Apple products, even ones that don’t exist yet, seem to generate the kind of excitement and speculation other companies can only dream of. As the expected release of the next generation iPad and iPhone approaches, I’ve scoured the web for the most interesting and plausible rumours.
The latest rumours suggest that the iPad 2 will be announced in the next few weeks, and available to buy some time in spring. This would fit in with the annual update cycle Apple has established with products like the iPod, iPhone and Mac. So when it does hit, here are some of the features we might see.
Faster, with more memory
This one’s pretty much a no-brainer – the next generation iPad can be expected to have a fast dual-core processor, more memory, and probably the option of a larger hard drive. Apple has to do this to keep up with the rest of the market, with more and more powerful devices coming from the likes of Samsung and LG, and Apple likes to make improvements in big jumps rather than increments.
Thinner, but with the same size screen
Apple is on the record criticising the smaller screen size used in competing tablets like the Samsung Galaxy S, so it would be surprising if they were to offer a smaller option with the iPad 2. Equally any bigger and they’d be competing with their own MacBook Air. It’s not impossible that they’ll do either of these things and explain it with their world-class spin, but I don’t expect they will.
More likely is a thinner, lighter machine with the same general form factor.
No home button?
With the latest update to the iPad software, Apple added a five-finger touch gesture to return you to the home screen. Some people think this signals the end of the home button’s status as the only button on the front of Apple devices. I think it sounds like a usability nightmare. If Apple do get rid of the most important button on the device, they’ll need a better alternative.
People were expecting to see at least one camera in the original iPad. With the advent of Apple FaceTime and Skype video calls on iPhone, it’s pretty safe to assume the iPad 2 will get a camera on the front for video calls, with the possibility of a high quality camera on the back.
Apple rumour site Apple Insider has pictures of some dummy cases, apparently for the new iPad, and they show a larger hole for the speaker than in the previous model.
This would make sense as a simple way to improve the multimedia abilities of the tablet – with a louder speaker, watching films and TV with friends will be a better experience.
SD card slot, HDTV connection
We’re back with those indiscreet case manufacturers again. There’s an interesting, SD card size gap in that case, and news site Engadget is quoting their sources as saying the new iPad will boast an SD card slot to allow you to directly import files from your camera or other device. Lot’s of people have found the lack of SD and USB as a weakness of the original iPad, so this would make sense.
There is another hole in that case, and the interesting rumour is that this is for a Mini DisplayPort, allowing you to easily hook the iPad 2 up to your HDTV or monitor.
Higher resolution, better quality screen
This rumour’s provoked the biggest debate online, thanks to some double-sized graphics in the latest software released to developers. It’s easy to assume that Apple will update the sharpness of the display in the same way as it did with the iPhone 4 “Retina Display” by adding more pixels to the screen. Other people point out that the iPhone, iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS all had the same screen resolution because Apple was prepared to wait until it could double the resolution for the iPhone 4. If they do the same for the iPad 2, analysts suggest that we could be waiting until 2013.
It’s more likely that the iPad 2 will feature a brighter, better quality screen with thinner, stronger glass, but at the same 1024 x 768 resolution as today.
With the expected release date a little further out in summer, rumours are a little thinner on the ground. We can expect usual improvement to speed and storage, as well as possible improvements to the camera. If the iPad gets a dual core processor, or loses the home button, then so will the iPhone. There are also rumours that the iPhone 5 will include technology similar to that in Oyster cards to allow touchless purchasing in shops.
The biggest rumour is that, following the whole “Antennagate” nonsense last year, the iPhone 5 will sport a completely redesigned look. Expect a new antenna design, and possibly even a slightly larger screen.
Have you got something to add?
There’s a little while to wait before we see any of these devices in the flesh, so the rumour mill has time to build up a real frenzy. We’ll keep you updated as we hear new things, and we’d love for you to get involved in the comments below. What rumours have you heard? What’s on your wish list?
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