Tomorrow will be another big day for Apple, with their Special Event is San Jose. According to rumors and various speculations we should expect a new smaller iPad, a new iBook version and some new Macs: 13” Pro with Retina display, a new 27” iMac and new Mac Minis. Let’s break them down.
I would start with the big one: the iPad Mini (or Air, or whatever you want to call it).
With all the reports and pictures that are flooding the internet is now a sure thing that we are going to see a new and smaller iPad tomorrow. It will be a 7.85” screen device so it will be significantly smaller than the current 9.8” but still a good size to be a production device. It will go against some fierce competition from the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire which are both already established in that space.
Many of the reports tend to say that this iPad Mini won’t have a Retina display. I agree with that, especially because the whole purpose of this device is to have something cheap that can be used to smash the competition. A Retina screen would be a nice feature but will drive the price up. So the general understanding is that it will have the screen specs similar to the iPad 2, while having the internal improved to better match “The New iPad” (3).
The new Lightning connector (of course) will make its appearance in the new device, making people angry once again (especially because it’s still very difficult to find an adapter for the 30-pin connector).
I think the iPad Mini will sell like hot cakes especially if Apple will manage to keep the initial price around $250. I think I’ll personally evaluate the possibility to switch from my current iPad 2 to the newer and smaller one. I use my iPad mainly as a reading device: I can read books, articles, tweets or whatever, but I mainly read. A smaller and probably lighter form-factor will be much more comfortable especially when reading in bed or on my couch. As for the “creation” side of the iPad, I always use an external keyboard when I want to write extensively so the reduce screen estate won’t be a problem for me.
I’ll be very curious to see what they are going to do with iBook 3.0. I’m especially interested to see if along iBook they will bring some improvement to iBook Author, which is an incredibly powerful app that could nevertheless benefit from some improvement (performances wise).
According to the rumors we are going to see also a revised version of the current iPad that should only bring the new Lightning connector on board. Despite some pictures that are making their way on the internet, I’m still skeptic about it. There’s no doubt that this could be a logic thing to do. They will align all their main products to their new standard but there could be also some main drawbacks.
First of all there’s again the adapter problem. By upgrading the new iPad (3) to the new connector they will have a lot more people potentially looking for an adapter that it’s impossible to find, making people not very happy about this. The second thing is that Apple is going anyway to introduce a new model of iPad this spring that will have for sure the new connector. I don’t see the need to upgrade the new model at this point in time (I say this assuming that they won’t change their usual release schedule, moving the iPad completely to October instead of March).
If we overthink this portion of the upgrade we could say that they are upgrading the current iPad because they already know than the next version will retain the same industrial design with the same back plate and so they are already upgrading the manufacturing plants to a process that will be used also in the near future.
Now: into the Macs.
The 13” Retina MacBook Pro is not at all a surprise. Once we saw the 15” we knew it was only a matter of time before Apple making the switch to this technology across the board. As its bigger brother, the 13” will lose the optical drive and will acquire the SSD hard drive in order to become thinner and faster. There will be also an HDMI port on the side along with some Thunderbolt and USB3. The 13” Pro with the regular display will still stick around and that’s mainly because the Retina model won’t come cheap: price should start around $2200 up, based on your configuration.
Probably they won’t be specifically mentioned during the event, but both the Mac Mini and a new revised (internally only) iMac should see the light of the day. Again, you will probably notice the difference by going to the Online Store where they will be labelled as “New”, but nothing very fancy other than that.
As you can see tomorrow will be quite a busy day for Apple. I’ll try my best to follow the event live and if you want to follow the event with me you can follow me on Twitter or Alpha.App.Net where I’ll post my impressions as the event will unfold.------------------ I'm @matteodallombra on Twitter and on Alpha.App.Net, you should follow me!