It’s that time of year again people, iPad rumors are starting to crop up again and, surprise surprise, there are predictions that there will be two iPads released in 2012. DigiTimes is reporting that it’s “industry sources in Taiwan” are claiming that two iPads will be released this year at separate events.
The first iPad is said to be much like the iPad 2, only with a retina display and better battery life, so essentially an iPad 2S, and they are speculating that this will be released in March this year. The second will be a full overhaul of the device, an iPad 3, adding new hardware and “integrated applications” that will allow it to compete with rival devices. This device would be released in October.
In my opinion these rumors match up very closely with rumors that were flying around in the Spring of last year, back then there was a lot of talk about another new iPad being released in September, which obviously never showed. Also, October is a long time off yet, I don’t believe it’s possible to predict Apple’s product release plans this far into the future, especially if it’s true that they pulled the iPhone 5 at the last-minute and instead gave us the 4S. Apple will have the next 5+ years of devices in the pipelines at the moment, we know that they were developing the iPad long before the iPhone, yet the iPhone was released years before. They will have the next few sets of iDevices all going through various stages of design and testing as we speak, why would they spend so much time on designing, releasing and marketing an iPad 2S just to make it obsolete with a completely new iPad 3 just 6 months later? They wouldn’t, they have nothing to gain from it and there are a lot of hardcore fans who would buy the iPad 2S straight away, only to be told they need to shell out another £500 half a year later if they want to have the newest product.
My betting is that, come March, Apple will release a device that will, in essence, be an iPad 2S. There will not be any form of redesign, it will have a retina display and a better battery as predicted, along with an A6 processor, better cameras, better speakers and ‘possibly’ Siri too. Apple will then be able to drop the price of the iPad 2 to make it more affordable.
In Summer, iOS 6 will be announced and released to developers which I expect will be a huge overhaul of the entire OS the scale of which we’ve not seen before. My reasoning behind this is thus: Everyone was expecting a whole new, redesigned iPhone last year, which we nearly had right up until the last-minute. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with the 4S, on the contrary, it’s a brilliant phone and Siri was enough of a reason for a lot of people to upgrade. But last year at the June Keynote we had Lion to keep us entertained along with iOS 5, if it had just been iOS 5 it may have been slightly, dare I say, dull! Apple knew this and did something they’ve not done before, they specified exactly what they were going to talk about at the event beforehand on their website. They wanted people to know exactly what to expect from the event so they couldn’t be disappointed. This year, Lion has been released into the wild and there’s no new version of OS X on the horizon just yet, that means that the event will be highly focused on iOS 6, if it’s anything but a huge overhaul with dozens of new features people will be disappointed. Now there’s also the possibility that they could announce a whole new product at this event, possibly the Apple Television that was hinted at in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, maybe known as the iTV, although as we’ve seen before the television network ITV over here in the UK aren’t too keen on that idea.
When September comes, Apple will be releasing the iPhone 5, which, as the follow-up to the iPhone 4 and 4S which were both hugely successful, will mean it will have to be something special. To do that, they’ll need two things; great hardware and great software. This is Apple, we know that gorgeous hardware isn’t a problem, they just need to make sure they deliver on software, another reason why I believe iOS 6 will be such a huge overhaul. As for the specs of the iPhone 5, I’m unsure, however a reference to a quad-core processor has been found inside of the iOS 5.1 beta, so that could be something to expect from the A6!
Obviously this is only my opinion and no one knows what Apple have planned for our future, it’s never going to be easy to predict, because as Steve said “People don’t know what they want until we show it to them”