March 8, 2012
The Apple Event finally put an end to the rumors about the newest iPad. So now is the time to reflect on what rumors came true, and those that didn't. At the start, CEO Tim Cook took the stage and, as expected, began introducing the third generation Apple TV, which has a new streamlined interface and will automatically stream photos from iDevices. This was cool, but for those of us who were hoping for the rumored iTV to be announced, complete with voice control and Siri, the update did not seem all that inspiring. We did get movies streaming from iCloud in 1080p, however. Then came the moment we all were waiting for: Apple introduced the new iPad. Surprisingly none of the rumors on the chosen title for the third generation iPad came true (except Andy's). Against all odds, and common sense, Apple decided to drop all version distinction by simply calling it the "new iPad." As expected, we did get the rumored Retina display and more speed with an impressive A5X chip sporting quad-core graphics to handle the new multi-touch screen. Note that this is not the rumored touch-feedback technology, but the ability to use a variety of gestures to control apps. iPad mini ... this year. Thankfully, our dreams of an improved camera came true. The iPad now boasts a five megapixel iSight camera fitted with advanced optics and 1080p HD video for both recording movies and watching them. We also got an unexpected perk in the addition of an image stabilization feature for recording. We were wowed at the confirmation that iPad would support 4G LTE networks and that, even with all these upgrades, the battery life is still estimated at 10 hours. AT&T, hoping to earn more customers, offers the cheapest 4G Plan. The new iPad is not sporting that tapered shell everyone was sure it had. This new model is not thinner, but actually thicker (9.4 mm) than the iPad 2 (8.8 mm). And of course, despite all the rumors about design, there was no capacitative home button or mini dock connector. Perhaps the fourth generation iPad will see a more significant design change. Even the rumor of the improved Smart Cover with full protection did not come true. But the new iPad is still an iPad, and beautiful nonetheless. Unfortunately, a rumor most of us were hoping for, the addition of Siri to the iPad, was not to be. Instead, it seems that Apple added a dictation feature. By pressing a keyboard button and speaking the iPad will type for you. This is an interesting feature, but for those of us who really wanted more assistance — or a virtual girlfriend — the lack of Siri was a serious disappointment. preview of iOS 6, but Apple did release iOS 5.1. There were also major updates to iMovie and GarageBand. While rumors had hoped for the iMovie HD or a Final Cut Pro X for iPad, the updated GarageBand, allowing iCloud support, was a nice surprise. The most impressive new feature in GarageBand is Jam Session, which allows a group of friends to wirelessly connect to play instruments and record music together live on their iOS devices. If it works well YouTube, we will soon overflow with videos of teenage iPad bands. As we reported on even before the event today, iPhoto for iOS was announced and we were very happy. Long overdue to land on our iDevices, this photo organization software is multi-touch enabled and makes photo handling a streamlined process. Not only can we finally sort our photos with ease, an issue that has plagued iPad users since the first generation, but we can also edit and enhance images right within the app. We did not see the rumored iPad 8GB or an offering of more storage. While an 8GB model seems rather worthless, we would have liked the option of more storage, especially with the ever-increasing size of apps: like the announced Infinity Blade: Dungeons and the ability to work on files as big as 100MB. The new iPad will be available on March 16, as expected. One rumor which was true for the better, was that the iPad price would remain the same. However, in a move which was unexpected, the iPad 2 will not be retired and will be offered for $100 less. For those who have been waiting to get a deal on an iPad 2, your moment has arrived. Though, I'm not sure how you can resist getting the newest version. The iPad is available for pre-order today from Apple. Wi-Fi models are priced at $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB and $699 for the 64GB model. Wi-Fi + 4G for either AT&T or Verizon will be available for $629 for the 16GB model, $729 for the 32GB model and $829 (US) for the 64GB model. And lastly, one thing nobody predicted was the way the event came to an end. In past events, the best tidbit was saved for last. We all waited, and waited, knowing if we were on the fence about the newest iDevice, the closing revelation would blow us away and leave us feeling even more like children at Christmas. Although some may have cringed if Cook had said "Just one more thing ... " (that's Steve's thing), we still expected something, some more new hardware. Instead, the tradition of saving the best for last seems long forgotten. There was no big bang to wow us, just a quick praise to the Apple employees as Cook walked off stage. It left us feeling oddly vacant and a bit sad (despite being excited about our new iPads). What features were you hoping to see that we didn't get it? How do you feel now that it is all said and done? At least now we can start speculating about the fourth generation iPad, right? You can watch the video of the event on Apple's website. Apple also updated its website with new iPad commercials.