The loneliest thing I saw today was an iPad 2 in a shop, still being sold at full price right up to the minute its successor is announced. Expect a price cut for these lingering relics as the replacement is unveiled Wednesday.
Solving the Puzzle
With final iPad 3 units clearly in use around the world, by store buyers, testers, journalists (with NDAs stapled to their foreheads) and other lucky folks, the last bits of the iPad 3 jigsaw are slotting into place. Of course, Apple could be running a cunning disinformation system (some of the "prototype" parts that show it being similar to an iPad 2 could easily be subterfuge), but website access logs rarely lie.
So, admins have seen tablet users visiting sites that feature the speculated 2048x1536 screen resolution of the iPad 3's retina-class display. Some have seen visitors that have been using iOS 6.0 (although this could be a coincidence in that Apple will have moved on from iOS 5.1 development and are now working toward the next big milestone).
Telco Verizon is suggesting some sort of news worthy event for its users (which would have to be a 4G feature) by fronting its site with a "Something is Coming" tab. One way or another it looks like most of the features of the tablet have been revealed before tomorrow's launch. All that remains to be seen is the actual design and the official title of the device.
What's in a Name?
The latest favorite is the iPad HD over the Apple 3, which comes on the strength of its screen resolution. The actual design is yet to be seen in the wild, but a billion visits will befall any site that manages to get an early photo, even if it looks exactly the same as the iPad 2.
Will it feature a home button, or won't it? That little detail (and how it would work without one) has consumed the press since the launch invites went out. In fact the only big secret Apple can really keep is some new apps that will really use the power of the new tablet.
Increased processor speed, better visuals and a higher resolution display and camera lend themselves to gaming and video apps. But Apple also has to use the iPad 3 to counter Microsoft's entrance into the market with Windows 8 tablets, so improved office and enterprise functions would also be high on the list of priorities.
All Fun and Games
What we do know, and Apple knows we know, is that the iPad HD (or whatever it is called) will be out in stores in the next two weeks. So, Apple, whose team have been playing this launch game for many years now, will look to produce something we don't know about to be the icing on the cake.
The global shortage of Apple TV gadgets suggests a new generation of that device may also be unveiled, and perhaps a new store to go with it. Or, Apple really does have a mini-tablet waiting in the wings. Any such device could be released sometime beyond March (so it hasn't appeared on anyone's radar or tech-logs yet), rival Samsung reckons one could be out in the third quarter).
Then there's the associated features related to iPad. iTunes is definitely due for a revamp, and will need at least a slight tweak to start selling 1080p video content. Then, there's the accessories like the iPad smart covers (perhaps some new technology has been embedded in them that can interact with the tablet?) At least we'll know everything by tomorrow and the guessing game can start all over again for iPhone 5.