OK, with the official iPad 3 announcement only days away (March 7, in case you've been living under a rock for the past few hours), a number of you have been asking me what I think Apple's next-generation tablet will bring.
Time for some last-minute predictions. Here we go!
While I expect that the case will change somewhat, I think that we're going to see a subtle, evolutionary change rather than a big, revolutionary shift in design. I don't think that Apple is going to experiment with weird teardrop designs, and I don't think that the iPad 3 will be fatter than the iPad 2 or that it will weigh more.
Apple has strived for ‘thinner and lighter' and that's exactly what I think the new iPad will be.
All along, I've been against the idea of the iPad 3 having a retina display. Not only would the display be a huge power hog, but also the extra pixels would need considerably beefier hardware, which in turn would require a beefier battery.
I still have many questions about the implementation of this display. For example, how will it handle video given that a 1080 HD playback would run windowed with a lot of free space around it? And standard definition video would be even worse.
I'm not sold on this rumor of the iPad 3 having the A5X processor or that there will be two flavors with two processors. I still think that the most likely outcome is that an A6 SoC (System-on-a-Chip) will power the iPad 3 and that this will be a quad-core part.
I can't imagine Apple releasing two flavors of the iPad 3 (one with an A6 processor and another with a slower A5X) because that would create customer confusion (something that Apple tries to avoid).
I think that while the iPad 3's hardware update will be relatively impressive, what I think will be more impressive is what Apple does with this hardware in iOS 5.1.
As I said the other day, Siri on the iPad 3 is a certainty. It's been the killer feature of the iPhone 4S and there's no reason whatsoever Apple couldn't bring it to the iPad 3. After all, millions of iPhone 4S can't be wrong.
A front-facing HD camera is a certainty.
That image sent out in the press invite seems to suggest that the hardware Home button is gone, replaced by ... well, we don't know what yet. If it's actually gone (and it's not just Apple messing with us!) then that's one less hardware component inside the iPad 3, which means more space for other cool stuff (or a bigger battery).
Expect the iPad 3 battery life to be 10 hours, but keep an eye on the small print in case there are changes (like the iPhone 4S has a whopping 100 hours less standby time than the iPhone 4 did for some reason).
I don't think that the iPad 3 will feature LTE simple because there just isn't enough support from the carriers yet. It would also put a lot of strain on the battery (although not as much an on the iPhone given that the iPad has a much differ battery and there's more wriggle room inside the device to add an even bigger battery if need be.