iPad 2: Final Predictions

Here are my top predictions for the iPad2 event tomorrow:

Hardware:

Front facing camera 1.2 Mp
Rear Camera 5 Mp
512 Mb RAM
Faster processor (A5?)
Screen with 2x pixel density
Bigger speaker
Thunderbolt?
128 Gb version
CDMA version
Lighter and Thinner
Starting at $399

Software:

Photo Booth
IMovie
FaceTime
Widgets / Dashboard
Kill all apps button
MobileMe for free

Now, let’s wait till tomorrow to see how this stacks up against reality.

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iPad 2: Predictions

The net is again abuzz about the next iPad and the potential features it will have. I am not going to join the crowd with predictions about the hardware because a lot of it is given – slimmer, lighter, dual camera, faster, NFC etc. Etc.

No. This is a different type of prediction. It has nothing to do with the hardware at all. After, my recent experience with 2 high feature android devices, I reached a simple conclusion – it’s NOT about the hardware, it’s all about the Software and the software ecosystem.

With Apple just announcing the download of its 10 billionth app and the recent change in terms about subscription (Apple keeps 30% cut of all app revenues), the logical thing for apple to do would be to maximize the volume of iPads sold. The more iPads out there in hands of the customers, the more leverage apple has with content providers, publishers and app developers.

So, here is my prediction – The app store will be a huge revenue generator for apple. So much so that it will subsidize the pricing of the hardware (As is done by the game console makers). When the next iPad is announced, the starting model will cost $399 or maybe even $350. Now let’s wait and see.

Consumer driven innovation: What a wonderful world …

As I look at personal technology in the past decade or less, something jumped out at me and most probably you see it also. The rate at which technology is evolving is phenomenal and simply amazing. We live in wonderful times. However, its usually a general feeling that I am sure we all have, but here I tried to sit down and kind of analyze it from my personal perspective. In this blog I will look at the following tech areas that in my mind has amazed me to no ends: TVs, gaming, smart phones and tablets.

As you will see, each of these areas have had accelerated innovation due to the consumers and we should kind of feel proud to be part of the generation thats driving this revolution and probably the ones that started it.

I will start with my personal experience with TVs. I decided to purchase a flat screen TV 4 years back. At the time, I had to choose between plasma and LCD and after doing my research, I found plasma to better suit my needs and I got that. 4 years later, I am trying to get a second TV for my home theater and when I looked, the choices have completely changed – LCD, LED, OLED, 3D, HD, Smart TV, Google TV…. Are you kidding me???? It s just been 4 years !!!!! It took 55-60 years for the industry to move from commercial CRT TV to LCD and another 15 years for LCD TVs to get mainstream. And now we have moved on to 3-4 completely different tech in 4 years???? Wow!!!!

The CRT TV - a monument. This is what my 1st TV looked like. Wikipedia already talks about the demise of CRT in 2000.

This is probably what my next TV is going to look like. 0.11 inch thick !!!

Next up, Gaming. I fondly remember my first video game.

My first video game

It was a small Nintendo hand held with Mickey Mouse trying to put out the fire. It had a small keypad to control the game. And the video game parlors I went to (Wonderland in Patna) had big games with similar controllers. Next came the generation of ATari games with the same type of controller, and for next 20-25 years, the controllers with direction pad and action keys stuck on all leading game consoles including the PS2s, DS, PSPs XBoxs and PS3.

But then came the iphone and the Wii, the game changers – literally. iPhone allowed you to control the game by tilting your phone and Wii had wireless controllers that let you more realistically interact with the game. I was planning to buy the Wii and I kept putting it off. Now, after a year, when I finally made the decision to buy a gaming console, voila – I have 3 choices – Wii, PS3 Move and XBox Kinect !!!!! Are you kidding me ? With no changes for almost 30 years, we go from a keypad to motion based to wireless controllers to NO controllers in 3-4 years????? Wow !!!!!!

Modern Day Game
Controllers – Wireless and controller less !!!

Next, the cellphones/smartphones. If you have read my blog, you know I was an early adapter and I got an HP ipaq, the smart without the phone, 6 years back. I was probably the only one in the office with that class of device. I then got the HTC 8525 phone and again I was one of the few with a smartphone in my circle. Then,came iPhone and rest as they say is History. 4 years after it’s launch, iPhone is one of the many many smart phones that’s available in the market and almost everyone I know has a smartphone. That was fast !!!!!

1st Cell Phone

iPhone4

Lastly, the Tablets. For almost 35 years, a few tablet PCs were released in the commercial market without much fanfare and all of them died a slow death. And then came the phenomenon called the iPad. A year after it’s launch, there will probably be 50 models of tablet computers that will available in the market with the cheapest one costing you $100 !!!!! 50 models ???? In 1 year??? You have to have to be kidding me.

Capt. Picard using the PADD in Star Trek: TNG , predicted
to happen in the 24th century
My son
with the iPad, the day it was launched in April, 2010.

And I am pretty sure, similar stories can be told about various techs (e.g CPUs & memory – remember 15 MHz and 500 MB hard disks? Cameras etc). So what happened ? We happened. In the 1960s and therein, most of the innovations that happened in the tech industry had to be funded by the government, mostly in the defense lab. There was never a consumer base big enough which would adapt to a new technology and thus it never made fiscal sense to innovate in the consumer space. Defense was where the money was and most of the tech developed there became the Country’s strategic asset and took a long time to reach the consumers.

Contrast this to today where the consumer base has evolved to such an extent that a relatively new technology like an iPad sold more than 10 million units in less than 1 year !!! 10 Million early adopters??? We have come a long way and in all the examples above, it was the success of the products (LCDs or Wii or iphone or iPad) among consumers that drove the innovation and is going to be the driver for future. Of course, the advancement in hardware technologies plays a big part, but at the end of the day, its the consumers who are driving that too.

So expect great things to emerge in near future and be thankful for this Wonderful World for the gadget lovers …..

 

The road to Apple Ipad (aka Tablet). Why we(I) need it NOW.

As the media and fanboy frenzy grows in anticipation of the ultimate device (our salvation …), I thought I will take some time to explore my own road to this mythical device and why we (I) need it NOW.

My dad was a geek when it came to gadgets and I guess he passed that on to me. So few years back, when I came into a position when I could afford these gadgets, the first ones I got was an ipod for my music, an HP Ipaq for carrying my mails,calendars and documents with me & a sony erricson phone (which I don’t remember the model). Though I would feel really geeky flashing 3 (fairly advanced at the time) mobile devices anywhere I went, it also felt really inconvenient. And my ipod could not play video so I had to keep a slew of SD cards (256MB each) for my Ipaq for watching the videos :).

Soon I realized that this was too much and I needed a change. I guess the industry also realized that and soon I could afford an Ipod video & a smart phone (HTC 8525). I was elated. I could carry all my media in my ipod and carry all my office stuffs in my 8525. Down to 2 devices. Right ? Wrong. Right about this time, my passion for books & reading had overwhelmed my home and my wife 🙂 There was no more room for the books I would come back home with on my weekend hunts. I found the answer to that problem while browsing the net one day – eBook reader. I have tried reading books on the PC before but without success – there is no way you can sit & stare at the PC Screen for 12 hours straight and enjoy it at the same time. But the eBook reader looked promising. And it turned out to be. So my next device was a the Sony eReader & I was back to 3 devices 😦 And with sony PSP, I was now at a record 4.

And then came the device that revolutionized the world and my life (in a small way). The iphone. Here again, I had the opportunity to combine 3 of my devices into 1 (and be cool at the same time :)). Of course, I was tied into a contract with AT&T and could not get my hands on the Iphone till the 3G model came out (which turned out to be a good thing though the 3GS model that my wife now owns would have been a much better proposition.). That brings us to today and why I need the iPad.

I am at 2 devices – Iphone & the eReader and almost ready to get the 3rd one – a netbook (the new craze on the block). No matter how well you can browse the net on the iphone and do stuffs, it has its limitations. A netbook would make me complete (again). It will also throw me back to the days when I was cool, geeky and highly uncomfortable carrying 3 devices around.

That’s why the answer has to be the Ipad. I need the Ipad and I need it now to replace all the myriad devices that I am about to carry around. It has to be my salvation. Since its a mythical device as of now, I can attribute whatever feature I wish for –

  • With inbuilt phone, all I would need is a bluetooth headset
  • With plenty of storage and high def screen, I can enjoy all my media wherever I go.
  • With its special low contrast reading mode, I can easily read my ebooks without straining my eyes or draining the battery
  • With built in 3G (or 4G) & an unmatched Apple UI, I can browse the web in ways that I cannot imagine ….
  • It will be a perfect gaming device with advanced graphics chip and hi def screen ….
  • And more ….

So here is my wish to Santa, if not the real thing, at least a release date 🙂 And yes, please keep it affordable – As always, I need to convince my wife that its worth the dough.