Mar
08
2012

Rumourbusters: iPad 3 Reveal

As expected, Apple announced its latest iPad – merely referred to as the “the new iPad” or the “third-generation iPad”, thus giving no clues as to its final name as yet – at an invitation-only event in San Francisco to a crowd of happy journalists, live-bloggers and business types; and a good bit new about the latest iPad was revealed. But how much of it did the public already call – and were all the calls right?

For weeks before Wednesday’s unveiling of the new iPad, the rumour mill had been speeding at Bugatti Veyron pace. We at Technically Motivated therefore felt it would be useful to act as our own version of the Mythbusters, and determine how many of these rumours are confirmed or busted.

So, without further ado, in alphabetical order:

4G/LTE wireless connectivity: Confirmed. As well as the usual Wi-Fi only models that every iPad generation has had, there will also be an option to get third-generation iPads powered by LTE at speeds of up to 72Mbps, or so Apple claims. There’s also HSPA+ for up to 21Mbps and dual-carrier HSDPA for up to 42Mbps; and there’s a 3G EV-DO version available, as well. Don’t worry if you’re not sure what all this means – simply put, the new iPad will have much more powerful and faster Wireless. And despite 4G’s rep for being a battery-sucker, Apple claims that battery life for 4G usage will be nine hours, and 10 hours for 3G – same as before. The new iPad can also act as a personal hotspot for up to five devices, if your carrier supports that feature.

8GB iPad 2 availability: This seems to be busted – no mention of such a release was made during the entire presentation. However, the price of the entry-level 16GB iPad has been dropped to $399. Take of this what you will.

Camera improvements: Confirmed – but not as much of an improvement as some sources claimed. It was widely assumed that the new iPad would upgrade the iPad 2’s silly one-megapixel, 720p rear-facing camera to eight megapixels – in fact, the new new iPad has a back-facing five-megapixel camera, which is not as impressive but still a huge improvement. The camera also features an IR filter, automatic focus and white balance, autofocus lock, face detection, and shoots 1080p video with video stabilization and noise reduction.

Debut of a 7.X-inch iPad: Busted, but only for now. No mention of a smaller version of the iPad was made throughout the reveal, but new rumours suggest Apple may be holding off to the third-quarter of the year to reveal it instead. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Disappearance of the Home button: Busted. This rumour was spawned by the email invitations sent out on February 28 for the reveal, which some fans claimed showed “conclusive evidence” that the button was no longer there. But the button was plain to see in all of Apple’s previews.

Higher price: Many sources believed the new iPad would return to the $579 price point of the original. Busted. The 3G model remains priced at $499, $599, and $699 for 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models, respectively; while the 4G models run $629, $729, and $829 at the same capacities.

It won’t be called the iPad 3 or any other number: Plausible. As said above, Apple didn’t give any clues as to the final name of the next iPad. But Apple already got rid of number releases for the MacBook Pro and the iMac many years ago; and if the iPad is, as Apple CEO Tim Cook said, “the poster child of post-PC world,” it may be time for the child to assume its parents’ naming conventions.

March 16 availability: Confirmed; and pre-orders start today – your choice of black or white.

More-powerful processor: Rumours that the new processor would be called the A5X were correct; as for whether it’d be quad-core, this is only a half truth. The new chip is a revamped dual-core computing processor, but WILL have quad-core graphical processing – which Phil Schiller, the marketing lead who introduced the new iPad, claimed is “four times faster than the A5” and “a graphics powerhouse.”

Microsoft Office for the iPad: Microsoft themselves busted this rumour a month ago, claiming that long-standing reports of them bringing Office to a competing platform were based on “inaccurate rumo[u]rs and speculation.” We have no reason to disbelieve them – yet.

Siri voice-operated commands: Busted. Although Cook demoed Siri on the iPhone in Australian, French, and German, and announced that “Today we’re bringing Siri to Japan” in iOS 5.1 (available today), no mention was made of Siri for the iPad.

Thicker, heavier form factor: Confirmed. Taking Schiller’s comments at face value, the new iPad will be 0.6mm and close to a fifth of a pound heavier than the previous model – at 9.4mm and 1.5lbs.

Upgrades to iOS: Come on, isn’t this always a given anyway? While Apple didn’t confirm the iPad will contain a major new update, upgraded versions of GarageBand, iMovie, and iPhoto – all with significant number of changes – were shown; and these apps are a close part of iOS as a whole. Also, as the new iPad has a higher-resolution display, there will now be support in the OS for larger display sizes; and developers won’t need to upgrade their apps to merely have them run at the new resolution, as was true when the iPhone moved to a higher-resolution display.

That’s six rumours busted, six confirmed and a plausible. The rumour mill, it seems, was relatively accurate this time around; and many of the more important changes were true. What are your thoughts on this scorecard – and indeed, of the next-generation iPad as a whole? All comments welcomed.

Cross-posted, with minor edits, at Sanitarium.FM under the title iPad 3 Reveal: Were the rumours true?.
Sanitarium.FM – Gamer Radio for Serious Gamers and Tech-heads!

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