Collected: What to expect from the iPad 2.0

"Angelheaded hipsters, cease your burning, cease your pining for your ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,**" iPad 2.0 is coming, and where v.1 was magical, v. 2 could be poetry, maybe, just believe.

I've been sifting through the recent iPad 2.0 rumors and these now suggest a slightly altered chassis, a much-improved processor, a 3-megapixel camera, more MEMS accelerometer/gyroscope controls and an improved (but still not Retina Display -- that's next year) display. We'll see Apple sell at least five million of these in the first few months.

The processor

Ming-Chi Kuo of Concord Securities claims the new iPad will sport a dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A9 processor. That's in line with what I've been expecting, and if Apple sticks to its guns this processor will be marketed as the Apple A5.

The graphics processor will be the Imagination Technologies’ POWERVR SGX543 GPU, as reported here. What's critical here is that this graphics chip supports OpenCL, meaning that the power of both the graphics chip and the main CPU can at times be combined to handle intense computational tasks. The new iPad will be super-powered -- should the same chip combination appear within iPhone 5, then you will not want to miss this upgrade.

"iPad 2 has 512MB RAM, same as iPhone 4 and twice as much as iPad 1, but running at higher clock 1,066 MHz for getting bigger memory bandwidth (iPhone 4 memory clock is 800 MHz)," Ming-Chi Kuo said.

We already know the processors will be manufactured by Samsung, which will be selling half its mobile chip production capacity to Apple this year.

The camera

iPad 2.0 will host a low-res front-facing camera and a low-res back camera. Apple is already seeking an expert in digital photography to work with the iPad development team. This could mean improvements in PhotoStream, MobileMe Gallery and should also equate to new tools for image editing on your iPad. This has to also mean iPhoto will reach the iPad (at last), as the existing Photo App doesn't edit images. I'd stick my neck out to suggest a version of iMovie - already available on the iPhone -- will also reach iPad.

The display

9to5Mac tracked down what it claims to be images of the new iPad 2 display. If its sources are correct, the new display will be 10 grams lighter and one millimeter thinner than the preceeding slim screen.

  • iPad 1 display : Weight: 153.2 grams.  Length: 20.1 cm x 15.2 cm
  • iPad 2 display:  Weight: 143.9 grams   Length:20.1 cm x 15.2 cm

Ming-Chi Kuo of Concord Securities recently claimed the new iPad display will retain the same 1,024-x-768 resolution, but will be anti-reflective, so it will be a much better device for reading -- think a Kindle, but better.

IDC analyst, Tom Mainelli believes we will see a Retina Display, but not until version 3 of the iPad, presumably next year. “I don’t believe anybody is ready to produce that resolution in volumes at this point. And Apple is going to require huge volumes for the iPad 2,” he said.

NFC/iWallet plans

Bloomberg reports that Apple’s next generation iPhone and iPad will include NFC (near field communication) functionality. Thats in line with what I've been claiming for ages, and means you'll be able to use both devices for single-pass payments.

Now, I have a notion here: Using an iPad to pay for goods makes less sense because of its relative size in comparison to an iPhone, but it makes sense to offer such support as an option to those who want to use it.

However, using an iPad as a payment-taking kiosk makes lots more sense. Merchants would only have to pay for the iPad, and some fee (this is likely) for setting up a payment account. After this they'd have an easy to use payment terminal, and Apple would have the kind of point of sale advertising you can only dream of. Imagine all those iPad-using restaurants effectively taking payments using their menus?

Could this also see a technology acquisition? Apple last year reportedly was looking to acquire contactless/near field communications tech firm, VIVOtech, a provider of "Contactless/near field communications (NFC) payment software, NFC smart posters, contactless readers/writers, and over the air card provisioning, promotion, and transaction management infrastructure software."

Connectivity

Primarily, WiFi-only, GSM, and CDMA. You'll be able to get an iPad for Verizon or for AT&T. I'm not clear yet if Apple will be able to field a world phone chip in this release -- it would make much more sense to offer an iPad you could use on any network, but it is possible such a radio component would eat too much battery life and take too much space. Should Apple introduce an iPad capable of running on both CDMA and GSM networks, then this will imply the next-gen iPhone will also offer the facility. This is also why I now don't expect Apple to announce the new device until after pent-up Verizon iPhone sales have reached their zenith.

Accelerometer/gyroscope controls

These are going to be improved. Expect a 3-axis gyroscope (a la iPhone 4), for example. I'll also stick my neck out with a couple of

guesses

as to other potential improvements.

  • With cameras on all its mobile devices, Apple will begin experimenting with movement-based interfaces -- by this I don't mean movement of the device to control the device, but movement of the viewer -- ("Minority Report" here we go again). Firms including eyeSight and GestureTek are already using the built-in phone camera to analyse hand motions and recognize gestures. I predict Apple will explore this.
  • Apple will also implement better predictive and gesture-recognition technologies in future, this time under a licensing agreement with Nuance.

In future, both these technologies will be combined with use of pico projectors, but these won't appear on Apple devices this year. Why? Because they demand too much power and just aren't good enough yet. Insufficiently bright, they would disappoint and not excite early adopters.

That's a wrap-up of iPad 2.0 rumors from the last week or so. Read earlier collections here. Have I missed any? What would you like the device to do? Please let me know in comments below, and I'd be most pleased if you chose to follow me on Twitter so I could let you know as new reports get published here first on Computerworld.

** = With thanks -- always -- to Allen Ginsberg and Howl.

FREE Computerworld Insider Guide: IT Certification Study Tips
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies