, much of the same stuck with its predecessor. Could Apple follow suit with the 'iPad 3'?

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If there is one thing that is certain, there will be another iPad.

The problem is -- due to Apple's culture of the utmost secrecy -- is that we do not know when it will launch, what it will include, how much it will cost, or even what is will be named.

Rumours are once again circling the land of technology like hungry vultures. Take your bag of salt and prepare yourself for the latest theory.

The next-generation iPad -- dubbed the iPad 3 -- could be a near-identical yet larger version of the iPhone 4S.

Many were disappointed that the iPhone 4S did not live up to the expectations of the speculative media. With the same design as its predecessor, the iPhone 4S added camera improvements, a faster processor, and the voice-activated intelligent assistant Siri. It also hosted the next-generation operating system, iOS 5.

But what if the next version of the iPad is a larger iPhone 4S in disguise? Let's see what others are saying.

Rumours suggest the next iPad could have the same build design as the iPad 2.

"The new iPad's body is so slightly thicker than the iPad 2 that the change is unnoticeable on first inspection; a roughly 1mm increase will barely be perceptible to users", Jeremy Horwitz of iLounge wrote. "We've heard that the only accessories that might have issues are cases, and then, only cases that were precisely contoured to fit the iPad 2's back".

Others, including widely regarded as reliable Japanese blog Macotakaramakes the same claims as Horwitz. Should the assertions be correct, we could be seeing a slightly thicker battery, capable of lasting out longer normally. Or, we could see around the same battery life as an iPad 2 but with capable of sustaining a 4G connection.

A retina display is also on the cards, after Apple allegedly bought a tonne of 2048x1536-pixel displays from Samsung.

While ZDNet's Jason D. O'Grady ruled this out in 2010 with the iPad 2, there have been no compelling arguments to suggest it might not include the long-awaited high-resolution display. The vamped-up screen will require a faster processor than the iPhone 4S, but the iPad 2 has to be improved somehow. Just as with the iPhone 4S, expect better faster innards, particularly if the outside design doesn't change.

Other rumours circulating suggest the next-generation iPad could include the intelligent assistant Siri.

Developers spotted signs of Siri's life in the latest beta release of iOS 5.1, which could be the operating system to land on the upcoming tablet. Siri is only available to iPhone 4S users, thought to be due to the smartphone's hardware capability and always-on cellular network access, which the software requires to request results.

Because the iPod touch is Wi-Fi only, it would mean that Siri would not work for most the time. Plus, Apple said late last year that it had: "no plans to support older devices". It makes sense for Siri to port to at least 3G-enabled iPads, but perhaps not Wi-Fi-only devices.

We don't even know the name of the device. The iPhone has had a dip into sequential naming, bar the iPhone 3GS and 4S. It would be almost against Apple's naming convention to not include the number '5' with the next iPhone.

The iPad, however, has been simply named the "iPad" and the "iPad 2". It would not break the naming pattern for the next-generation iPad to include an appended letter. Horwitz claimed that the tablet could be named the "iPad 2S" or "iPad 2HD"; the latter presumably indicating a retina display.

Perhaps one is looking at this in more detail than necessary, but it does bode a further similarity between the two devices. A retina display and Siri, thrown into the same shell and naming style of the iPad 2's design would effectively make it a larger iPhone 4S.

On a side note, there is still no word on when the device may hit the shelves.

Apple's education announcement later this month could be an opportunity for Tim Cook to throw in a "one more thing" curveball. Sure, it's unlikely, reckless, and would completely overshadow the education announcement, but wouldn't it be fun?

It makes sense for the Cupertino-based technology giant to space out the iPad and iPhone releases. The early months of the year, usually around March--April is generally when we get our hands on the latest iPad tablet. During the middle-months of the year, typically around June--July, we are presented with the next-in-line iPhone.

My personal bet is that the iPad 3, or whatever it may be called, will pave the way for the next iPhone. Perhaps it will be used to generate just enough hype and excitement, but at the same time not enough detail to give the game away for a highly anticipated killer feature set.

Image source: Flickr.

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Topics: Hardware, Apple, iPhone, iPad, Mobility, Smartphones

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28 comments
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  • "Fall to the same fate" Huh!?! Isn't the iPhone 4s selling

    very well? I think it is so "fall" would seem the wrong word to use in this case:)

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
    • RE: Could Apple 'do an iPhone 4S' with the next-generation iPad?

      @James Quinn geez, take a pill!
      radleym
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        xpavel
  • RE: Could Apple 'do an iPhone 4S' with the next-generation iPad?

    "It makes sense for the Cupertino-based technology giant to space out the iPad and iPhone releases. The early months of the year, usually around March???April is generally when we get our hands on the latest iPad tablet. During the middle-months of the year, typically around June???July, we are presented with the next-in-line iPhone."

    Except that pattern was broken last year with the iPhone 4S launch, which happened in October. With the iPhone 4 selling so well, I think Apple decided to delay the launch of the 4S until it had produced enough to flood the retail channel in the critical Christmas shopping season, and to milk the iPhone 4 at maximum price for as long as they could before introducing a new device and discounting the 4. Considering that the iPad 2 is still beating all competitors soundly, I don't know if Apple will introduce a new iPad in March like they did in 2011. Remember that the iPad 1 announcement was in January 2010 for March delivery, and the iPad 2 announcement was in March for April delivery. If I were to make a bet, I would speculate that the next-gen iPad announcement would happen in June, at or near WWDC, for July (i.e. back-to-school market) delivery.
    ssaha
    • Seems like some people have poor global memory

      @ssaha: <i>"With the iPhone 4 selling so well, I think Apple decided to delay the launch of the 4S until it had produced enough to flood the retail channel in the critical Christmas shopping season, and to milk the iPhone 4 at maximum price for as long as they could before introducing a new device and discounting the 4."</i>
      Hmmm... did you forget about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last March which so disrupted component supply channels? The delay in the release of the iPhone 4S had nothing whatsoever to do with trying to milk the iPhone 4 'cash cow' because if you will bother to remember, iPhone 4 sales sagged in June in the typical lead-up to the next model and didn't really recover until the 4S came out.

      This, of course, invalidates nearly the entirety of your later argument about the timing of an iPad release. Rather, if there is a delay (which I don't expect) it will be due to a lack of high DPI displays, not a desire to milk that 'cash cow' again. Apple has created a methodology that has generated a regular cycle of sales which really makes for a more consistent income than trying to milk any one product to death. Apple's methods are different from anyone else's and obviously they work. Why would they diverge from a system that works?
      Vulpinemac
    • RE: Could Apple 'do an iPhone 4S' with the next-generation iPad?

      @ssaha
      Apple was waiting for an energy efficient 4G chip, but when it did not come, they brought out the 4S. Nearly everything in the 4S was changed from the 4 except the case design and the screen. Those who were disappointed were fools. Apple brings out product as quickly as technology permits, as long as they don't have to compromise on basic parameters.
      jorjitop
  • RE: Could Apple 'do an iPhone 4S' with the next-generation iPad?

    Could well do.<br><br>Talk of a Retina Display in an iPad, with current technology/costs/yields, is barking madness - iPad 3 with Retina display - that'll be $1,500 sir.<br><br>- Siri Beta, eventually flowing to all IOS5 capable devices<br>- RAM bump<br>- Flash bump<br>- Optics bump<br>- CPU bump<br>- 1080p HD display<br>- Battery life bump<br>- Same form factor<br>- Penta-Band GSM, CDMA with added LTE<br>- Increase in miserable 5Gb iCloud allowance to 25Gb
    - Optics Bump
    neil.postlethwaite
    • Not the way you describe

      @neil.postlethwaite@...: First off, Apple is able to purchase high enough quantities that they can basically command whatever price they want for the "Retina" display now that the technology is there. I can almost promise you there won't be any price increase just because of the display.

      * Siri -- First off, obviously Siri is not a beta, it's a full-on functional app. That said, I don't really expect it to arrive on all iOS 5 devices, only the ones with enough processor power to handle it. Rather, I expect to see it on desktop and laptop models before too much longer.
      * RAM bump -- Agreed.
      * Flash bump -- If you're talking about Adobe Flash, forget it. If you're talking about on-board storage, also forget it. At least for now, more storage really isn't necessary unless you plan to put your entire audio/video library on it and that's what iCloud is for.
      * Optics bump -- Perhaps. Then again, cutting-edge optics aren't needed for video chatting. The backside camera might see a bump, but I don't expect the front-side camera to improve that much.
      * CPU bump -- This might be a good time to release an A6 chip. We don't know if the A5 has reached its limits yet.
      * 1080p display -- Forget it. The 3:4 form factor is essentially a standard for reading mode so you're not going to see Apple stretch that to a rough 1:2. On the other hand, but doubling the resolution of the screen to roughly 1600x1200 you could still letterbox to nearly that. Quite honestly with that size of screen you're really not going to see that much of a difference between 720 and 1080 imagery.
      * Battery life bump -- I'd agree, but driving that high-res screen might sacrifice whatever gains they otherwise made.
      * Same form factor -- Approximate shape and size, yes. Details can still differ and I'm not that sure I like the tapered edges the way some people claim. I'd almost hope they went back to the iPad 1's thicker edges to make it easier to grip.
      * Penta-band GSM, CDMA -- Yes. Added LTE, no. Why? There simply isn't enough LTE coverage available yet to make it worth-while. People spending big dollars for G4 technologies are not really realizing the capabilities unless they spend 100% of their time in the available locales. A mobility device is intended to be mobile and I have enough trouble finding even 3G in the places I travel despite Verizon's claim of better coverage. You'd be surprised at how much of the Susquehanna River valley is still Edge even before you branch off into the more remote valleys.
      * Increase in -- You really don't understand how iCloud is supposed to work, do you? You've got hard drives connected to your own computer for general storage; iCloud merely makes your active data available to you no matter what connected device you're using at the moment. A document in Pages? Already synched. Yes, you can use iCloud as a backup for all your files, but backup services aren't free--not even 5GB. The cloud is an active system and that costs money. Besides, that's not even a part of a hardware product so doesn't belong in this discussion. For that matter, Siri didn't belong either.
      Vulpinemac
      • RE: Could Apple 'do an iPhone 4S' with the next-generation iPad?

        @vulpine@... <br>I'd like to see a production yield %tge and cost of an iPad Retina display. it would need to be the equivalent of 6-8 x the size of the iPhone 4/4S/iPod touch.<br><br>Despite your fanbois rhetoric, can it actually be made, at an affordable price. Given no-one is even remotely close to 2,500 x 1920 (ish) in a 10" size, I think you are a year or so off the mark.<br><br>It's not even needed.<br><br>iPad with 1080p pixel density is a reasonable ask. Retina display is crazy-talk.<br><br>The associated bump in GPU needed to cope with the extra pizel is too much to ask too.<br><br>Flash memory, what icloud is for. Until the barkling mad 5Gb limit is gotten rid of, it's next to useless. It needs to at least match your purchased device Flash memory for starters.<br><br>iCloud is great for basic stuff, and yes I know how it works - It's full after 5 minutes, and Apple are nagging you for cash to up the memory - unless you by all your media from Apple, which is really 'how iCloud Works'.
        neil.postlethwaite
  • RE: Could Apple 'do an iPhone 4S' with the next-generation iPad?

    1500 for a tablet? no thanks
    erichon99
  • RE: Could Apple 'do an iPhone 4S' with the next-generation iPad?

    1500 for a tablet? no thanks
    erichon99
  • RE: Could Apple 'do an iPhone 4S' with the next-generation iPad?

    We just have to wait till someone leaves an iPad 3 at a bar... on a stool...
    KineticArtist
    • RE: Could Apple 'do an iPhone 4S' with the next-generation iPad?

      @KineticArtist - LOL! Or leaves it on the floor.
      ManoaHI
  • eh...no news here

    An iPad2 "HD" wouldn't be worth it for current iPad owners or those looking for a bargain on their first iPad. Just get a used iPad 2 or keep the one you have.<br><br>I have the iPad2 and the display is great. I never once found myself wanting for a higher resolution than it has now. Frankly, I use my MBPs much more often anyway. The iPad is primarily used for gaming and Netflix for my kids. HD is highly overrated on small displays.<br><br>Forget the hardware upgrades...for me to take the iPad more seriously it'd need significantly better more useful apps. Of the 150+ apps on mine I use maybe 5 on a somewhat regular basis (mostly travel related) and even then their UIs aren't that great.
    josephmartins
    • RE: Could Apple 'do an iPhone 4S' with the next-generation iPad?

      @josephmartins I disagree - higher-res screens are inevitable and a way to differentiate from the crowd.
      radleym
  • RE: Could Apple 'do an iPhone 4S' with the next-generation iPad?

    Neither the author nor commentators have, so far, mentioned the possible inclusion of a GPS receiver chip (as a rumor)...
    dkwyman
  • RE: Could Apple 'do an iPhone 4S' with the next-generation iPad?

    Instead of going the 'more is better' route, Apple could introduce revolutionary technology in the next iPad: fast color "e-ink" display

    This technology will make the iPad more usable as an e-book reader. It will also lower power consumption, as in bright light, the back-light LEDs might be turned off - a lot of power goes to the screens of these portable devices. The current color e-ink displays are fast enough so that it will be able to play movies as well.
    danbi
  • What hardware could you really expect?

    From a hardware point of view it's basically:
    1) make it faster (enabling Siri etc.)
    2) higher resolution screen
    3) longer battery life
    4) better camera optics a la 4S
    5) more storage
    6) better networking (4G, or perhaps better wifi reception etc.)
    7) make it smaller / lighter

    Most of these things won't change the look and feel of the thing. I can't help thinking that most of the really new stuff will have to come from software.

    And to keep real differentiation I'd expect more network-based things like Siri to pop up from those big data centres.

    In summary, the cool innovation will come from "Big Data meets Small Device"....
    peter.bennett
  • RE: Could Apple 'do an iPhone 4S' with the next-generation iPad?

    Please stop the click-trolling madness! Just wait till its introduced!!

    For the record, I'm very happy with the significant improvements of my 4S and thrilled that I didn't need to buy new cases and mounts for every purpose (car, motorcycle, snowmobile, boat) that would have added another $200 or more in accessories!
    Gr8Music
  • RE: Could Apple 'do an iPhone 4S' with the next-generation iPad?

    Only Apple can make people NOT buy competitors' products by DENYING the presence of an upcoming product!
    meister2681