Place your bets. New iPad to be announced at Apple event starting in half an hour. Signs point to incremental feature bump rather than a large leap forward. I think 512MB RAM (up from 256), and front facing camera for video chat. Plus probable second rear facing camera (this one doesn't make sense to me, but 3rd party iPad case design leaks all show a cut out, so I'm saying it's true solely on that evidence.) Maybe slightly larger screen (smaller bezel) but same resolution. No SD card slot. No USB. No Thunderbolt. Really new iPad with more major changes to come in September.

Also revamped Mobile Me may well be announced, finally providing some clarity to the purpose of their *massive* new data center in NC. I'm guessing this will provide "cloud" storage for iTunes Store purchased media so that you can access from any of your iDevices. But not, as some people are speculating, cloud storage for all your digital media (i.e., I think they won't allow you to upload and store non iTunes Store purchased media.) Also I think no streaming music or video services (i.e., no pay $x/month to stream whatever music you want a la Rhapsody) making Apple's LaLa purchase still a bit hard to understand. Some basic features of Mobile Me to become free (or maybe "basically" free, like $1.99 from App Store), but anything really useful will be an add on with a (probably too high) price.

Yes I have no life and find guessing these things sort of fun.
- jim 3-02-2011 5:35 pm

No Mobile Me updates at all. Guess that is coming with iOS 5 later this year. Otherwise I was largely correct in that the iPad 2 is mostly a spec bump, although in a much thinner case, at the same price as the old iPad. The new A5 chip is dual core, but in classic Apple fashion, they don't even say how much RAM. I'll bet it turns out to be 512MB. 2 cameras; no SD slot.

The new smart cover is probably the most inventive thing announced. Check out the video on that page. Magnets! Looks like a great design. And while $39 wouldn't be cause for celebration normally, for Apple that's a pretty good price.

Old iPad drops to $399 which is starting to get into impulse territory (well, not for me exactly, but for some people.)
- jim 3-02-2011 9:13 pm

Oh yeah, and $39 dock connector to HDMI video out cable. It can play 1080p (mirroring the display only, not as a second display.) (But elsewhere it says that the iPad supports H.264 video up to 720p, 30FPS, Main Profile level 3.1 - so not sure how you would play 1080p content.)

- jim 3-02-2011 9:20 pm

h.264 main profile level 3.1 with 720p30 is the spec for the old iPad, so no movement there. They may have some upsampling to scale the video to 1080p. The actual decoding performance may be better, and they're sandbagging. There is a secret way to get high profile (slightly better compression efficiency than main profile) to play on the original iPad. (Secret: email attachment.) I wouldn't put it past them to sandbag for the purposes of confounding their competitors.

I'm surprised some of the other codecs are supported in only SD resolutions. That reeks of SW decode. Perhaps h.264 is the only video codec with acceleration.

For the video recording function, the spec sheet is mute on the codec. If they have HW acceleration for h.264 decode, they may harness that for encode. Wild guess: h.264 baseline profile level 3.1.

I'm surprised that 64 GB is still the upper limit on capacity. One of the iTouch gizmos got a mid-life bump in memory capacity, so I wouldn't rule that out.

Smart cover: clever. Fucking magnets, how do they work? I suspect there's some rare earth content in that cover.
- mark 3-02-2011 11:07 pm

"Tablet game over." Does Apple have a decisive price advantage?
- mark 3-03-2011 12:58 am

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