The iOSphere is gripped in a rumor drought regarding the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2. Most of this week's buzz was over a blogpost that claims an "April-ish" release for the Next iPads. Potentially. Maybe.
Also this week: a rumor that the release will be in March, not April. And How to Sound Authoritative When Reporting Apple iPad Rumors as Fact: just pretend they're facts.
You read it here second.
"However, Apple remained tight-lipped on its plans this year and the details of its upcoming devices."
~ Anonymous posting, International Business Times, winner of the Rollup's Understatement of the Week Award for Next iPad Rumoring.
New iPads will appear in "April-ish"...potentially
"Next generation iPads...may also debut as soon as this April," according to iMore Editor-in-Chief Rene Ritchie, citing "sources familiar with the plans."
The next generation would be a new full-sized iPad, or iPad 5, and "potentially" the iPad mini 2, according to Ritchie.
BusinessInsider's Jay Yarrow graciously refers to Ritchie's post as a "report" and assures his readers that "Ritchie has been one of the most accurate Apple reporters in the world." Daring Fireball's John Gruber, linking to Ritchie's post, says that "Ritchie's track record on this sort of stuff has been impeccable."
Yet Ritchie's post is a model of diminishing expectations. He goes on to say "We've also been told an April-ish launch is getting serious consideration for the next-generation iPads, but we're really not sure what to make of that yet," he writes. "iPad 5 casings have already begun to leak -- the only big redesign in the line -- so that could make sense."
Then again, logically, it could not make sense. Ritchie seems to put more confidence in the iPad 5 casing "leaks" than the Rollup does.
But there's more...err, less.
"Retina for the iPad mini, however, still doesn't sound imminent," he writes. That may, would, or could mean, potentially, that iPad mini 2 has the same old resolution of iPad 2, lacking the crisp, clear, pellucid beauty of Apple's Retina Display technology.
By this point, one can be forgiven for wondering just how "familiar" Ritchie's sources actually are with a "plan" that sounds about as organized as an impromptu Saturday afternoon mall hangout of teenagers.
Perhaps sensing his sources have been insufficiently forthcoming, Ritchie does some deducing. "Apple is not going to release iPads that costs more or don't get as good battery life as the current models," he says, an assumption-conclusion which, Rollup agrees, is a good bet. "So, if the next iPad mini does end up getting slated for April, it could be a spec bump, or have something other than Retina as a differentiator."
The Rollup is pretty convinced, based on sources familiar with the plan, that something will be different in the iPad mini 2, for sure.
Forget April. iPad 5 will be release in...wait, this month!
Citing "rumours" (that's the Brit version of "rumors"), but not bothering to link to them, International Business Times reveals that "the new iPad could arrive as early as March 2013 in the hope that it could salvage Apple's plummeting earnings."
The Rollup is uncertain where IBT gets the idea that Apple's earnings have plummeted. The last quarter reported record revenues and profits again, though some metrics came in under what some Wall Street analysts had estimated. IBT could be referring to Apple's stock price which has slid from $671 on October 3, 2012 to $431 on March 5, 2013.
Despite its confident declaration, it seems that IBT seems a bit uncertain about the actual date. The reason? "Other reports claimed that the fifth generation of the Apple's tablet will be released in June."
Oh. Maybe we could split the difference? Take an average. "The next iPad will be released at the end of April or early May. Or failing that, somewhere between March 6 and December 31, 2013."
Just to recap:
+ The original iPad was announced in January 2010, released March 2010
+ iPad 2 was released April 2011
+ the "new iPad" or iPad 3rd generation or iPad 3 was released March 2012
Hence, the ever verdant iOS optimism about a spring release for the Next iPad.
+ iPad mini was announced October 2012, and released November 2012
+ the "new iPad" was updated with an improved CPU, the new Lightning dock connector and other changes, becoming the 4th generation iPad or iPad 4 in October 2012 and released in November 2012 or seven months after its predecessor.
The 4th gen iPad release, coupled with Apple's massive, multi-billion dollar capital expenditures for equipment placed in its supply chain partners' plants, prompted speculation that Apple might be shifting to a six-month release cycle for iPads and other products.
If that's true, then the next iPad and iPad mini really will be released in May. Possibly maybe potentially.
iPad mini 2 will be way better, if Apple includes the five top features we know it should have
If you simply ignore trying to evaluate sources and what they're telling you and why, you can come up really authoritative-sounding posts, as International Business Times demonstrates. Yet again.
IBT fiercely ignored the sources of numerous recent and recycled rumors about the Next iPad mini. Instead it simply asserted as fact what others had only tremblingly put forth as rumors.
"iPad Mini 2 will feature a screen with a resolution of 2048 x 1536," IBT smoothly declared in its post. "This is almost four times the resolution of the present iPad Mini and is equal to the fourth-generation iPad which was released along with the iPad Mini in 2012."
That sounds so much better and smoother and more convincing instead of using words like potentially, possibly, perhaps, may and could.
And there's more. "Other specs include a more powerful dual core A7 processor and a 7.9-inch screen. It will also feature a 10-hour battery life, a FaceTime HD camera, and an iSight camera with 1080 pixels HD video recording. Apple is also trying to reduce the thickness of the iPad Mini 2 by using the Sharp's IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) technology in its screens."
There's only tiny problem. "However, Apple remained tight-lipped on its plans this year and the details of its upcoming devices."
Imagine. Leaving the iOSphere to fill in all those blanks on its own.
The IBT post also decreed that there were five specs and feature that Apple "should include" in the Next iPad mini 2 to "ensure its success in the tech market." As a public service, since Apple may not be reading IBT, the Rollup reposts those Top Five Things:
- better screen display (that 2048 x 1536 pixel thing)
- an improvement over that "lame A5 processor, which needed an upgrade"
- more RAM because "other 7-inch tablets already feature 1GB of RAM"
- more internal storage "that can be [the] main selling point" for iPad mini 2
- cheaper price because right now "iPad Mini bears a hefty price tag. This discourage some consumers in buying the tablet"
The fetishization of hardware specs is a hallmark of iOSphere rumoring, used for a variety of axe-grindings, such as Apple is losing its gift for innovation, losing its competitive edge, being outclassed, and so on. IBT's specs also oversimplify if not overlook entirely the tradeoffs that have to be made in improving an existing product.
Apple kept the weight and thickness of iPad mini down, partly because it didn't use a power-hungry Retina Display for the smaller tablet, a move that required the company to increase the thickness and weight of both the 3rd and 4th generation full-sized iPads. For iPad mini 2, Apple may be able to make a range of display improvements without actually increasing the pixel resolution.
The same is true with the processor. The iPad mini does not in fact use the "lame A5 processor" if by that one means the original 45 nanometer SoC. It uses a 32 nanometer version, also used in the iPad 2,4 model and 5th generation iPad touch, with the same 1 GHz clock speed as the full-sized tablet. The overall performance, though not cutting edge, has proven to be serviceable for the user experience, with about 15% to 30% better battery life compared to the 45 nm version depending on the workload.
Apple's custom chip design, and recently introduced custom cores, give the vendor a lot of flexibility in balancing performance, size, and battery life, apart from skipping over one generation of chips to an A7.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.
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