The 3rd Generation iPad Will be oh, so Right

| Particle Debris

Apple has some interesting decisions to make about the iPad 3. It’s a balance between extreme tech bleeding edge and high costs vs. what’s needed to compete for the next 12 months. Or eight months, if you believe my thesis. Plus interesting snippets on Mountain Lion, Windows 8, a Linux family scuffle, and the relaunch of Ze Frank’s amazing show.

We’re all waiting with great anticipation for the iPad 3. Some are calling it the “iPad HD.” Even fewer are calling it the iPad 2S. Whatever it turns out to be, the real question is the fine line between what Apple has to do and what customers wish for.

Aatma Concept videoCredit: Aatma Studio concept video

The higher resolution display, almost a given, and a customary CPU upgrade will easily accommodate 1080p. But other fronts are more problematic. Apple hasn’t shown signs of being enthusiastic or creative about how to handle stereo speakers because the iPad can be held in different orientations. If anyone can figure it out by now, Apple can.

(The screen shot from the iPad 3 concept video above is cool, but I don’t think Apple can go full edge screen yet. But it’s fun to ponder.)

Also, it has been customary for Apple to let the iPhone be the technology forerunner and then implement those technologies in the iPad. However, I don’t think it’s wise for Apple to wait until March of 2013 to include 4G/LTE, and I think Apple will want to use a chip that has 3G for data, but lets them and their carrier partner turn on 4G/LTE data as needed. Articles like the one about the Qualcomm Gobi chip make me think the technology to do that is upon us.

Of course, we’re expecting respectable cameras. No one, so far as I know, has ever explained the terrible cameras in the iPad 2. Other than Apple’s unwise attempt to discourage their use. But I think Apple has seen the light.

I’ve said before that I don’t think Apple will release a 7.x inch iPad next Wednesday. It’s not necessary at this point in time. Rather, Apple will sell a version of the iPad 2, perhaps the 16 GB model for a price that’s just low enough to lure potential Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook purchasers over into the Apple camp, pulling them up from the US$199 price point. Just where that price point is is very interesting. If it’s too low, it devalues the Apple brand and the sales prospects of current iPad 2 customers. If it’s too high, the percentage that can be lured upwards is too small to be worth the effort. My guess is an iPad 2 w/16GB, Wi-Fi priced at $299 to $349 That would make Amazon and B&N squeal with pain.

Now that Tim Cook is in charge, I think that the momentum to eliminate the “Home” button, if there ever was any, rumored to be born of Mr. Jobs’s distaste for physical buttons, is gone. For the sake of reliability and error recovery, we need a few physical buttons wired to the hardware.  Just a few. Apple, we like that part just the way it is.

Finally, while Apple, I surmise, is still sizing up the prospect of avoiding another Christmas embarrassment by not having a “gift-worthy,” 7-inch iPad, Amazon may be taking a different approach. If commodity parts are becoming more available, thanks to the worldwide demand for tablets, Amazon may be thinking about becoming a serious, the only serious, competitor to Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad with one of its own. In fact, the the 7-inch Kindle Fire may simply have been a warmup. Check this: “Was the Amazon Kindle Fire a Beta Release?

The Last Chance Saloon

On a similar front, as we know, Microsoft is probably a bit tense about its prospects for tablets and mobility based on its upcoming release of Windows 8. This is Microsoft’s last chance to be a player in the tablet market, and Tom Krazit lays it all out. “Why Windows 8 is Microsoft’s most vital launch in years.” I think Mr. Krazit nails it.

Windows 8

Windows 8 (credit: Microsoft)

You can now find a ton of articles about Windows 8 technology and its market prospects, but the one that caught my attention was at ars technica that compares the e-mail client in Windows 7 to WIndows 8. “E-mail shines in Windows 8 with radical overhaul of mail client.” This new email approach, essential for the mobile user, tells me that Microsoft has buckled down and is getting serious about mobility. Jon Brodkin brings the point home with his screenshots. And David Pogue agrees.

Extras

Apple isn’t standing still either. With tongue in cheek, I have occasionally referred to Lion as Apple’s Vista. This happens because phase I for new OS thinking is getting the basic technology down. Then, when customers scream and fuss, it takes another year to iron out the UI wrinkles. That’s what I think Apple has done and will do with Mountain Lion. For example, ML eliminates some of the historical limitations on renaming files and some of the irritations introduced by Auto Save. Here’s a taste of good things to come: “Inside OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: a Preview of how Apple is improving file renaming.

Mountain Lion pounces

Mountain Lion Pounces (Credit: Shutterstock)

It’s sad but true. That days of building operating systems solely so that users can achieve personal goals and conduct technical work are gone. In 2012, an operating must also achieve corporate agenda so that a company can sustain growth and remain on top. Whether that compromise will create trouble for Apple remains to be seen. For some background on what Apple’s is trying to achieve with Mountain Lion, see: “Mountain Lion threatens Facebook and Microsoft.” Apple is always competing against Microsoft; it’s the Facebook part that intrigues me. This infighting is why scientists, especially those with a special need, say, to modify the kernel, lean towards Linux. Linux is the low-key, technical, button-down OS designed to get technical work done, generally free of Imperial Entanglements.

The other side of that double-edged sword is the usability of Linux by people who need it to be a friendly OS. People like, say, Linus Torvalds himself. This is funny in a geek snort, coffee through the nose kinda way. “Linus Torvalds snarls at openSUSE desktop Linux’s security.

The lesson from these last two paragraphs is from the three laws of thermodynamics: “You can’t win, you can’t break even and you can’t even get out of the game.”

Ze Frank

Ze Frank

One of my favorite projects of the past (2006) was Ze Frank’s “The Show.” As I recall, each week, Ze Frank produced a witty, zany, satirical video by, gasp, pointing a camera at himself. It was outrageous and outrageously good. But, with all things, it had to come to and end. Now, Mr. Frank is going to dust it off and resurrect The Show, but he needed kickstart funds. He asked for US$50K to guarantee the relaunch. Right now, donations have exceeded $116K. The next edition will be “same same but different.” Here’s the reference: “A Show with Ze Frank.” Can you spare $1? It’ll be worth it.

Comments

jfbiii

Given the fortuitous timing of the upcoming iPad announcement and your article about what Apple “has to do” with the iPad 3, I have some fun Claim Chowder to share.

A year ago there was some gnashing of teeth on a lot of people’s parts about the disappointing specs of the iPad 2 and how well it stacked up against other tablets.

From Bosco in the March 2nd, 2011 article: iPad 2 Specs Are a Disapointment

“I don?t think Apple is going to know what hit them a year from now. We?re at the point where basically none of this stuff is indistinguishable from magic, and there?s no need to accept the constraints of Apple.”

Technical specs no longer make or break products on their own, because people don’t shop to them the way that they used to.

RonMacGuy

Technical specs no longer make or break products on their own, because people don?t shop to them the way that they used to.

Not sure they ever really did, except for the truly geeky, which represents a dwindling minority of the Earth’s population.  Which is why most of Bosco’s (and other true techies’) past criticism and predictions of Apple and their products have never come true. They will, of course, never acknowledge how wrong they were (and are), which is fine.  Makes for a much quieter and nicer TMO.  They are completely and utterly dumbfounded with the fact that the iPad has not become as “irrelevant and declining” as they had once predicted, and that the iPhone is maintaining (growing) in market share.  We’ve been saying it all along - It’s not about the specs…

nealg

John,

Nice piece. Interesting stuff about Windows 8. Have you used it yourself and if you have, what did you think? Has there been a transition at MSFT? And if there is, did Ballmer initiate it or did it take place despite him?

From an investment standpoint, the big question for me is if MSFT got Windows 8 correct on mobile and on the desktop, will people care enough to improve things at MSFT to make it a better investment?

The 2 questions that I have about Windows 8 is will it be on time and will people give MSFT a chance in the mobile space? If the answer to both is yes, then MSFT will be a good investment again, especially in the short term.

Neal

mrmwebmax

+

To all of TMO, I’ll just apologize for this horribly off-topic post right now, but ever since Mountain Lion was introduced, I’ve just had to say it: I think mountain lions (pumas, call them what you want) are the most beautiful creatures on Earth. I didn’t upgrade to Lion, and I admit the marketing was a slight factor: There’s something weirdly canine about lions that I don’t like.

A mountain lion? Scale up the most beautiful housecat you’ve ever seen, such as an abyssinian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abyssinian_(cat)) to deadly proportions, and you get a mountain lion.

Apple nailed it with that big cat’s face. The mascara markings, everything. I’ve had sixteen domestic housecats in my lifetime. I rescue strays and ferals. Even the little ones can be dangerous, as I have found out more than once. You scale up that kind of power to mountian lion size, and it is truly frightening.

But oh so beautiful. Be kind to cats, please. Especially the little ones. They remain the only species who chose to domesticate themselves. smile

John Martellaro

nealg:  Regarding Windows 8, Microsoft gave me a preview back in September.

http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/a_mac_users_first_reaction_to_windows_8/

Garion

from the article:

“...while Apple, I surmise, is still sizing up the prospect of avoiding another Christmas embarrassment by not having a ?gift-worthy,? 7-inch iPad…”

Excuse me? Another Christmas embarrasment? That embarrasment you’re talking about, would that be Apple’s last holiday quarter which shattered all previous sales records??

I think Apple would praise themselves lucky if they could have another Christmas embarrassment like that in 2012!

wab95

I?ve said before that I don?t think Apple will release a 7.x inch iPad next Wednesday. It?s not necessary at this point in time. Rather, Apple will sell a version of the iPad 2, perhaps the 16 GB model for a price that?s just low enough to lure potential Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook purchasers over into the Apple camp, pulling them up from the US$199 price point. Just where that price point is is very interesting. If it?s too low, it devalues the Apple brand and the sales prospects of current iPad 2 customers. If it?s too high, the percentage that can be lured upwards is too small to be worth the effort. My guess is an iPad 2 w/16GB, Wi-Fi priced at $299 to $349 That would make Amazon and B&N squeal with pain.

John:

I concur with this 100%. I have said before, and repeat now, that Apple producing a 7.X iPad will not surprise me, but I just don’t think they need to in order to gain further tablet marketshare. And if it is not necessary, then it is an exercise in inefficiency, something that Apple never does intentionally. Moreover, we have yet to see how well the 7” Fire has contributed to Amazon’s business plan, let alone their bottom line. If they’re getting burnt by the Fire, then Apple have no 7” flank to protect - at least for the moment. Indeed, I strongly second Tim Bajarin’s assessment that the Fire may simply have been a ‘beta’ product, a placeholder, if you will.

My guess (and it’s only that) is that Apple will not release a 7” iPad unless and until: 1) it fulfils a specific need in a defined and worthwhile market, 2) the user experience is optimised for that need (read ‘best in class’ and ‘takes the competition to school’), and 3) they can do so without haemorrhaging profit. All three.

Agree, Krazit nails it. Windows 8 has to not only perform superbly, it has to inspire to put MS in the game of the brave new world mobile computing. Any further lost ground may be non-recoverable for MS, in which case they watch the tech universe progressively expand away from them until they are left in the cold and the dark of yesteryear - not tomorrow, but inevitably.

Further, Edward Aten’s analysis about the potential impact on both MS and FB, and the potential benefits for a coherent strategy of mutuality between these two, is compelling. The moment for them to act is now, at the threshold of ML’s release. Failure to act will have, I believe, a more immediate impact on MS and its Windows 8 release, but in the longer term, on FB, which may find itself progressively ‘unfriended’.

That Torvalds piece on openSUSE is funny.

wab95

To all of TMO, I?ll just apologize for this horribly off-topic post right now

Enjoyed your off-topic post, mrmgraphics, including the link to Abyssinian cats, which are indeed beautiful - many thanks for the reminder. That said, having spent my childhood/early adolescence in Africa, I can think of no more majestic, beautiful and regal a beast than the African lion, particularly those in Tsavo National Park.

Fastflyer

They remain the only species who chose to domesticate themselves.

Fastflyer

They remain the only species who chose to domesticate themselves.

It always puzzled me how cats were domesticated. All other domesticated animals either herd, flock or run in packs. It seemed odd that a solitary predator would agree to domestication. Then one day it dawned on me that humans have hands and all cats are such suckers for petting. It has to be the hands.

mrmwebmax

+

It always puzzled me how cats were domesticated. All other domesticated animals either herd, flock or run in packs. It seemed odd that a solitary predator would agree to domestication. Then one day it dawned on me that humans have hands and all cats are such suckers for petting. It has to be the hands.

From what I understand, it started in ancient Egypt, where some of humankind’s first graineries were operated. Grain was stored, and stored grain attracted rodents. Rodents attracted cats. Egyptians bonded with cats because of their hunting skills, and ended up worshipping them.

I’ve read many varients on this, but here’s a good overview:

http://www.boutiquekittens.com/Origins-and-Domestication-of-Cats.236.0.html

Dean Lewis

Domesticating cats? Well, if you agree with the scientists in this article from The Atlantic, it’s all about the mind-controlling effects of T. gondii rather than any effort of either cat or human:

How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy

John Dingler, artist

Hmmm, this got me to compare the wife, the iPhone, or the group of feral cats we feed. Which one do I enjoy/love more?

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