iPad Predictions: so how close did we get?

Everyone and their dog was expecting the new iPad. But some people fared better than others when predicting what Apple would show off. So how did we do? Actually, things that surprised us were what we didn’t get that we thought should’ve been a given. Either way, here’s how it all went down:

1) iOS 6. Apparently, I had a couple of reasons we’d be seeing iOS 6 at the iPad event. Turns out we were dead wrong on that one. iOS 5.1 was touted early on, and then quickly glazed over. Apple seems to be sticking to its April release schedule for the latest version of iOS, then? Or will they push it to their Worldwide Developers Conference in June? I’m not making another prediction…..

2) A5X Processor. As we neared the event, more and more people actually thought the A6 would be the new system-on-a-chip (SoC) powering the new iPad, but I felt that it wouldn’t be a big enough jump to warrant such a change. It turns out that this iPad, while crammed with amazing features, was more iterative than revolutionary, and the SoC followed suit. It’s interesting to note that the only upgrade Apple made here was to bring the new iPad up to par. The processing power is the same, but the graphical prowess of the chip is four times better than that of the original A5. Therefore, the graphics capabilities will remain at 9x the A4 chip, as will overall processing power. So, we’ve got an iPad 2 with four times the pixels but no loss of power to get there. Not bad.

3) Same battery life. This was also a total knock-out. It seemed only obvious that Apple would continue something that they’ve flaunted so proudly in the past, and they really managed to wow some people considering they had so massively improved the processing power, screen, and of course, the 4G LTE chipset they included on the new beast. I’d love to see what kind of battery life the iPad 2 would get with this battery. Apple says the battery in the new iPad is a 42.5-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer makeup, while the iPad 2’s is a scant 25-watt-hours. This means we’d likely get about 17 hours of battery out of the iPad two. What a monster that would be. I’d take 4G over that anyway, however.

4) “Obvious” stuff. Our original article didn’t have the quotes around the word obvious. But it does now because apparently what is obvious isn’t actually quite so. While we were dead-on with the double-resolution display (which I will now happily call a Retina display based on Apple’s explanation), Siri didn’t quite happen. Sure, we got voice dictation, but realistically, who the heck cares when you leave out one of the most revolutionary features from your phone that came out half a year ago? And when Apple teased about Siri at the beginning of the presentation, it seemed sealed, but it turns out anything can happen. Or not, in this case.

For the record, we also predicted the camera would have the same technology as the iPhone 4S (five element, backside illumination, etc.) but with a lower resolution. Turned out to be 5MP over the original 8MP on the iPhone 4S. Good job, Eggplante.

5) No 4G or LTE chip. This one was surprising and not something I thought I would be nearly as excited about. The sheer speed of a 4G LTE device is staggering, and if you haven’t experienced it, there is nothing I can do to prove it to you. For comparison, the standard cable internet connection is somewhere in the range of 12 to 25 Mbps. LTE? Seventy-one.

6) The name. I thought we’d be seeing something called iPad HD, leaving the gates open for something like the iPad mini or some other variation along those lines. Funnily enough, the name “iPad”, plain and simple, also popped into my head, but I figured with the naming frenzy that Apple has been on lately from the iPhone 3G to 3GS, 4 to 4S, I thought surely we were in for another suffix. Well, it turns out that Apple wants to rejuvenate the brand all over again by bringing the name back to the original. Interesting move.

We also got a bunch of new software – some enhancements like the new features in GarageBand and iMovie, and one completely new title in iPhoto. The latter of the bunch was the most impressive, with very intuitive photo editing control and an incredible amount of depth. It handled photos with precision and speed, and it’s incredible to see what Apple’s latest tablet could do with its raw horsepower.

So, we did alright; I’d say about 50% of our predictions were accurate. It may not sound like much, but considering this is an Apple event and we’re usually blown away in terms of predictions, that’s a pretty big feat. That, or we’re tooting our own horn here. Either way, we got a new iPad out of today, and we’re only beginning the countdown to the next iPad. In fact, we’ve got a list of the implications for the future of Apple devices based on today’s announcement.