iPad Mini

So, yesterday, I made some last minute Apple event predictions. I was wrong on everything. Sorta.

The one part I did get right is Apple’s move away from the numerical naming convention. They launched a ‘new’ iPad today, which is really just a mid-cycle revving of the internals of the device. It makes it fast enough to feel like a new devices, yes, but it’s still just swapping in newer parts for older parts. Everything else stays the same. It’s not a new number device, you know? And Apple can do that easily without marketing hassle because it’s just “iPad.” It is the same way they rev the internals of their computers as time goes by. There might be a new faster processor introduced that they can slide into last year’s laptop. There’s no event to monumentally launch it. Sometimes, there’s not even a press release. Apple just updates the specs on the website, and it’s done.

They can sort of do that now with iPads, even after just seven months. They’re not held back.

As for the iPad Mini, itself: $329 is too much to knock out Amazon and Google, but it’s plenty cheaper enough to attract some new buyers. It’ll be more attractive to schools, who don’t want to pay $399 or $499 for full-sized iPads. There’s likely a slight discount, too, for larger educational purchses. That’s huge, particularly as they continue to sell iBooks into schools.

So the iPad Mini will have its fans, but it won’t destroy the rest of the competition. Maybe next year they can unveil the retina iPad Mini (not “iPad Mini 2″) for $329 and lower this iPad Mini down to $249 or even $199 and wipe everyone out.

The best trick Apple pulled off today was in showing how ridiculously thin the new iMac is. It’s a great photographic trick. They were very careful to show it only from the one angle where you didn’t see the bulge behind it. Once you see that, the illusion is ruined.

What will I be buying? None of the above. I don’t need any of them, and I don’t get paid to be a tech pundit, so there’s no tax write-off. I’ll be getting an iPhone 5S in a year, probably, though. Can’t wait!

Apple’s Parts Leaks

Everybody complained that the iPhone 5 announcement was boring because all of the rumors were correct. And that’s because all the rumor sites had access to parts coming out of the Chinese manufacturers.

So answer me this: if there is, indeed, a new smaller iPad coming out in the next month, why haven’t we seen any of those parts leaking yet?

Does the iPhone just overshadow everything and we will start to see those parts appearing next week? Is there no financial incentive for the Chinese manufacturers to “leak” those parts yet? Did Apple learn from the iPhone and found ways of “doubling down on secrecy” for the new iPad?

Or, if I may put the tin foil hat on for a moment, is there no new iPad?

I doubt it’s that last option but, hey, you never know.

iPad(3) First Impressions

myWPEdit Image

First Impressions of the iPad 3

I’m writing this before I’ve even plugged it into the computer at home. In a brief window of wi-fi opportunity, I was able to configure my email and download the Comixology with a couple of comics.

  • Comixology has not upgraded its iPad App to the new retina display resolution, but it’s tough to tell. My main demo around the office this afternoon was “Justice League” #1 with Jim Lee art. The Superman splash page at the end was a big hit, with people calling it three-dimensional. More about this to come in Pipeline on Tuesday.

  • It is heavier than I expected. Since this is my first iPad, I’m not comparing it to the marginally lighter iPad 2. I just mean that the image in my mind I always had was of a slightly lighter device. It’s not a bother, though.

  • The size is huge. I’m so used to a phone where my thumb can travel the entire area of the screen in a half second. Now I’m holding a tablet with two hands and running fingers all over a display that’s four times the size or so. It’s weird.

  • When I go back to reading the iPhone, it feels so tiny.

  • Finger prints! Everywhere! Might work better in a slightly more dim room. Need a microfiber cloth to take care of this.

  • Must download lots of apps tonight. Will start with Instapaper, as I’ve recently realized how it will fit into my life. It won’t be Retina Display-ready for another week or two, but it’s a free upgrade, so no worries. More about that in this blog next month, I’m sure.

(This just in: Instapaper updated tonight, after all, about an hour after I downloaded it. Nice timing!)

Now excuse me while I go load more comic book files onto the device for, er, “testing.”..

iPad 3 Predictions

Tomorrow is the big announcement. Lots of questions remain about just what Tim Cook and Company have dreamt up for us all to spend our money on.

It’s silly and counter-productive to make guesses for any reason other than the ability to pat one’s self on the back should one of them come true. I’m going to do it anyway, because it seems like such fun.

  • What is the name? Will it be the iPad 2S? The iPad 3? Or the iPad HD? I don’t think it’ll be the “2S.” The retina display screen is too big a change to make it a point release. This is a new thing and needs a new name. I think it’ll just be the iPad 3, though the iPad HD fits in well with the multimedia platform Apple is trying to sell to its customers tomorrow. Here’s what I mean:

  • The AppleTV will get a refresh tomorrow, too. Will they call it the AppleTV HD? Only if the iPad gets the same name? For branding purposes, it’s not a bad idea. I mean, the big difference between the AppleTV 2 and 3 will be that the screen resolution peaks at 1080 instead of 720. It’s not that big a deal, but Apple will need to sell that hard. The important thing is, it’ll synch up beautifully with the iPad.

  • When can I buy these announced products? You might get a hint by looking at when Apple’s website is telling you new stock of the AppleTV will be in:

AppleTV Release Date?

That’s March 10th, which is Saturday. This would lend credence to the idea that everything will be released in a hurry on Friday the 9th. The more conservative 16th of March estimate is still in play, too. But would Apple coordinate their release schedule with South by Southwest and get it out this weekend? I kinda doubt it, but it seems like good timing. I remain hopeful for a March 9th release date.

  • What will the price point be? Same as it ever was. How they’ll manage that with a new more powerful chip and a screen that’ll suck the power and battery life out of the system, I do not know. Tim Cook is great at managing the supply chain, but this is a whole new level of craziness. I’m betting against the iPad 3 having as good a camera as the iPhone 4S. I don’t think it needs it. I think the best camera you’ll see on the device is the one capable of providing a 1080p video stream. That’s all it needs.

  • What about software announcements? Apple is going after the Chinese market these days. They’re aiming at education. And they want the enterprise market, if they can get it without going too crazy. And for that last reason, I believe we’ll see Microsoft on stage to demo Word/Excel/PowerPoint for iPad. Actually, I bet they skip the PowerPoint one, as it would be embarrassing to talk about the PowerPoint app while using Keynote in the on-stage demo. It’ll be mumbled at the end of the announcement.

  • Will the iPad 2 stick around? Yes, I believe it will. I have to think that the supply chain for that is so refined at this point using parts that are so cheap that it’s an easy profit for Apple to make with a lower-priced device, even if it’s just sold to the education market. (Even if the Retina Display screen’s killer feature is text reading and selling the old screen to educators and students seems kind of rude.)

  • Any other surprises? If I knew, they wouldn’t be a surprise. What’s the craziest, most outlanding prediction I could make here? How about a new springboard? Nah. . . That’s the kind of thing we’d see in iOS 6 and iPhone 5, at the earliest.

I’m just excited about it this year because I’ll be getting one, at last. So expect a full review both here and at ComicBookResources.com when I get there…

iPad 3 Is Coming

Dagnabit, I wrote this late last week and never posted it. So please forgive some of the verb tenses and estimations that might be off by a week…

The iPad 3 will be announced next week, leaving lots of people with iPads and iPad 2s looking to upgrade. Many of them are selling their old tablet on eBay now in advance of the new release to help offset the cost. eBay has said that the volume of iPad 2s being sold is higher now than it was with iPads when the second edition came out last year. That shouldn’t really be newsworthy, given the record sales Apple has had in the last year. But it’s still impressive.

Some observations:

  • People don’t mind living without their iPad for a week or two. Their auction will all end in the next seven days, and it’s no guarantee that the next one will be released right away. I’d bet on a 09 March release, but that’s just a guess. That’s a couple of weeks without their iPad. Could you imagine them doing that with their iPhone? Or their laptop/desktop computer?

  • The eBay listings show an average selling price of about $400. That’s a pretty good return on your investment. How many tech products hold 80% of their value a year later, particularly in light of a rumored Big Upgrade like the iPad 3 with his new screen? I don’t blame people for going a week or two without if it means buying an iPad 3 for $100 or so, in the end.

  • People will pay $400 for a used iPad 2! If I were willing to shell out $400 for an iPad, I’d save up, wait a couple of weeks or a couple of months, and buy the iPad 3. I think it’ll be worth it for that screen alone. Meanwhile, there’s still the theory running around that you’ll be able to buy a brand new iPad 2 for $400 or less once the third version is out.

  • The iPad 1 looks to go for $250 – $350. This is not a scientific statistical analysis. This is just me looking over a few screens of eBay listings. The iPad 2 price is consistent at $400, while the first iPad varies more wildly. And it’s not the specs that’s driving the price difference. I see 16GB models selling for more than 32GB models, and 3G-enabled iPads selling for less than wi-fi only. There are, of course, a lot of variables to account for with eBay auctions, but I found that randomness interesting in light of the consistency of the iPad 2’s sales. (That all said, the 64GB model tends to get up there near $400, which makes sense.)