Wishing And Hoping
So with mere minutes to go before Apple throws its dead goat off a truck, what rumours are the likeliest to turn into shiny reality and make me start wanting them? Well before anything else happens there will be the obligatory “State of Apple” address first off, with ridiculous numbers bearing witness to the almost scary earnings potential Apple has. In terms of hardware though, first off, well, a new iPad, obviously. It will have a “retina” display with double the current number of pixels horizontally and vertically, meaning a 2048×1536 panel crammed into a 9.7 diagonal inches. I have been longing for this ever since I saw the iPhone 4 screen, then looked back at the iPad screen and thought “oh.” With this resolution everything will look crisper, especially text, which will make reading books on it even more enjoyable. The screen will actually look like colour-printed paper at sufficient distance.
Inside and out it will probably look little different, a hair thinner, with beefier graphics, comparable processing power, perhaps more RAM, perhaps better cameras.
The last-minute pre-event rumour (and there always is one hours before) is for advanced haptic technology which will bring tactile feedback to the iPad screen significantly more advanced than just a vibration wherever your finger touches. A company called Senseq has developed this technology and has been very cagey in recent months when asked about its relationship with Apple.
Of course, with a new piece of hardware will come a revved iOS release, presumably 5.1, to enable whatever wizardry is going to be unleashed. Perhaps it will even, finally, address the battery-hungry nature of the iPhone 4S which chews comparably more power than the iPhone 4 even today. There is potential for Siri to be enabled on this new device, which would be interesting and a harbinger of the spread of Siri to other devices outside the iPhone (cough Apple TV set cough). If Siri is brought to this new iPad the question will be will it be rolled backwards to the iPad 2? It has the same processing power as the iPhone 4S so that excuse wouldn’t wash if they decided to hold it back. Apple may find that quite a hard non-sell. Announcements of upgrades to Siri itself may well form part of the announcement. Things have been quiet on that front since it Siri was announced as a “beta” release late last year. Presumably Apple haven’t just been sitting around trying to make the software say rude words like the rest of us and they have actually been hard at work making it cleverer.
Bringing up the rear we have a probably very likely refresh to the Apple TV box that will support full 1080p output with the aid of the chip thats powering the huge screen on the iPad (likely an A5S rather than an A6, with very similar general computing abilities but a much beefier graphics processing subsystem to cope with the three million plus pixels the new iPad is going to have to contend with).
One to watch will be whether the rumours of a few weeks back are true and Microsoft will be allowed to demo Office for iPad onstage, or at least whether it is released within a similar timescale. The brief “Office iPad is coming, Microsoft has shown it to us” “Those are inaccurate rumours, we did nothing of the sort” “Yes but you actually did show it to us though, didn’t you” brouhaha fizzled out leaving nothing but intrigue, but no-one can deny that Office for iPad would be bloody useful and a major selling point. And also that if Microsoft wasn’tdeveloping their premier productivity software for a booming hardware platform that is being rapidly adopted by some of the largest corporations around the world then they ought to have their heads banged against a wall.
In precisely *looks at watch* 26 minutes time, we shall all see, but I for one will welcome our new retina-display sporting overlords.