Did Apple give us more than just a new iPad today? (Update)

Apple lays out some serious implications for its future products with the launch of its new iPad.

The new iPad has brought with it many implications for the future of Apple products, and we’d like to break them down into our next set of predictions.

There are a couple of implications Apple has made about their future devices by releasing the new iPad with the aforementioned features.

First up is LTE. There is no chance that the next iPhone will not have 4G LTE support. Given the fact that Apple is due for a major refresh to the iPhone by the time June or October rolls around (depending on when they actually announce it), 4G LTE would be the next clear evolution. Some people even expected 4G LTE in the iPhone 4S, so it’s pretty well a given.

Second up is the name. While this is less of a sure thing, we’d be willing to put money on the name “the new iPhone”. It would be yet another great way to rejuvenate the brand at a point when it doesn’t even really need rejuvenating. It’s classic Apple style: rework and make better something that is already at the top of its game. They did it as far back as the iPod mini, Steve Jobs saying “the iPod mini is the most popular MP3 player in the world. Well today, we’re going to replace it.” Pretty bold, indeed.

Other implications include expanding Siri to even more countries (hopefully Canada being one of them) as they expanded it today to include Japan, and perhaps even more radical battery life. It is clear that Apple has gone a long way to engineer the most efficient batteries they can, so it is yet another virtual sure thing that they’ll be putting their best batteries into the next iPhone as well.

Moving on to other devices, it is clear that Apple is going high-definition. But they’re not doing anything with physical media. In fact, we’re thinking that it’s a pretty safe bet to say that their next set of notebook computers will be without optical drives. With iTunes in the Cloud now supporting movies, it seems clear that Apple is more than happy to store all your content for you and let you get it whenever you want. And with the speed that you can retrieve these movies and songs now, having the physical copy might take longer once you factor in finding it on your shelf and popping it in your player.

The MacBook line will likely continue to live on as two SKUs – Air and Pro – but the differentiators will no longer be screen size and optical drives. Screen size will become less and less of an issue as resolution increases – something Apple has clearly shown they’re keen on doing – and the MacBook Air will see a 15-incher join its family in early 2013, if not sooner. The MacBook Pro will also lose its optical drive – save for the 17-inch model, perhaps – and become much thinner as a result. In fact, the MacBook Pro will likely be one of the first fully featured laptops to have incredible battery life – somewhere around 12 hours – and be incredibly thin at around 0.8″ all the way around.

As for desktops, while they’ll likely have optical drives a little while longer, the Mac Pro will become far less sought after as iMacs begin to have more than enough power and RAM to serve as full-on editing workstations. Apple will keep the massive towers around for a while, with one or two minor redesigns in the next three to four years before they’re discontinued entirely. iMacs will rule on the desktop front, with the Mac mini sticking around in the entry-level, although it’ll be reduced to the size of the original AppleTV within two years or so.

The other incredible implication about all this iPad talk is that Siri may not be coming to the Mac as soon as we may have thought. Apple is clearly pushing their mobile features into their desktop OS with Lion, (and even more now with Mountain Lion), but without Siri on the iPad, it’ll be more interesting to see when Siri gets integrated into the Mac as opposed to how.

On the television front, with the upgrade of the current AppleTV, there are two ways things could go. Our original estimation took the 1080p upgrade to mean that we likely wouldn’t be seeing an actual Apple television for at least another year or two. However, the argument could be made that Apple has made such a marginal improvement to its current black box that it might not delay the actual television – if they are working on one, that is – by much at all. We’re still very hesitant to think we’ll see an Apple television this year, but it is a very likely possibility when 2013 rolls around.

We hope you enjoyed our iPad coverage and our opinion pieces sprinkled around it. It’s great fun discussing, imagining, and dreaming up new products and services, so if you have any comments to add, please feel free to sound off below!

Update: It seems that we’ve glossed over one very important piece to Apple’s puzzle here: software. With their latest versions of iMovie and GarageBand, they certainly impress, but the clear winner here is iPhoto. It’s already the number one app on the App Store charts, and there is good reason: it’s innovative, fast, and beautifully simple. So what does this mean for the future of Mac software? Well, for one thing, iPhoto better be getting these beautiful image enhancing tools, or we’ll continue to ignore it as we have been. See, up until lately, Photoshop has been our go to for editing photos. While it isn’t Aperture or Lightroom, we already had it, and it obviously works wonders for images. But iPhoto may be enough for our purposes going forward.

It does beg the question however: will the Mac equivalent of these controls be anywhere close to as intuitive as their iPad and iPhone counterparts? Unless people have a laptop or a Magic Trackpad, we’re guessing not. With that said, it is clear that Apple loves glass tracking technology, so they may start bundling Magic Trackpads with computers in addition to the standard Magic Mouse, but perhaps they’ll let people use their iPad as a slate of sorts to remotely control it. An iOS 6 feature, perhaps? We’ll just have to wait and see. By our estimations, we should be hearing about it in late-April.