With just about any set of Apple product rumors, it is a wise idea to always answer any new rumor with the response "show me the pictures". Once the pictures start showing up you are probably on the right track.
This morning the WSJ's All Things D reporter John Paczkowski posted that he has heard that the iPad 3 intro event will be scheduled for the first week in March. This might just be another rumor, but it falls in line with what one would consider the normal time frame for an iPad launch. The first iPad event, if you recall, was at the end of January of 2010, with the actual product launch the first week of April. Last year the event got moved up to the first week of March with the actual launch shortly thereafter. Expect that same pattern for the iPad 3.
To recap, this is what the consensus seems to be about the next Apple tablet:
- 9.7 inch display: forget about those silly 7-inch tablet rumors, please.
- Higher resolution: 2,048 x 1,536 pixels, to be exact. This has been widely rumored and may be the most exciting thing about the new iPad 3 for many. But while I think pushing the specs is great, I can't think how this really changes things for users. Those fuzzy replica editions will just be fuzzier unless the vendors up the resolution of this apps, after all.**
- Faster process and faster graphics: for an original iPad owner like myself, faster processing is a must. The first generation iPad isn't a turtle, but it can sometimes be frustratingly slow. But again, this won't really change the user experience unless new software takes advantage of the faster speeds (and it will, as I will explain below)
- Better cameras, etc.: I'm sure there will be some additional hardware upgrades, though, again, these won't get me very excited, I bet.
As an iPhone and iPad owner, I know that any hardware upgrades are only of value of new software takes advantage of them. The ol' spec war we used to see in PCs was important because we loved seeing the processing times of a Photoshop file continue to go down. But, you know, my under powered Mac mini can process a photo so fast now that I simply don't think about this anymore.
But with mobile and tablet devices, the processing power is being put to use to power all new features. What are these features? Well, one of the first a few years ago was Facetime; then it was Siri.
The iPad 3 will no doubt have Siri. But it will also have anything else Apple wants to introduce in its newest version of iOS. What most rumor sites continue to ignore is the fact that a new version of the operating system generally gets released just prior to the hardware release. This new OS release is what contains many of the goodies that users get excited about.
** I am quite sure that developers will find ways to make the higher resolution pay off for them. For media folk, however, higher resolution means larger files are needed for their publications. Users are already complaining about the size of many magazines, higher resolution could make things worse.