Here’s something to chew over. Imagine if everything we all think we know about the next Apple iPad — even its name: “iPad 3” — is wrong.
No one likes to be wrong, but all these “inside sources” and collected parts may not, in fact, add up to the sum of their parts—or to a product.
I have little doubt that we’ll see a new iPad. But I’ve noticed how the frenzy of rumors have led us all down more than a few rabbit holes in recent weeks. Most recently, CNBC reported that the big event would happen in New York. Apple has certainly held product launches in the Big Apple, most recently unveiling Apple Education Event (iBooks 2 and iBook Author) at the Guggenheim.
There were similar miscalculations when it came to the timing of the actual event. Amazon posted some iPad 3 books (with an availability date of March 29th) and everyone decided that was the announcement date. That turned out to be March 27 — though March 29 could still, in theory, be the product ship date.
There’s also a widespread assumption that Apple will update the iPad’s data service from speedy 3G to lightning fast 4G. The latest rumor, however, is that Apple may not go with 4G. This would make sense. Apple is hugely concerned about battery power and may not want to sacrifice it for speeds that may not always be consistent or available.
4G service is still not nationwide and, in my experience at least, you can’t always depend on getting 4G even in areas where it should be available—which means you usually end up in 3G, anyway.
M.I.C Gadget says it has iPad 3 parts: the glass, shell and even connectors. It has a nifty video where it puts all this together. The thing is, the hardware in the video looks a lot like a white iPad 2. Yet the video and link are being passed around like they’re the real deal. They might not be.
Consider this: Apple has not demanded that M.I.C. Gadget return the hardware. When the iPhone 4 fell into the wrong hands in 2009, Apple went federal on Gizmodo, doing everything in its power to get the product back. It’s in Apple’s DNA to care and care deeply about its products from cradle to grave. Would it really let some random blog fondle, photograph and video even pieces of a new, unreleased, unannounced product? I think not.
So what does M.I.C. Gadget have? I have no idea, but it could be castoff parts that Apple is only too happy to see end up on a tech blog. Wouldn’t that be a genius bit of misdirection? It’s also worth noting that the illicit hardware still features the standard iPad home button. That’s notable because there’s some speculation, based on the Apple invite email image, that the next iPad won’t have a home button on the face.
One of the longest held rumors, a high-definition retina screen, does seem like a good bet. Apple is a design-driven company; the way things look (both physically and in their interfaces) matters. The iPad’s had the same resolution screen for two generations and the iPad 3 is the perfect moment to raise the resolution bar.
Plus, if Apple doesn’t do it, it will be the primary source of criticism for the new hardware. So even if all the rumors and innuendo weren’t pointing in the direction of an iPad 3 retina display, good sense would demand it.
Some Rumors Seem Obvious
That the iPad will be faster than its predecessors is a no-brainer. But you do not have to add a quad-core mobile CPU—as many have conjectured—to get there. If the iPad 3 features the fabled A6 CPU, that chip may still have two cores, but be re-architected for greater speed, graphics processing and, of course, Siri capabilities. This actually just sounds like the A5 chip the iPad 2 has, but with dormant Siri abilities enabled.
Either way, quad core may not be a good guess, t’s unclear if Apple sees quad-core performance as too much of a battery drain and therefore detrimental to the iPad 3 as a whole.
Then there’s the operating system. Is the iPad 3 running the fabled iOS 6? If you believe this report, absolutely. On the other hand, it seems unlikely Apple will roll out the iPad 3 with a new OS.
Oh, they will eventually, but not when they ship the new tablet this spring. To do so would be akin to pulling out the rug from under thousands and thousands of developers, key partners who are likely unprepared for whatever new features exists in iOS 6.
Here’s how to approach a major Apple hardware announcement. First, take a very deep breath. Then exhale and imagine yourself releasing every ridiculous, unfounded and oddball rumor. Try to let go of some of the more well-founded suppositions. Do your best to have a clear and open mind.
Then I walk into the Yerba Buena Hall, take my seat and prepare to finally learn the truth. As they always say, the truth will set us all free.
If you want the truth, be sure to follow Mashable all day long on March 7. Chris Taylor and I will be live blogging from the Apple event and will have product reports and analysis throughout the afternoon.
8 Things That Could Make iPad 3 More Expensive Than iPad 2
1. Retina Display
All reports point to an iPad 3 with a screen that doubles the pixel resolution in both directions. While that would be an incredible amount of pixels (more than what's needed to even show 1080p video at full resolution), it's also going to be harder -- and more expensive -- to make such a large-size "retina display." And if Apple goes with a new kind of LCD tech (like Sharp's IGZO), all bets are off.