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Summary:

There’s been quite a bit of buzz around the next iPad. The one we’re using now is only six months old, but some are already looking forward to the possibility of a new form factor. I expect Apple to release another iPad this year. Here’s why.

ipad

There’s been quite a bit of buzz around the next iPad. The one we’re using now is only six months old, but some are already looking forward to the possibility of a new form factor and a new screen size. I expect Apple to release another iPad this year. Here’s why:

Competition is non-existent for iPad right now. All the other guys have tablets shipping “end of the year,” and many more of the more formidable iPad competitors will be out in 2011. Apple’s going to do what it can to get the second revision out this year only for that one liner that Steve loves, “We’re releasing the next iPad today before our competitors have even caught up with the first generation.” He’s used that line a few times, but the iPad itself will probably look very similar to the one you’re holding in your hand right now. I predict it will have the same aluminum back, the same bezel and similar weight and the battery life will be mostly unchanged. What will be new?

New Screen Size

The rumor lately is that a 7″ model is on its way to sit right beside the current 9″ model, and due to Apple’s resolution independence and growing number of developers, a new size won’t cause many issues beyond a few optimizations that have to happen from App Store developers to make things look perfect. For the most part, Apple’s going to make sure most apps “just work.”

The new screen size will help iPad reach a lower price point for consumers and compete with the Amazon Kindle in size and price. Soon, an iPad with thousands of apps will sit along-side the Kindle nicely and make Amazon drop its price even lower to compete.

New Screen Resolution

You can be sure that Apple’s Retina Display, or something very close, will make its way to iPad. More and more iPhone 4 users are telling me that they use the iPhone over iPad because of the beautiful screen and how the iPad just feels empty and flat. This is an inevitable upgrade that is going to force us early adopters who own an iPad and iPhone 4 to jump in line. That screen is addictive and we want it.

FaceTime

Apple’s FaceTime making its way to the next generation iPod touch (via a front-facing camera) and Macs (by the way of a software update) seem like logical steps, but what about iPad? Steve’s promise of “millions of FaceTime devices by the end of the year” is starting to sound empty as we approach September, but it’s this month that we’ll see more of those “millions” of devices available to the public when new iPods and a new iPad is released.

In Apple’s latest iOS betas, you can FaceTime someone based on their email address so devices that aren’t phones (everything but iPhone) will be able to use FaceTime no problem. This is when things really start getting interesting

New Form Factor

I’m doubtful of this one but it’s worth mentioning in this post. Apple generally waits two to three refreshes before redoing the overall hardware of its devices, but a thinner iPad may be in line that mimics much of Apple’s iPhone 4. Squaring off the design would help the device lay flat, but would also make it more susceptible to scratches. I’ve long wanted an iPad bumper case to help in the event of a drop and wish Apple would move away from steel aluminum as it’s so darn slippery. This is a maybe as Apple can legitimately call this a second generation iPad without modifying the outer shell. Of course, if it’s releasing a smaller screen size, it might be a good idea to change things up a bit to throw off the competition. We’ll see.

Why iPad 2 So Soon?

Other than throwing off the competition, there are huge gaps now between iPhone and iPad from the display to FaceTime and the competition in price and size from Kindle that leads me to an iPad refresh right before the holidays as a way for Apple to blow all previous numbers out of the water and make it impossible for competition to position themselves against Apple by including any of those features in their devices. The rumored BlackPad from RIM is said to include a camera, and the Cisco tablet will be smaller than the iPad and easier to carry. A 7″ iPad with FaceTime would do the trick to put both of those products out to pasture before they even ship.

What do you think?

Related GigaOM Pro Research: Can Anyone Compete With the iPad?

  1. I just asked myself a question concerning the iPad and the iPhone 4. If this is true and Apple will reveal iPad 2 on the short terms, this could explain the delaytime of the iPad import within the Netherlands a bit.

    The iPad just arrived a couple of weeks within the Netherlands after it was announced several months ago. The iPhone 4 was announced far after the iPad and seemed to be available before or even with the iPad over here.

    Is it possible that the amount of produced iPad’s was a lot less by purpose compared with for example iPhone 4 just because iPad 2 is around the corner?

    Mmm.. some things worth thinking about…

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    1. This is SO not going to happen. Why would apple come out with a new version of the iPad? They cannot even fill the orders of the current iPad.

      Will they come out with a 7″ version? Maybe, but if you think they will have a new version of the 9″ iPad, you are dreaming. They will refresh it in the April time frame. Will it get a camera for face time? Maybe. I am not sure that is a slam dunk, but it will probably happen. It will get the speed bump and more storage, but I doubt it would get the retina display because of cost. Apple never makes radical changes, especially to a best selling product. Frankly, I have face time on my iPhone and I barely use it, so I do not see it as a killer app for the iPad. Great addition, but the iPad itself is the killer app. If anything, I would like it to be lighter. I bet that will happen.

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      1. ” Apple never makes radical changes, especially to a best selling product”

        iPod Mini. Radically changed at the height of its popularity. With Apple, there are no rules.

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      2. You are kidding right? How many years did that take to happen? The iPad has only been out a few months. The OS has not even been properly updated yet and you still have people waiting for backorders. There is no radical change coming to the current iPad.

        Your point could be well taken if Apple came out with a 7″ model, but your point makes no sense as it relates to the current iPad. Although I count the 7″ model as a maybe if for no reason other than buzz, I personally do not see the point of one really, and frankly I think the chances of that are on the low side. I don’t expect to see a revision to the current size iPad until the March/April 2011 timeframe and then it is going to be changes around the edges. Nothing radical.

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      3. Just to add two more point to why this is SO not happening:
        1. Apple is after profits, not market share
        2. Since #1 is true, why would Apple undermine its own profitability and release a smaller, less profitable version when they cannot even fulfill the demand for the more profitable version?

        Not a chance that we will see a new iPad before the iPad refresh in 2011.

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      4. Adam’s wish list is just too long for a device coming out this year *and* selling for less than $499. If Apple does a 7″ iPad this fall it will

        - be no less than $399
        - have no more than 16 GB of memory at that price
        - same RAM and CPU as the 10″
        - same or less battery life
        - same screen resolution
        - no camera
        - have a plastic enclosure or other ways to shave off of some cost

        It will not be something that the original iPad is not. Its major benefits will be size and weight, and some savings.

        And it will not be nearly as cheap as the Kindle. You have to realize that the original iPad is already a cheap device. Its priced aggressively and shows that Apple is willing to conquer market share. It’s the same price as the iPhone 4, but it’s a lot more hardware. iSuppli says the iPad base model costs $250 to make, while the iPhone 4 costs $200 to make. There’s no room for Apple to trim margings for an iPad mini. Those other features will come, but we’ll have to wait a few years for Moore’s Law to kick in.

        It’s posts like these that are raising expectations before Apple’s keynotes. Then, when the actual product is announced, it will make perfect sense within Apple’s line-up, the geeks will be disappointed because it did not fulfill their spec fantasies, while the masses will buy like crazy.

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      5. It may very well happen and I expect it will only because Apple needs to stay ahead of the rest. I just played with a Samsung galaxy tab and it’s already better then an Ipad. The original ipad needs a camera and much more to stem the huge tides of new tablets about to hit.

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      6. There are coming out with the new IPad. With a 7″ screen. With USB support with an insertion of a disc as well. But you did not here this from me. It will look exactly like the iPhone 4 but bigger. Like the guy said on step brothers POW!!!!

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    2. Apple can so fill orders. In fact, their latest results showed that they sold much less iPads than analysts had expected. Hopefully people are smart enough to not get trapped in the same minefield Apple laid when they launched their iPhone which was lacking with every possible feature. Just look at the evolution of the iPhone and tell me why I should buy an iPad when I can buy a BlackBerry PlayBook, which from Day 1 will have all the features that the iPad SHOULD have had. Apple always screws people by releasing cr@p and then adding small improvements in small steps.

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      1. Ture

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  2. I agree that Apple should do most everything you said, but I’m not sure how I feel about a 7″ version…

    While it would be more in line with the size of the Kindle, it just seems redundant compared to current iDevice offerings. If you want a smaller iPad, you buy an iPod Touch or iPhone. The biggest complaint when the iPad was announced was, “WTF. This is just a giant iPod Touch.” A 7″ model would draw even greater criticism and I can’t see there being a big market for it.

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    1. Andrew MacDonald Wednesday, August 18, 2010

      Totally agree with this!!

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    2. With a crisp, hi-res display, 7 inches i good enough for ‘full width’ content and much more comfortable than a 3.5in screen.

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      1. If you put a crisp hi res display then even a 7″ format iPad will cost more than the current iteration, especially when you consider that it will have to have a considerable spec bump in the RAM dept.

        To be honest, there is no real evidence for an early refresh or new form factor beyond one rumour from an unspecified source. Everyone who is reporting on this is spinning it out of proportion, probably so that when any news (based on verifiable facts) is released that looks remotely like these “predictions” they can feel smug that they actually were remotely right. But then again, if a blind man fires off enough rounds he’ll eventually hit something.

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    3. I use my ipad mainly to read ebooks. I would replace my 9inch ipad with a 7incher in heartbeat. The iphone is to small to read comfortably, midway between the ipad and iphone sounds just right.

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      1. Yeah. Me too. And because of iPad, i always take the bus going home, instead of the train. This is for me to read the eBooks longer in my iPad. :D

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    4. adamsads,

      I think weight and size are the number one gripe you hear from (potential) iPad customers (I’m trying to blank out the geeks here). There’s definitely room for several sizes, especially if we imagine a world where we’ll be surrounded by more and more multitouch devices for all kinds of work and play, making mousy PCs niche devices and smartphones just one in a long line of form factors. iOS is not quite ready for that, but it’s going there.

      If, on the other hand, Apples decides that 10″ will be the one size that fits all, weight should become their number one priority (for next year’s model). The iPhone has hovered around the same weight (135 g) for 4 years because Apple figured that’s light enough, but I don’t think that would be acceptable for the 10″ iPad.

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      1. Weight isn’t the problem with it, it is the bulk of it because of its outer dimension it is just as hard for me to carry around as my laptop or a netbook which has more function and storage. Honestly anything under 5-6 lbs for most people is nothing to carry around so the weight on this is not a problem at all but neither is most laptops. $500 for 64 GB or $500 for 500 GB laptop wins for me. (for the geeks touchscreen is great but they all can do this, voice activated is next and so far MS is taking the lead in that.

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  3. Crazy prediction, won’t come true. Next iteration will be 12 months from last iPad Apple does not have the resources for an interim release given the other products and services due to be released. 7″ is an in-between nothing solution, like Dell’s failed in-between a phone and Ipad, utter rubbish. Don’t hold your breadth for this year release, next Jan it will be here.

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    1. Obviously.

      iPad 2: available March 2011, $499, 9.7″ retina display, two cameras w/ FaceTime, cloud integration of some kind, and fully independent of PC

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      1. I really like the sound of that!

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      2. Jupp this is it. Apple will not hurry a release because of what any competitor do, or do not do. Apple have always set their own schedule, and made sure their products stand tall enough to be measured on their own.

        Except I would not expect “fully independent” before iOS 5.0 comes to the iPad. And that I would expect is int he fall of 2011, unless Apple releases iOS 5.0 simultaneously for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch in summer next year?

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      3. Unless there’s a change in cloud access to media, there just doesn’t seem to be much reason to believe that Apple will make iPad/iPhone/i??? PC independent, or that the consumer would benefit from such a development. Further, the licensing agreements that Apple has negotiated (at least with the music labels) suggests that making the device PC independent would render that device one of the 5 authorized devices one is afforded under FairPlay. Apple wants you to buy more than 5 iDevices and computers. With a desktop, a laptop, an iPhone, and an iPad, one would have only one authorization left for another device.

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      4. I don’t think a 300 dpi display is in the cards for 2011. That display alone would cost thousands.

        Think about it: Even a theoretical pixel doubled display of 2048×1536 pixels (which Apple will eventually use, but not next year) would

        - only have 260 ppi, not 300 ppi like the iPhone
        - have 3 times as many pixels as a 720p HDTV
        - have 50 % more pixels than even a 1080p HDTV. What kind of content would you watch on that screen if 1080p looks blurry?
        - have more pixels than any Mac Apple is selling today, except for the giant 27″ iMac.

        The iPad as a device is seven times larger than the iPhone. You cannot put a Retina display on that size anytime soon.

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  4. This is something I’ve been thinking for while, I think physically this one will stay the same but some hardware upgrades with a better resolution.

    One of the main reasons I’ve been thinking this is the fact that iOS 4 for iPad is delayed by sooo much, what are we on now? 4.0.2?

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  5. I first thought the idea of a slightly smaller iPad was much ado about nothing. But it does make sense as an easy device for some to handle, retina display included, and the price difference. It will definitely compete with e-readers.

    And with a bunch of new tablets coming out soon, the smaller iPad will give them an even bigger hurdle to overcome in addition to the bigger iPad.

    Timing is everything. Apple seems to be taking advantage of that fact and just may be the king of the tablet hill indefinitely.

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  6. But unless they move away from AT&T exclusivity, I’ll probably keep waiting.

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  7. Adam,
    I have been saying for awhile now to my readers that a new form factor is in the works and Facetime is on the way. I just did a post and gave my 4 predictions for the next iPad (based on user feedback and my own gut feeling):

    1. Flat back. The new iPad will have a flat back instead of rounded.
    2. Front facing camera. It’s not a phone so I feel that it would have a front-facing camera rather than both back and front.
    3. Retina Display. Obvious for better resolution.
    4. Dual Speakers. This would greatly enhance the sound.

    Here’s the post: http://www.tcgeeks.com/the-ipad-version-2-what-will-it-have/

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    1. Thank you Shane. Although, I usually get worked up by comments linking to other’s posts, I’m glad you shared a few of the points in the comments.

      It’s great to hear of another Mac Geek on the same path that I was when writing this. Have a great day!

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  8. I can’t see them coming down to any where near the Kindle’s price point, especially if the inevitable RetinaLite display goes into it. The Kindle is basically an optimised single function device and doesn’t compete directly with the iPad.

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  9. I’ve just unsubscribed from this site’s feed. You guys are morons.

    First, iOS 3.2 doesn’t have resolution independence, only 4.0 does. Existing iPad apps will need to be recoded and the UI’s will need to be updated. It’s not going to “just work”.

    In one breath you say they’re going make a 7″ model to hit a lower price point and in the next you say it’ll be a retina display. A 7″ retina display with twice the pixel density will absolutely cost more the the current 9.7″ display.

    And why on earth would they go with a 7″ display anyway? The iPhone and iPod fit in your pocket, the iPad doesn’t. A 7″ iPad still isn’t going to fit your pocket, so what value does it add? You’re going to have to use it just like you would a 9.7″ display, so why on earth would you opt for a smaller screen? With no added value from a 7″ screen, why would Apple go through the trouble? They just released the iPad in April, the iPhone 4 in July and now iPods in September. Their supply chain can’t pivot that fast, especially when they’re already experiencing supply issues.

    You don’t like steel? Well, they just bought LiquidMetal so you’re in for a disappointment. Besides, steel is sleek and sexy. Buy a case. All of their products are adopting the metal casing. Pay attention.

    No, there will be no iPad 2 in 2010. iOS 4 is coming to the iPad in November, which will add enough new shine to attract some of the hold-outs. The iPad has enough momentum on it’s own to crush the competition this holiday season. iPad sale are going to jump all on their own and then 4 months later we’ll see a new model. Right on schedule. The iPad doesn’t have any competition at the moment, so why would Apple alter their comfortable release schedule and spit in the face of all the early adopters? Do you remember when they dropped the iPhone 1 price by $200 within the first year? They had to hand out $200 gift cards to everyone who already purchased. I think they learned their lesson.

    You guys are late to every story and the writing sucks. I suggest you take “Apple” out of your name because you clearly don’t know Apple.

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    1. Bravo friend!

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    2. I agree 100% anyone who thinks that there is a new IPAD coming is crazy.
      What is the added value of a smaller Ipad? 7 inch? no steel?
      as for facetime:
      i have an iphone 4 outside the US and facetime doesn’t work in my country so it is related to the carrier you are using .so it means they would have to reprogram facetime to work without a carrier.
      so the only added value of this ipad would be the front camera?
      if Apple wanted to put a camera in the ipad they could have done it from the start.
      so i am willing to bet that you won’t see a new ipad before at least a year. but i am sure that on the holiday season there will be a price drop of at least a 100 bucks to beat the “competition”.
      it’s better for apple to make a drop in the price for the ipad than to recreate another ipad that would be cheaper.

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      1. Too many good rumors for a 7″ iPad. I think they want to pump out millions more and 9.7″ screens are in too short a supply. I think Apple wants a lower price point – without actually lowering prices on an existing product. A 7″ is a paperback reader; a 9.7″ is an entertainment/game device. They’ll have the same 1024×768 pixel screen. Sure the devices can pinch hit for the other, but Apple wants you, in your own mind, to think “I could use one for this and another for that”. Apple wants to sell your family multiple pads, maybe one for every room, maybe more. Family money is being transferred from one entertainment category to others and Apple wants to be there when your family makes that decision. Think of the profits. Apple is also in a tough arena with mobile devices and tablets and wants to step up the model cycle. Past behavior is not a predictor of future.

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      2. Love all the people here who are so sure of themselves about what Apple will and will not do. Still willing to bet there wont be a camera iPad within a year?

        http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/09/10/apple_to_move_aggressively_on_facetime_camera_equipped_ipads.html

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    3. Actually iOS 3.2 is just as resolution independent as iOS 2.0. And as we all known virtually all apps, even those built way back in 2008 for iOS 2.0 works, with resolution independence in place, on iPhone 4 running iOS 4.

      So you are the one in error. When the iPad 2 comes with retina display all old apps do will “just work”.

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      1. There is no resolution independence in iOS whatsoever. You clearly do not understand the term.

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    4. Christian Lewis Tuesday, December 28, 2010

      You just read my mind perfectly… and I mean PERFECTLY. This site is horrible based on this post, they have no idea what they are on about. I am 15 years old and will be in year 10 by 2011. I have had my iPad for school for about 4 months now and iPhone 4 for about 2 months, as soon as I got my iPhone 4 the only time I really used my iPad was for school work at school and sometimes for homework and I’m quite certain that a similar patter would apply to many other iPad owners whether school is replaced by work or not. So as a result of that certain features of iPad become very important to maintain a strong stance in the market. To me the keyboard absolutely must stay the same size or become full sized which means the screen must follow the same principals… stay the same size or get slightly bigger. Luckily I owned a Netbook before that, iPad and Netbooks have a very similar sized keyboard so I felt right at home with the keyboard as soon as I did some school work on it. If the idea of a 7″ iPad were true only money infused fools would buy this, or maybe some little kids who think that a 7″ iPad is cool would want it as a present, they would not consider usability (to small for any real work, to big for most pockets).

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  10. Apple shipped millions of iPhone 4′s, hence Apple shipped “millions of FaceTime devices by the end of the year”. Therefore that statement is not hallow even if Apple ships no other FaceTime-ready device this year.

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    1. I meant to make this point too! Glad you caught it!

      Also, “iPhone 4 users are telling me that they use the iPhone over iPad because of the beautiful screen and how the iPad just feels empty and flat”. Anyone telling you that is an idiot. The iPhone 4′s pixel density is amazing, but it doesn’t allow you to fit more content on the screen.

      How is the ability to view your inbox and email side-by-side suddenly nullified because the iPhone 4 has more pixels?! Or having both your contact list and contact details in view? The ability to read a web page without zooming?

      If you think “the iPad just feels empty and flat” then someone should crack you over the head with one.

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      1. Hey Brian, do you happen to have a blog?

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      2. You said “The iPhone 4′s pixel density is amazing, but it doesn’t allow you to fit more content on the screen.”
        Actually yes it does. The increased pixel density allows for use of much smaller fonts and ui elements.
        I discovered this after setting iBooks to the smallest font available, while the font is absolutely tiny, it is perfectly readable without squinting or eye strain.

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      3. The main issue is for the average user, once you get used to a higher resolution screen, it’s very hard to go back. I like the iPad’s functionality, but I pretty much prefer my iPhone 4 most of the time because it’s just more “fully loaded” as well as being higher resolution and more portable. And I will have my iPhone with me always, as it is my phone, so unless the iPad has a substantial value add, it’s a PITA to carry around, frankly. And if I’m not carrying the iPad around, and am stationary, I’d prefer to use my MBP — the tweener aspect of the iPad was just screwed up by the much improved iPhone. To me, when I upgraded to iPhone 4, I pretty much stopped using the iPad because it just wasn’t adding enough to justify carrying around, when the iPhone now does so much so well. I definitely agree that the iPad needs an upgrade.

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