Apple’s 2012 iPad event: the highlights
Update 2011-03-09: More links under Sect. 2.
This post summarizes what Apple has introduced yesterday.
Movies and Apple TV.
Apple TV now has support for 1080p movies and they are available via iTunes and Netflix. Furthermore
Netflix Inc. is deepening its ties with Apple Inc. by allowing owners of Apple TV set-top boxes to sign up for the video-streaming service directly and pay through their iTunes accounts.
The new iPad. It is not called iPad 3, just “the new iPad”. This is a decluttering of sorts and should be OK, as long as the different models that are sold at the same time have different names. However, does “iPad 2” really sound like the less capable of the two models? I guess the price will tell the difference. New Features:
- Higher resolution. Shows more information in text documents and websites. And enables 1080p movies.
- Almost the same enclosure. It’s 0.6mm thicker and slightly heavier, probably due to the bigger battery that is needed to carry the additional pixels and 4G LTE. The previous Smart Cover  still works.
- Support for 4G LTE. The iPad’s bigger battery should make this feature OK.
- Can become a personal hotspot. Weird initial omission. Sadly, Apple’s notebooks still can’t access cellular data.
- Dictation. A button next to the software keyboard allows you to dictate a text. But it’s not Siri.
- Same Flash options as before: 64GB is the maximum storage capacity.
- Cameras: Same VGA-class frontside FaceTime camera. Improved backside iSight camera.
The iPad 2 is still on sale. There are only two models, in either black or white: Wi-Fi for $399 and Wi-Fi + 3G for $529. Either model has 16GB storage. That still leaves room for a smaller rumored “iPad mini”, which could have an 7.85 inch display as opposed to the current iPad’s 9.7 inch display. The iPad mini could cost $299 which would make life difficult for the Kindle Fire .
iPhoto on iOS, moving away from Google Maps. Offered by Apple on the app store for $4.99, it complements other paid “iLife” apps iMovie and GarageBand. iPhoto provides the first clue that Apple is starting to eliminate its reliance on Google for maps: Its map data does not come from Google Maps, any more. A move that has long been rumored. After all, Apple’s relationship with Google is not friendly, any more. And they have acquired the mapping company Placebase and C3 Technologies, which specializes in 3D maps. Interestingly, the new maps are partially based on old OpenStreetMap data, with adaptations by Apple. They are not as beautiful as Google’s maps where a number of measures  are taken to improve clarity.
Conclusion. All in all, solid incremental work. This kind of slow, but steady pace makes the Apple ecosystem predictable and stable. Which is a good thing.
More information on the web
Differences between models:
Details on features:
- How the iPad 2 Smart Cover performs its magic
- Amazon’s new Kindles – overview and ramifications
- What Google Maps can teach you about user interface design