Wednesday, December 1, 2010

iPad 2.0 - they're missing the point

There are lots of articles around at the moment about what the next version of the iPad may look like. There's no doubt that Apple stole such a lead on its competitors that almost a year later few strong competitors to the iPad exist, so a next-gen version may increase Apple's dominance of this sector. This is also I suppose of interest to people thinking of an iPad as a Christmas purchase -  should they hold-off and wait for the new version.

However, I think most of the commentators are totally missing the point (here's a typical iPad 2.0 article). We all know what the new version of the iPad will be (broadly speaking), but the hardware is much less than half the story. So let's get the iPad 2.0 out of the way:
  • it will have a front facing camera to support FaceTime (if you look carefully at the top centre of your iPad you'll see a small hole already exists for a camera),
  • it wont have a back facing camera (everyone who has an iPad probably has a digital camera already),
  • it will be the same size, but perhaps lighter and with even better battery life,
  • there will not be a 7" screen version
  • it may have a faster processor and more RAM
  • it will not have a retina display (there's not enough processing power in the iPad for that many pixels on a 10" screen)
  • it will not have more than 64GB storage
  • it will run iOS 5.0
Really all the hardware points are just obvious. But the last two items need explanation.  The iPad will not need more that 64GB of storage because iOS 5.0 will be seamlessly integrated with Apple's cloud services (iTunes-in-the-cloud and other cloud storage systems).

My prediction is that with iOS 5.0 users of iOS devices will store and access all their music, photos, movies, TV shows, podcasts, ebooks, and data files in the cloud. The local storage on your devices will just be used as a local cache for frequently and recently used data. Your entire music library and everything else will permanently live on Apple's cloud. Hence you'll never need more than 64GB or local storage.

Apple are about to open their massive data center in North Carolina and all the smart money is that this will be used for iTunes-in-the-cloud. So basically stop worrying about the iPad 2.0, the really interesting innovations will be iOS 5.0 and iTunes.

A previous blog post of mine talks more on this and how it will reduce online piracy

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