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Apple iPad due out Real Soon Now

2010 Mac

Only an hour or so before the Apple event kicks off. Here's what I think is going to happen:

  • Coverage of first quarter results. Massive success in ecosystem etc.
  • Observation that sales of iPhones now exceed the profitability of those of Macs and Mac books - the future is portable.
  • Nod to the three billion apps served in just a few short years; as a point of note, the iTunes music store hit three billion in 2007, some four years after it opened. The number of hand-held devices almost outnumbers Apple's traditional computer marketplace.
  • iPhone 4.0 will be announced, but not available for download until next month. Demos will show the fluid transitions and video on web pages, using HTML5 video with H.264 instead of the standalone Quicktime browser. Background tasks won't be announced, but Steve will say 'we're working on something cooler'
  • One more thing ... Steve will pull out the iPad. Chosen to avoid the generic name 'tablet' and to avoid the non-sensical 'slate', the iPad fits into the existing lineup of applications and hardware.
  • The 10" screen will have the ability to play back 720p HD films at native resolution (maybe 1080i/p if Apple are thinking of updating their HD, but I think an iPad HD will be a separate launch in the future.) There won't be any ports to speak of, other than a mini-USB charger and a Dock connector, as well as a headphone set. A front-facing camera, mounted at the top, will give the same video-conferencing opportunity as exists in current MacBooks.
  • The iPad will run a Mac OS X derivative; but like the iPhone, will use the UI Kit to enable touch-based interfaces. A new version of the Mail client, along with Safari and iTunes/iPod will exist, but be beefed up from the current applications. A subsequent release of iPhone 4.0 will have those applications as well, and the UIs will dynamically scale down as screen space allows.
  • Steve will also announce partnerships with the printed media industry (allowing a subscription service for news periodicals from iTunes) as well as extending the reach of the video formats. As well as playing iTunes LP, a new iTunes HD format will support the playback of DVD and other media, along with their subtitles and other metadata that's missing from the HD downloads at the moment.
  • The iPad will also be able to download TV shows, probably also through iTunes. Its main use will be a larger-screen hand-held media browser, though it will also interact with web-sites and mail etc. But it will be marketed primarily as a media device, like an iPod.
  • Applications will be served from the iTunes store. Other than developers, it's unlikely that other apps will be installed on it.
  • Battery life will enable for about 5h video playback, and probably up to a week between charges otherwise. Using the WiFi (no 4G built in; that will be a future update to the line) will clearly degrade that expected battery life.
  • It will have external speakers (mounted on the back or sides) and a separate stand will allow movies to be watched on top of a desk (expect the market to explode for those). Within two weeks, there will be a mount that enables it to be mounted on the back of a car seat for in-car multimedia.
  • The on-screen keyboard will be a normal sized keyboard (slightly smaller than the MacBook keyboard). The screen will have haptic feedback to create a simulation of the ridges of the keys, although the typing will still feel like you're hitting wood. Of course, it will support multi-touch.
  • The unit will also sport GPS and compass, and can be used as a dashboard mounted SatNav unit or a handheld map for navigating countryside.

So, that's my thoughts. Come back in a few hours to find out how I did!