IPad 2: Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Enter the Tablet Market
“If you look at how long it took us to sell the first million iPods, 20-plus months versus one month of iPad, it’s a phenomenal difference. IPad is not following a typical early-adopter curve, taking a long time to cross into the mainstream. Our guts tell us that this market is very big, and we believe that iPad is really defining the market.”
— Apple COO Tim Cook, January 2011.
“The iPad team is building the best iPad for the future,” Apple COO Tim Cook said during the company’s first-quarter earnings call in January. On Wednesday, we’ll find out just what he meant when Apple unveils the iPad 2 at a special event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco.
Like all Apple product launches–well, all save one–very little is known. But there’s been speculation and intelligence enough these past few months to make a few reasonable predictions about what we might see.
Aesthetically, the iPad 2 is expected to be slimmer and lighter than its predecessor, with a larger speaker and an improved display designed to deliver a better experience in bright sunlight. It will likely run on a 1.2GHz, dual-core, ARM Cortex-A9 chip and Imagination’s SGX543 GPU architecture–a big improvement over the SGX535 Apple uses today. A Qualcomm multimode chip will allow it to run on both GSM- and CDMA-based networks around the world. And it will have double the RAM–512MB, same as the iPhone 4. Finally, it will feature those front- and back-facing cameras we’ve been hearing about for some time now–one for FaceTime and Photo Booth, the other for POV FaceTime and shooting photos and video.
One feature we’re not likely to see: a Retina display–yield rates on iPad-size retina displays simply aren’t high enough yet.
Not blow-your-head-off specs, but reasonable ones, and likely good enough to cement Apple’s lead in the tablet market and lap the dozens of rushed-to-market rivals that will debut in the coming months. The progression from the iPad 1 to iPad 2, then, will be more akin to that of the iPhone 3G to iPhone 3GS–“magical” and evolutionary, not revolutionary.
Join us here Wednesday at 10 AM PT for live coverage of Apple’s iPad 2 event.