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Opinion: The Apple Reboot - Retina Displays, Colorful iPads And More

Opinion: The Apple Reboot - Retina Displays, Colorful iPads And More

November 1, 2012
As I continue sifting through the many comments to my post, Opinion: The Apple Reboot – Skeuomorphic Design Changes, The End Of Siri And More, and subsequent update, Opinion: Maybe Killing Off Siri Was A Little Bit Off The Mark, the time has come for the second of a two-part series. Here, I take a look at some of the hardware changes Apple should make given Tim Cook’s recently announced management changes. For many, you may be surprised to know that I'm not advocating all that many changes.

Bump this

Apple has sold millions of iPads since their first tablet was released in 2010. While each new version came with improved displays, better processors, and the like, one thing has remained constant, storage space. Through four iPad versions and a first-generation iPad mini, Apple has kept storage sizes the same, 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. At the same time, full iPad prices have also remained constant, $499, $599, and $699, respectively. With the size of apps continuing to grow due primarily to Retina display requirements, the time has come for Apple to increase storage sizes on future iPads. Most likely, this will finally happen with the iPad 5 and future iPad mini models. Here is hoping they include 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB.

The crazy uncle

This fall has been unique for Apple in that the company presented not one, but two special events in a matter of weeks. With these customers have, or will soon have, the ability to purchase new versions of iOS devices and Macs. One product not getting much love from the Apple upgrade gods, however, is the iPod Classic. The iPod Classic is just that, a classic. In fact, the case can be made that Apple’s phenomenal success in recent years can be tied directly back to this device, or a least a previous version of it. Unfortunately, the iPod Classic is heading into its fourth year without an update. Unlike other iPods, the Classic contains a traditional hard drive, which makes it Apple’s largest capacity mobile device. This is the primary reason, in my opinion, that the Classic has remained on sale despite the arrival of newer mobile devices. I don’t expect to see iOS on a future iPod Classic. But I would like to see a new version arrive that includes a Lightning connector, modest storage bump, and perhaps a better display. Will this actually happen? I’m not so sure. I would be more surprised to see Apple update the iPod Classic than I would to see them discontinue it.

Add some color

As I mentioned earlier this month, I would love to see future iPad minis come in multiple colors like their iPod cousins. My reason for this, besides the obvious cool factor, has to do with who is more likely to buy the iPad mini in the long-term. Unlike the full-size iPad, which generates sales from consumers and businesses, the iPad mini seems destined to attract first-time tablet owners, families with children, frequent book readers, and education. And what better way to differentiate the iPad mini from what other companies are selling, than for Apple to add color to it? Oh right, Retina display.

Give me those pixels

AppAdvice and other websites have already discussed how the first-generation iPad mini comes without a Retina display. Because of this, there is no reason for a rehash here. Safe to say, however, that Apple’s long-term goal is to add Retina to everything they sell. This means that we are likely to see the second-generation iPad mini and next generation MacBook Air include this, perhaps as early as next year. With the iMac and its larger display, I believe adding Retina may take a little bit longer. Apple has always been known as a hardware company. Because of this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that most of the issues I’ve identified as needing to be fixed are software related. It will be interesting to see what Cook’s new management team dreams up in the months and years going forward. Most likely, this new lineup will spend a great deal of time focused on improving software. In particular, I can’t wait to see what happens as Jony Ive begins to leave his mark on this side of the company. Most likely, we won’t have to wait long to see what changes are made. After all, WWDC 2013 is just eight months away.

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