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What's Apple Changing in the iPad 2?
January 13, 2011 09:56 AM
Although we're still coming off the bombastic
Verizon iPhone announcement
, Apple's release schedule tells us we're close to seeing an update to the iPad. The original model defied many analysts' expectations and became a runaway hit, selling 3 million units in 80 days and popularizing the otherwise dormant tablet computer industry.
But admittedly, the existing iPad has its limitations -- many of which users and prospective owners hope to be corrected in the imminent revamp. And knowing Apple, there ought to be a few alterations.
This week, Cupertino released the
first beta version of iOS 4.3
to developers, intended for iPad, iPhone 4 and 3GS, and the third and fourth generation iPod Touch. And already, the code has been torn apart to reveal a few clues as to what the upcoming iPad 2 will have in store.
Mentioned in the Verizon iPhone announcement, a personal Wi-Fi hotspot for tethering wasn't much of a surprise. Wider AirPlay streaming support and restoring the iPad's side toggle to a rotation lock weren't very flashy. But new system-wide gesture support sounds pretty nifty.
According to Macrumors
, the multitouch gestures will allow a user to return to the Home Screen with a four or five finger pinch, multitasking apps can be cycled through with a swipe left or right, and a swipe up will reveal the multitasking bar. The site included a video of the gestures in action:
Looks nice, doesn't it? But beneath the stylish swipes and pinches lies an interesting rumor -- one Boy Genius Report
addressed last night
: Are the next iPad and iPhone about to lose their Home Buttons?
An Apple source told BGR that with the addition of the "pinch to return to the Home Screen" gesture, there's really no need for the Home Button to accomplish the same task. Allegedly, Apple employees are already testing iPads and iPhones sans Home Button, and seeing as how Steve Jobs "didn't want any physical buttons on the original iPhone at first," there's legitimacy to the rumor.
However, logically, this makes little sense. Novice users would prefer the tangible button to return to the Home Screen, rather than learn a gesture-based operation. Also, the effect only works if the user has dexterous fingers -- a pretty tall order for anyone with arthritis or missing digits. And considering the slim odds of this happening on the iPad, the odds are even slimmer of it being feasible on the smaller iPhone.
But one aspect almost certain to be added to the upcoming iPad is a camera or two. And 9to5Mac
of their existence.
In the latest SDK, there are four images related to camera operations. The shutter images and camera roll icons for videos and pictures are the same ones found on the iPhone and iPod Touch. However, these images, when opened up, expand to 1024 x 768 -- the same resolution on the current iPad. Which means, the iPad's most certainly gaining a camera.
Keeping in line with the iPhone 4's dual cameras, Apple will likely add one to the back for photos and video, and one to the front for FaceTime and Photo Booth apps.
But the 1024 x 768 dimensions are a bit troublesome. Since they are the same as the existing iPad, that indicates the iPad 2 will not ship with a higher resolution. At 132 pixels per inch (PPI), the iPad screen is less than half as sharp as the iPhone 4's Retina Display at 326 PPI. Granted, a larger screen can sacrifice a few pixels, but if the icon dimensions are a true indicator, then users hoping to see a gorgeous 9.7-inch Retina Display will be very disappointed.
For now, there's still no word as to when Apple will announce or release the iPad 2. But while the Verizon iPhone loaded the bases, Steve Jobs knows a new and improved iPad will be the grand slam.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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