Friday, February 25, 2011

March 2nd: Day of Reckoning In The Tablet War, Or It'll Be A Dud

Okay, so we know that Apple will be unveiling the next version of the iPad on March 2nd.  And while I expect rumors about it to surface through the weekend, I fully expect them to be the "take it with a grain of salt" type.  

Already, Engadget is backtracking on some of their earlier "confirmations" about the iPad and there were more than a few "I told you so" from other blogs.  One source versus another.  One leak that seems to go contrary to another but just as juicy. However, after reading them, I find them a bit lacking.  

Sure, the Apple electrified the tablet market and we are on the verge of a bunch of competing tablets.  But a tablet is tablet.  Apple might add a camera or two to the next iPad.  Apple is likely to jazz things up a bit with faster processor and more memory but as far as hardware goes, I don't see much advances beyond what we can realistically expect.  

Take the Mac fans' collective reactions to the new Macbook Pro line-up unveiled yesterday.  Thunderbolt was nice as was the new and faster Sandy Bridge chips from Intel.  But the more extravagant predictions did not come to pass.  

And that is the feeling we are getting from around the Web on what new feature the next iPad will have.  No Retina display.  It's not possible for Apple to economically include them in this iPad or realistically have enough to satisfy demand.  Thinner sure but longer battery life to separate the iPad from the Xoom?  I would like that except remember this next iPad might be thinner and lighter.  

So you see, the expectation is that we will not be wowed.  If anything, Apple might have some cute iOS tricks here and there that might excite the audience will draw a collective applause but at the end of the day, bloggers will say that if not for these new iOS tricks, the expectations will just be par.

But make no mistake, Apple will improve the new iPad enough so that it will sell millions.  It's almost as if one of the best running rumors going around the iPad might be right.  Apple is poised to unleash another surprise this fall along side the iPod refresh.  

For me, I don't think this is just idle speculation or wishful thinking.  Apple has been to predictable.  I reckon that Apple will need to change things up a bit and catch people off guard.

So while I welcome the iPad event next week, I don't expect much more than what we already know - just enough for Apple to make the iPad a compelling buy until autumn.

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