It's been a year since Apple took the wraps off its first tablet. In those past 12 months, the iPad hasn't had too much serious competition, and has easily dominated the tablet market. But with the recent introduction of Google's tablet-specific Honeycomb Android OS on devices like the Motorola Xoom, the tablet space is finally starting to get interesting.
And while other companies like HP, Motorola, and RIM are releasing first-generation tablets, Apple is set to unveil its second-gen iPad tomorrow. The invites have been sent, and the blogosphere is bursting with all sorts of ideas about what the 'iPad 2' might look like. But as anyone who follows Apple knows, nothing is certain until it's unveiled on stage in San Francisco. Here are 11 ways Apple could knock it out of the park with its next iPad:
Add a Verizon 3G iPad
The fact that Verizon started selling the Wi-Fi-Only iPad with a Mi-Fi bundle back in October, and since the iPhone 4 landed at Verizon last month, we can't see a reason why the next iPad wouldn't be available on both AT&T and Verizon. There could be an existing exclusivity agreement where AT&T would get the iPad 2 first, and then Verizon would follow sometime later, but my fingers are crossed that this won't happen.
Even Better, Make it a 4G Verizon iPad
Verizon's 4G network has been up and running since December, and the first LTE phones are expected any day now. Also, if you buy a Motorola Xoom, it comes with the promise of a free future 4G upgrade. Why not the iPad 2? Hopefully, the accompanying data plan wouldn't be prohibitively expensive.
Rumors of the next iPad have been running rampant for a couple months now, and it looks like they'll all be put to rest next week. AllThingsD is reporting that Apple will be announcing the iPad 2 next week on March 2 in San Francisco, most likely at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Expect a thinner bezel, improved display, better sound, and cameras for FaceTime. In addition, we expect that the Qualcomm MDM6600 chip will find its way into the device, allowing it to operate on both AT&T and Verizon 3G networks. We also hope to hear about iOS 5.
The other big question is, will Steve Jobs be the one to take the lead at the announcement? As we know, he has been on medical leave since January, but he's been seen on campus and around Silicon Valley during that time, and also appeared at a dinner with President Barack Obama and other industry powerhouses last week.
The iPad 2 rumors have been going ever since the current iPad hit stores. If you've been looking for something solid though, the Wall Street Journal is now reporting that the next iPad is currently in production. They say the new iPad will be thinner and lighter than the first model, and will support Facetime with a camera on the front of the device. Those hoping for a Retina display will be disappointed though, as WSJ is reporting that the resolution of the display won't be changed. It will also have more memory and a more powerful graphics processor, according to insider sources.
Read More | WSJ
The big rumor this weekend making the rounds is that Skype may be planning to bring video calls to mobile platforms soon. A document was discovered by Engadget showing some help topics like "How do I make video calls with Skype for iPhone?" Also, Skype has been saying it will make some new video related announcements at CES next month. Could this mean Skype users will be able to use their iPhone 4 with something other than FaceTime? So far it's always been a sticky issue to use video on phones because of the high bandwidth requirements. The real question here is, if true, will Skype video calls be Wi-Fi only, or will you be able to make these calls over 3G?
Read More | Engadget
Apple's focused on the iPod touch as being the "funnest iPod ever" for a while now, but the introduction of the fourth generation model put it over the top. You've got the Retina display, FaceTime video chat, high definition video capture, and built-in gyroscope all packed into the thinnest iPod touch ever. Of course, you need great software running on hardware like this, and the App Store fits the bill with over 200,000 apps available. A great gift for teens who don't need an iPhone, or anyone who isn't on AT&T but still wants a mobile iOS device. Prices start at $229 (or $220 on Amazon):
Be sure to check out the rest of the stuff in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide, we're adding new suggestions every day!
Update: Apple has made it official - FaceTime for OS X launches today in beta!
We're checking out the Back to the Mac event live right now, and we noticed this interesting and all-too-familiar icon in the dock during the demos. Looks like FaceTime is coming to OS X, by way of iChat!
At this morning’s Apple event, Steve Jobs introduced the fourth generation iPod touch. As expected, the iPod touch has been updated to pretty much match what we’ve seen with the iPhone 4. That means it has a Retina Display, as well as dual cameras. A
camera on the back that takes images at 960x720, and a VGA camera on front—yup, that means that the new iPod touch is now FaceTime-compatible. The device is available in three sizes: 8GB for $229, 32GB for $299, and a 64GB model for $399. They’ll be available next week, but you can pre-order starting today.
Read More | iPod touch
In just a few minutes, Apple will be live-streaming one of their own events for the first time, and we wanted to make sure you had the details on how to tune in. All you need to do is head to the Apple website at 10:00AM PDT today, and it should come right up—provided you’ve got the right hardware. According to Apple:
Viewing requires either a Mac running Safari on Mac OS X version 10.6 Snow Leopard, an iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 3.0 or higher, or an iPad. The live broadcast will begin at 10:00 a.m. PDT on September 1, 2010 at www.apple.com.
The fall music event is expected to bring news of an updated iPod touch with Retina Display and dual cameras with FaceTime functionality, a super-small touchscreen iPod nano, and a new take on the Apple TV. We’re guessing that this whole live streaming this is because Apple wants to show off their streaming technology, since it will likely be a big part of their Apple TV and iTunes initiative this morning. We’re also hoping to hear about that white iPhone 4 and iOS 4 on the iPad.
Read More | Apple Event Live Stream
We’re big fans of the way that Apple has been pushing the FaceTime feature on the iPhone 4 commercials, but to be honest, we’ve never actually been able to partake in a FaceTime convo that was as touching as Apple makes them look. We think the video above is a more accurate depiction of what to expect!
Our pals over at iLounge have gotten a few iPad-related tibdits from one of their sources, and we thought it was interesting enough to pass on. They are hearing that, in conjunction with the regular September ipod event that Apple conducts each year, that the company may announce a smaller version of the iPad. They say it’ll have a 7-inch display, making the screen closer to that of the Amazon Kindle (Amazon released a new Kindle last week.) We’ve also been hearing that a smaller iPad was on the horizon, but we didn’t hear anything about a date. Other sources are claiming that the next iPad will definitely ship with a front-facing camera as well, turning them into Facetime devices (the next iPod touch will likely include similar functionality.) Even if it doesn’t happen in September, we fully expect to see a smaller iPad by January.
If Apple wants Facetime to catch on, they definitely need to get it into more devices than just the iPhone 4, and this would be a good way to accomplish that. A smaller iPad with increased functionality launching so soon after the original could result in buyers remorse for some, but it’s not like Apple hasn’t made similar moves in the past, especially with the iPod a few years ago.
Read More | iLounge
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