Alex Kaloostian

Apple Certified Master Trainer | Systems Integrator | Video Editor | Motion Graphics Artist

What will the iPad3 be like?

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It is silly how many questions I get about “The iPad 3”. I’d say that in a given week, the questions I get from family, friends, coworkers and students breaks down like this:

50% “Should I buy an iPad3?
50% everything else

Which is especially silly because there IS no iPad 3. You may have heard from a guy who knows a guy, but as of now, its all rumor. Yes, there will be an iPad 3. But let me be clear: we don’t know when, we dont know what it will have, and we don’t know how much. I can still conjecture, though.

The next iPad will probably be out in April. Maybe March, maybe May, but I’m guessing April. I was against the idea of a higher resolution screen- what’s the point? It uses more battery life, and people dont use their iPads primarily for reading books. Until, of course, yesterday’s textbook announcement. So given Apples clear dive into the education market, now I DO think the iPad will have a higher res screen, and I know exactly what it will be, too: 2048×1536. That is exactly 4x the pixels, or 2x the resolution of the iPad and iPad 2.

It has to be double, because of the way Apps are coded. If you have coded your own iOS apps before, you know that resolutions aren’t done in pixels, but in units. That way, you can design for the iPhone and the iPhone with retina display and everything is automatically doubled. If the resolution was anything else, converting for more than one device would be a mess. Now, iPad apps will just double for the iPad 3, and iPhone apps will quadruple, the math is easy for the processor to handle.

Higher resolution means faster chips, so the iPad3 will probably have a new quad-core chip, better for gaming and large, complex textbooks full of rich media. It will inevitably have to have a bigger battery, though I suspect it will get the same charge, with all the bigger features. Maybe less charge, but they will try to sweep that under the rug and be vague about it.

I also want to think they will offer more storage, since these textbooks can be up to 2GB, but 64GB is already pretty darn big. We may see them drop the 16 and just offer 32 and 64 for the price of the current 16 and 32?

The 3G antenna: they are going to want to include one universal antenna so they dont have to offer a different model for AT&T and Verizon, thats how the iPhone is now. And I think they will be dropping 3G from the iPad2. So any desire to lower the cost of 3G ($100 extra is a nicer number than $130) will be cancelled out by the new antenna. They COULD add 4G support, but they havent been big on that with the phones yet, and the iPad tech has traditionally lagged behind the phones. Maybe in the iPad4.

They could improve the camera, but I dont see a big push for that. Maybe a little bump, so it is on par with the iPhone4, but the 4s will still feature their marquis camera tech.

I also think they will pull an iPhone and still offer the base model iPad2, 16GB no 3G, for a much lower price, maybe $100 or $200 off. they COULD hit the $299 price point but that seems like wishful thinking. They are NEVER going to try to compete with the Amazon fire, its a whole different market strategy and its not tenable for Apple to sell iPads at a loss like it is for Amazon.

With the minor changes and same body, they may just pull an iPhone and call this the iPad 2s instead of the iPad 3, but somehow I don’t think so. It depends: I could see them calling this iPad2s, and next year the iPad3 will have 4G, but then again that could be confusing, too. maybe they’ll call this the iPad3, so next year they will be perfectly lined up to release the iPad4 with 4G!

We will NOT be seeing a new dock connector, or an SD slot, or any new-fangled gimmicks. Or a new body design. It may be 1mm thicker for a better battery, but it’ll still fit in existing cases.

To sum up, this is Apple’s lineup now:

iPad2    16GB    $499    3G   $629    dual-core, standard screen
iPad2    32GB    $599    3G   $629    dual-core, standard screen
iPad2    64GB    $699    3G   $829    dual-core, standard screen

Here is my probable prediction for April:

iPad2    16GB    $399                  dual-core, standard screen
iPad3    16GB    $499    3G    $629    quad-core, retina screen, upgraded camera
iPad3    32GB    $599    3G    $729    quad-cire, retina screen, upgraded camera
iPad3    64GB    $699    3G    $829    quad-core, retina screen, upgraded camera

Here is my best-case scenario prediction for April:

iPad2    16GB    $299    3G    $429
iPad3    16GB    $399    4G    $499
iPad3    32GB    $499    4G    $599
iPad3    64GB    $599    4G    $699

There’s also the possibility, if apple is really behind this education initiative, that we see a new education-only model, with a lot of storage but no 3G, at a discount in bulk, like the eMac used to be sold.

Here’s some more info on iBooks Author:  http://www.tuaw.com/2012/01/19/ibooks-author-under-the-hood/

What do you think? Am I way off? Will the new iPad3 cost $50 and make toast?

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Author: alexkaloostian

I'm a video editor, motion graphics designer and Mac IT consultant in the Boston area.

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