The iPad-focused media event is expected to focus on what's next for the company's 9.7-inch tablet, alongside the firm's smaller and more compact 7.9-inch option - the iPad mini. In recent weeks, the web has been positively alight with reports surrounding both the form-factor and functionality that the next iteration of these products could bring to consumers.
Here's my take on what we could see happen at the event:
It's pretty much a given from the amount of reports
we've seen relating to Apple's next-generation iPads over the last several weeks, and Apple's recent switch to a fall timeframe for announcements relating to its iPad product line, that we're almost certainly in for some new tablets.
First, let's talk about the full-size 9.7-inch iPad. Originally introduced in January 2010, Apple's iPad has - over the last several years - systematically found its way into nearly every sector of our society. Revamped with a completely new design in March 2011, and gaining a quad-core graphics processor and Apple's signature super-high resolution Retina display along the way, the latest iteration of Apple's iPad is a powerhouse and features Apple's internally developed system-on-a-chip A6X processor as well as the company's new Lightning Connector.
As for what we can expect see in the next iteration of the iPad? Well, the jury's out on that one. Considering we haven't seen a hardware design refresh since the second generation, I'm expecting that Apple will show a change in appearance for the device on Tuesday, possibly in an effort to match the same style as the iPhone 5S. The device will likely be available in the same 16, 32, 64, and 128GB storage capacity options, and there's a good chance we will also see the device include the new 64-bit compatible A7 processor chip - now also found in the iPhone 5S.
(credit: Unbox Therapy)
If Apple is serious about eventually letting its developers out there take advantage of its brand-new Touch ID system, then I would bet strongly that we will also see the next iPad(s) feature this technology. Heck, we've already seen a number of purported photos
which suggest the cut-out for the “home button”
on these (rumored) devices was designed to fit Apple's Touch ID module - perfectly. Transplanting the inner workings of this system to a new iteration of the full-size iPad shouldn't prove that difficult for Apple, considering the production lines churning out devices carrying Touch ID are already there and waiting.
And then, of course, we have to address the recent chatter about the iPad mini
. Introduced as the company's more affordable iPad, the iPad mini first saw its public introduction in November of last year. The device is capable of pretty much everything Apple's current-generation full-sized iPad is capable of achieving, with the added benefit being that the device is more portable. In addition, compared to the iPad's starting price of $499
, the iPad mini arrived starting at just $329
In terms of what we could expect to see if Apple where to choose to reveal a new iPad mini at the event, the device could see a complete revamp to its hardware design. Personally, I'm expecting that we will see the device gain both Apple's new Gold and Slate Grey color options - although it's worth noting that a recent report by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests this won't be the case. Apple's second-generation iPad mini could also arrive featuring a Retina display. This is an aspect of the rumored device which has been speculated about quite heavily over the last year, with the main focus of discussion being on whether Apple can actually afford to keep the iPad mini at its tantalizing price point and offer expensive upgrades such as the jump to a 326-pixels per inch display.
This argument also extends to other recently introduced upgrades such as Touch ID, which again would make sense for Apple to include in the next-generation iPad mini, but whether or not the company would be able to keep the same price point if it did so is unclear. Granted, there's always the chance that Apple could position the next iPad mini as its “high-end” offering, and leave the existing generation of the tablet to serve as its entry offering as it does currently.
As for other internal upgrades, the question has to be asked as to whether Apple can afford to keep the iPad mini's dual-core A5 processor for another year, taking into account the new graphical requirements of its iOS 7 operating system. Personally, I'm going to wager that Apple will have no choice but to upgrade the processor on the iPad mini this year - perhaps (at least) to the A6, or A6X.
Things We're Not Expecting
With all that said, there are some things we're not expecting to see at Apple's media event. For instance, Apple's long speculated about ‘wearable’ product is likely only to see its public introduction (at the earliest) sometime next year. Likewise, Apple's ‘television’ product is highly doubtful to see its introduction at this event, simply due to reports in recent weeks suggesting the product's development is a long way off from being final.
Apple's media event on Tuesday will take place at the Yerba Buena Center of the Arts, in San Francisco, and is set to begin at 10am (Pacific), 1pm (Atlantic). We'll be sure to bring you full coverage regarding any products that may be announced at the event. Stay tuned!