2012 Apple iPad Event Predictions (Updated)

Like clockwork, Apple is hours away from announcing the third generation of its iPad device. I’m sure I won’t be the only Australia-based Apple watcher getting up at 5AM to take in the news.

Since people keep asking me what news I think Apple’s event will hold, and since I managed to predict Apple’s last announcement seven months in advance, I thought I might as well break the blogging ice with my predictions for today.

Here are my guesses:

  • iPad 2 will be discontinued
  • iPad 2S will be announced, featuring:
    • an upgraded A5X processor
    • an improved back facing camera on par with iPhone 4
    • available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB RAM configurations
    • 4G LTE networking (not on Wi-Fi models, of course)
    • slightly different shape to the body, but compatible with the current iPad 2 Smart Cover
    • available in Apple’s usual launch countries (including Australia) on March 16th
    • Priced from US$399 ($100 less than current iPad 2 models)
  • iPad HD will be announced, featuring:
    • the new A6 processor
    • 2048×1536 pixel Retina display
    • an improved back facing camera on par with iPhone 4S
    • available in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB RAM configurations
    • 4G LTE networking (not on Wi-Fi models, of course)
    • slightly different shape to the body, but compatible with the current iPad 2 Smart Cover
    • available in Apple’s usual launch countries (including Australia) on March 16th
    • Priced from US$599 ($100 more than current iPad 2 models)
  • iPhoto for iPad, which will be able to receive photos from iPhone via Photo Stream and sync photo library events with iPhoto for Mac via iCloud for on-the-go photo processing and publishing.
  • An updated Apple TV capable of 1080p video output.
  • iOS 5.1 will be released next week, with many minor tweaks that we’ve been hearing about for months (such as the ability to delete single photos from Photo Stream).

My prediction of two new iPad models (one with Retina display, one without) breaks from the pack, and would certainly be unlike Apple, in that it would result in 24 different iPad SKUs (three RAM configurations, two colours, with or without cellular data, 2S or HD). I’m guessing this amazing new 10″ Retina display simply can’t be made at volume for current iPad 2 prices. Heck—just 12 months ago we were hearing they couldn’t be made at all!

Can’t wait to see how I do! Join me on Twitter at 10AM PST (5AM AEDT) for the announcement.

Update: Looks like I had roughly a 50% strike rate! iPad 2 will remain on sale at $100 off the old price, the nameless “New iPad” rocks an A5X processor, Retina display, better front camera, back camera about halfway between the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S cameras, 4G LTE networking (US only), same old RAM options. Launching March 16th (pre-orders today). iPhoto for iPad and iOS 5.1 launching today.

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