The iPad 3 will disappoint you.
***UPDATE*** Now that the new iPad has been outed, I’ve added some post-unveiling comments along with my original statements below.
I don’t know how exactly, but it will. Upcoming Apple products, surrounded by this much hype, inevitably come up short on some spec or design. A single product can’t please everyone.
The iPad 1 didn’t have any cameras.
The iPad 2 didn’t have a retina screen.
The iPhone 4S wasn’t the iPhone 5
Apple will cut corners like they always do, leaving some expected spec lacking or completely missing. They are a company that makes outrageous profits from their hardware sales. And you have to keep in mind, the iPad is still just a $500 device.
So here are the ways in which the iPad 3 could disappoint us:
You can’t have enough RAM; the more you have, the more apps and tabbed web pages you’re able to switch to instantly. The iPhone 4S didn’t receive a bump in RAM. Could the iPad 3 suffer the same fate? Less than 1GB of RAM would be disappointing.
UPDATE: The new iPad features 1GB of RAM — phew!
Apple could reuse the A5 processor and simply increase its clock speed, rather than release an entirely new design (quad core or dual A15′s). Whatever they do, anything less than a doubling of CPU performance would disappoint me. For graphics, I’m hoping for a similar bump.
UPDATE: The new iPad got its expected graphics upgrade, but it seems as though it’s received the same dual core CPU of last year’s model. If this is true, consider me greatly disappointed!
UPDATE UPDATE: Geekbench scores place the A5X as having the same performance, CPU and memory wise, as last year’s A5.
Anything less than a 5MP/3MP camera combo would be disappointing. Also, I’d be let down if the iPad 3 doesn’t get the same white balance performance, zero shutter lag, and gyro stabilization that the iPhone 4S’s cameras have.
UPDATE: Much better rear camera — better optics than an iPhone 4, but a worse image sensor than the iPhone 4S. The forward-facing camera is still VGA. I guess Face Time will still look crappy!
It’s hard to see Apple releasing an iPad with less battery life — but look what happened with the iPhone 4S. Many users swear that the 4S gives less battery life than older iPhone models. It’s possible that the iPad 3, in real-world use, will give less battery life than its predecessors. I’d be disappointed if its battery life has shrunk by more than 10%.
Memory and NAND speed:
These specs are not talked about by Apple, but they can have a huge effect on performance, like loading times for apps. I’m confident that memory speed will see a bump, as Apple has consistently upgraded this spec in the past. As for NAND performance, the iPhone 4S is indistinguishable from the iPhone 4, so it’s quite possible the iPad 3 will not get faster chips. Anandtech talks about memory performance in their iPhone 4S review. It’s a good read.
UPDATE: Looks like memory and NAND speed remain the same…
Apple says that Siri needs special hardware to function reliably (noise cancellation circuits). I’d be greatly disappointed if the iPad 3 is denied Siri for any reason.
UPDATE: It didn’t get Siri, but it at least got voice dictation. I’m still disappointed!
I’m not expecting this feature, and I don’t think it’s a major issue for most people this year. The Verge has a great article about LTE and its current state of development and deployment.
UPDATE: The only surprise for me. But sadly, I’m not an LTE user and I probably won’t be until an iPhone model supports it (and I own one).
So wrapping up…
As a fan of the iPad platform, and a previous owner of the original model, I am eagerly awaiting the iPad 3 to see if it’s time to own one again. I certainly want to own one, but my decision will come down largely to its overall performance.
Will we see the equivalent of a 4S upgrade, albiet with a massively improved screen, or something truly a generation beyond, inside and out?
Prepare to be disappointed
UPDATE: When you consider that its price hasn’t changed, this is a decent iPad update. But the ‘power user’ in me is still quite bothered: No upgrade to CPU performance? No faster webpage loading, app launching or video/image processing? We’ll have to wait for the benchmarks to see…